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Thread: Don't do what I did - non-working Necchi Supernova

  1. #1
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Don't do what I did - non-working Necchi Supernova

    I originally posted about this on Miriam's thread about taking a sledge hammer to a recalcitrant machine of hers, Sewing Machine MADNESS but since the story would sort of sidetrack that post, I thought I'd let it go this separate direction. To bring you up to date, yesterday I - impulsively and without trying it out - bought a Necchi Supernova. Can't really explain myself. It has a nice, functional cabinet, and the price was right (though DH might tend to raise his eyebrows). Let's just call it a learning experience. I have had quite a few of those, but there's always room for one more.
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    Anyway, when I plugged it in the light came on, but the motor has about as much life in it as last year's Thanksgiving turkey. It could be the foot pedal or the wiring, or it could be the motor really is quite dead. The good news is the seller has offered to refund my money, but I don't really want to part with the machine yet. He says I can see what I can do before I decide. Sweet man, except he said in the ad it "works fine!"

    My experience with servicing motors extends no further than replacing the brushes in an ancient Sunbeam Mixmaster maybe 20 years ago, with, shall we say, mixed results. I have rewired a foot pedal and I may check that out here, since it's a relatively simple thing to try.

    So I was sitting here with the machine on a table nearby, and I glanced over admiring the elegant design of this Italian wonder, when I noticed that the cover plate over the motor area is held on neatly with exactly 2 screws, so of course I had to have a look inside.
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    The kleenex used to wipe the inside of the cover:
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    Oh dear. The poor thing seems to have been spewing a lot of black goo. It was all over everything in there, an eighth of an inch thick. Something tells me this is not a favorable sign. Oddly, the belt is not only intact but seems healthy. I don't think anyone replaced it recently because there were no fingerprints, which most certainly would have shown up in that mess. The hand wheel turns slick as a whistle and the needle goes up and down. I haven't threaded it to see if it will make stitches because first I had to order a manual and don't have it yet. I'd better not mess around with things until I can get some clue. Now it seems I may need to look for a service manual, too.

    I just wanted to share this experience because it's so much fun (sort of like a migraine). But isn't this machine a beauty? It's hard to believe that it dates to the late 1950's. It's so sleek that, except for the slightly clunky switches and knobs, the external design is not much different from the brand new machines of today, though of course it's not plastic. I'm sure that if I can get it working I will like it as much as I do my mom's Elna, which is probably at least 10 years newer, but very similar in concept.

    I would enjoy hearing from others who have had experience with this model.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  2. #2
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    Great story. No experience here but i admire your perserverance. Hope u get it working.
    Linda

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    There is a great technician in Missouri City, TX that can probably service that machine for you.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Lew Schiller's Avatar
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    That's a beautiful machine - I'd take it in a heartbeat

  5. #5
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    I'm trying to land one of those - my husband keeps telling me the ones I find are too expensive (he prefers the $25 and under crowd). In my area, I don't think I'll get one for under $75 unless I end up in just the right place at the right time!

    I'm not sure why I want one, but I love the rotating needle plate!
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  6. #6
    Super Member mlmack's Avatar
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    Looks like you are missing the two switches on the right of the machine bed. One of them controls the power/light, and the other controls the speed of the machine. It could be that your machine is in low speed. Though it also looks like the bed has a hole for a treadle belt, so those machines may have a different switch arrangement. My machine doesn't have that.

    Older Necchis had really close tolerances, so they require regular oiling, so it is also possible that your machine just needs a good cleaning and oiling.

    If you didn't pay a lot for the machine, I would keep it and work on it.

    The necchisewingmachineclub yahoo group has a lot of information that might be helpful, though you will have to join it in order to be able to access their files section.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/n...tions/messages
    Mark

  7. #7
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips!

    DeniseM, I'm familiar with Little Stitches in Missouri City. Is that the one you mean? I didn't know they worked on vintage machines. They have done warranty service on a new machine I have, and they are good, but an hour drive away from me. Also, professional repairs would cost a lot more than I paid for the machine, which makes me think I need to figure out how to do whatever it needs before I go that route.

    Mark, the tops of the switches are broken off, but they do work pretty easily with a thumbnail. I've tried the motor in both positions, and there isn't the slightest hum coming from it. From the look of all that black gunk that spewed from it at one time, it seems fairly likely the motor burned out. Thanks for the link to the Yahoo group. I've put in my application to join.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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    This machine was designed to convert to treadle and actually was in some of the user manuals! So, if a motor problem, maybe not all lost???? Or if not interested in treadle, can sell as one. . . .

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Rose_P,

    From your picture I'd say your machine was way over oiled. That is what has caused the black crap as well as the gunk I see in the pic. Try cleaning the belt and pulleys with denatured alcohol and a rag, that should help.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Rose_P,

    From your picture I'd say your machine was way over oiled. That is what has caused the black crap as well as the gunk I see in the pic. Try cleaning the belt and pulleys with denatured alcohol and a rag, that should help.

    Joe
    I could believe that could be part of the problem, but the motor would have to have some sign of life to move anything, wouldn't it? When I turn the hand wheel the belt turns just fine, and the pully on the motor rotates easily when the belt goes. Maybe - just maybe - the problem is in the foot pedal after all.

