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Thread: 301A to FMQ -- Hot foot pedal -- what to do??

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    Senior Member Stitch124's Avatar
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    301A to FMQ -- Hot foot pedal -- what to do??

    I've been using my 301A to FMQ, mainly just stippling. Problem I have is that my foot pedal gets so hot that I have to quit and let it cool off. Should I invest in a different pedal? What is the cause?

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    I don't know. Mine get too hot too. They're very old. I just go take a break and get back to them.

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Those old foot controllers are resistance units. They use wire or carbon pile resisters to control the voltage. When you sew slowly for an extended amount of time, they get hot. I have several like that. I use silicone iron pads between them and my carpet and like barny said, I sometimes have to stop and take a break. Since I usually sew bare foot I can tell pretty quick when they get hot.

    About the only cure is to replace the old controller with an electronic unit. They don't get hot at all. But they are amp sensitive so you have to make sure the controller is rated for the same or higher amp rating as the motor on your machine. Also my only real gripe on the electronic units is they are lightweight plastic and tend to scoot out from under my foot. The factory electronic controllers are better made if you can find one.

    Joe

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    Senior Member Stitch124's Avatar
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    Joe - could you provide the name of a factory electronic controller? I'd like to get one siince this is my main sewing machine for FMQing and I have lots of quilts to do. Don't want to burn my tootsies!

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Stitch,

    Well not exactly but most of the machines since the 80s use them. Our mid 80s 4622A has an electronic controller on it. The controller is labeled Singer and it's a bit more substantial than the aftermarket units.

    Another idea is to go to you LSMG and see if he'd have a used one. Or an online Singer factory parts source.

    Joe

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    Super Member Glenda m's Avatar
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    Since I have three of these lovely machines, I just switch cords and don't have to stop. LOL I know, that's cheating, but when you are on a roll, who wants to quit?
    You can get older, but you never have to grow up! Tomorrow's just a future yesterday!-Greg Fergerson

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    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    As an aside, back when these machines were in regular household use they were probably not used as much for FMQ and so there wouldn't be this situation happening. As others have said, take a break from the machine.
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Joe - Put a piece of velcro on the bottom of the foot, cut a piece of wood to size, put the other part of the velcro on that, and stick the two together. Maybe a little felt on the bottom to save the floor. Velcro lets you move one board from pedal to pedal.

    Stitch124 - Hot is "ok", obviously not desirable, unplug it and let it cool then it will be fine to use but if it ever starts making popping sounds, unplug it immediately and don't use it until it's properly repaired.

    It means the pedal is adjusted wrong and it may start a fire. I've had 3 now that have done it. The first one was before I started seriously working on machines. Scared the beans out of me. The second was about 3 weeks ago, on a featherweight I went to look at. The machine started humming as soon as it was plugged in, and after a few seconds, started sewing by itself. Within about 2 minutes, it was popping and fizzing. Yes, I brought the poor lady home. The last one was this week. I took it completely apart, cleaned every carbon disk, and reassembled. It's a nice "mildly warm" running pedal now.

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    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    Mine has gotten hot too and I discovered that where I was using it it was resting on thick pile carpeting. Once I took it off the carpeting to sew it helped to a great extent. I just set the foot controller on s thin book. The hard surface allowed air to circulate around the bottom of the foot control. I also limited the time I FMQ to 20-30 minuted at a time and laid the foot petal on it's side to cool off faster when I was done. I was using a machine from 1977. Probably the newer machines have something that takes care of that.

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    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    I took it completely apart, cleaned every carbon disk, and reassembled. It's a nice "mildly warm" running pedal now.
    Do you use just a damp Q-tip or do you use something else to clean it with?

  11. #11
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabbagepatchkid View Post
    Do you use just a damp Q-tip or do you use something else to clean it with?
    I used a pencil eraser.
    I described it here last year:
    http://www.archaicarcane.com/what-a-pile-of/

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    Senior Member Stitch124's Avatar
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    Archaic-- I love your way of explaining things...especially the "from personal experience" angle.

    Yet this time I think I'm going with buying a new foot pedal. I've rebuilt one too many FW's and now thinking I'd much rather sew than rebuild. Thanks for the tear-down lesson, I may get my DH to work on this for me.

    Julie

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    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    From what I have found ( not that much compared to some ) Singer foot controllers are rated at around 1.0 amp. I just picked up two 158- Series Kenmores that have 1.2 amp rated foot controllers. I'm going to have to replace the wiring on one due to rodents gnawing on the cords. But before I do that I'm gonna check my LSMG to see if he has a complete cord set up. If so I'll use the extra controller on one of the machines that the foot pedal gets hot just to see how much different it works.
    Or maybe the Kenmores will answer the question themselves.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    I used a pencil eraser.
    I described it here last year:
    http://www.archaicarcane.com/what-a-pile-of/
    Tammi,

    Thanks for all your trouble. Now I have some instructions to go by when I work these things over.
    I've got a couple of them with the "sudden WOT" syndrome and some that won't go fast to save their souls. But thankfully most of them work OK.
    Now, do you have any tutorials on how to work on and adjust the old Mercury type foot controllers?????

    Joe

  15. #15
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitch124 View Post
    Archaic-- I love your way of explaining things...especially the "from personal experience" angle.

    Yet this time I think I'm going with buying a new foot pedal. I've rebuilt one too many FW's and now thinking I'd much rather sew than rebuild. Thanks for the tear-down lesson, I may get my DH to work on this for me.

    Julie
    I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's probably one of my 3 most viewed articles on the site.

    Technically, you don't have to go through and do all the disks, you can probably get away with the adjustment only ( http://www.archaicarcane.com/singerattheraces/ ) . It takes me about 30 mins to do the whole adjustment and disk cleaning, sitting in front of a tv show to do it.

    I totally get why you'd want to sew instead of tweak though. I don't really get any sewing done lately.

    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    I just picked up two 158- Series Kenmores that have 1.2 amp rated foot controllers. I'm going to have to replace the wiring on one due to rodents gnawing on the cords.
    The Kenmore pedals I've opened had 3 wires in them, all black, so you may have a date with a multimeter coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Tammi,

    Thanks for all your trouble. Now I have some instructions to go by when I work these things over.
    I've got a couple of them with the "sudden WOT" syndrome and some that won't go fast to save their souls. But thankfully most of them work OK.
    Now, do you have any tutorials on how to work on and adjust the old Mercury type foot controllers?????

    Joe
    Hey Joe,

    Use the link I posted for Julie above too for dismantelling and adjustment. The one on the FW I picked up last month had been adjusted to probably almost as far as it could go inside the ceramic. It's the one that tried to light on fire while I viewed it.

    The "won't go fast" ones may need the little metal tabs (I mentioned them in that link above for Julie) bent down a little, or the plate that shorts to them may be too low, so it can't short. I think that's what I've found in the past on the slow and steady ones.

    I don't think I have any of the mercury controllers here. Can you post a pic of one? Most of mine are carbon pile (Singer and a few of the Japanese ones), solid state (Singer) or electronic (Singer and aftermarket).
    Last edited by ArchaicArcane; 05-02-2013 at 11:51 AM.

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