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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #1 
Forgive me if my question has been answered in the forum - I did a search and could not find the info I am looking for.

I've pulled the motor off my Singer101 to service the motor and also to clean up the old grease on the gears.  As I was inspecting the inside of the machine, I see the singer light's electrical cord is insulated in a white material.  Everything is intact and there are no wires exposed but the material is flaky.  See photo.  Were the light wires insulated in some type of lead material and is this oxidizing?  What to do?

Any advice appreciated.

Singer101lightcord.jpg 

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Yep. That's a lead tube. It's quite flexible. I actually pulled one out from the top once with the motor in place (I didn't know any better). I suppose, if you wanted to... you could probably do the same. As for the oxidation... I honestly do not know if it's harmful to anything besides the tube. Mine had some oxidation on the outside, but not as much as yours. I did clean it off and reinstall, but I also rewired the light at that time.

Perhaps someone else here can address the oxidation issue?

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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #3 
Featherweight machines also have lead tubing to keep the wiring away from the gears. The recommendation is to clean it with Kerosene and then wipe it with either sewing machine oil or motor lubricant (aka petroleum jelly). You really don't need lead dust flying around.

Janey

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Rodney

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Reply with quote  #4 
If you don't need to mess with it just leave it alone.  It's enclosed almost all the time and can't hurt anything where it is.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #5 
 I appreciate the feedback.

I thought it might be lead so I definitely will minimize doing anything that doesn't need to be done.  So far, so good.  I just need to clean up the flake material before it's put back together.

On reflection - it seems to me that many times the Singer lights are more pain than function.  Since I'm more of the purist type, I always do my best to keep everything original but I do get tempted when it comes to the lights to just remove them - except of course on the 201's and slants.

Thanks for the help.
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Miriam

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Reply with quote  #6 
I use that ikea light you can move and aim where you want it on my beater Singer. Some times if there is room I use two.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yes - there's certainly some convenient alternatives for lighting without depending on these sometimes problematic Singer lights.

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Kitcarlson

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Make a better cord with modern electrical components. Use #12 insulated solid copper wire salvaged from romex house wire as internal support. Use #18 stranded TEW appliance wire for conductors, cover with heat shrink. Use quality crimp ring terminals. Picture shows Singer 221 example. Leave unconnected solid long enough to be clamped at ends.

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jpeg 20170827_085411.jpg (143.32 KB, 10 views)


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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitcarlson
Make a better cord with modern electrical components. Use #12 insulated solid copper wire salvaged from romex house wire as internal support. Use #18 stranded TEW appliance wire for conductors, cover with heat shrink. Use quality crimp ring terminals. Picture shows Singer 221 example. Leave unconnected solid enough to be clamped at ends,


That's excellent advise. Their may be a problem with these early 101 machines in that the light wires travel through the lead tube from back-top to bottom inside the head. Two strands of single solid AWG 18 gauge just barely squeeze into the tube. The tube protects the wires from any rubbing contact inside the machine body of moving bits. There are no internal clips or groves for the wire path to be secured so there could be rub. I'd need to carefully examine the wire path, but it's certainly possible!

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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #10 
DH said lead tubing was also used to isolate wires from current/frequencies generated by nearby wires.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #11 
Kitcarlson,

Your photo shows a vast improvement in redoing the wiring and your explanation is helpful.  I am still thinking about what to do.  At one extreme, I don't want to mess with it, but then I don't like the flaky lead or really any lead insulation.  If I'm really restoring this machine to last another many years, your approach may be best.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #12 
Jim,

If anyone has done a light rewire on a Singer 101 they could let us know how feasible it is to protect the wires from the moving parts - I see this as the biggest challenge to this issue.
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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #13 
If the wiring is good, leave it be. In my case someone before me tore the lead tube.


I did do some tests on the end clamping to insure that #18s were not crimped by blunt setscrew or metal clamp on 221. The insulated solid #12 is in the middle.

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #14 
There's always more than one way to do something. Kitcarlson is certainly correct in proposing a very improved and modern up to date method. The only real issue that i see is making sure that the run of wires through the body are completely free of any interference with the mechanics. There may be modern solutions for this as well, certain adhesives, glues, polymers and etc that might provide anchor points inside the machine body that would guarantee years of secure wire, or even a different tubing material that could replicate the original pipe - even when the machine is tilted in various angles.

