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.



7 responses

24 10 2017

Thank you your advice was spot on!

21 05 2019

Will this fix apply also to the Avante 18? I’ll try it and see.

14 12 2019
Renee Lawrence

You can imagine how relieved I was to try your suggestions and have them work!!! Many thanks

28 05 2020
Anne O'Dell

Thanks for your help. It seemed pretty obvious once I realized that the needle tip that broke off must be lodged in the bobbin hook assembly. I just needed someone to tell me what to do. THANK YOU!!

8 03 2021
Mary Ellen Bazemore

Thanks for the great advise. My needle tip had burs on it so once I change the needle all is good. I am back up and quilting. Thank you!!

26 02 2022
Missy F

Thank you! Your advice is exactly what I needed to fix the issue I was having. Cleaned the thread nest out of my bobbin case and went back to business.

31 12 2022
Josephina J Fox

Thank you I was getting very stressed broken tip but I followed your instructions and fixed it

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