20 Most Recent Bernina Activa 140 Questions & Answers

Are you sure you have the bobbin the right way round in the holder....when you look at the bobbin and tug the thread, the bobbin should move clockwise.
Pull out the foot pedal and use bsr2 with the start/stop button.
Bring bobbin thread to top of work before starting to sew. This may help knotting problem

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jun 02, 2020

Are you absolutley sure you're not getting a problem with stitch formation on, for example, wide zig-zag. Check again, using a different colour top and bottom and make sure that the stitch is being formed properly with only the top colour on top and bottom colour on the bottom. It sounds as though the bottom loop is not being picked-up by the hook properly. Make sure you've thoroughly cleaned-out any fluff under the stitch-plate and remove the hook/shuttle and give the hook race a good clean and give it a single drop of oil, even if you've got the lightweight part-plastic hook/shuttle fitted.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jun 02, 2020

12 wt thread generally will not work well in the bobbin...

"Aurifil 12wt Thread
Aurifil 12 wt thread is ideal for hand quilting, big stitch hand quilting and machine quilting. 12 weight thread creates a more defined and often primitive look. It's great for designs that use a longer stitch length if using a machine. When machine quilting with 12 wt thread, use 40 wt in the bobbin, increase your stitch length, lower your tension, use Topstitch size 90 needles and stitch slowly."

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jun 02, 2020

Did you ever solve this problem - I have the same one!

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jun 09, 2019

Sounds like the needle positioning is off or malfunctioning on your machine. Probably needs service.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Feb 15, 2017

It would probably be very difficult to find a service manual for a Bernina machine unless you were lucky and happened to locate one for sale perhaps on eBay or the like.

There are some Bernina groups on Yahoo that would most likely be able to help you with your questions. Some of the members are Certified Bernina Techs.


Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jul 23, 2016

Is it the upper thread that is looping under the fabric? If so, that's what is called thread nesting or bird nesting. It is usually caused by it not being threaded correctly or the tension is off. Most likely, it is because the thread is either not in all the guides, the thread path is incorrect (it may have jumped out of the take-up lever), OR (most frequently) the thread is not completely seated in the tension disk.

#1--install a brand new needle that is compatible with the thread & fabric you are sewing. All About Needles

#2--remove the upper thread. Always raise the presser foot and rethread from the beginning making sure to follow all the guides and the thread pathway.

Set the upper tension to the midway point between high & low number and test. Re-adjust tension as needed. If the upper thread is showing too much on the underside of the fabric, the upper tension is too loose. If bobbin thread is showing on the top, then upper tension is too tight. Correct tension is when both upper & bobbin threads meet in the middle.


Bernina Activa... | Answered on Apr 12, 2016

Have you tried a brand new needle? The old one could be bent, knicked, or installed incorrectly.

Have you cleaned the lint & dust from the bobbin area and feed dogs? Oiled the shuttle?

Remove all the thread. RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning making sure it is threaded correctly. Make sure the bobbin is loaded in the bobbin case correctly. (Are you perhaps using a generic or non-Bernina bobbin? That will sometimes cause problems.) Try a different bobbin and see if it changes.


Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jan 22, 2016

Try using a walking foot. The issue most quilters face when working with any sewing machine is that there is a force being applied to move the bottom fabric but the top fabric is only moving based on friction with the bottom fabric. This can cause the bottom fabric to move quicker than the top. A walking foot helps solve this issue by placing a second set of feed dogs on the top of the fabric to mirror the force being applied on the bottom, allowing both pieces of fabric to move evenly.

Hope that helps!

