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GuidCA

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm trying to get a lovely Singer 66 from 1914 back in operation, and the wiring (which was probably only 60 years old!) was pretty harrowing.

The machine was set up in what appears to be a a Japanese-made carrying case using a plug block. (Note that I've switched out that cool case, with it's faux-alligator skin, to hold my Husqvarna 51E...another work in progress.)

Here's the machine - smooth as silk when I turn the hand wheel, with that lovely Singer 66/99 sound...
IMG_6255.jpg 

Here is the power block in question. Note that there are not any screws (that I can see) to unscrew the block and get to the wiring; that hole between "MOTOR" and "LIGHT" does not lead to a screw head.

IMG_6257.jpg  IMG_6259.jpg 
Is there a trick to get this disassembled? Are those rivets, or faux-rivets that I could pry apart?

I'd like to re-use this, as I think its kinda charming. I'll fess up that I'm so impatient to get this machine running that today I ordered a new power block and cord set from Sew-Classic...but if it's possible to get these apart I'll rewire this and keep the new one in reserve.

Thanks, all!
Brian


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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #2 
Yeah, my answer to your question is just buy a new one. They're cheap, nothing special, and not original for a Singer anyway.

Cari

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Jpwest

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Reply with quote  #3 
Speaking of re-wiring, what gauge wire do you use?
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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #4 
Yes, not quite a rivet, but rather a multiple lead helix of fast pitch on the shank, with a slotless head.  They are tapped in and not intended to be removed, but,  you can pry them out.
Brian, I keep one of these power block plus foot pedal speed controller at my work bench, for use with a Dremel tool.....gives variable speed and foot power control to the Dremel tool.
John
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpwest
Speaking of re-wiring, what gauge wire do you use?


That depends... on a motor or light wiring inside the machine 18-gauge stranded, or AWG-18, SPT-1. If it's wire on the outside like a power cord, you want the AWG-18 SPT-2 which is a way heavier insulated cover to take all the abuse from the outside world. (The inside the machine SPT-1 is a much thinner coating because it doesn't need it.)

If it's a power cord or the like, I'll often just buy an extension cord and cut off an end, but then again, I'm that guy that can't throw out an appliance without snipping the cord first...lol. Have a box of them. (Long walks on garbage night with wire snips...)


On the power block, or what I often call a Mercury box above... sometimes.... those are slot-less head bolts and they can unscew if you're careful and can get a grip on them. Once inside, well... it's a challenge soldering new wire to those tiny little clips, but it can be done. Make sure to use a heat sink or the cardboard may get too hot. I've redone three of them now and I am getting better at it. =)

plug001.jpg 
plug007.jpg 


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #6 
Wow!  That Singer 66 looks to be in pristine condition - just look at that amazing large harp space.  I like the idea of staying with the original power block you can manage to get it open- it adds to the persona of your really perfect looking machine.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer John

Brian, I keep one of these power block plus foot pedal speed controller at my work bench, for use with a Dremel tool.....gives variable speed and foot power control to the Dremel tool.
John


A clever and useful use!  Thanks for sharing this idea...
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hello group,

  I agree that power block is in really good shape as far as the outside of it goes.  New wiring of correct type and it will look great with a great looking machine.   Normally that stuff is really scuffed up. 

  My 2 cents on the part with the either screwed in headless or pressed in part.  If it is a pressed in part what I'd do is make some shallow notches on the shank and possibly also something to make it grip on the plastic inside then use a little epoxy....or maybe something less aggressive in hold strength so it can be removed again later.  I'd likely go the epoxy route myself and use thermal strippers on the wire (reliability issue) and then solder.  I need to get some replacement parts for my Wassco (same company as American Beauty) station that does either thermal stripper or resistance tweezer soldering.  Built like a tank but the nichrome element finally gave in and needs another (and is very corroded in place so likely will need a new hand piece).

Best regards,
Mike
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GuidCA

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Reply with quote  #9 
Well, I took apart the power block - the pressed-in drive screws pried apart pretty easily. Unfortunately the interior connections are just like the one in the picture that Jim included in his post - with the wire ends riveted (or grommeted?) in place. I assume I’d have to drill out those little grommets, which wouldn’t be simple what with the metal piece that they are attached to being very thin metal.

Anyway, as so often happens... I had ordered a new power block set from Sew-Classic, but before it arrived I ran across an old orphan set at a thrift store. So now I’m awash in power blocks and ready to get the 66 back I operation!

