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Bernina 930 won't zig zag

My Bernina 930 has stopped zig zag. I don't use it that often, but when I do I make sure to clean it and oil it. I was sewing on fleece when I noticed the needle would just "float" from side to side when the stitch width was adjusted to anything except straight. I finished the project then looked more closely at my machine. The Stitch width knob now doesn't work at all. I was able to move the button hole maker to the first detnent, but now that won't budge, either. Thank you for your help. I'm a little hesitant to take it to the local Bernina dealer as it just feels like they only want to sell me a new machine.

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You will need to remove the top cover. 2 screws one of which is under the bobbinwinder lid. They only turn a half turn to release. After opening the top cover and if you watch what goes on inside from the top, move the top change lever you will see part of it goes through a fork or U-shape part. This part is probably stuck and needs some oil. After oiling and working it back and forth a bunch eventually it will start snapping into the notches its supposed to. I beleive then you will have your zigzag back.
Either that or you have the stitch width set on zero.
Hope I helped.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009

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You probably need to take it in to the shop, the needle position knob is bound up. It's worth spending the money, this is a good machine. You can try to soak everything with penetrating oil over night and carefully try to move the knob, you may be lucky and it will free up.
Good luck!

Posted on Feb 08, 2009


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Make sure to install a brand new needle. Sometimes a damaged needle will not connect on a zig-zag stitch.

I have a 930 Record that has to be oiled frequently. Don't know if that's the case for your 1230. Some of the mechanisms hang up on the 930 if not lubed at least once a year. I use liquid Tri-Flow Synthetic Lube, avlb at the hardware store or bike shop.


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The zig zag and other stitches does not work. This is on the Bernina 930 which has not been used for several months.

Bet the machine hasn't been thoroughly cleaned and lubed in quite a while. The mechanics have seized due to old, dry oil in the moving parts. Lots of patience, time, good quality lube, and a handheld hairdryer will probably take care of it.

Be sure to move the levers and dials and apply a drop or two of lube there too. The most difficult one to reach is the feed dog dial mechanism. Unfortunately, the feed dogs are not changed very often so it is also one of the most likely to seize.

BEWARE, on your 930, there is a basting stitch mechanism accessible about the midway point of the slit where the take-up lever travels. Do NOT apply lube to this area as it will most likely cause the basting stitch to seize. It has seized when the needle mechanism rises to the top and refuses to lower again, no matter what you try. (Bernina oil diagram below.)

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Most likely because your machine has not been serviced (oiled & cleaned) in a long time and the old oil has turned to glue and seized. This is probably the most common problem with mechanical sewing machines. A mechanical sewing machine should be regularly every 40 hours of sewing use or at least every six months when not in use. You may want to take it to a Bernina service technician. Ask for a bottle of Bernina oil for CB hook machines and ask if they will show you how to oil it.

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How long has it been since it has been cleaned and oiled? Mechanical machines, like the 930, need frequent oiling with fresh, good quality oil. (You may want to pick up some Bernina oil for CB Hook machines.)

Apply only 1-2 drops of oil in each spot (look for oil ports--little holes where oil should be placed). Do NOT oil in the middle of the needlebar. This is where the basting stitch mechanism resides and if you oil it, the basting stitch may lock up requiring service.

A good suggestion for oiling is to gently rotate the handwheel and watch where metal rubs against metal. Apply a couple of drops of oil in each spot. Do NOT oil the metal cams, the two plastic gears, or the belt. Next, gently move the selector levers and apply oil there too.

If it has been quite some time since you've oiled, you may have to re-apply oil to get things lubed again. If the zig-zag is still not working, you can direct a handheld hairdryer into the internal mechanism and apply heated air. (Be careful, the metal can get hot to the touch!) Repeat the oil and heat until the zig-zag selector begins to work.

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