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Thread: First re-wiring task - wonder if I am up to it?

  1. #1
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    First re-wiring task - wonder if I am up to it?

    Ok, so I have discovered my first re-wiring task on my 15-91. The wires from the motor to the 3 pin terminal have got to be replaced. I removed the wire casing, didn't realize how bad it was (it was goo). Didn't know what I was looking for when I bought the machines re: the wires, but that's okay. I bought it with the understanding that it would likely need a re-wire at some point.

    I know that cords can be bought for the light and for the knee/foot pedal and also a power cord. This is just the wiring from the motor to the 3 pin terminal (hopefully I am using the right terms here, still learning).

    From those of you accustomed to doing your own re-wiring - is this easy enough to do? I have never re-wired anything in my life, have almost less than a basic understanding of electricity/wiring. I do know that it really matters which end gets connected where (like negative/positive or male/female parts on other fixtures). Not sure if I should attempt myself OR arrange for someone else to do it. Like the thought of doing it myself if possible, for a variety of reasons.

    I do have a wiring schematic for older singer machines. And I forget which website I have read some instructions on re-wiring (I have so many bookmarked! Need a better system so I can find what I want).

    Pointers from those of you who have done this yourself?Name:  IMAG0151.jpg
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  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I believe I bought my wiring from Sew Classic. I've had to do some rewiring and it's not hard.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Well, I took off the 3 pin terminal, took off the housing to the motor. And - discovered that all wires needed replacing. I think I could have handled replacing the wires for the light, the power cord, and the foot pedal. I can see where the connectors are, they are clearly labeled + or -, have found wiring schematics, instructions - would have done that on my own.

    But - the wiring to the motor - not sure about that. Plus it looked like it needed a good cleaning inside as well. Did not look so simple as undoing connectors and reattaching wires.

    I was planning on getting it serviced (cleaned/tuned up) in February. I have already spoken several times with someone here who services these machines. Very nice gentleman, lots of info over the phone, tips on where to get supplies, very helpful. It would have been $62.50 for the servicing (he will come to your house or you can take your machine in). For a total rewire plus cleaning/tuneup and I believe he said stitched out (I have seen that term - thinking it means everything is done, it's ready to go) - that will be $150. He will have my machine for less than a week. She has no rust or other signs of deterioration. Just the wiring.

    While I would like to do it myself - think I will be more stressed trying to figure out the wiring on the motor, how to clean, etc.

    Learning a lot, got her out of the cabinet, poked around the other areas, I know better where to look on the next machine I purchase. Will be taking screw drivers with me the next go round - and will not be so timid. I spent considerable time looking at how she sewed, how it was to FMQ on her, the lady explained different attachments and demonstrated. If I had known better what I was looking for with the rest though, and not been more timid about asking to take apart the machine when I went to look for it - I would have offered less. Lesson learned. I love the cabinet, I figure I probably overpaid by about $50. So, I am not going to spend too much time regretting that. Because past this - she is a lovely machine. Decals still in tact, very pretty lady! And I can't wait to sew on her again!!
    Last edited by DawnFurlong; 01-28-2012 at 12:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member heljoy50's Avatar
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    I couldn't get anyone to do the rewiring on my 15-90 but was able to find a lady on Ebay here in Australia that sold new motors for $90 AU, now the machine is sewing like a charm! I haven't been able to find motors for the Featherweights here yet, but purchased a hand crank from USA for the 221 that had the wiring completely ruined.

