Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Just before Christmas I wrote briefly about our generator and quilting machine both having breakdowns.
After all of our meetings and inventory-taking last week, we got around to trying to get these two very essential machines fixed.

We called in the generator repairman. His diagnosis: our engine is shot. Cost estimate to repair it: $200 more than it cost to buy the generator one and a half years ago. My response: I think we'll get a second opinion. We're still waiting to hear from the second repairman. If we discover that we can't fix this gen, then maybe we can get a new one for less than the repair would cost!

A generator shouldn't be worn out after a year and a half, but we have really overworked that gen. It basically runs 40 hours a week plus sometimes more on the weekends when we have urgent orders to finish. But I think the real problem is that we have been using one and sometimes two irons while operating the gen. What are we going to do? We sew, and ironing is a crucial part of sewing. The answer is: we have to go back to charcoal irons. Ugh. It takes a great deal of care to make sure the charcoal iron is not too hot and that ashes don't get on the cloth, but we have no other alternative at this point.

The quilt machine can only operate with the generator's power. Even when we have electricity, the voltage is not high enough to carry the machine. So, we loaded up the generator from our home and took it to the workshop so we could do some trouble-shooting. First we changed the fuses; to our dismay, this did not solve the electrical problem. By this point I had reached the end of my technical know-how. We read the manual some more and fixed a few loose connections, but nothing worked.

Here's my diagnosis: the generator and the quilt machine went on the fritz at basically the same time. I think the malfunctioning generator caused an electrical problem in the quilt machine.

I've just sent out an SOS for quilt machine electrical parts to Mom and Dad. And now I'm doubly glad that they are coming next week. This project just moved to the top of their to-do list!


Anonymous said...

As a quilter I sympathize! For pressing seams in blocks, I use a 'Little Wooden Iron'. It is slanted like an orange stick, about 1/2" square, and works well. Then I press the completed block with the regular iron. Any firm slanted object should work, I even use my fingernail in a pinch. I realize this doesn't help the big picture, but might take some of the strain off. I wonder if they still make the kerosene powered irons like the ones we had when I was a child?

nels said...

The only technology I know anything about is writing, but I seem to remember that low voltage damages any device operating on that power; so maybe your problem is that, not overuse of the generator. -- My ignorance will have been useful if it stimulates somebody better informed to offer diagnosis and/or advice.

Sandi said...

The parts for the quilting machine arrived yesterday. What a relief to get them. So we will bring them whenever we can get there!