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SafeAirOne 04-24-2012 05:02 PM

Sewing Machine Servo Motor Recommendation?
Looks like I'm going to switch from a clutch motor to a servo motor on my Adler 167--I just can't finesse it the way I'd like to when sewing.

I'm weighing two 3/4hp servo motors to use a replacement: One is a Consew CSM-550, the other is a Nick-O Sew NKS-5500.

The Consew (presumably) is backed by the Consew reputation, whereas I'm not too familiar with the Nick-O Sew name...Both are about the same price and have the same features except the Nick-O Sew has the speed control knob on the power switch box (which I like) whereas the Consew has it on the motor.

Any recommendations/testimonials for or against one or the other?


DanTwoLakes 04-24-2012 05:28 PM

Consew doesn't make the servo motors, they just have their name put on it. From what I've seen and heard, they aren't very good.

I just looked at the site for the Nick O Sew, and I'm confused why they are talking about a "spare brake shoe" that goes with the motor. A true servo motor is a constant torque device with infinite speed control throughout its speed range, and doesn't need a "brake shoe" like a clutch motor.

I have been using Reliable Sew Quiet motors for about 6 years. I have two Sew-Quiet 3000s, and a Sew Quiet 4000. I have not had the tiniest problem with any of them, and one of them is running a very heavy duty machine. They now make the Sew-Quiet 5000 which is even better than the first two models. The 5000 has digital speed settings, not analog like the two you mentioned, and it is brushless.

I sew every day for a living, and need something that works. The Reliable servo motors are the only thing I will use. They are more expensive, but they are the best value as far as I'm concerned. Here's a link to the 5000: CLICK HERE

SafeAirOne 04-24-2012 09:12 PM

Thanks Dan. I was hoping to spend less on a servo motor, but the cheaper ones I was considering may be a waste of money. For the sake of anyone else in the market for a servo motor, here's a review I found on eBay Guides regarding servo motors that seems to echo Dan's sentiment:

"There are three types of basic DC servo sewing machine motors on ebay: The Artisan brand, several that all look like a Yamata or "Family" brand, and the Reliable 3000 Sewquiet. I have and use all three. They are not computerized needle positioners. These motors substitute for a standard clutch motor with no table modifications. The Artisan motor, IF you get a good sample, makes an industrial sewing machine as easy to control as a household machine. The behavior of the Reliable is very similar and includes a 6 position speed knob that sets the top speed: extremely useful because you can make one machine fast or slow by turning the knob. The one by "Family" acts just like a clutch motor and is no better over all. It has a "speed" adjustment that helps with control, but it is difficult to adjust, and when you get it so the machine is easy to control, it has no "punching power." The Reliable I would say is the best bet of the lot: easy to adjust, lots of torque. A downer with the Reliable is that while it comes with two pulleys, both are too big for hauling a heavy machine through heavy material and they are not the standard clutch motor type of pulley. For slow heavy work, you need a much smaller pulley (I'm using the 50mm that came off my dead Artisan ESM400 and happened to fit) and then it's great. Over all, a good clutch motor, like a Feitsew or a Linko is pretty nice to use but the Artisan and Reliable servo motors are like magic in comparison. The "Family" things have a mechanical brake with the standard annoyances. The Artisan and Reliable use electronic braking which is nice because once the machine is stopped the handwheel is easy to turn without doing the half step on the pedal. The "clutchless" "Family" motor might be OK on a high speed straight stitcher or a serger. Forget it for leather or upholstery or even more than two layers of denim. For heavier sewing get the Artisan or get the Reliable if you can get a small pulley. With only a little practice with the Artisan and Reliable, you can do things like tap the pedal to poke the needle through for a turn instead of using the hand wheel keeping both hands on your work! All types buzz and "grunt" at times as you work, but are otherwise silent. You have to check the pilot light or see which switch button is out to know whether these things are "running." None turns unless you push the pedal. One of my three Artisans went bad after just a few hours use in a few months. Neither the seller nor Artisan would answer my emails. Like I said, with the Artisan, hope you get a good sample. A big online dealer has told me he has had NO returns with the Reliable. Until/unless Reliable turns out not to be reliable, my money is on the Reliable Sewquiet 3000. And if you are good enough to either go full blast or full stop, might as well stick with a clutch."

DanTwoLakes 04-24-2012 10:36 PM

That's a really old review, and whoever wrote it is totally wrong about the "punching power", as he puts it, of the Reliable motor. I have never found any situation that I didn't have enough power to sew through what I wanted to sew through. The size of the pulley has no bearing on the torque of the servo motor, it only affects the top speed of the servo motor. I don't think the reviewer was a very accomplished sewer. Also, there is no braking and holding ability in a servo motor like there is with a clutch motor. That's because the clutch motor is mechanical, and the servo is electronic. In industry, servos are used to do extremely precise positioning using programmable controller units to run them. In sewing machine applications, the servo was dumbed down and simplified to make it more cost effective. I don't think anyone would have changed their clutch motors if they had to pay $1000 for the motor and controller to run it.

Once again, true servo motors are constant torque devices, which means that they have the same power at slow speed as they do at high speed. A standard clutch motor would have more power the slower it goes and less power the faster it goes.

