Potted-Motor-vs-Belt-Singer -Sewing-Machine-Grease-Wicks

Potted Motor vs Belt: Singer Sewing Machine Grease Wicks

It is possible that most sewers don't care what kind of motor is inside their sewing machine. As long as it works they are fine. But there is a difference between sewing machine motors and that difference changes the way you maintain them.

In terms of care, the belted motor may be the easiest of the two to maintain. It takes a different oil compound than a potted motor. Unfortunately, the grease you need for a potted motor is not always readily available and Singer changed the formula so the one they sell is not the same as the original.

To learn more about the potted motor vs. the belted motor issue just continue to read our article. it has the information you need to know in order to get the right grease to maintain your vintage Singer sewing machine

What is a Singer Potted Motor?


This type of motor is a direct drive engine that uses a worm gear to power the sewing machine. It does not need a belt to do that. The potted motor takes a special grease formula because the process of lubricating the machine is different than that of a belt-driven motor.

Unfortunately, as we said earlier, Singer changed its original formula and it is not the right kind to use in their vintage potted motor sewing machines. You may have to get what is called Sew Retro grease which is close to the original formula you can get.

The lubricant you need has to have the right melting point in order to work well and keep your potted motor lubricated. There is a precise formula needed that includes no drop in viscosity, a low melting point, and the ability to be wicked to the right parts quickly.

Most modern lubricants do not have all three properties. That makes them the wrong oil to use when you need to maintain your potted motor sewing machine. When using older sewing machines just any lubricant will not due.

Those machines were very precise and their metal parts needed the exact oil to function as they were built to function.

Singer Potted Motor vs Belt

One of the positives about the potted motor is its worm gear. This part replaced the belt making the potted motor move smoother and without the slipping and other issues that come with using a belt.

Then the potted motor is more powerful; than the belt-driven models. That extra power should have you sewing through the thicker, heavier fabric as easily as a belted motor drives the needle through material like chiffon.

Although there will be some contrary opinions on that statement. Some sewers think that the belted motors have as much power as a potted motor so you will have to try both and make your own comparison to see if they are right or not.

Where the belted motor may be better is in how the bobbin is inserted. They say that the 201 option is very difficult to insert due to the design of the sewing machine and the type of bobbin you need to use.

Those Singer sewing machines that use a class 15 bobbin are much easier to use and insert the bobbin inside its proper place. Just be careful about the price. If you are paying more than $75 for a 201 potted motor sewing machine then you are paying too much.

Singer 201 Oiling Points


The oiling of a 201 may take longer than some of your sewing projects will. We counted at least 11 different spots where this model needed a little oil. The good news is that if you are not using your 201 every day and for long periods when you do use it, then occasional oiling is okay.

All you will need is a drop of oil at 9 of those points with a few drops at 2. We are not mentioning the exact location as the link here will bring you to the diagram that shows you the exact spots. Plus, provide you the specific directions you need to follow to maintain your machine correctly.

You will have to scroll down to the page titled ‘to oil the machine’ and the title is just below the page number (27). There are 4 pages on how to lubricate this sewing machine.

The word of caution that you can only use Singer motor lubricant is a bit outdated as the company has changed its formula and the new formula is not the right blend of ingredients for these older sewing machines.

Pictures and diagrams are included on all 4 pages so you can see what the company is talking about and where to put your oil.

Singer Sewing Machine Grease Wicks

These are vital parts of the potted sewing machines made by Singer. these wicks were usually made from cotton and they were the transportation device in between the grease and the machine parts.

The grease was melted as the sewing machine heated up and once reaching the right texture, the grease would travel up these wicks and go to the part needing lubrication. This process took a special formula to get the component at the right melting point to do all of this.

What made this machine difficult to lubricate was not the change ion formula but obtaining the right type of grease. Not just any oil will do when it comes to greasing a potted motor. At least for the vintage potted motors that came on many vintage sewing machines.

Today potted motors may have changed a bit due to many technological advances that may have been applied to modern potted motors. But the older machines remain the same and you do need the older grease formula to keep them working at premium levels.