    OK. Now I have opened the pedal, and it does indeed to have a problem, but unfortunately it's not a problem with the wire. It seems that when you push the pedal no contact is made. There's a little device that moves, but it just flops around and doesn't move anything, and the metal piece that looks as if it needs to be pulled in to make contact and complete the circuit has no response to pushing the pedal. It's intriguing, but I have no clue how to fix it. I think my best bet will be to find a replacement power cord/foot pedal. The wires are not wonderfully flexible, though I've seen worse. Replacing that would be a relatively painless thing that would probably be a good idea in any case. Off to see who might have one for sale. The plug is 4-prong, unlike any on my other machines.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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    You can get a brand new, state of the art transistor foot controller from Sew-classic.com for $15-20 that is way more dependable. They also sell parts for several kinds of machines. Ask Jennie if she has the cord. They even wire the foot controllers for a small fee if you don't want to mess with that. It all depends what you decide to do with the machine. Donna

  12. #12
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yobrosew View Post
    This machine was designed to convert to treadle and actually was in some of the user manuals! So, if a motor problem, maybe not all lost???? Or if not interested in treadle, can sell as one. . . .
    Yobrosew, I want to say thanks for mentioning the treadle possibility. I had noticed the holes in it but it had not dawned on me what they were for. With the the motor cover on, you can only see the front hole, which usually has a plug in pictures I've seen, and I was wondering what was missing. The machine looks so modern I just didn't occur to me, but I measured it and was delighted to find that it would fit exactly in the Singer treadle base I have. What a fun anomaly that would seem to visitors in my sewing machine "museum". If we had a prolonged power outage it would be the machine of choice because it's the only zigzag I have that can be treadled.

    I'd rather not move my Singer 66 out of it's treadle base, but it's an appealing idea. Meanwhile, I have ordered a new foot pedal with power cord on eBay. I hope I'm right that it will be the simple solution, but if not, the treadle remains the good excuse to have bought the machine in the first place.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  13. #13
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I finally threaded her up and turned the hand wheel a few times. I'm happy to report that she sews pretty stitches, and I'm definitely keeping her!
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  14. #14
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaMiller View Post
    You can get a brand new, state of the art transistor foot controller from Sew-classic.com for $15-20 that is way more dependable. They also sell parts for several kinds of machines. Ask Jennie if she has the cord. They even wire the foot controllers for a small fee if you don't want to mess with that. It all depends what you decide to do with the machine. Donna
    Oops! Thanks Donna. I missed your comment until I'd already bought the eBay one. It's probably pretty reasonable, wired with the cord and all new for around $26. I'll check Sew Classic next time.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  15. #15
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    I've serviced several machines of this model and have never seen black gunk like that. I would be tempted to remove those two screws in the motor and clean things out in there, and change the brushes while I'm at it.

    The two switches are often broken. Other than those, that model is very well made, IMHO. Also, belts are not necessarily easy or cheap to get, so if you can re-use that one, great.

    The last time I serviced mine, a piece was lose in that area and I never did find out where it belonged. I'm still puzzled, but the machine runs beautifully.

    Thanks for mentioning the treadling. I forgot it had that capability.

    I'll be watching for updates on your progress.

  16. #16
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Can you confirm? The black goop - is it oily for sure or is it sort of dry? If it's just dry, it's carbon from the brushes and the amount of it indicates that the brushes are almost surely to be worn down to nubs. If they're worn that much, the motor won't do much of anything. These brushes will do just fine to be changed.

    If it's oily, then I'd say yeah, someone oiled it. That said, being "internal" I'd think that's less likely.

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    Hi Rose
    I a Antonio and I am writing from Rome -Italy.

    I am helping an old gentle lady who owns such machine (the 12volt portion of the transformer is gone ,the one for the light bulb).
    So I have got on this blog because I was looking for info regarding the Necchi Supernova.
    I have read you help ad maybe I can help you someway even I am not a sewing machine expert .
    I case write to :[email protected]
    ciao
    Antonio

  18. #18
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    The black goo is from the original belt. They had a tendency to self destruct and spew that black mess everywhere. I would bet money that the belt on the machine is too small. Remove it and see if the motor picks up speed. The only place I know of to get a correct belt for a Necchi Supernova is Allyn International www.allynint.com I doubt the nice man who owned your machine called them up
    I am basing this on 2 things: Experience cleaning the black belt goo off of 2 of these machines and the fact that if you look at your motor you can see all the belt dust collected on the fins of the motor.
    Oh - one more thing - the toggle switches that are missing are a common occurrence with the Supernova series machine. Don't sweat it. You can replace with toggles from an electronics store or just deal with them. If they still rock back and forth I'd leave well enough alone.
    Last edited by Mitch's mom; 05-31-2014 at 03:41 AM.

  19. #19
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    Forget the motor and the pedal...TREADLE it! Looks like that is what someone did to yours.? I have the instructions in the manual for turning it into a treadle. I will share them with you if you want.
    Last edited by Sunflowerzz; 05-31-2014 at 11:25 AM.
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  20. #20
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    Hi all,
    When I took the cover off my supernova, I was amazed at the black gunk under it. but the belt showed signs of significant wear. Motor works fine. Eager to put a belt on it. I enjoy treadles too and was delighted to see the holes in the base. It may be my first treadle zz machine.

  21. #21
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    Belt had the bad wear because the balance wheel would barely move with the belt off. Poor motor probably just burned the belt away. Oil and turn oil and turn.. slowly getting more movement. Still drag somewhere.

  22. #22
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    The vintage Necchi Yahoo group has an excellent cleaning/unfreezing tutorial in their files. Because of the extremely close tolerances in these machines, most times just oiling them won't bring them back to their full glory, all the old oil and gunk really needs to be cleaned out of them including removing the hand wheel and cleaning there.

    Cari

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