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Thread: 66-16 foot and knee controller question

  1. #1
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    66-16 foot and knee controller question

    I have acquired 1928 Singer 66-16 in a No. 40 cabinet, that has a knee controller hardwired to the backside of the 3-terminal plug socket. Can I add a 2-wire foot controller (and keep the knee controller functional) simply by plugging it into the plug socket in lieu of the original power cord? My limited logic says that I should then be able to use either controller as I choose.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I have 3 #40 cabinets with knee control. On all of them, the foot control can be removed from the knee bracket and used on the floor.

  3. #3
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    I think the convertable pedal/ knee controller came later on (mine is for a button bakelite controller). The earlier version had a sort of ceramic container for the carbon stack, it works rather well. It can be sorted out, rewired, cleaned, adjusted for speed, etc. I kept the original on my machine and I like it.

    I don't know about switching to and from a pedal; I know some three pin socket machines can convert to the pedal and mains cord and keep the knee controller untouched (bent wood case model). Others report back they needed to rewire the machine to get the machine to respond at all when turning to pedal controller.

    I envy you the No 40 cabinet, the veneer and finish are so nice on them. I would keep it as original as practically possible. If your machine hasthe original woven cotton covered wiring I assume it's very stiff and the rubber insulation under is crumbling away. If the wiring looks all right I'm sure it's been rewired all ready. The original insulation on machines from the 1920s and 30s are always in a terrible state.

  4. #4
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    Yes, it would have been a much simpler question if I had the button-type dual-purpose controller for the knee. But, alas, mine is, in fact, the older ceramic unit. Visually, it looks like it should operate OK, and for the sake of keeping it as original as possible (and to be able to use the knee lever, if it works) I'd like to keep it intact. The wiring on this machine/cabinet is the cloth-covered stuff, with multiple places where someone had wrapped it with plastic electrical tape. So that has to go. I've ordered some modern replica wire from Amazon and I'm going to rewire everything to keep it looking as original as possible.

    The wiring diagrams I've found for the 3-wire connector block and for a 2-wire foot control/connector cable, seem to show that the combination of the two should allow everything to work OK. I just need some confirmation.

    And the cabinet itself, yes, I am very fortunate to have found it at an estate sale nearby. The 90 year-old finish needs attention, but other than a very few dings, it's in great shape for its age. The veneer is not damaged, so I should be able to recover most of its original beauty myself.

  5. #5
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    Just a quick correction, I previously identified my machine as a "66-16". After finding more information online, it is more likely a "66-6".

  6. #6
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    If you have a foot controller with the three plug socket you could exchange that for the knee controller, it should work just fine. Just swap the plugs to switch between pedals. Theoretically you could wire both a foot and knee controller in parallel and use either, but that might present a safety issue having two ways to start the machine running.

  7. #7
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    The safety issue is my main concern. Logic says two devices that work the same way could work in parallel, but I just want to be sure I'm not missing something. The knee controller is hardwired on the backside of the socket rather than connecting by a plug, so I could disconnect the knee unit if it didn't work well with the foot controller, but I'd really like to use the knee unit if I can. I have to rewire everything before I can see if anything works. That's in process. Thanks.

  8. #8
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    I have a 201 that is in a cabinet, with a knee control wired the same way. I detached it to use a foot pedal in the plug. I have been wondering the same thing and need to try it out also. I can't imagine how there could be any harm, but I won't say it is fine until I try it myself.

  9. #9
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    I agree. As I’ve been mulling this over, it really seems that 2 “switches” in parallel shouldn’t be a problem, regardless of whether they are connected by hardwire to the backside of the terminal block or thru the plug in the front of the block. My reproduction cloth-covered wire is enroute, so hopefully I’ll find out soon.

  10. #10
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    The only issue would be if you were to say press your knee controller without realizing it while you were using the foot pedal. You could let up on the foot pedal, but the machine would still run. The solution would be to add a double pole double throw switch to select either controller. The two center terminals go to pins one and two on the three pin jack, where the knee controller is wired now, two terminals go to the foot controller and the last two go to the knee controller. Amazon has 120 volt 20 amp switches by Gardner Bender for less than three dollars.

  11. #11
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    I like the idea. That would be a very clean arrangement. Thanks!

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