Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another Singer 201

This past summer I drove to Balston Spa to fetch a Singer 201 in a number 42 cabinet.  That is another story.  It needs new wiring but the cabinet is so cool I didn’t care.  I already had a 201 that needed wiring so I figured I could do this one as well.  Since I was already 60 miles on my way to Granville, NY I figured I would drive the next 70 miles and look at a 201 up there.  I bought it.  The wiring looked good.  I was thrilled. 

There was no  goopy mess on the brass serial number plate which I took as a good sign.

Compare  it to the mess on the 201 I bought in Syracuse last winter.  Those dark stains on the serial number are from melted wire insulation.
Finally, I had a 201 that might run!!!!!!
I did not plug it in today. I decided to just clean it first.     I started with the motor because I wanted to follow Rain’s advice as posted in his wonderful tutorial

I had a hard time getting the hand wheel off.  Despite the fact that it should just pull off after loosening the set screw in the stop motion knob, it would not budge.  Thank goodness for Tri Flow.  I managed to free it up, finally, after some help from the persuader.  You can see the thick caked on grease that was gluing the hand wheel in place.
I was then able to remove the motor.  I was a bit concerned about the goop near the grease tube.  I told myself that it was probably excess grease and to stop worrying.

The lead wires looked pretty good but I did notice that the white one had some black sticky stuff on it.  The black one probably did as well, but I couldn’t see it.  I paid no attention to the fact that these wires were not housed in the black shrink wrap that indicates original wiring. 

I checked the brushes.  There is a bit of life left in them, but I know where I can buy new ones
I thought that I could just pull the armature, clean the commutator and pop the thing back together and get stitching.  When I pulled the motor housing off, I noticed that the insulation on the field core was a bit frayed.  I thought that this would be a good application for that liquid electrician’s tape that I had seen at the hardware store.
I hemmed and hawed, then, about whether I really needed to check the lead wire connections.  I decided to do it, what the heck.  The more experience I get with these motors, the better.
This is what I found: deteriorating electrical tape.
It was a mess.  I had to snip and snip and snip it away.  I finally got to the soldered joint and was so disappointed to see what a messy job had been done.

The black wire was worse but that lead has more original wire to work with.
We shall see what comes of this.  What do I have to lose?


  1. My husband takes a blow torch to the brushes in sewing machine motors until all the oil melts out of them. He worked on a kenmore motor for me yesterday, but the motor lost, as the paper tape wrapped around the wiring inside the motor held hairlike wires that broke, so we are going to buy a different motor. Can't win them all, I guess.

    I am so proud of you that you can fix motors. I leave that department to my hubby.

  2. The brushes can be soaked in isopropanol to degrease. Just make sure they are dry before you use them...