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How do you fix a sewing machine that won't stop running? Answered

I have a great old sewing machine and it would work fine if i could control the needle with the presser foot. It is a Zig Zag model E-388 Precision Made in Japan.


I have a morse sewing machine it's my mother, don't know the year but when I plug it up it starts sewing on its own

Make sure there is not a thing in the case/or table that has two plug ins. One may be reversed, and then as soon as it is turned on, the motor will start and not stop. Make sure to put the motor cord in the plug in that says motor. I have a straight stitch 1962 made in japan, and I had that issue, and that was what the problem was. Good luck!

I know this post is so old, I just wanted to thank you for this info! I’ve been trying to fix my old White machine and since we moved it hasn’t worked right, and all I had to do was switch the two plugs around! SUCH A RELIEF!!! I’m so grateful quilter1012!! Great big hugs and thank you’s!!

quilter1012, thank you so much! This totally fixed my issue and I wouldn't have figured it out otherwise! My husband was about to rewire the whole thing and this simple plug fix solved everything!

I know you posted this 5 years ago for someone else, but it was exactly my problem - thank you so much!

I just wanted to add the solution that worked for me, I think it was hinted at by someone else here but they didn't give the whole solution. I have a Ricar 806 also Japanese made, which suddenly started running at full speed on its own. The problem was the capacitor in the foot pedal control. I discovered that the capacitor is present to prevent the machine interfering with the TV and radio (causing static to old style tuners, not really relevant these days...). Over time the capacitor leaks charge and eventually dies, causing the machine to run on its own at full speed. Since the capacitor is redundant you can simply remove it from the mechanism, which fixes the pedal. In my case the capacitor was wired in parallel with a resistor, and both could simply be removed by unscrewing them from the assembly. Hope this saves someone else some time!

Thank you so much for this info. I have just been given an old Singer 201, which had the same, non stop, problem, we followed your instructions and it is working perfectly. Sincere thanks.


12 months ago

Thanks for that I have removed the capacitor and it works a treat now. But will I have to put a new one in?

the adjustable voltage regulator might be bad

in some machines the foot controller has a capacitor parallel to the switch. if the capacitor is bad it may either run all the time or fail to start at al and just go zzzzzz in many old controllers the variable speed is done by a resistor made of thin plates (carbon ?) that are compressed together at varying force. when off a contact outside of the resistor should be visually disconnected (and not only pressure on the resistor released). sometimes this contact does not fully disconnect. (be carefull to not lose or crack them if you disassemble the controller deeply. although it tolerates few missing or cracked)

. The foot control probably needs to be disassembled and cleaned/repaired. Possibly a short in the cord. . The foot control will most likely be "hot" all the time, so unplug everything from the wall before messing with it.

Thanks so much I will try that this weekend!