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Nov 03, 2015

Hi teza...I assume that you have decreased your stitch length selector resulting in no change, indicating that the internal stitch length mechanism is either insufficiently lubricated, or truly broken If not broken, you can work the mechanism free by removing your needle, selecting the maximum stitch length and any non-overlock stich pattern, ie. straight or zigzag, fully depress your foot pedal so it runs at maximum speed, and methodically press and release the Reverse button/lever. After a minute of this, hand crank your machine while observing the feed dogs, and changing your stitch length. If your stich length is set to 0, your should observe your feed dogs moving vertically up and down with no back/forward motion, however, increasing as you lengthen your stitch length. Repeat the previous high speed work out until you notice full strokes of your feed dog...good luck my friend

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Sep 07, 2015

Definatly it is an electronic issue. Have the cables checked to be sure there weren't any pinched between the covers etc. And that the plugs on them are seated properly. This they should do naturally. I have also seen this before when what is called the EEPROM chip went bad. Screen lit, no info. The EEPROM is a small chip, black and rectangular on the S-Print board,The EEPROM stores all the information for the machine to work. The screen will light but no info on the screen if its bad. Before replacing a whole circuitboard I would suggest replacing this. It just plugs and unplugs from the S-Print and much less expensive.
If your not feeling all that trustworthy if the tech can do it then ask that it be sent to Bernina in Illinois and repaired. It could take 6 weeks though.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jul 17, 2015

Lower the feed dog. THere is a button on the right side of the machine; lower left corner. Push it in.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jun 21, 2015

Hi PixelPup....Although I am unaware of what types of fabrics/needle size/project (ie does it have batting or metallic/special threads) your issue involves a fault located above your needle plate with 2 points of interest in particular. 1) Appropriate Needle Size, Type and Insertion. 2) Absence of upper tension. When replacing needles, ensure that the groove along the length of the needle is facing you. For every day medium weight cottons, a universal size 70 or 80 needle is fine. However, ALL OTHER fabrics, especially knits, denims, stretch and very lightweight or sheer fabrics should be sewn with the specified needle types. Your local sewing retailer can help you with exactness if you bring along a swatch/sample when you shop for your needles. Please purchase your sewing machine supplies from a sewing oriented retailer. Needles AND Thread quality matter a great deal in the quality and longevity of your stitches. As for needles, I recommend Schmetz, and Viking for threads. Keep in mind that needles to get dull, and can easily acquire brays which may not only cut your thread, but damage your fabrics as well, and should be changed "regularly". I would guess that misthreading accounts for 95% of all sewing machine problems including lockups, needle breakage, and instant jams. The dial for your upper tension may have a "colored zone" for the universal tensioning starting point usually between 3.5 & 5.5, with the lower number for lighter fabrics, and increasing with weight. If you don't have a colored zone, begin with #4. Completely remove the thread spool from your machine. Ensure that your presser foot is in the up position, and begin methodically threading your machine, paying special attention when you reach the tension area. There are usually 3 or 4 'plates' that provide the tension, and rushed threading by experts regularly causes the thread to miss the discs altogether. The presser foot must be in the raised position, which releases the pressure on the tension discs enabling your thread to slide in. Why not be proactive and remove and rethread your bobbin as well, ensuring that your bobbin thread receives tension from the flat spring on your bobbin case. Unless I have misunderstood your issue, your problems should now be solved......good luck my friend.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Feb 03, 2015

Some machines will not do any of their automatic forwards and backwards movement type stitches in reverse, are you trying to reverse in straight stitch or a more complex stitch.

The Activa is a late model quality machine, do you have a Bernina dealer locally you could ring up and ask or take it to?

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jan 20, 2015

Hold the top and bobbin threads with your fingers, straight out in back of the needle, and that should solve the birds nest problem, a common one across all brands.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Aug 12, 2014

It sounds like the needle clamp may be broken, or maybe have something stuck in it. Try viewing with a small mirror underneath to see if you can observe anything. Might need a new clamp.

If fabric does not feed through, check the feed dogs to see if they are working. On some machines, they can be lowered for embroidery, which disables them. If so, should be a switch to raise them again.

Bernina Activa... | Answered on Jul 19, 2014

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