A Babylock Ellegante is a former top of the line sewing-embroidery machine. I think it debuted around 2008, and apparently, it was… well, it was First of Its Name, and some people thought it was lemony.
I bought mine used in 2015, and I admit there are times it has behaved oddly. Most of these have actually been user error, when I finally figured out what was happening. But it’s no worse behaved than most machines I’ve owned.
There is this one thing, though… and I used to think it was random, but it’s not. Normally, when you turn it on, it goes through five self-test processes —
- Light comes on
- Start up beep for the main control board
- Second start up beep for the touch screen
- Moves needle right
- Moves needle left
- Cuts the thread
BUT SOMETIMES it just beeps forever, every 2 seconds, and the touch screen never lights up, the needle never moves.
This isn’t uncommon, and the more frustrating thing is when it happens, if you unplug the machine and take it for a ride to the friendly sewing machine shop, it will usually boot up when you plug it in there.
To the point that the recommended therapy for this problem is take it for a ride. Which is silly — it’s a sewing machine; it doesn’t need a change of scene or to stick its head out the window and smell the other sewing machines.
Mine started doing this boot loop nonsense thanks to epic mask making, and my local machine shops are running 6-8 weeks behind, so I decided I’d poke about until I broke something or I fixed it.
TL;DR: the reason the machine goes into the boot loop is because there’s a sensor on the thread cutting mechanism that gets fouled up by lint! If that sensor is blocked, the machine freaks out. Taking it for a ride usually jiggles the lint just enough for the sensor to work. But your better option is to VACUUM OUT THE LINT.
The first thing you do is remove the foot and raise the presser bar. Then make the machine freak out by removing the bobbin cover, the bobbin, and the metal and plastic plates. The machine has a magnet under the metal plate, and it will give you the unhappy message when you remove the plate.
You will need the disc shaped screwdriver to pull those screws.
When you’ve pulled those plates, and the bobbin case, you’re likely to see a thick layer of lint overlaying everything down there! There’s a good chance it will look like the cotton wadding in pill bottle. That needs to come out. Ideally, you have a small parts vacuum attachment, or you have some netting you can hold over your vacuum hose so you don’t inadvertently suck out anything you will want later.
If you don’t have an attachment, then use a toothpick or something similar to delicately lift that layer of dust and slide it out the way and into the trash. Then you can put a sock or a nylon over the end of your vacuum hose and just vacuum up the loose dust.
But wait — I have this canned air —
No. Don’t. That’s going to push the dust to places you can’t reach easily. I am not a fan of canned air for… anything. It will also introduce moisture via condensation, if you live someplace with humidity. My best suggestion is to get the small parts attachment or a tiny handheld electronics vacuum.
With most thread cutter machines, I’d say replace the blade while you’ve got it open (it’s just a section of utility knife) but on the BLG, there’s no obvious blade. If the shop ever gets quiet-ish again, I’ll ask, but I poked pretty hard (which is me-speak for I took it apart) and if there’s a knife down there, I didn’t find it.
But, you know, removing all the lint made the thread cutter work so much better… because there was something in the way… duh.
Nothing down there needs lube (and you only want to lube if you have white silicone anyway — NEVER use petroleum on plastics) and removing the dust fixes the boot cycle.
It’s just a machine. If you’re really worried you can’t fix it, take pictures at every stage and use an ice cube tray for any parts you take off or out. But it really is obvious how stuff goes together once you have the plates off. And putting it back together is more intuitive than you’d expect.
Don’t be afraid to use the screwdrivers. They’re included for a reason. You can totally handle this.
(I will add pictures to this post the next time I have to clean my machine.)