Saturday, February 20, 2010

Okay - I need to vent a little!

On February 6, I brought my beloved Bernina 640 in for service.  It's really painful to be without a sewing machine when you sew as much as I do - daily.  Of course, I can always get the Featherweight out (and I love her, too), but the Bernina is such a quality machine and has so much going for her .... well, it's a little like taking the Mercedes in for an oil change and driving the '65 Beetle home.  Nothing wrong with the reliable Beetle - it's a great little car - but it doesn't purr like a Mercedes, does it?

I wasn't having any trouble at all with the 640 until I finished an embroidery and noticed that the buttons on the front plate were "recessed" into the machine.  My first thought was, "What the hell have I done?"  But I'm really careful with this machine (it's destined to be the last sewing machine that I own).  I took her in for a checkup right away and was told that I needed a new face plate.  Part ordered - given the ok to keep sewing - waited 3 weeks for the part - then took her in for her repair.

Apparently, once the tech got to see her insides, he decided that I also needed an "S board."  I don't know a lot about what is inside these machines, but I guess an S board is pretty significant.  Interesting that I did not notice any problem at all other than the recessed buttons.  But a new S board was ordered and duly installed - without a phone call to me.

I received a call late Thursday afternoon that my machine was ready to be picked up.  Those of you who are avid sewers will understand .... I dropped everything, bid DH a fond goodbye, and headed out to the dealer to pick up the 640.  So what if dinner is late?  It's all about priorities, isn't it?

Our Oasis Quilt Guild had our first Sew-In on Friday.  I was anxious to participate and to get the 640 up and running again.  As soon as I turned her on, I noticed a problem - the welcome message no longer said, "Hi, Oma" - it had reverted back to the default message!  All stitches saved to my personal program had vanished.  The designs in my embroidery folder were gone.  It all made sense, of course.  If you replace the board, the memory is kaput.  I kept my anger in check with my guild friends, but I was not a happy camper.  Why had no one called from my dealer to tell me that my memory was about to be wiped out?

Now, if the memory/board had failed causing the trip to the tech, I could understand this.  But I took a machine in for what appeared to be a "mechanical" failure.  I was not having a bit of trouble with the computer/board component of the machine.  I really think they should have called me to tell me that (1) the board needed to be replaced and (2) I was going to lose everything saved to the machine - designs and personal stitches.  I would have willingly gone to the shop and written down the specifications of the stitches in order to recreate them on a new board.

Lesson learned.  When next the 640 needs service, I will ask (instruct?) the service technician to alert me to any and all needed repairs, modifications, parts, etc.  I have a personal relationship with this sewing machine - it is part of my daily life.  Now I need to figure out what is missing from this relationship .....

I've already changed the message so it once again says "Hi, Oma."  Makes me feel a bit better already.


  1. I don't blame you for being upset. I would be, too, especially if a board was replaced without my consent. I have a 640 also and absolutle love it. I didn't know that you could put a message into the machine. I thought that could only be done on the 730 and higher models. How do you do that?

  2. I'm sorry to hear you lost all of your settings on your 640. I also think they should have called you to let you know they were going to replace your S-print board. Sometimes they can save your setting before replacing the board and other times they can't get those settings if the S-print board is going out. Hopefully you remembered all of the settings and items in memory.

  3. PJ:

    Thanks for your comment! I've learned an important lesson or two. I'm now writing down all the specifications in a notebook so that I can "recreate the wheel" if I lose my personal stitches again for any reason. This is one of the features that I most like about the Bernina 640. Such a timesaver to be able to have your favorite stitches just a click away!

  4. Roselie:

    It's easy to change the opening message on the 640 that appears on the screen as the machine is first turned on. If you have the 640 manual, look at page 93 and 94. Here's what you do: Press the setup button (arrow in a square below the illuminated screen). Press the first button in the next screen in the upper lefthand corner - looks like a little flag to me. A new screen appears with a box in the middle labelled "Welcome Text." Press the gray box and a screen with a keyboard appears. You can type your personalized welcome message then hit OK, then OK again, then ESC - voila! Your Bernina then welcomes you each time with your own message. Just a fun trick. E-mail me if you need more help.