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GuidCA

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Reply with quote  #10 
Chaly-

Yes, the 66 harp space is enormous! I think it’s bigger that my 15-125, and perhaps bigger that the 201 I had briefly.

For about a minute I had a Bernette 75, the top of the line of that series of awful budget-priced machine from Bernina (made in China.) The machine was HUGE, but the plastic body housing used space so inefficiently that the actual harp space was something around 6”, probably 2” less that the (much more lovely) Singer 66.

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hello group,  Below is the link I've used before on harp space.  I give credit to Bruce who first mentioned to me in email about the large harp space of the White FR.   So in order is the White tailoring machine (semi industrial), then comes the White Family Rotary, then comes the Singer 27/127, then comes the Singer 66 and 201 (it lists them in same placing so they must be the same or very very close).  

  I emailed Miller about the harp space on later White machines and specifically asked him about the model 43 (which I would really love if it wasn't for the fact they removed the belt groove in attempt to make it look more modern).  The space from needle to pillar and height of pillar are the same but the pillar on the White 43 is curved a little while the FR is straight so there is a very slight edge with the FR and I think that also applies towards other machines with curves on the pillar.  

  The rotary machines are supposed to have a hook that is less tolerant of thin to thick threads than an oscillating hook.  I've found that to be true with our portable White 77MG which is not very tolerant of ticket 30 thread in the bobbin but ok with ticket 30 in the needle (size 19 or 20 works fine and some even use a 21 but I don't).  Ticket 50 thread is ok with the 77mg bobbin.   However, both of our White FR's are very happy with ticket 30 in bobbin and needle!  So for me the White FR is truly a real work horse and treadles oh so nice with the largest harp space of any full size machine.  I have another machine with lots of harp space but it likely is not a real count because it is so rare and that is our Domestic high arm.  Another consideration for some of the older machines that have vibrating shuttles are that some are designed in a way to give punching power beyond their weight.  The predecessor White VS was one of these designs and there were some in the U.K. as well but that is a different link.  White engineered machines were just better than Singer from my observations in many cases.  Yes, the class 15 is an amazing machine but they were out done by Japan's improved designs later on so yet another case of the the underdog with a better engineered machine but in the case of the Japan clones they put Singer out of biz eventually for the most part.

Best regards,
Mike
https://vintagesewingmachinesblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/size-matters-machine-size-arm-length-and-harp-space/

 Edited to comment:  With all the great engineering of the Whites I must add that the Davis vertical feeds are in a class of their own literally and with the recent discussions on all the great merits of those machines I'd completely agree.  We have a Davis NVF that is a real fine machine and yet again beat out Isaac Singer's company in engineering.  Much of the credit that Singer gets with their industrials is largely due to the buy out of Wheeler and Wilson and it's multi hectare/acre plant in Bridgeport CT.  Prior to the buy out Wheeler and Wilson hands down had a better engineered and built industrial (albeit more expensive but then again so were many Singers).  So to sum it up I'm really not much of a fan of Singer compared to other companies.  If it wasn't for Isaac's business partner his company would have surely not made it to number 1 as his lifestyle and more defined his vices that eventually led to his fatal heart attack that his business partner warned would come because the life he was living (in exile from the social elite in NY where he moved to Scotland).  They said he had dozens of illegitimate children (was it 30?) and that field offices would set up for his visits on trips with ladies for his appetite (according to the bio/history I read in writing regarding him).  So I'm happy that other companies would out engineer Singer as I just don't like them much even though I proudly own some I prefer other brands almost every time for those two reasons (engineering and what the company was founded upon).   Then there was the fact that many advances that folks believe were Singer's were in fact not his.  He gets credit for being the first to make a combination of many ideas previously thought by a group of people and was at the right time at the right spot throwing them all together.  Without Singer the USA would have done just fine in developing fine sewing machines.
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #12 
I too have a harp size listing, although it isn't as nice as the one Mike linked to:

http://doubleveil.net/zssmp/resources.htm#size

It just has the needle to base of pillar distance.

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidCA
Well, I took apart the power block - the pressed-in drive screws pried apart pretty easily. Unfortunately the interior connections are just like the one in the picture that Jim included in his post - with the wire ends riveted (or grommeted?) in place. I assume I’d have to drill out those little grommets, which wouldn’t be simple what with the metal piece that they are attached to being very thin metal.


