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Troubleshooting a Brother Sewing Machine

Consult your sewing machine owner's manual for troubleshooting tips
sewing machine image by pavel siamionov from Fotolia.com


Brother makes many different models of sewing machines. Most sewing machines are now computerized and will give you an error message, which will help you determine where the problem lies. Computerized codes will tell you the probable cause and the solution.

Sewing Machine Does Not Work

Check that the machine is plugged in and that the main power switch is turned on. The machine will also not work if the bobbin winder shaft is pushed to the right or if you are not using the foot controller properly.

Needles Break

Make sure the needle is fitted properly and that the needle clamp is not loose. Bent or blunt needles will also cause needle breakage. If everything else is OK, make sure you have the right size needle for the thickness of the fabric. Using the wrong presser foot for different types of stitches will also cause needle breakage. Check the owner’s manual or the computer screen readout to make sure you have the proper presser foot for the stitch you have programmed in. Other things that may cause needle breakage include scratches around the hole in the needle plate, pulling the fabric too tight, a scratched bobbin case and the wrong bobbin type for the machine.

Thread Breakage

Make sure the machine is threaded properly and that there are no knots or tangles in the thread. Check the needle to make sure you are using the proper needle for the thickness of the thread. If the thread tension is too tight, the upper thread will also break. A bent or blunt needle will cause thread breakage in addition to needle breakage.

Skipped Stitches

If you are noticing skipped stitches, make sure the upper thread is threaded properly and that the needle is not blunt or bent. Remove the needle plate and clean any dust out from under the plate or in the bobbin case.

Brother Computer Codes

E1: Make sure the presser foot is lowered before sewing.

E2: You chose a stitch other than a buttonhole stitch or a bar tack stitch and you tried to sew with the buttonhole lever in the lowered position. Raise the buttonhole lever.

E3: If you selected the buttonhole or tack bar stitch and start to sew with the buttonhole lever raised, you will get the E3 code. Lower the buttonhole lever.

E4: You hit the reverse button while the bobbin winder shaft was moved over to the right. Move the bobbin winder shaft to the left.

E5: On automatic sewing machines, the start/stop button was pressed while the foot controller was plugged in. Unplug the foot controller if you are using the automatic function.

E6: This code tells you that the motor locked up because the thread is tangled. Untangle the thread, make sure the machine is threaded properly and that the proper tension is set before continuing.

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