BERNINA Machine Troubleshooting

As much as we love our BERNINAs, sometimes they act a fool and can frustrate us to no end. Before getting too frustrated, know that most "issues" can be fixed rather quickly and at home by you. Take a look below and let's work through the most common "issues".

If you can't find an answer to your question below, send us a message and we'll see what we can do before bringing your machine in for service.

General Machine Questions

My machine is making a buzzing sound!

Take a look at your bobbin winder. Is it spinning? I bet it is! Disengage the bobbin winder to stop the buzzing.

I tried to sew but the gears screen came up.

The gears screen indicates that your machine is locked up. First gently remove your project from under the needle (do not use your thread cutter).

  • Remove your needle
  • Cut your top thread and remove it
  • Remove your bobbincase AND your hook
  • Remove your stitch plate

With everything removed, look for any rouge threads and lint. Remove them and clean out the hook area. Slowly turn your handwheel one full revolution.

  • Oil your hook
  • Insert hook and bobbincase
  • Put stitch plate back in place
  • Replace needle if not new
  • Rethread machine making sure presser foot is up and that it gets caught in the takeup lever
  • Try again

I got a Main Drive Sync Error when I tried to sew.

Errors that pop up to say Main Drive Sync Error, indicates that your machine is locked up. First gently remove your project from under the needle (do not use your thread cutter).

  • Remove your needle
  • Cut your top thread and remove it
  • Remove your bobbincase AND your hook
  • Remove your stitch plate

With everything removed, look for any rouge threads and lint. Remove them and clean out the hook area. Slowly turn your handwheel one full revolution.

  • Oil your hook
  • Insert hook and bobbincase
  • Put stitch plate back in place
  • Replace needle if not new
  • Rethread machine making sure presser foot is up and that it gets caught in the takeup lever
  • Try again
My handwheel won't turn.

If your handwheel won't turn, this generally indicates that your hook is out of place slightly. First gently remove your project from under the needle (do not use your thread cutter).

  • Remove your needle
  • Cut your top thread and remove it
  • Remove your bobbincase AND your hook
  • Remove your stitch plate

With everything removed, look for any rouge threads and lint. Remove them and clean out the hook area. Slowly turn your handwheel one full revolution.

  • Oil your hook
  • Insert hook and bobbincase
  • Put stitch plate back in place
  • Replace needle if not new
  • Rethread machine making sure presser foot is up and that it gets caught in the takeup lever
  • Try again
There's a big mess of thread on the underside of my project.
  • Remove your bobbincase and bobbin
  • Unthread the top thread completely
  • Rethread your machine making sure the presser foot is up and that the thread gets caught in the takeup lever.
  • Put bobbin back in bobbincase making sure to do it correctly
  • Put bobbincase back in machine
  • Try sewing again.
My touchscreen isn't responding.

You will need to recalibrate your touchscreen.

  • Turn machine off and wait 5 seconds.
  • Hold in the Needle Right/Needle Left buttons (under the SL/SW knobs) while turning on the machine.
  • DO NOT LET GO OF THE BUTTONS until the machine turns on completely.
  • Once the machine is on, the Recalibration Screen is shown. Using your touch pen, tap the screen in the middle of the crosshair.
  • The crosshair will then move to a new spot, tap it there.
  • Repeat this process until the calibration screen disappears.

Your machine will now transition to the main startup screen and you can use your touchscreen.

My machine will only sew a straight line even if I choose a zig zag or decorative stitch.

Check to see which stitch plate your machine thinks it has on. If your machine won't let you stitch anything other than a straight stitch, it thinks that you have the straight stitch plate on. Tell the machine you are using the 9mm (or 5.5mm plate). Now it should let you use any of the stitches.

Why are there decorative stitch folders it won't let me open?

If you notice, there is a symbol with arrows on these folders. This means that they are sideways motion stitches which require the #40 Sideways Motion foot. Put the foot on, tell the machine you have this foot on, and then go back to your decorative stitches. You should now be able to select the folder.

A screw just fell out of my machine onto my sewing surface!

Don't panic! The screw fell off the back of your foot. Take your foot off and there should be a hole that the screw fits into. This screw is used to hold a sewing guide in place. Either tighten the screw back in place or set it aside until you need it.

My machine keeps saying I'm out of bobbin thread.

Easiest answer - make sure your bobbin door is closed.

If it is, take out your bobbin and inspect it. The little silver strips on your bobbin can become damaged. Once damaged, they will send false errors. Try a new bobbin.