I am probably a hazard to myself... but the desire to not be beat by that little box of wires drove me to it. The original wires are indeed press-riveted into the cardboard. when you finally dig all the wire bits out... it leaves just enough play to twist in new wire. I would replace one connection at a time and then slather it in flux and solder the bugger in place. I suppose that it didn't help matters at all that I had three of those blocks and none were safe. You probably went the safer route. =)

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hello group,

    Yes that is a great link as it has the harp listed in square inches!  Yes, it also has distances listed as well and the fact that these full size machines all have similar bed lengths of 14.5 inches!   What is obvious with machines that have curved pillars it is not a simple calculation with height x width to achieve the square inches and that is not the intention of the link but instead to discuss bobbin access, hook orientation, bed length, harp area. With a curved pillar it gets mighty difficult/complex to figure it exactly out but the obvious is the exactly that...obvious...so I'll cut and paste from the link:
  • Largest harp space in a full size machine – 48.4 sq. inch: White Rotary Family machine, bed length 14.25″ plus access to the bobbin.
  • Largest harp space in a full size machine including access to the bobbin – 45.4 sq. inch: Singer 27/127, bed length 14.5″.
  • Second largest harp space – 44 sq. inch: Singer 66 and 201, Jones Medium CS and Jones Spool, bed length 14.5″.
  • Largest harp space in a small machine – 32.5 sq. inch: Singer 28/128 and similar German machines, bed length 12″.

   What is interesting is this also pasted from the link:

New Home 500 series by Janome, side-facing vertical oscillator, zig-zag with external cams: needle to column 6.75″, arm height 4.5″, harp space 30.3 sq. inch.


Modern multi-stitch, forward-facing hooks, zig-zag with built-in cams: needle to column 6″, arm height 4.5″, harp space 27 sq. inch.

  And farther down is the  not so mighty featherweight with it's harp space of 20 inches.....makes me want to go do some upholstery work on one instead of grabbing a more suitable portable machine that is a real workhorse not just "cute".  Why I will likely never buy a featherweight as there is sooo much better out there and I'm not going to buy into the expensive collector fad they have.  Even if one of my triplets were learning to sew I can think of a myriad of non Singer machines that are far better.

  So a "vintage" New Home 500 series (I'm calling vintage because they go back far not just modern) is a full 18.1 inches less in square inches of harp space....what junk comparitively.....and "modern" (I guess modern means better right?) multi-stitch etc have just over 1/2 (27 square inches) the harp space of the mighty White Family Rotary (48.4 vs 27 square inches).  Go White !!!!  they certainly sewed quite a bit for families and I'm certain the amount they sewed per machine per family far exceeded any Singer as the families interested in buying White machines were likely more interested in the machine engineering per dollar compared to a Singer and really in fact needed them).

 
  On the inside of a power block there is a beautiful possibility and that is what I would call potting compound.  What always creates a fire hazard is very simple and it is called hot spots.  So as long as there is mechanical and electrical bonding that is sufficient it will be just fine.  If the solder gives the electrical but not enough for the mechanical then just pot the entire inside with RTV (room temperature vulcanizing....i.e. silicone rubber) or other suitable even 5 minute epoxy would work as potting compound for this.  One must be careful with RTV as if it is the type with vinegar smell to  it the result can be corrosion at the point of contact.  The US Navy learned that the hard way.  They were using the wrong type of RTV for weatherproofing connectors on the outside of decks on ships and found it was corroding as quick or quicker than when exposed to the salt air.  They quickly went back to other potting means (3M scotchkote and later a semi-junk epoxy that would not cure in cold temperatures...can we say inport Pusan Korea in the Winter?).  Epoxy works as a good one or also would recommend some types of gasket sealers and let them dry a really long time.  

Best regards,
Mike
edited to add.....I have to give credit where credit is due.  As far as I know the Singer oscillating shuttle was invented by them.  A great design that most definitely has it's place with great machines.  Modern high speed Juki industrials use a rotary hook but many use an oscillating hook.  Our 16-188 and older 16-88 both are great machines (especially the 16-88) using a class 15 bobbin with oscillating hook.  I have to wonder however if the real motive in designing the oscillating hook was in making a heavy duty design or to get around the patents and/or rights with the full rotary hook.  
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swyper501

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Reply with quote  #15 
Thanks for the information about these power blocks.  I am accumulating them as I buy new universal controllers because I have been baffled as to how to rewire the old ones. 

I hate the knee-pressed controllers with about 16 inches of wire between the block and the controller, so I can't just pry the foot pedal out of the table bracket and use it on the floor.

But I like the idea of re-purposing the block to control something else.  Could this control my drill or saber saw?  hmm.

Sharon
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Farmer John

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Reply with quote  #16 
I stay within the amperage range of a sewing machine motor, less than 1 amp.
John
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