electronic vs mechanical sewing machine pedals

So I had a flash of inspiration last week. I love vintage sewing machines, what I don't love is the way the foot pedals work. They're mechanical and usually use carbon or wire wrapped resistors that don't provide consistent power through the travel of the pedal. Excess power that doesn't go to the motor is turned into heat making the pedal hot when you sew slowly. The old ones are always out of adjustment and wear out depending on how much they were used.

I found a used electronic foot pedal at the thrift shop for a few bucks. All I did was cut my mechanical pedal off and splice the electronic one on. This is very easy stuff to do with a wire cutter and some electrical tape. The worse thing you'll likely get if you do it wrong is a sewing machine that runs at full speed without your pressing the pedal. Please take proper safety measures if you do this, unplug the machine first from the wall outlet. The electronic pedal uses a circuit that gives even power through the travel of the pedal and does not generate heat. My old vintage sewing machine is much more precise now with this cheap and easy upgrade.

Please note: You must use an electronic pedal that was designed to be used with a mechanical sewing machine, the gauge of the wire will be thick like the one you're cutting off your machine. A pedal for a computerized sewing machine won't work, it will have much smaller gauge wire. This is very easy, but any electrical work is obviously at your own risk.

Here's a YouTube video where I talk on this subject:

16 comments :: electronic vs mechanical sewing machine pedals

  1. Welcome back to the fabric terrorist. Lighting looks good.

    (I have no vintage sewing machines so I cannot comment on the content. :-))

  2. hi brian!!!!!!! so nice to see you here!!!! you are a sewing guru now, i have so many questions for you. come to vegas and we can have a yoga and sewing fest¡

  3. sorry! i don't want to be anonymous.

  4. Wow! Thanks for this. I read your sewing tip on PatternReview, but it is really good and helpful to see the video. I found this video because I am researching Necchi BU Supernovas to figure out whether I want one or not. I like the idea of an older all metal mechanical machine that can make decorative and utility stitches that incorporate a back stitch. I too have a tendency to buy older machines. I usually fix them up and give them away or donate them to refugee sewing groups here in Atlanta. Good show!

  5. You don't have to cut the wires. You can usually just take apart the foot pedal and unscrew them, and then screw them onto the new pedal. If you need to change the size of the little rings on the ends of the wires, you can get these at a hardware store. I've never had to solder them in place. I just strip the rubber off the wire at the then, stick the ring on, and then crimp it down with some pliers.

  6. You're right, but it's much easier and cheaper to cut the wires and tape them back up.

  7. Thanks, Brian. Really appreciate the information. I needed a way to control a motor on a home-rigged coil winding machine and I knew a sewing machine foot pedal would do the trick, but I didn't know about the differences. This was extremely helpful.

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  11. . I usually fix them up and give them away or donate them to refugee sewing groups here in Atlanta. Good show!best sewing machine

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  13. This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you.
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  14. This is two years later and I'm wondering how you fared with your choice? I have a Kenmore 36 from the 1990's and have just begun quilting this year. I need a machine that will accommodate that, but having trouble narrowing it down. I'm not too far from Charlotte so I must go test drive. Still I'd love to hear how it's going now and your recommendations. Thanks.best espresso machine for home

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  16. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything this way before. So nice to locate somebody by original applying for grants this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is one area that is needed over the internet, someone if we do originality. beneficial problem for bringing interesting things towards the internet! I love sewing machines

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