  5. #5
    Member elliot's Avatar
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    do not plug in with those bare wires...you could make the whole machine live if the wires touch the metal machine head

  6. #6
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elliot View Post
    do not plug in with those bare wires...you could make the whole machine live if the wires touch the metal machine head
    Nope, wouldn't have considered plugging her in. She is actually off at the shop being re-wired now. Looking forward to sewing on her *safely* later this week. :-)

  7. #7
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    rewiring a 15-91 is not for the inexperienced. the $150.00 seems a little pricey, but it depends on what you get.
    for that rice would expect to replace the light assembly, disassemble the motor completely, new wire to the field coils
    clean the commutator, degrease the motor housing replace brushes if necessary. remove all possible parts, for cleaning/degreasing. supply new 123 cord, new bobbin case, new electronic foot control, new needle and slide
    plates, new bed tension. obviously reassemble and test sew out.
    jimthegoatman

  8. #8
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimthegoatman View Post
    rewiring a 15-91 is not for the inexperienced. the $150.00 seems a little pricey, but it depends on what you get.
    for that rice would expect to replace the light assembly, disassemble the motor completely, new wire to the field coils
    clean the commutator, degrease the motor housing replace brushes if necessary. remove all possible parts, for cleaning/degreasing. supply new 123 cord, new bobbin case, new electronic foot control, new needle and slide
    plates, new bed tension. obviously reassemble and test sew out.
    jimthegoatman
    Thank you for the information. I am going to bookmark this one for future reference!!

    Unfortunately, I don't believe he was as thorough as this. Some of the things you list were done, others not (or done differently than I am reading they should be done). I no longer have exposed wires, I know the wires to the foot pedal and power cord are new (I could have done that) - but didn't replace the light or rewire, simply put double insulating casing around those wires. Believe that is what he also did with wires going to the motor (which looked shiny, silver when I took them in - they were totally exposed between the motor and the 3 pin terminal as the casing had turned to goo and I had carefully wiped all that off - machine unplugged of course). Cleaning/tune up seems to have primarily pertained to all that was under the front face plate and the tension housing. The man is helpful over the phone, knowledgeable about older sewing machines and I guess in his experience sees it differently as to what should be done.

    I would say that before I take my machine in for any other work/servicing - I will know exactly what is being done. I will go about this in a different way.

    All that said, I can say that my sewing machine sews wonderfully, and while I thought it sewed beautifully before, it does sew even better now with a tune-up/rebuild of the tension.

  9. #9
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    Hi Dawn, I've written up an extensive guide on 15-91 / 201-2 motor re-wiring, with lots of photos, here:

    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2012/01/co...ted-motor.html

    hope that helps,

    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Thanks Rain. Very helpful. I will be watching those before I let anyone else touch my machine. From looking at the videos and the descriptions I can tell you the guy that worked on my machine was not that extensive. I believe it would be more accurate to say that he "replaced" the foot pedal cord and power cord, and he "re-sleeved or reinsulated or re-cased" the cord to the light and also the wires to the motor. He said there was nothing wrong with those wires (and they looked shiny, silver, clean - unlike some of the ends of the wires I saw housed in the 3 point terminal - those didn't look as good). What gripes me most is that the cord/wires from the light down in the 3 point terminal where they connect inside that housing - he left those alone - and the casing is cracked open, those wires are exposed in that area (just the ones to the light)!!! The other wires in there are encased. And he kept saying that the wires don't touch, because one is connected to the 1 post, the other to the 3 post, they do not come into contact with each other, all wires are in an enclosed area, they other wires are not exposed, there is no danger - and he has worked on these machines for 40 some years and never had a problem unless someone is going in there and poking and prodding at it and monkeying with it. That is what I was understanding him to say, what I repeated back to him. He said he would be happy to replace the light (for $30) - but that most people want their original and you can't rewire that. He is insistent that this is proper and that this machine will last for generations more, good solid motor (which he didn't clean), etc.

    On the *rewiring* job - fail. Quite frankly, I could have replaced the foot pedal cord and the power cord, and I will be replacing the light. With regard to the tune-up, tension - on the other side of the machine - I think that is okay. It sews even better than it did before, tension is easy to work with (I don't have to keep fiddling with it).

    I will be purchasing a replacement light from Sew Classic. She has the piece ready to go (she called it plug and play). Just have to take the screw off to remove the other lamp from the back of the machine, then unscrew the connectors on the other end (in the 3 point terminal housing area - trying to use right terms, but I might miss here and there as I am learning). Then she has them color coded - just have to reconnect the new one and screw it in on the machine.

