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Thread: Singer 401A

  1. #1
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    Singer 401A

    I bought a Singer 401a in a cabinet. It was missing the two prong cord but had the bottom cord which goes to the knee controller. I used a three prong cord from by 306w to plug into the electrical outlet and was able to use the machine with the knee controller. I took the machine out of the cabinet. My question is will I need two cords - one for the two prong spot up top and one for the two prong stop below?

  2. #2
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    I just looked. Mine was in the cabinet and has the two separate plugs too. I don't believe I have another cord with foot controller attached that I can use to test it. Most of my machines either aren't Singer or are older than that setup.
    Does the 306W cord have the foot control attached and is that the control you used or did you continue to use the controller that plugs into the lower plug?
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  3. #3
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    Yes, unless you're mistaken and the upper receptacle has three prongs. Sometimes 401s are wired so you can either plug in the separate foot (knee) control unit below - OR - use a three prong power-cord-and-foot-control combination, ignoring the lower receptacle. Have another look to see if the upper receptacle is only two prongs; if so, the 3-prong-type power cord will work just fine for power and you can remove the foot (knee) controller from the cabinet and use that.

    401 is my go-to machine for just about everything. They're terrific, intuitive, sturdy machines.

    ETA: Oops, I was replying at the same time as Rodney.

    James

  4. #4
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    You need two cords. I lost the one to mine in a move and a repair man I was using at the time ordered me a replacement that works just fine. I bought mine new in 1958 and it still out sews any machine I have bought. I bought a Brother for the different stitches and like it very much but still go to my 401A for most of my sewing. She still sews like a dream.

  5. #5
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manalto View Post
    Yes, unless you're mistaken and the upper receptacle has three prongs. Sometimes 401s are wired so you can either plug in the separate foot (knee) control unit below - OR - use a three prong power-cord-and-foot-control combination, ignoring the lower receptacle.
    James
    Hi James,

    Your comment caught my eye, and I’d like to discuss something with you. I’ve not ever seen a Singer 401A with a 3-prong upper receptacle. The German Singer 401G and Singer 431G have 3-prong upper receptacles, but no lower 2-prong receptacles. I’m not sure about the 411G and other German 400 models.

    Are you sure you’re not thinking of the Singer 301? The early 301-1 (shortbed) had a 3-prong upper and a 2-prong lower, (the lower used for cabinet use), while the Singer 301-2 (longbed) only had an upper 3-prong and no lower receptacle (designed for portable only). All of the later Singer 301A (shortbed only) machines that I’ve seen have both upper 3-prong and lower 2-prong receptacles (for either cabinet or portable use). The Singer 401A was sold mostly as a cabinet machine, but was also fitted with a 2-prong lower receptacle “extension block” to extend the receptacle to the outer edge of the special portable base of the 401A.

    If you know of a 401A with a 3-prong upper receptacle, do you know if it came out of the factory that way, or was it retro-fitted later?

    CD in Oklahoma
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  6. #6
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    CD, I can only get to one 401 at the moment, and you're correct. I must be thinking of the 301. I'm going to get a reputation if I don't check first before I spout off. Sorry!

    Here's an image of the 401 "lower receptacle extension block" you mention in the portable case. I hope this compensates in some small way for my egregious error!

    Name:  401 Portable 043.JPG
Views: 354
Size:  184.7 KB
    Last edited by Manalto; 08-22-2015 at 01:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    From knowing you for a few years on another sewing machine forum, I know that you have a lot of sewing machine knowledge, so I’m sure that this one slip will soon be overlooked.

    Now, back to the block, I’m really glad that I brought up this discussion, because I have never seen a Singer 401A "lower receptacle extension block" like the one that you pictured! All that I’ve ever seen are “straight-through” blocks that exit out the end of the case base. Thanks for showing me something new!

    CD in Oklahoma
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  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I've seen a cord extension on a 503 but never on a 401. My go machine to is a 403. They are a much simpler machine but do pretty much the same thing as a more complicated 401. The Singer 411G and the 401G each use just one cord. I haven't seen any of the American that didn't have 2 cords.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
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  9. #9
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    It depends on the base the 401A fits into. I use the square plug when my Singer 401A is in the "card table" style table I purchased from Singer. If my 401A is on the kitchen table, I use the round plug on the side.

  10. #10
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThayerRags View Post
    The German Singer 401G and Singer 431G have 3-prong upper receptacles, but no lower 2-prong receptacles. I’m not sure about the 411G and other German 400 models.
    411G is the same as you describe as well.

    The extension blocks I have - I think I still have 2 are the right angle ones like Manalto shows too. I think I've seen both in the Singer Parts charts though.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 201K HC, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6, Frister and Rossman TS, Gritzner Fiddlebase TS. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Janome MC350E, 2013 APQS Lucey

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