Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen: Needle Sensor Failure

19 01 2015

Occasionally you might get this message on your machine. Stop stitching immediately and investigate the cause.

In my experience, it’s almost always caused by something caught in the bobbin area — a piece of thread (it can be TINY), or a broken needle tip.

If you broke a needle, have you found the needle tip? It might be jammed inside the bobbin area. Mine was and my machine wouldn’t work (see https://rhondabracey.com/2013/04/22/oh-no/). I had to take it back to the dealer for them to get the tip out and to reset the timing. A broken needle jammed into the bobbin case invariably throws out the timing, which means your stitches may not form correctly even if you can get the tip out and the ‘needle sensor failure’ message goes away.

However, the most common reason I’ve found for the ‘needle sensor failure’ message is that some thread is caught inside the bobbin area, which is stopping the bobbin mechanism from moving.  If it’s thread, try these:

  1. Turn off your machine and turn it back on again – do you still get ‘needle sensor failure’? If yes, go to the next step; if not, try stitching again but be aware that if you get badly formed stitches (or no stitches), your timing is likely out and you’ll have to take your machine to a technician.
  2. Remove the needle plate and dust out any lint. Look for and remove any thread caught in the bobbin area.
  3. Remove your bobbin and bobbin case. Again, look for and remove any thread caught in the bobbin area.
  4. Slowly turn the handwheel at the back of the machine while looking down into the bobbin area – you’re looking for any piece of thread that might be stuck in there. If the handwheel is jammed, apply some pressure but don’t force it – if you can’t turn it at all, take your machine to the technician.
  5. Assuming you can turn the handwheel, turn it back and forth (slowly) looking for anything caught in the bobbin area mechanism. If you see any thread, remove it with tweezers.
  6. Turn the machine off, then back on again, replace the bobbin/bobbin case, and try to stitch. If you still have ‘needle sensor failure’, take your machine to your technician.