The original lead, as mentioned, can be cleaned and reused and once done can be re-installed. It is, for the most part, entirely contained within the confines of the machine body (except for an inch run on the bottom). The space isn't completely air-tight... but it certainly isn't wide open and always exposed. Oddly, it has served its purpose for ninety years without issue and could probably go another ninety. The exposure rate of airborne lead oxidation is probably crazy low, and, if you've been in there you know that certain parts of the upper cavity do have a tendency to acquire a slight coating of grease - also reducing oxidation I would think. We all know lead is not good to digest or to use for drinking water storage - neither of which is an issue here.

Modern materials could easily provide equal protection, may be easier to find and work with, but until you have the course laid out and a sure-fire way to secure it... I don't see where re-using the original would create an issue - but I have not personally inspected the original tube for wear. That's where I'm at. Either exterior coating (old or new) can fail if up against the rods and shafts. Which of the two will stay put and best reduce the chance of being compromised. That's where you'll find the answer.

Funny how I have to write it all out to find the root of the problem. The issue here is making sure the wires stay covered. Either material will protect to a point -if- the casing becomes in contact with the mechanics. Therefore, the best solution is the one that has the highest probability of never allowing the casing to become in contact with the mechanics. Yea...that's it.

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jrwhalley

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Reply with quote  #15 
Did the one on my wife's first 101 about 2 1/2 months ago and it was a Royal PIA. The original appears to be a tin/lead mixture as it is dead soft... much softer than straight lead and reminiscent of the pre-plastic toothpaste tubes in terms of ductility and malleability. I was able to replace it with 3/8" diameter steel brake line bent with a full complement of automotive tubing bending tools and with a "bubble" flare on the bottom with a single flare at the top to avoid chafing the wire from vibration. Took three tries to get the lengths between the top right angle bends correct so it could be installed and be self locating in the hole in the bottom and the boss for the right angle elbow for the light. The extremely small radius of the bends necessary for fit and clearance are a bear to replicate in steel tube, even in something like brake line which is drawn and annealed for similar fit and clearance issues. The chief reason I replaced it was the deteriorated insulation on the light wiring, and the fact that on ours the tube had so many dents and kinks in it where it was not corroded to the point of scaling and flaking to bits that it would have been impossible to feed a new wire through it even if the condition of the existing wiring and tube had allowed it. I used 3/8 steel tube after trying both copper and aluminum tube (both "hard" and "soft" varieties) and found they just could not be formed to a tight enough radius without kinking and collapsing the bends... 3/8" because it was the smallest that you could thread 18 ga. SPT-1 zip cord through and we were trying to keep it as original as possible. We have since acquired a second 101, differing in that #1 was a -11 machine in aluminum and the second is cast iron. I am interested to see if the different arm materials have affected the corrosion of this tube in the damp NE climate, as galvanic corrosion of this tube may be a significant factor.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #16 
I have to admit that my favorite part of that was "have since acquired a second 101" because for some unknown reason one just isn't enough! I had not thought of stainless brake line. That's a pretty neat idea, esp with the flair tools available, although I can imagine the hassle getting it sized perfect. Would love to see pics of the 101-11. Does it have the built in controller and a cast iron removable knee control? I am curious, and somewhat relieved to see this much interest in the machine. It's a real hidden treasure as far as I'm concerned. I'm working on my fifth and if I pick up the one currently listed nearby...  my averaged cost per machine will be ten dollars each. That makes it the best bargain/value going for an electric Singer in these parts.
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hello group,  although it is highly not recommended in USA because DOT automotive brake fluid (the red stuff not the clear silicone) is highly corrosive one can buy copper brake line also.  That should be much easier to work with if the copper color is desirable as well.  Best regards, Mike

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwhalley
Did the one on my wife's first 101 about 2 1/2 months ago and it was a Royal PIA. The original appears to be a tin/lead mixture as it is dead soft... much softer than straight lead and reminiscent of the pre-plastic toothpaste tubes in terms of ductility and malleability. I was able to replace it with 3/8" diameter steel brake line bent with a full complement of automotive tubing bending tools and with a "bubble" flare on the bottom with a single flare at the top to avoid chafing the wire from vibration. Took three tries to get the lengths between the top right angle bends correct so it could be installed and be self locating in the hole in the bottom and the boss for the right angle elbow for the light. The extremely small radius of the bends necessary for fit and clearance are a bear to replicate in steel tube, even in something like brake line which is drawn and annealed for similar fit and clearance issues. The chief reason I replaced it was the deteriorated insulation on the light wiring, and the fact that on ours the tube had so many dents and kinks in it where it was not corroded to the point of scaling and flaking to bits that it would have been impossible to feed a new wire through it even if the condition of the existing wiring and tube had allowed it. I used 3/8 steel tube after trying both copper and aluminum tube (both "hard" and "soft" varieties) and found they just could not be formed to a tight enough radius without kinking and collapsing the bends... 3/8" because it was the smallest that you could thread 18 ga. SPT-1 zip cord through and we were trying to keep it as original as possible. We have since acquired a second 101, differing in that #1 was a -11 machine in aluminum and the second is cast iron. I am interested to see if the different arm materials have affected the corrosion of this tube in the damp NE climate, as galvanic corrosion of this tube may be a significant factor.


