Bernina 830 Fire Hazard

Bernina Type 213 Foot ControlAs a Bernina dealer, we’ve known about a fire hazard with the old “Type 213” foot control for a long time. If you have this foot control, you may not even notice anything, unless you sew barefoot. What you will notice with this foot control, is that after running the machine for a while, the foot control may get exceedingly hot. Apparently, if not fixed, the foot control may catch on fire!

It’s easy to identify the Type 213 foot controls. Flip the foot control over and look for Type 213 in a circle. If you have one, and if you don’t see a T and/or an S in a circle, you need to bring your machine to your local dealer and have them install a thermal switch.

The thermal switch that fixes the Type 213 foot control will only let the foot control get to a certain temperature, and then it shuts off until it cools down. This can be somewhat annoying, so as an option, you can have a cooling plate installed, which helps cool the foot control so it doesn’t shut down as often. The thermal switch kit is shown below.

Thermal Switch

Note: This Type 213 foot control is not the same foot control you will find on a newer Bernina 830 sewing machine. The newer Bernina 830 sewing machines have different foot control units. The picture below shows the bottom of a Type 213 foot control.

Foot Control Bottom


Notice the letters T and S that are in the round white stickers on the bottom of the foot control.

These stickers are put on by a dealer who has installed the thermal switch. If you have these stickers, you will most likely not have any problems.

There are some Type 213 foot controls that were updated at the factory. They don’t have white stickers, but the letters T and/or S in a circle engraved into the bottom of the foot control.

If you are concerned, the best thing to do is to bring your foot control to you local dealer and let them take a look at it. The last thing anyone needs is a fire in their house, and because installation of the thermal switch is free, there’s no reason to put off having it done.

In case you are wondering what is replaced when the thermal switch is installed, the image below shows the old Type 213 foot control wiring:

Old Foot Control Wiring


Please note: in the above text I mentioned that installation of the thermal switch was free. This is true at Temecula Valley Sewing Center, but we have no way of knowing if this is true at all Bernina stores. If your dealer wants to charge you, and it is more than the cost of a round trip shipping to our store, then you might consider shipping us your foot control.

Contact the store at (951) 694-9576.

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Reader Comments (23)

Diana on 7/12/14 @ 8:52am

I just purchased a Bernina 830 record and it didn't come with a foot pedal I did notice in the accessory box that there is a package with a thermal kit in it but I don't see a letter S sticker but only a T. Where can I purchase a foot pedal for this machine. I have no idea if this machine even works until I get the foot pedal Can anyone help me here.

b.gottier on 8/4/14 @ 4:22pm

Unfortunately, because Bernina no longer offers the foot control, your only option is a generic, and that's if you can find one. Bernina's were about $300.00 if I remember correctly. I suggest you try your local Bernina dealer.

Barbara Neeley on 10/7/14 @ 4:52pm

I had the old 930 and I sewed in a closet. I closed the closet door and the door pressed on the foot just enough to keep it going, but not running, and smoke came from the closet door. When I opened the door, because of the air that went in, my whole closet was engulfed in flames. The flames traveled up the cords of the machines and I lost all my fabric storage and my beautiful Bernina. Insurance replaced it with a new 1130, which I still have and love. Would not trade.

Phyllis Hauge on 7/21/15 @ 12:42pm

Can I get the thermal switch for my 213 foot control? My friend is a retired Bernina mechanic and could do the repair.

b.gottier on 7/21/15 @ 2:35pm

I'm sure you can. You'll need to contact your local Bernina dealer. (we are no longer a Bernina dealer)

Janice Hardisty on 8/8/15 @ 3:26pm

I appreciate all the comments and advice you are giving people. Now for my question. I have an old Bernina 830 w/o the foot pedal. Is there any problem with buying a generic? Do they work as well as the Bernina brand? The originals are outrageously expensive! Thank you for your help!

b.gottier on 8/13/15 @ 11:35am

Hi Janice. Since I have no experience with the generic Bernina 830 foot controls, I can't offer any advice. Bernina did have 3 different foot controls for the 830 though, so if you do decide to buy a generic foot control, be sure that it works for your specific 830.

Cathy on 7/31/19 @ 6:15pm

I purchased a replacement for my old 830 mechanical. It's smaller, lightweight and I have trouble finding it with my foot because it moves around. No other problem using it. I like the heavy original so I'll probably bite the bullet and spend the money.

Brian on 10/28/15 @ 2:32pm

FYI, Bernina's part number for the thermal switch kit is 381053.04.2+

holly on 8/8/16 @ 3:51pm

My 38 year old Bernina 810 foot control just fried, literally. I was standing at my ironing board, trimming some threads, when the machine began RACING on its own and a burning smell filled the room. I raced over and turned off the power strip. If I hadn't been right there I'm sure this would have been a house fire! Back is stamped with a T inside a circle and when I opened it up there DOES appear to be a thermal switch installed (red wires, not white though).

b.gottier on 8/9/16 @ 2:02pm

Holly, I've never heard of such a thing, but I'm glad you were there! I had a customer come in a couple weeks ago with a Bernina 930, and it had started smoking too. I don't know if your machine can be fixed, but maybe it's time for a new machine? Better safe than sorry.

Myra on 9/2/16 @ 5:12pm

This exact same thing happened to my Bernina 830 yesterday. I was in the kitchen and heard a funny noise and went down the hall searching for the noise. It was my machine, locked up because the threads had become a mess, but it was still trying to sew. There was smoke coming from the machine and foot pedal. What if I hadn't been home? I will never leave a sewing machine plugged in again.

Sarah S on 6/20/17 @ 7:10pm

Recently my bernina 830 made a buzzing hissing noise and smoke came out the back of the machine, so i quickly unplugged it. As it had recently been serviced i thought it can't be too serious and now when i do some sewing i unplug as soon as i am finished. Sometimes smoke and a bad burning smell comes out the machine but it hasn't affected operation yet.... Any advice what is wrong with this machine and how to fix it? thank you :)

b.gottier on 6/22/17 @ 7:29pm

Sarah, I'm not quite sure what's wrong with your machine, but because electrical components can be fire/electrocution hazards, I recommend taking your machine to a qualified sewing machine technician and have them make sure it's safe.

Pam P. on 4/29/18 @ 9:42am

Hi Sarah. I recently saw this post of yours. My Bernina 830 did the exact same thing yesterday. I haven't taken it in yet. Did you ever find out what it was. I'm afraid to turn mine back on. Any advise would help. Thank you

Vivienne Baxter on 3/2/18 @ 7:10am

I bought my over locker in South Africa 1987 mo 203 I was using it this week and whilst I was measuring the curtain on the floor my machine started working by itself and a burning smell came from the foot control no smoke and no fuse blown but I am frightened to use it now, any idea how to fix it please thank you

b.gottier on 3/6/18 @ 9:39am

Vivienne, you must have the machine and foot control checked by a qualified sewing machine technician. We can't recommend that you do anything else.

Barbara on 3/6/19 @ 1:31pm

Can you please share a list of the Bernina machines that were equipped with the 213 foot pedal?

b.gottier on 3/9/19 @ 7:37pm

Well, to be honest, I don't know which machines besides the 830 had the 213 foot control. Your best option is to call Bernina of America.

Shoshana on 7/22/19 @ 9:56pm

I brought my controller in to my dealer to check and see if mine had been replaced as I don't have a sticker but some sort of sticker had been removed (it was rectangular) and they had no idea about this. They contacted their repair person who also had no idea about it and asked if I was having issues with overheating. He said the part is no longer made and the person at the shop said just sew barefoot and it it starts feeling hot, stop sewing.

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