So this is what it has come to. Ms Bertha is going back to Bernina for rebuild. It took over a year of visits to the dealer before we finally gave up on it.  I’m writing this post in case someone is experiencing similar problems.

I bought my Bernina 830e used, with a ton of accessories.  The previous owner had hardly used it – and never tried embroidery!  I wasn’t concerned at all – I figured that, for the price, it would still be under manufacturer’s warranty and any issues could be resolved by the dealer.  but, “what is your time worth?”

For starters, I had a struggle with the learning curve on this machine.  Up until the 830e, I owned the 180e and the 270e.  I had always enjoyed rock-solid machines and never encountered anything that couldn’t be fixed … until I met Ms. Bertha.  I thought the constant warnings on the screen and thread breakage was my fault … I was probably “doing it wrong”.   Each project took 4 times as long to complete on this machine vs. my 180e due to constant rethreading.

I tried the embroidery shortly after test driving the sewing (which was quite a lovely experience, at first).  This is where everything started to fall apart (literally).  It was constantly breaking thread, giving thread warnings and about halfway through, needles were breaking frequently.  It was at this point that I noticed the needle bar was not center, and the needle was apparently hitting the foot.  WOW! I’ve never seen anything like that! I reset the machine, nothing worked.  I put a darning foot and the 9mm throat plate on and finished out the design.  During the process, I noticed that it was making loops on the top of the embroidery.

I searched forums and the internet.  I could not find any of these symptoms anywhere, so I assumed it was my fault somehow.  I bought expensive thread, all of the Bernina thread racks, thread conditioner, expensive needles … nothing worked. Somewhere in the middle of this last project, the bobbin fell out INSIDE THE MACHINE.  It took me half a day to fish it out.  The bobbin case had somehow come apart … thinking it was just loose and that was the cause of my problem, I reinstalled it.  During this episode, a huge bird’s nest of thread fell out.

Once my project was complete, I took the machine into the store.  I told the tech that the needle bar was off center and the machine was acting up.  He opened it up and gasped … “I’ve never seen anything like this.  The mechanicals are weird in here.  You need to leave it here.  I think it has recalls that were not done”.  This news excited me, I thought that my problems were solved!

But … the thread breakage and loops persisted when I got it back.  Every discussion I had with the dealer was about adjustments I could make (install the updates, different thread, different embroidery designs).  My momentum and desire to sew were evaporating.  I started using my 270e.

I was still using the 830 for embroidery on occasion.  One day, halfway through a project, a metal piece fell out of the bobbin area.  Off to the dealer I went … They said I needed a new hook and that it would need to be ordered.  It was about this time that they were having a sale on their floor models, so I bought a 750QE.  The embroidery module was interchangeable and I was THISCLOSE to selling the 830.

I got the machine back, and the thread breakage continued.  I finally opened up the machine myself to investigate.  I found a big dustbunny in the thread sensor and removed it.  Thread breakage problem solved!  A new problem started while I was sewing:  if I used the knee lift, a huge bird’s nest would appear under the project and the thread would break!  I tried embroidery and the loops were still there (UGH).  AND THEN IT STARTED MAKING A LOUD NOISE in the bobbin area.  It was groaning loudly and sounded like the needle was hitting something

I stitched out a sample and brought it back.  It was at this point the dealer also gave up on the machine.

And so Ms. Bertha goes to Bernina in Chicago for her overhaul.

Fingers crossed it comes back working.