Your Interactive Maintenance and Service Program in Your Sewing Machine

Being a BERNINA sewing machine owner, did you know that your machine has lots of Machine information, Maintenance and Service programs build in?

Here are some programs that help you keeping your machine on track.

Lint Generation

When you sew, your machine builds up lint. Lint inside the machine is generally generated by the fabric, batting, needle and thread used.

The BERNINA B9 and the BERNINA 8 Series hook has the highest bobbin capacity (plus 40% to 60%) in the home sewing machine industry. Due to the larger size of the bobbin case, the hook has to be larger as well. Therefore during the loop formation the upper thread has to travel a much farther distance as it has to travel all the way around the hook body/bobbin case. For more information about loop formation click here. Thus the wear on the upper thread is slightly higher.

With standard hook systems, the upper thread travels about 80 times through the needle eye/around the hook body, though the presser foot, needle plate, take up lever etc., until the thread is used up (default straight stitch setting using 2 layers of fabric). Compared to the B9 Hook where the thread travels 120 times through the mentioned passages until used up. Due to this extended thread movement you may noticed an increase in the amount of lint generation in the hook area with the BERNINA 4-, 5-, 7- and 8 Series BERNINA machines.

As with every sewing machine it is crucial to clean and maintain the machine accordingly.

For machines with the larger hook systems we have several maintenance programs available that can easily be accessed.

All of the current BERNINA sewing machines who are operated by a touch screen based interface are equipped with interactive onboard programs. These programs, in particular the service and maintenance programs, are fundamental to the proper functioning of your machine.

For example, machines that are used for embroidery undergo numerous of thread cuts during a large size embroidery sew out. Over time, lint and thread pieces could accumulate in the cutter unit and could potentially obstruct the precise cutting process. Also, if the cutter does not perform well, there is a chance that after a thread cut there is not enough upper thread available to form the first stitch. Thus generating a few skipping stitches after a thread cut. Being able to manipulate the cutter in the service program for easy cleaning is important. The programs available vary and are based on the machine model and their specific functions.

Here are a listing of the main service programs for various machine models. For the most part, they are following the same standards. Basically, cog wheels, machine . . . plus. 

Machine Information Program

Machine Information Program
Under this program (use cookie crumbs, cog wheel, machine and information) basic functions such as machine version, dealer information (if programmed) extraction of machine log, machine ID and upgrades (if applicable) can be accessed.


Machine Information Program

Under v1.0

Current firmware the FW version, bootloader version, RAM, flash and the stitch and cutting counts can be retrieved (depended on model feature)

The Telephone Symbol

If the dealer did program this section in your machine, the store information is visible.


In case of machine malfunctions (i.e. unknown system crashed, error messages etc.) the log file can be extracted and shared with the technician and the manufacturer. Connect an empty USB stick (FAT 32 formatted) to the machine and select LOG. It take a few seconds to load the file. The file name is log.txt which can be shared with your technician.

Note: the log file cannot track sewing and embroidery based issues, i.e. thread breakage etc.


Available for machines that are provided with the capability to be upgraded and not just updated, the machine ID is needed for the upgrade process.


Available for machines that are provided with the capability to be upgraded, the icon is used for initiating the upgrade process. 

Machine Maintenance Program Overview

Machine Maintenance Program Overview

Button Hole Calibration

 Button Hole Calibration
The machine is capable to read the coded and the automatic button hole feet. The BERNINA system is based on an infrared light beam that are being beamed into the foot. Depending how the light beam is deflected by the prism inside the foot, the machine is able to determine which group of foot is installed (i.e. D or C-feet). For the button hole the system works on the same principal. When the foot moves with the fabric, a single light is beamed into the optics of the foot. The prism inside the foot reflects that light beam into two beams. The rotating blade that is driven by the movement of the fabric chops up the light into digital impulses.

Based on the desired length of the button hole, precise impulses are generated and counted. After programming the length of the first button hole beat, the same length will be repeated for the second beat. After programming the button hole, each button hole will have the exact same length.

If the machine is not properly calibrated to read the 3A buttonhole foot we could see incomplete button holes. Coded 9 mm feet that are only recognized as a 5 mm foot or even a 9 mm foot (1C) is placed the stitch width cannot be adjusted past 5 mm.

Installing the 3A foot to the machine, select the 3A icon calibration program and following the prompts on the screen. The machine will be automatically programmed to read the 3A foot, including the coded feet.

Frequency: As needed

Firmware Updates

Firmware Updates 
BERNINA is constantly improving the performance of the machine by adding new features, designs and correcting small Firmware (FW) glitches. The latest FW for each machine is always posted on the BERNINA public website ready for downloading. Simply follow the instructions (FW release and update process notes) from the BERNINA website and down load the latest FW. Next to being able to install the latest FW, we also provide a file management system where files can be moved between the machine and a USB stick.

Frequency:  When available, file back up as judged necessary

8 Series also Includes the Needle Threader Cleaning (machine and brush icon)

Lower Thread Cutter Cleaning (scissor and brush icon)

Needle Threader Cleaning BERNINA 880

 Needle Threader Cleaning (880)

Needle Threader Cleaning BERNINA 880

Cleaning the needle threader

Following the prompts on the screen, the program places the needle threader in a position to show how to remove a piece of thread in the presenter. In addition, over time lint is accumulated in the threader head itself on the left and right hand side of the threader hook. If the lint gets packed, the lint will push the needle away and the hook cannot enter the needle eye to grab the needle thread. We recommend using the small soft lint brush and gently brush from top to bottom and remove the lint on each side of the threader hook.

