If you are getting long stitches, and the needle is hesitating or slowing down while the machine is stitching, causing your stitch length to increase, you are likely encountering a Stitch regulation problem. On most Handi Quilter machines, the stitch regulation uses two devices called encoders to regulate the stitch length.
To start troubleshooting, we will first have to determine which encoder our problem is originating from.
- The machine or “Y” encoder is mounted on the rear left wheel of the machine. It regulates the front to back motion of the system.
- The carriage or “X” encoder is mounted on the rear of new carriages and regulates the left to right motion of the system.
While in regulated precision mode attempt to sew with the machine while isolating the up and down movement, and the left and right movement on the machine. This can be accomplished by sewing a square, or a plus sign on the quilt.
If there is a problem with either of these movements, they will manifest as long stitches or needle hesitation when sewing in that direction. From here you can determine which encoder on the machine will need to be inspected further.
Possible causes of stitch regulation causes are:
- O-ring has come off wheel
- Wheel not touching track
- Wheel not turning
- Wheel sliding not turning
- Y encoder bracket top tab bent down raising the wheel off track.
- Y encoder bracket bottom spring tab bent down allowing the spring to become loose, displaced or fall off. This occurs when someone lifts the machine by the encoder bracket or lies the machine on its side bending the bracket.
- Screw or screws loose under the O-ring on the encoder wheel. Wheel not turning encoder shaft with sensor therefore not creating any signal to be sent to the control board.
- Encoder bracket has been tightened so it cannot snap down quickly when raised and let go. It should be spring loaded, not tightened into one position.
- Stitch regulation cable not plugged into machine and encoder, bad, or shorted.
- Y encoder bad
- Control board or software issue
- Moving the machine too fast for it to regulate the number of stitches selected.
- Failed software upgrade