On/Off switch on electric sewing machine

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by GrubbyLacemaker, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. GrubbyLacemaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 15, 2015
    4
    0
    Hi guys... newbie alert, hehe. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the correct area of this forum or if this forum is even the right place to post - I'm sure you don't get many questions about sewing machines ;) . I'm a retired civil engineer, so not a total dumbo. I'm an avid seamstress/dressmaker, have a fabulous sewing machine (Bernina 1008) and have been sewing for around 50 years. A young friend of mine purchased a cheapish sewing machine a few years ago and she's just mentioned to me that it has no on/off switch. If she wants to do something else for a few minutes, she has to pull out the power plug as there is no on/off switch physically on the machine (I'm not talking about the mains wall switch). Now, I can understand a very old sewing machine having no on/off switch as it was probably constructed before the electrical safety rules were introduced here in the UK, but a modern machine? I've been thinking about other electrical devices in my home and the only items with no on/off switches are: my electric toothbrush, my telephone handset and mobile phone, tablet & kindle chargers.

    Do you guys think an electric sewing machine ought to have this switch or am I worrying unnecessarily? All I know about the machine is its make and model but I can't find out anything else about it, apart from that it's been recently discontinued - Cooper Pro 27 Auto Threader. NB I'm well aware of Cooper's (lack of) reputation, unfortunately my friend wasn't aware of this when she bought the machine.

    Many thanks
    GLM
     
  2. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    Its probably not a good idea to go drilling random holes in the casing - you can get single outlet extension blocks with integral switch, I'd cut the mains lead short and refit the plug so the switched extension block was conveniently close to the machine.
     
  3. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
    13,056
    3,245
    Most modern electronic devices have no On/Off switch for the mains power. The are supposedly designed so the power being drawn when they are not being used is very low.
    Perhaps that's the case with the sewing machine.
    Why does your friend feel the need to unplug the machine if she's not using if for a few minutes?
     
  4. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    The footswitch power/speed control on some old sewing machines is a stack of carbon discs - applying pressure lowers the resistance - I wouldn't put it past them to still be drawing a little bit of current after you take your foot off it.

    Hopefully; more modern ones aren't as dodgy!
     
  5. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,571
    2,381
    There maybe controller/re-setup issues if the power is disconnected?
    And if you are concerned with safety issues, Then you could look at maybe inserting a safety switch in the motor power circuit.
    Max.
     
  6. GrubbyLacemaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 15, 2015
    4
    0
    Thanks everybody... my sewing machine manual actually states, "do not leave unattended when plugged in.....switch off when changing the lamp or when cleaning"... now that might just be a general safety measure but since cleaning actually involves opening the machine and removing lint, threads etc. I'd certainly want to have my machine turned off if I was going inside there, may she'd just seen the warning and didn't like to leave it unattended for even just a little while. I still find it hard to believe that there are no rules or regs on switches. I thought virtually all electrical devices over a certain wattage needed an off switch. But then I'm just a simple (albeit retired) civil engineer hehe!

    No way are we going drilling!!!! I know that some very old (40+ years old) foot pedals have problems once the capacitors reach the end of their life.... my vintage machine friends warn us about them, this is not in the same league....the machine is probably 6 years old max.

    What would you suggest she plugs her machine into.... maybe an switched extension cable or circuit breaker?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,571
    2,381
    I assume you have seen this Trilogy, if this is the same company, make sure she does not phone them and complain!


    I can't remember if you can get a 13a switched socket in the UK?, it has been a while!
    [​IMG]
    Max.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  8. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    Do both - AFAIK you can get combined extension outet block/ELCB units.

    The ELCB compares the current going out on the live with what's coming back on the neutral - if they're not equal, some is going where it shouldn't!

    The ELCB should have a manual lever, or at least a test button.
     
