|All photos in this entry by Azul from California|
Azul from California writes,
I was excited to discover your motor rewiring series, but I have a model 99, which does not have the potted motor and does involve a light switch. The motor is mounted on the side, as seen below.
What I have is a Singer 99-13 (according to the Sandman Singer identifying page) from 1937 which I picked up off the street. It’s in excellent cosmetic shape, but the wiring is in bad shape and down to bare metal in parts (mostly due to my boyfriend pulling away the corroded/melted bits).
I do know how to solder, and have access to the necessary tools and materials (although not yet, alas, the Chapman screwdrivers). My boyfriend knows how to repair electrical stuff in general, but does not have Singer-specific knowledge, although he’s enthusiastic and unworried about this (“it’s a light” and “it’s a motor,” he says). I did take the machine to a local repair place, where they seemed to think the wiring problem not too bad, they doubted that there was internal damage inside the motor, but of course would have to take it apart to know for certain.
My question is this: Do you think your tutorial, along with general principles of electrical repair, would be sufficient to work on this motor, although it’s not exactly the same type as the one in your tutorial? Or are there Singer specific issues that would make you recommend instead taking it to a professional, to for example avoid electrocution :o), or messing up the machine further? I’m not sure if you’re able to answer that, but thought I’d ask.
First off, congratulations on the free 99! That's an awesome find.
Secondly, good on your boyfriend for pulling off the rotted wiring insulation. I’ve seen sellers completely ignore that, as if hoping it will go away. As you can see, the wiring can easily come into contact with the body of the machine, which is all metal. That’s bad news if left untended.
To answer your question: While electricity is obviously dangerous if not handled properly, there is no Singer-specific issue I can think of that would prevent someone with knowledge of “general principles of electrical repair” from correctly re-wiring your motor.
Because we live in a country where people love to sue each other, I think I cannot just tell you to go ahead and do it. But the "sideboard-mounted" motor on your 99 (I put that in quotes because “sideboard-mounted” is not an official term, it’s just what I call it) is a simple and basic universal motor, the same you'd find on a 66, a 206, a 15-90, or a 201-3. The Featherweight 221 would also have a similar motor, with slightly less power. Bottom line: The principles of re-wiring yours would be the same as in the potted motor tutorial, and at the very least you would not have to deal with the worm removal shown in the potted motor tutorial (though you would still have to deal with brushes, grease wicks, the washer on the armature shaft, et cetera). Your motor simply turns the pulley sticking out of it, which in turn drives the belt, simplifying things a bit.
As long as you competently re-wire the machine in the exact same configuration in which it originally was, and using the proper materials, I would think you'd have no problem; but of course I do not have first-hand knowledge of you and your boyfriend's exact skill levels.
Also be aware that if worse comes to worst, you can buy simple replacement motors and install those on your machine, should you not feel like tackling the job. The reason I wrote the tutorial specifically for the potted motors is because those cannot be replaced with new motors due to their unusual design (i.e. the way that they fit onto the machine).
If you do decide to buy a new motor, I recommend Sew-Classic sewing machine supplies. While I've never bought a replacement motor from them (I always re-wire mine myself, to save money and because I find it satisfying), I've bought many other parts from Sew-Classic. Jenny, the woman who runs the company, is knowledgeable, responsive via e-mail in case you don't know exactly what you need, and has a (well-deserved) great reputation. She’s my go-to person when I need parts.
If you do decide to tackle it yourself, remember to take lots of photos as you disassemble the motor, so you have a reference for re-assembly. And a replacement motor is less than $25, which should take some of the pressure off.
Good luck with it,