In today’s throwaway society, it is so easy to neglect our electronic gadgets. It’s also tempting to put our home appliances into that same category – especially when it comes to maintenance. A sewing or embroidery machine such as the Brother SE400 is not actually an electronic device. Because it has moving parts it is not sealed like a digital camera or smart phone. Such a machine is classed as “electro-mechanical” and as such requires regular maintenance – unlike a mobile phone or modern camera.
Following are some pointers regarding safety precautions and regular maintenance of your sewing or embroidery machine. The same helpful hints are likely to apply to many of your home appliances in one form or other.
Electrical Safety Precautions
Even in this day and age when advanced electrical safety switches and circuit breakers are built into new homes and renovated residences, there is still an electrical risk with any home appliance. Whenever operating a computerized device in the home it makes common sense to use a power surge protector. You should also unplug an appliance such as a sewing machine from the wall if you are leaving it for more than a few hours. The more power an appliance draws during use, the more important it is to unplug it from the wall when it is lying idle.
It would be a real pity to have a valuable appliance such as a sewing machine burn out because it was left connected to your home’s power source and something untoward happened.
- You may have unknown wiring problems in your home, or even just at the power point in the wall – particularly in older homes.
- Some appliances may just be “lemons” with an electrical problem which if triggered could cause damage either to the appliance itself or possibly cause a short circuit in other parts of your home.
- Electrical storms are always a risk.
Sunlight and Storage
Sewing machine casings today tend to be made of plastic that become discolored if left in direct sunlight. The mechanical parts inside can also be affected if the machine is left in very humid locations; always store your machine in a dry area away from direct sunlight.
These days many machines are made of materials that do not require oil, or their moving parts are already infused with lubricant. However, make sure you read your machine’s manual to ensure that this is the case. Otherwise you should get into the habit of oiling your machine after every big project and whenever it has been left idle for a length of time.
I once used a bright halogen desk lamp over my sewing machine so I could see my work more clearly. It wasn’t until I had finished my project and went to put the machine away that I discovered a part of the casing had become distorted because the heat from the lamp melted the plastic. It may sound obvious, but you really need to watch that you don’t operate your machine too close to a space heater, your iron or any other hot appliance.
Dust and Fabric Fluff
It may seem unnecessary to spell out precautions about dust when it makes common sense to so many. However home appliances do actually gather dust and dirt can hurt! Certain mechanical parts can malfunction simply because they have become clogged with dust. Even if you leave your machine out overnight, it is a good policy to cover it. Most machines come with a soft cover for this purpose.
Sewing and embroidery machines will inevitably collect fluff from the fabrics you are sewing. The friction of the needle continuously piercing your fabric and the movement of the material along the feed dogs creates a surprising amount of fluff. It is therefore important to make regular use of the cleaning brushes provided to clear any fabric fluff from the feeder dogs and the bobbin case. It is also a wise precaution to check and clean your foot control every so often. You would be surprised by the amount of dust and dirt that collects around anything on the floor.
Don’t ignore unusual sounds. If you notice the motor making a different noise, it probably means something. Firstly check the LCD display to see if there is any error code showing. Check that the needle is secure and that the bobbin mechanism is properly engaged. Make sure that your spool of thread is sitting correctly and that the thread is not caught or jammed at any threading point. Check to make sure that all the air openings are clear. If the noise doesn’t go away, you really need to take your machine to an authorized repairer for a check up. Fortunately Brother USA provide a 25 year limited warranty, so something unusual which is not due to rough handling could quite possibly be covered.
Remember, not only machines such as the Brother SE400 Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine need to be treated with respect. The tips provided here also apply to many home appliances and garden tools, even if they are inexpensive to purchase relative to days gone by.