Singer Potted Motor Grease


As we have previously mentioned, the original grease made by Singer to work with its potted motor sewing machines has been changed. it is no longer the right formula to work with vintage machines.

This problem affects the old Singer featherweight sewing machines as well. The original formula is grease and grease doesn't flow as regular oil does. it needs to be melted and then transported to the parts needing lubrication.

Oil does not need that help and automatically flows where it is supposed to go. The modern Singer potted motor grease does not have the same low melting point that the old formula has and that means it is not safe to use in your vintage sewing machines.

If the grease cannot melt unless the machine gets very hot, then you are risking losing your sewing machine as the hot temperatures will ruin metal parts very easily. Also, if the grease does not melt to the right liquid form, it will not travel up the wick to the parts needing the lubrication.

That means you have to search for a similar grease that contains the same formula as the original Singer grease that came with the 201 or the Featherweight machines.

How to Rewire a Singer Potted Motor

One of the biggest problems with sewing machines made with all metal parts is that while the metal parts are made to last, the wiring is not. The wires in your potted motor sewing machine can become brittle, the insulation can crumble and wires get exposed causing you a lot of problems.

If you are a handyman then requiring a sewing machine is not too difficult and you may already know how to do this task. But for those who can’t afford to hire a handyman or go to a legitimate sewing machine repairman the following instructions should help you out.

The first step is to take the motor apart to get to the wires that need replacing. Keep in mind that you will need screwdrivers, wire strippers, connectors, and even a small soldering iron.

Also, block out enough time to do this work as it is not a quick fix. Plus, you may need to clean up all the parts you remove to get the wiring done right. Once you locate The wires needing replacing you can cut the bad wire off, if possible as sometimes you may need to replace all the wiring, then braid the new wire to the good old wire. Once the braiding is done, you need to solder the connected wires together and then cover them in some heat shrink tubing.

Once you have replaced the bad wires you can reassemble the motor. But before you do that, check the grease wicks as they get worn out and incapable of doing their job. Finding new grease wicks should not be a problem.

The old grease wicks can get hard and brittle as well and need to be replaced from time to time so that the grease is not hindered from getting to the parts. If you need pictures to help you do all of this then click this link and this one to get the images to help you sort this issue out.

The website at this link may be more detailed and help you out a lot more if you are new to soldering and connecting wires, etc. rewiring anything is basically very straightforward on older machines, even those motors on non-sewing machine devices.

With a little practice, you should be able to master this task with ease. Soldering takes a steady hand and you will need some practice to get it right.

The Difference Between Oil and Grease


Some people think oil and grease are the same lubricants and the terms can be used interchangeably. That is a big mistake as the two lubricants, while made from the same source, are two different compounds.

The big difference between these two lubricants is that oil is a free-flowing liquid that does not become solid unless subjected to extremely cold temperatures for a very long time.

Grease, on the other hand, is a semi-solid lubricant that requires some heat to melt down to a liquid before it can flow to different parts. Also, grease stays where it is put, like on bearings, and doesn't usually leak out like oil will.

Another difference is that oil is easier to drain, remove and clean up. Grease is harder to remove unless you apply some heat and that is not always a viable option. Usually, it takes longer to clean grease from a part than it takes to remove oil.

Grease is also a lot messier to work with and clean up. Then oil has a lot more applications than grease does. It can be used for a variety of tasks from lubricating bike chains to car motors to cooking. There is a form of oil for just about every lubricating need.

To make grease different additives and thickeners are used to make a greaseless liquid. Once those thickeners are added, then the grease applications are reduced. The consistency of grease is also affected by those thickeners and the higher the grade, the thicker the grease.

Both oil and grease have the same purpose and that is to lubricate metal parts so those parts work better and do not get ruined by the high temperatures motors are known to produce.

Some Final Words

A potted motor may be better than a belt drive motor but the latter engine is easier to lubricate, easier to work with, and easier to repair. Sometimes the belt is the only thing that needs to be repaired while the potted motor repairs are more involved and time-consuming.

But if you want a great motor that has the power you need then a potted motor may be the ideal option. Both motors are fine machines that serve you well.

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