So glad to hear from someone who as done this on a Singer 101.  The challenges for fitting are not something I want to deal with unless upon further inspection the insulating tube I'm dealing with is seriously compromised.  Very helpful information - thank you.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
I have to admit that my favorite part of that was "have since acquired a second 101" because for some unknown reason one just isn't enough! I had not thought of stainless brake line. That's a pretty neat idea, esp with the flair tools available, although I can imagine the hassle getting it sized perfect. Would love to see pics of the 101-11. Does it have the built in controller and a cast iron removable knee control? I am curious, and somewhat relieved to see this much interest in the machine. It's a real hidden treasure as far as I'm concerned. I'm working on my fifth and if I pick up the one currently listed nearby...  my averaged cost per machine will be ten dollars each. That makes it the best bargain/value going for an electric Singer in these parts.


So far, I'm really loving this machine  - it runs so smooth and it has such streamlined simple beauty for an electric - no cords or lights in the way of the design lines.  I also. really like the stitch length control dial - very easy to see and use.  Not having a reverse function is not an issue at all for me - as a couture type garment sewer I rarely reverse - and if need be there are simple work arounds.  I am hoping to get this machine up and running to be my daily garment sewer - maybe even to replace my 201?  The biggest test will be to see if all the attachments work as well - I do have the feed cover plate which will be great for try FMQ and embroidery.  You are fortunate to have a little collection of these wonders!
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jrwhalley

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
I have to admit that my favorite part of that was "have since acquired a second 101" because for some unknown reason one just isn't enough! I had not thought of stainless brake line. That's a pretty neat idea, esp with the flair tools available, although I can imagine the hassle getting it sized perfect. Would love to see pics of the 101-11. Does it have the built in controller and a cast iron removable knee control? I am curious, and somewhat relieved to see this much interest in the machine. It's a real hidden treasure as far as I'm concerned. I'm working on my fifth and if I pick up the one currently listed nearby...  my averaged cost per machine will be ten dollars each. That makes it the best bargain/value going for an electric Singer in these parts.


Will post pics of both, though they are identical except for weight. My wife says that the bare 101 in cast iron weighs more than the aluminum one in it's fairly beefy ash base with a foot controller and cords. We got that one after a prolonged ride into the outback of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom... roughly 15 miles off paved roads, with the last 6 or 7 down what the state euphemistically calls a "class 4" road, and what the rest of the world calls a logging trail or jungle track [wink] Thought we were going to have to do some winching to get in and out as we made the trip in the last days of Mud Season up here. That one came to us by way of a computer-literate 15 year old and his mom who inherited it from her mother's estate; otherwise it might have been fodder for the landfill as she was not comfortable (or familiar) with email, let alone putting together a web posting. We've always been fans of the 'potted motor' 15-91s and 201s, so it was serendipitous to spot the ad on the web, and be willing to drive across most of the state into the fringe outback to get one. It had been stored in the damp for some time, and the cabinet it had been installed in had been broken up for scrap before the estate had been settled, but the young man who was the intermediary in it's rescue snagged it. What we got with the aluminum one was a bare base with light and potted motor, and very tatty, rotten and degraded cotton wrapped and rubber insulated wiring that had been spliced into roughly 10 feet of brown zip cord with a plug. The most astonishing for me, anyway, is it's ability to make very straight, uniform stitches at 40 stitches/inch. We ran a test strip of cotton muslin through it after getting it back together, and the stitches literally disappear if the colors of the thread are a reasonable match... and it's pretty quick as well. Seems to be faster than our 201s by a fair margin.
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #21 
Yep its lead.  It was to shield the wire sheathing from the ozone that an electric motor makes.  Over time it will cause the sheathing to crack. So some sort of extra shielding is needed....  If your going to replace the tube and wire I vote for the copper idea!  It would look cool.  Check your local sewing machine repair shop.  They now make replacement bulbs that are LED and much brighter and not even close to as hot!!  Then your hands don't feel like the chicken at the deli under the hot lamp!!
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