Warning: The individual components of the needle threader are intricate. Please be very gentle when removing the lint and thread pieces.

Lower Thread Cutter Cleaning

During the machine operations, in particular during embroidery, numerous thread cuts are being executed. Over time thread pieces and lint can accumulate in the cutter system. When not cleaned frequently, the debris can potentially cause cutting issues, bird nesting at the beginning of the seam, cutter jams and unthreading of the needle at the beginning of stitching. Select the brush with the scissor and follow the prompts on the screen. Scroll the screen using your finger or use the stitch width dial.

Note: you need to select the blue hyperlink on the screen to manipulate the catcher.

Lower Thread Cutter Cleaning

Frequency: We recommend to clean the cutter at the same time when cleaning and lubricating the hook.

Note: do not lubricate the cutter mechanism, as the oil would attract lint. We’d recommend to lubricate the needle threader of the BERNINA 880 every 6 months.

Hook Lubricating

This program shows in a video how to remove the hook, lubricate the shuttle race and the two oiling points in the hook. Not cleaning and maintaining the hook contributes to noises, thread breakage, bird nesting, tension issues, false bobbin empty message, looping and excessive hook noise.

For the BERNINA 8 Series ONLY, the hook cannot be removed. The programs place the hook in the position where the hook is most accessible for cleaning and lubricating.

Frequency: Every 3 to four bobbin uses, or at the end of the day. 

Hook Lubrication for BERNINA 880

Hook Lubrication BERNINA 880

Hook Lubrication for BERNINA 4-, 5-, and 7 Series

Sewing Machine Lubrication for 4-, 5- and 7 Series machines

Parking Position of the Embroidery Module

Parking Position on the Embroidery Module

Select the icon while the module is still connected to the machine, then select the hyperlink, the machine places the embroidery arm it the correct position to place in the original factory Styrofoam mold.

Frequency: As needed when packed in the original machine box

Clock Settings (Model 880 only)

Clock settings

A well maintained machine will provide you with trouble-free machine operations and uninterrupted sewing pleasures. Next to the in-home maintenance, we recommend to take your machine for an annual checkup that is performed by an authorized BERNINA dealer.

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15 comments on “Your Interactive Maintenance and Service Program in Your Sewing Machine”

  • Thank you for providing maintenance information. The only thing I would have to add is that video’s for cleaning lower thread cutter would have been great. Otherwise, I appreciate being able to review information. Does the machine automatically record when home maintenance is done?

  • Good point, we will put it on the list for future content.
    When reaching 500,000 stitches a cleaning reminder appears. Cleaning can be carried out by the customer. The stitch counter can be found under Information in the Setup Program. When the message appears and after cleaning, select the check mark to reset the counter. From my experience I suggest to clean the cutter more frequently and would not wait for the message to appear.

  • Parking Position of the Embroidery Module
    Is this feature also on the 500 series in particular the B 590. Is it wise to do this no matter where you store you embroidery module? Thank you, I enjoy reading all of the information on the We All Sew newsletter.

    • That is correct, this feature is for convenience when packing the machine into the original Styrofoam. If no specific position is needed, i.e. packing the module into a suit case, or when placing it in a cabinet the function is not necessary.

    • That information is only available in the service program. For liability reasons I am not allowed to share how to access this program. This program was designed for the trained and certified technicians, wrong manipulations in this program can result is machine malfunctions.
      Your BERNINA dealer will be more than happy to read your machines vitals from the program.

  • Thanks for your We All Sew tutorials. I’ve learned a great deal from them and your You Tube videos.
    I have a Bernina 830LE and frequently cheat away lint and dust in all visible areas under the throat plate and bobbin area. In addition I do regular in store cleaning and maintenance. Since my machine is used for regular sewing, embroidery, and machine quilting with your Grace frame and Dream Motion software, should also clean my thread cutter area? Thanks for your help.

    • The thread cutter gets used a lot in particular during embroidery. At the beginning of each stitch after a thread cut, the needle lowers and the cutter performs a cut and pulls down the needle thread. Each cut will cut off an 1 inch piece of thread. When not cleaned frequently the accumulations of thread pieces could cause cutter issues. So yes, the cutter mechanism needs to be cleaned.

  • When you select the cutter can you hear the cutter carriage moving but the threads are not being cut?
    If that is the case then there maybe some residual threads still in the cutter system. If no threads are present we recommend taking the machine to a BERNINA dealer for further inspection.

  • Thank you so much for this information. I very much appreciate the tools that Bernina provides to its customers for maintenance of their machines. I recently was able to successfully update the FW on my B770 QEE. But :I have a question: My machine used to be able to recognize at least some of the presser feet when I would select from the onscreen menu. Now it won’t do that at all. When I touch the screen to select a foot, all that comes up is an information screen. I realize that this function is more robust on the B790, but mine did have some capacity early on with this function. Why before and not now?

    • The B 770 QEE did not have presser foot pre-selection, it was only informative. The free update of firmware to 39.07.12 will NOT activate the presser foot preselect. If you upgrade to the B 770 QE PLUS you can get this feature.

  • Good evening. I have enjoyed the online classes this past year. I thank you all very much. I had purchased a B880 plus 4 years ago. I am experiencing a number of concerns: slow speed with the lever all the way to the right. I have checked to make sure that the foot is level; and the screen keeps showing there is a problem with the thread and stops sewing. I have changed threads and re-thread over and over. I got the machine back in February 2021 from a September 2020 annual cleaning. Please help.

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