My Happy HCS2 1201 Embroidery machine has provided me with many hours of steady sewing. Let me first start this blog post by saying I am still glad I purchased it. I knew when I made the choice to upgrade to a multi needle machine that was not a predominant model for my geographical area, I would have some challenges when it came to maintenance. This coupled with the current pandemic makes it even more difficult. So I had to dive in and try to figure out my problem. As you can see from the picture above, I have my machine ready to load a cap and the arrow points to the position that the arm should calibrate to once it is turned on. If you have never used a multi needle machine, the arm will usually move through a rotation and settle back in the center ready for you to load your cap.
My machine would calibrate and settle to the far right position instead. When the machine is turned off, you can freely rotate and move the hoop right to left and back to front which is how I was able to take the first picture. When the calibration landed in this position, it made it impossible to load the caps with the bills pointed up ready to sew. Also, I later discovered if the frame was too far right when I turned it on, the machine would try to calibrate and make a terrible grinding noise when it ran out of movement room.The weird thing is my machine sewed fine one day and the next time I put my cap frame on, it started doing this. So I was really worried I wouldn't be able to center any of my designs to sew. The trial and error period began.
I looked at the screen and noticed that even though the arm of the machine was situated to the far right position, the screen showed my design should be in the center. So that told me there was a miscommunication between the brain or computer and the arm.
I took the cap frame off and then noticed that when the machine did not see caps sewing, but a standard frame it would calibrate to the center as it should. That was the really hard one to figure out. Mechanically, the calibration cycle worked for standard but not cap frames. So I started looking at what controlled the machine knowing how to see caps.
My first thought was the small plunger underneath the arm. The small black unit in the picture above is what tells the machine you will be sewing caps. When you load the frame on the machine, it pushes that little plunger in. Sometimes I have noticed that when I take my cap frame off, the plunger will stick and I have to manually pull it out. I now make sure there is no trash in it and keep it lubricated. Even doing a thorough cleaning and oiling didn't solve the frame centering problem so I moved on to my machine manual, centering instructions. There wasn't a whole lot of information to go from. I also looked at other Happy machine manuals online and spoke to the techs at the service department where I purchased my machine. To say the least it was a head scratcher. I even re initialized the machine thinking I may have changed a setting inadvertently. Nothing worked.
Then I got brave and started taking covers off the arm. The first time I did that I noticed there were several sensor boards and wires with connectors. I did see one that looked like it might be loose, so I pushed all of the connectors in as tight as I could. I also unplugged and re-plugged the large black cable that goes from the machine to the arm unit. I loaded the cap frame on the machine and the calibration moved to the far right. This was very disappointing because what else could it be? I began to wonder if it was something in the control box so I looked up the electrical schematics and tried to figure out which sensor board and pulse motors controlled the arm. The worst part was I could see all of these parts in the list, but no real explanation of what each one did.
So naturally panic set in because I figured I would not be able to get this figured out. As long as I had a small design to sew, I could move it around in the hoop and get it stitched and over this period I still had cap orders coming in. This was very stressful so I created a work around while I still tried to figure out what was going on. When these machines are turned off, the arm becomes free and you can move it easily. This assists when you are doing maintenance or changing your frames. Once it is turned on, the arm becomes immobile. So I played with my arm position. I knew that when I turned it on, it always moved to the far right. So each time, I would move the arm starting position farther to the left, turn it on and see where the calibration landed. I did this until I got it to the center. I put a mark on the arm and matched it to a placement on a piece of painters tape. I did this for standard and wide cap settings. Each time I went to sew caps out, I just moved the arm to that location, turned it on and it always moved to center. So this took some of the pressure off and I could get my orders completed still. I have to be honest, this situation rocked on for a year until this week when I said I am either going to figure it out or load it up and make a trip to where I purchased it from which for me is about 6 hours away.
So have I got you confused enough and are you ready for the fix? I pulled out my screwdriver and once again pulled the cover off the arm of my machine. Remember I said earlier I noticed there was a connector that looked loose and I pushed it back in tight? Well, when I took the cover off this time, I saw that it was loose again. Weird right? See in the picture above I am pointing to the small screw that holds the center of the cover when it is installed. There is tape wrapped around all of the wires. When I looked closely, the tape had come unwound and all of those wires were tucked beneath the screw instead of on top of them where they are in the picture.
Here I am making sure they are all above that location and out of the way.
This connector is the one that looked like it was loose and after seeing the wires underneath that screw, I figured out that when the cover was being pushed back on the arm, it was putting downward pressure on those wires and pulling the connection loose. This of course I could not see because the cover was on top of it and I thought everything was secure because I had just pushed everything in nice and tight. It also explains why the machine sewed fine one day and the next it did not. I estimate that the wires were in this predicament when I purchased the machine and through the movement vibrations over time, the connection finally just gave way. Such a simple problem but because it was not consistent between the standard and cap frames, it was a hard one to diagnose.
Here is another shot so you can see the back of the arm with the sensor boards, connectors and wires. It feels so good to have this figured out. Now I can confidently sew moving forward and know each time I load my cap frame, it will center correctly and I can get on with the process. I filmed several snippets of the process and then the solution which you can watch below. My wish is this helps someone out there having a similar problem or maybe it will give you courage to pull out your manual and tools and try to fix your embroidery machine. Especially right now when our technicians are social distancing or working minimal hours. **Always make sure you unplug your machine before making any repair attempts.** I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with that you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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