  9. GrubbyLacemaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 15, 2015
    4
    0
    Max .... lol oh yes.... that's what I meant when I mentioned the (lack of) reputation! It's actually a lot worse than just shown in those youtube videos..... He's been investigated by Trading Standards (not a lot of clout there unfortunately).... BBC's Rogue Traders etc.... he recently "reappeared" under the guise of a new sewing machine superstore (the clue is in the name) but seemed to forget to edit the website addresses in the terms and conditions of the "new site".

    Anyway, enough of that slick conman.... Ian, thanks for your response....what's an ELCB when it's at home? I'm guessing E.... L.... circuit breaker? (hey, I knew what As Far As I Know meant hehe).
     
  10. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
    13,056
    3,245
    I think they also had a switch that opened the circuit when the foot pedal was totally released.
     
  11. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker - pretty much vital if you use an electric lawnmower, most these days are "double insulated" and don't have an earth conductor in the mains lead. If you slice through the wire, there's no guarantee it'll blow the fuse.

    Based on that - a garden supplies might be a good place to look - appliance load current isn't the important bit, its the leakage current that the sensing comparator can detect.

    Its probably not the sort of thing you should get from a bargain store!
     
  12. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,571
    2,381
    In the U.K. you may have a power panel with a build in RCD, (Residual Current Device), this is a mains Earth Leakage Trip, instead of the individual ones like are used in N.A..
    Max.
     
  13. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    The ones I have just look like a row of toggle switches - you can see at a glance which one tripped, or you can flick the lever down to use it just like a switch.

    The ones with a test button must be the de-luxe model - you obviously still need the lever to reset it.
     
  14. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,571
    2,381
    Many years ago in the UK, the service did not include an earth ground so a local metallic type water supply was used as earth ground, with the advent of PVC and plastics being used to replace metal pipe, it became mandatory at that time to fit a main ELT or RCD ahead of the present panel.
    There could be some still around?
    Max.
     
  15. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    For a while I did the electricals for a furniture shop, on one delivery I saw a house with a glass fronted wooden fuse box.

    That was quite a few years back - I seriously doubt its still there.
     
  16. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,571
    2,381
    Ceramic fuse bridge with re-wireable fuses! You always made sure you had the card of different gauges kept handy!
    Max.
     
  17. GrubbyLacemaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 15, 2015
    4
    0
    Many thanks for your help guys.... she does have the machine plugged into a switched 13amp socket and will now turn of the power there instead of just pulling the plug out of the machine. As I'm sure you know, most of the switched 13A power sockets here in the UK are physically located near the floor, usually just above the skirting board which can be difficult to access easily. I've advised her to check her mains fuse box and ensure there's a RCD fitted there (I've got one and had to upgrade when I had a new electric double oven fitted, plus separate extras for a walk in shower) and to use a switched surge protector for her electrical kit in the sewing area. I use an upright 10 way surge protector tower which has a small footprint and keeps all the cables (trip hazards) tidy. I have just amused myself by counting all the electrical devices just available in my sewing room (not all in use at the same time, nor into the same sockets)..... it was shocking! Sewing machine, overlocker, iron, anglepoise lamp, daylight lamp, digital radio, 3 docking stations (cordless phone, mobile phone and electric toothbrush, no power sockets in the bathroom next door), carbon monoxide meter, smoke alarm and stair lift (these three have backup batteries), glue gun as well as ignition for the gas central heating boiler....... I also keep a box of cables and a lighter in a drawer.... well we might have a power failure, hehe, or should I invest in a wind up torch ;)
     
  18. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
    10,571
    2,381
    Probably the same as here now, walk into any room of the house after dark, there is a all kinds of LED ind looking back!
    Nothing has a (true) on/off switch anymore.
    Max.
     
  19. Gdrumm

    Distinguished Member

    Aug 29, 2008
    684
    36
    A surge protector is always a good way to go with small appliances.
    Ebay sell individual in line on/off switches for less than $5.00 each.
    I recently bought 3, to use with a space heater, and a radio, and I have a spare.

    There are lots of options for convenience, etc.
     
Loading...