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This might be a bit hard to explain without showing you a video or photos, but here goes. The 180 and many other Berninas do what is called a basting stitch. When a machine is doing this stitch the needle stops going up and down for a very short time this producing a long basting stitch. There is a mechanism on the needle shaft that has a black short lever on it. When the basting selanoid pushes in on this lever the needle stays in the up position. Simply stated this lever mechanism can stick if it is not oiled and your needle will stay in the up position and not move when the machine is running. Sometimes just pulling the needle shaft down, then letting it go so it snaps back up into place will lock the basting ever back in place. Once you get the needle shaft to lock back in everything will work again. I can guarantee you that this is your problem if the machine runs but the needle stays in the upper position. I pose helpful Bernina videos on YouTube under the name JoeKind1958. It would be so much easier to show you how to oil the basting assembly on your machine. Contact me through that site and I can make a video showing you what to do.
This happened to me on several occasions and finally one service tech told me not to use the needle down auto button. Instead when threading the bobbin just move the wheel toward you slowly until the thread catches.
usually a 3-5 inch thread tail is helpful to keep the thread from coming out of the needle & pull the thread(top & bottom) behind the needle
flat side of needle goes to the back of machine
some needles & thread are not compatable----try this
Cut 6-8 inch piece of thread of the spool you are going to use for your project
Take the needle you are going to use for the project
& insert the thread thru the eye of the needle
& lift one end of the thread to a 45 degree angle
& if the needle is the right size for the thread it will slide down the thread
But if the needle hangs on the thread you need one size larger needle for the thread
on some machines the presser foot can't do a zig zag stitch
it sound like you dont have it in correctly take the needle plate off and replace the the bobbin case making sure that the bobbin case stays in place all the way to the right while you put the needle plate back on hope this helps
Its a lovely swiss made machine, this is an electronic motor so the needle pressure should remain constant no matter what speed you sew at. The needle staying down and the squealing sounds more like drive issues inside or possibly gunk buildup.
If it was my machine, I would take it to a qualified Elna technician and ask for him to look at it. These machines are small and well made so well worth spending the money to give it a service and get it back to 1000% IMHO.