    Meanwhile I have found Bennett's detailed tutorial on cleaning her machine - and I have also seen Billy's. Lots of pictures, descriptions. Will be studying that. I have also found someone closer to me who restores these machines. This will be someone I will continue conversations with.

    I don't really have a desire to learn to solder - but the rest of it - I think I should be learning and getting hands on. I am afraid of messing up my machine - that's the problem. What I'd really like is to have it cleaned by someone who really knows what they are doing - and watch. That would remove some of the fear for the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vintage.Singers.NYC View Post
    Hi Dawn, I've written up an extensive guide on 15-91 / 201-2 motor re-wiring, with lots of photos, here:

    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2012/01/co...ted-motor.html

    hope that helps,

    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
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    Love this thread. I just got my 15-91 this week and even though it looks to be in great condition wiring wise, this was all interesting information. I would never attempt to re-wire anything, but I love to hear other folks stories of refurbishing their machines.

  12. #12
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    Hi Dawn, at 40 years of experience your guy has way more experience than me. I can see his point about the wires not touching, but I always make it a point to cover mine up; I guess it's different when you're working on a machine that you love, versus working on a customer's machine when you've got 10 other machines waiting to be done after it. I guess people have different ideas of what's "proper," and I can't really criticize someone with a lot more experience than I have. It might be silly, pointless or excessively anal of me, but when I work on a machine my goal is that if someone looks at the machine in 50 years, after I'm dead, they'll look at it and go "Wow, whoever worked on this machine last did a really good job."

    It's not true that you cannot re-wire the light on a 15-91; what's true is that it's a pain in the neck to get the light re-assembled when you're done. Maybe what he meant to say was that it's not cost-effective for him to re-wire that light, as he would spend a lot of billable hours putting it back together, thus it would simply be cheaper for you to buy a replacement light. I've used the type of replacement lights sold by Sew-Classic, they work fine and their styling is close enough to the original machine that they don't stick out, from an aesthetic point of view. So I'd say those are a good buy. (But please don't throw the old light out, sell it on eBay or something! Maybe someone is looking for one of those lights and is willing to re-wire it.)

    At some point I should write a foot controller replacement tutorial up on the blog. It is pretty easy to do. I find that with vintage sewing machines, a lot of stuff is pretty easy to do, but it seems impossible unless someone shows you exactly what you need to do and tells you exactly what things you need to buy. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way and I was surprised that clear explanations for a lot of basic stuff doesn't exist on the internet, so I'm trying to fill that gap with the VSSMB blog. I am hoping to save people some of the frustration and wasted money I had to spend.

    I can relate to not wanting to learn to solder. I didn't either, but I had to because I've accumulated so many machines that it wouldn't be cost-effective for me to pay someone else to do it. But given a choice I wouldn't do it. I enjoy cleaning and wrenching on the machines but I always look at the soldering part as a chore I have to get through.

    In any case, good luck with the new light and the machine! The 15-91 is such a great machine, I'm sure you'll be thrilled when it's all up and running!

    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Rain, I hope you do a tutorial on foot controls. Trouble shooting and re-working them.

    The info on the 15-91 is very good right down to the correct screwdriver. I have two with snipped wires - either have to be rewired or treadled.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Thanks Rain! I am already enjoying sewing on my 15-91 immensely. A few issues with stitches - but to be honest, I never really paid that much attention to needles and/or thread (and I believe that is where my issues reside). My thread is from a LQS, but since the label came off the top - I can't tell you if it is 100% cotton or a mix.

    I think I expected differently from the person I took my machine from simply because of the way cleaning/refurbishing is described on this forum and other blogs. Such care is taken! And I think you are correct - if it different when you are working on a machine you love versus working on someone else's with 10 more waiting. I think the job was adequate, just not was I was expecting.

    So glad for blogs such as your own!

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