The Reliable 3000 and 4000 motors are 1/2 HP, and the 5000 is 3/4 HP, so it would have 50% more torque than the 3000 and 4000 models.

In this case, you absolutely get what you pay for. I would have replaced my clutch motors just so I didn't have to listen to the clutch motors running all day long. The savings in electric usage alone is worth paying more for a servo. I am positive I paid for my servo motors in one year of electrical savings.

SafeAirOne 04-30-2012 11:09 PM

I made one last attempt to de-sensitize this treadle/clutch:

Amazingly, it didn't help:

I give up--It looks like I am officially (and painfully) going to have to pry open my wallet and invest in a SewQuiet 5000.


nine4gmc 05-01-2012 12:09 AM

i hate to lol but i am in your same shoes. i dont feel i necessarily need one but i do feel its time to step into the 21st century and a lil control would be nice. i was looking at the consew 1000 but after the constant positive reviews on the sewquiet i am forced to go to allbrands and fork it over i guess.

DanTwoLakes 05-01-2012 05:23 AM


Originally Posted by SafeAirOne
I made one last attempt to de-sensitize this treadle/clutch:

Amazingly, it didn't help:

I give up--It looks like I am officially (and painfully) going to have to pry open my wallet and invest in a SewQuiet 5000.


The only way to de-sensitize a clutch motor is to have really good control of the treadle. It takes a long time to get the hang of stitching slowly using a clutch motor, and in the end the only thing that works is a lot of practice. I've seen guys put a piece of foam under the treadle and they claim it works.

Qwerty27807 05-06-2012 09:26 PM

If you put a Nerf football under the pedal, it allows you to feather the clutch easier.

It is also essential to make sure the clutch is adjusted properly. You basically turn in the adjustment bolt on the front of the motor until it just starts to drag (listen to the sound), then back off a little.

I got mine to where I could feather it stitch-by-stitch versus the 0% to 100% engagement it had when I got it.

Eventually though, I bought a SewQuiet 5000 motor and haven't regretted it. I highly recommend this unit.

If the unit you are looking at looks like this:

... I would avoid it. This unit is sold by several different vendors, but in use it buzzes and hums, and has very weak penetration when turned down to slow speeds.

Buy the SewQuiet 5000 if the Nerf football doesn't solve your control problem, you only pay once when you buy quality.

SafeAirOne 05-10-2012 08:23 PM


My family got me a SewQuiet 5000 for my birthday ('d they know??) and I just installed it. Amazing! Thank goodness I only wasted a month or two messing around with that clutch motor before I wised up.

Thanks for the SQ5000 recommendations. That was GREAT advice, and now I join the choir of folks recommending this motor to anyone having difficulty getting along with the old clutch motor.

BTW--I noticed that when I have it dialed down to a speed of "2" (yes, 2. I know, I know...) sometimes the machine needs a little nudge of the wheel to get it initially started. Not always, but sometimes. Is this normal? I wouldn't expect that with a servo motor, though I'll bet that this is due to the the way the electronics handle the 'ramp-up' in RPM.

Er...just to save a bit of dignity, I should add that I don't plan on using it on 200 RPM for long, but I've got some small, precision work that I'm doing at the moment.

Qwerty27807 05-10-2012 08:44 PM

How much resistance does the machine have when turning by hand?

My SQ5000 motor will creep along at a stitch per minute without stalling. However, my Adler can coast through a full stitch (or even two) if the belt is removed and I "fling" the very heavy flywheel.

What is the ratio between your two pulleys? (Calculate it .)

If it still bothers you after you turn up the speed a bit, you could eventually buy a smaller pulley for the motor. This would sacrifice absolute top-end speed (which most people don't need) for more low-speed torque (which everyone likes).

DanTwoLakes 05-10-2012 10:00 PM

The motor should work fine even at very slow speeds. Is your belt a little too tight? There should be some flex in the belt.

Servo motors are constant torque devices, changing to a smaller pulley has no effect on low end torque.

SafeAirOne 05-11-2012 07:01 AM

Hmm...No. The belt isn't too tight. I removed the belt and the pulley guard this morning, put it on a speed of "2" and held the servo pulley with my hand and started the motor. Sometimes I could prevent it from moving throughout the entire treadle range with very little force, other times there's tons of torque and I couldn't hold it at all, even in the ramp-up range.

Could I have received the only bad unit ever made?

DanTwoLakes 05-11-2012 07:12 AM

That doesn't sound right. Call the company, I've talked to them before, and they're very helpful.

SafeAirOne 05-11-2012 01:07 PM

Uh-Oh...I called Reliable a few minutes ago. So far, they're very customer-service oriented. Anyhow, while going through some troubleshooting for my problem, we ended up killing the motor controller completely.

Now I'm just waiting for a call back from them. I'm confident that they'll make this right, so I'm not too worried.

John long 05-11-2012 07:15 PM

I ordered an SQ5000 from the factory in Toronto last Monday and It was delivered to Tn on Thursday (yesterday). Awesome service to have to come across the border. Since so many of us have taken advantage of Dan's experience and advise, it would be great if you updated us on what you find out. I am putting mine on an Adler 267 so your experiences will be of particularly interesting to me.

John L

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