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How to Repair a Sewing Machine Capacitor

Why this post?  Because if your machine suddenly made a loud POP! noise and started smoking you may be thinking your machine is useless.  WAIT!!…  it’s possible you just have a blown capacitor and could easily fix it YOURSELF!

All I needed to repair my machine was a soldering gun, solder and wire snips (and new capacitors of course).  Avoid paying a repair shop for expensive labor!

After buying a Bernina machine and bringing it home I was surprised to have it “blow up” on me after 3 minutes of being plugged in.  Upon opening the back cover I was glad to see it wasn’t a fire that started inside, and I was especially glad to see that the motor hadn’t been harmed.   One of the capacitors had blown and the one just below it was cracked and bulging .

I’ve read that it’s common for the older Bernina machines (models 1000, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1008, 1010 and 1015) to have issues with capacitors – if this is the case with your machine I have hope for you!

I found a repair kit on eBay with the 2 capacitors (and a resistor which I didn’t use) – it came from the UK so I had to wait anxiously for almost 2 weeks.

The original capacitors are on the top row and the new ones just below.  I trimmed the connection leads to the same size as the originals before installing.

I used my soldering iron to carefully heat up the solder on the back of the board where the capacitors were attached – I held onto the capacitors from the other side to pull out as soon as the solder was fluid.

The first one is off.  You can see the other original one here that is cracked.

After less than 60 seconds I had both off…

…and another 60 seconds the new ones soldered on!  I used solder with flux… the same kind I use in my Singer re-wiring kits.

It’s a beautiful machine that looks hardly used – I’m so glad I was able to fix it!

I hope this post helps someone out there!

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8 Comments

  • Reply Hazel Owens

    That’s good to know that you had to use a soldering gun in order yo detach the capacitors. My sewing machine just stopped working and made a loud popping sound, so I’m thinking it may be the capacitor. However, I don’t have a soldering gun and I’m afraid I won’t detach it correctly, so I’ll have to find a sewing machine repair shop that I can take it to, to see if the capacitor or something else is the problem.

    March 15, 2019 at 4:13 pm
    • Reply danicarby

      It’s very easy to do, I assure you! The heat of the gun melts the old solder so you can pull the wires out – it can be a bit tricky to try and hold everything yourself. Can you ask friends/neighbors if they have a soldering gun and can help you? Did you take it to a repair shop?

      May 15, 2019 at 8:27 am
  • Reply Stephen

    Thank you! I really appreciate that you took the time to document the problem and the solution so thoroughly so that others could benefit! I brought home a new to me Bernina 930 and 10 minutes after I plugged it in while it was setting idle I herd a pop followed by sizzling and LOT of terrible smelling smoke. With a simple google search of the problem I found your post and I am now armed with the information I need to do the repair. Thanks again!

    May 1, 2019 at 9:07 am
    • Reply danicarby

      Oh this makes me so happy to hear! Some of my posts are random and I don’t know if they’ll ever be of help to someone – this makes me so happy! Did you get your part ordered? I’d love to hear if you’re able to fix it! 🙂

      May 15, 2019 at 8:22 am
  • Reply Grandma G.

    You are amazing! Isn’t it terrific how we can obtain such useful information from the internet? I’m a dedicated sewing/quilting addict myself but I also can do useful fix-it projects. My sweet hubs is great but not at all handy so I’ve saved him hundreds of dollars by replacing locksets, faucets and toilet flush valves which would have, as you say, been expensive labor. I also rewire light switches and replace water hoses & valves under sinks. I’ve even 2nd-sourced, purchased and replaced the circuit board in our garage door opener-all thanks to the internet. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s getting a little harder physically (I’m now 68) but the process for most of it is rather simple if you can follow directions.
    I haven’t tried to make the kind of sewing machine restoration/repairs that you’ve done, but who knows? I may do so now!
    You go girl!!

    May 5, 2019 at 9:30 pm
    • Reply danicarby

      Thank you for your kind comment! I want to be just like you when I’m 68 – that’s amazing!! Keep up the good work! 🙂

      May 15, 2019 at 8:20 am
  • Reply John M

    Dani

    I’m grateful you’ve posted this how to do. Yet I wonder why the Bernina Sewing machines are so poorly made in the first place that this is such a common fault that you’ve needed to document this in the first place. Had this been a Boeing 737Max aircraft in terms of failures 1000’s of people would be “Dead”. I’ve owned a Swiss watch since my first paycheck out of college 40+ years ago, and typically the Swiss make excellent products. It may be about time to start a class action lawsuit against this manufacturer for shoddy product.

    My wife has bought a new Bernina Activa 210 and its gone bad. We took it to the local repair shop and $100 later he got it working again. Now its dead yet again and that warranty has run out. So either I fix it or its another $100 bill for the repair. This is such a con. Sorry but it is a con..

    Yet Dani I’m grateful that you posted this to bring it to more sewing people’s consciousness

    July 18, 2019 at 10:34 am
    • Reply danicarby

      I haven’t owned a Bernina for very long but I’ve been happy with the time I have had them. It is a bummer that the capacitors seem to be the main problem with the older machines.

      July 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm

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