If you've tried several bobbins and the bobbin door is closed, you will need to bring it in for service. Until then, you can turn off the sensor and keep sewing.

Go into your Settings and look for the button with the Eyeball. Touch it and turn off the sensor for the bobbin.

Machine keeps saying I'm out of top thread.
  • First, unthread your machine and look for any threads caught in the thread path.
  • Then rethread your machine making sure your presser foot is up and the thread is caught in the takeup lever.
  • Take out your bobbincase and hook. Check for any rogue threads in bobbin area.
  • Put bobbin back in bobbincase properly and reinstall in machine.
  • Try sewing again.

If you still get the error, there is a spring that may be out of place. You'll need to bring your machine in and let us take a look at it.

In the meantime, you can turn off the sensor by going into Settings, look for the Eyeball button, touch it and turn off the upper thread sensor.

My lights won't turn on.

This generally means your lights got turned off. Go to Settings, touch the icon with the machine, then touch the icon with the light bulb. Turn on your lights here.

My machine turned on with a yellow screen and icons I've never seen before.

This means that your reverse button is stuck behind the front cover somehow. Go to your reverse button and feel all the way around it. Look for a corner to be stuck behind the cover just a bit.

Pop it back out and restart your machine.

I keep breaking needles!!
  • First, unthread your machine completely both top thread and the bobbin.
  • Pop off the stitch plate and look for any rogue threads and broken needle bits.
  • Oil the machine.
  • Make sure you are using an appropriate needle. If the project is thick, go up a size!
  • Rethread the machine making sure your presser foot is up and the thread gets caught in the takeup lever.
  • Make sure the top thread isn't getting snagged somewhere (like on the spool cap).
  • Slow down the machine a bit but don't go too slow.

Issues with Embroidery

I'm trying to stitch but the machine keeps telling me to put on the #26 foot and straight stitch plate.

First, make sure you have both on. You can still embroider with the 9mm or 5.5mm stitch plate but will get better results with the straight stitch plate.

Tell the machine you have the #26 foot on. When you go to the foot selection screen, there is a #26 foot with a gold rectangle box and star that shows up first. DO NOT CHOOSE THIS ONE. Choose the smaller #26 foot shown to the right of this box. Why it makes a difference, I don't know but it does.

I'm trying to stitch buy my machine keeps telling me to take off my hoop.

If you're machine is telling you to take off your hoop, do what it says BUT before putting the hoop back on the machine, click the Green Arrow on the bottom right of the screen to let the machine know that you've done what it has asked.

Only when the machine tells you to put the hoop on, do you actually put the hoop on.

I'm trying to stitch but the start button stays red (won't turn green).

Make sure you have "written the design" to the machine. You do this by clicking on the needle with the 3 dots button in the bottom right of the touchscreen.

Once you've done that, lower your presser foot. The light should turn green.

There's a big mess of thread on the underside of my project.
  • Remove your bobbincase and bobbin
  • Unthread the top thread completely
  • Rethread your machine making sure the presser foot is up and that the thread gets caught in the takeup lever.
  • Put bobbin back in bobbincase making sure to do it correctly
  • Put bobbincase back in machine
  • Try sewing again.
I keep breaking needles!!
  • First, unthread your machine completely both top thread and the bobbin.
  • Pop off the stitch plate and look for any rogue threads and broken needle bits.
  • Oil the machine.
  • Make sure you are using an appropriate needle. If the project is thick, go up a size!
  • Rethread the machine making sure your presser foot is up and the thread gets caught in the takeup lever.
  • Make sure the top thread isn't getting snagged somewhere (like on the spool cap).
  • Slow down the machine a bit but don't go too slow.
Bobbin thread is showing through to the top of the project.

If it is showing a little, lower your top tension a bit (lower numbers mean lower top tension).

If it is showing a lot, completely unthread your machine both top thread and bobbin. Put bobbin back in bobbincase making sure to do it properly. Rethread top thread making sure it is in tension disk and takeup lever. Make sure top thread isn't getting snagged as it comes off (like on the spool cap).

Other Tips

  • Read Your Manual

    It's always a good idea to read through your manual making sure you haven't skipped a crucial step.

  • Download Workbooks

    Download the workbook for your machine, click on Classes above then select the desired workbook. Work through the steps to make sure you haven't missed something.

  • Watch Videos

    We are currently working on tutorial videos for your machine. Until then, be sure to check the BERNINA Youtube Channel for help.