Thread Number: 44869  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Bernina 6100C Motor +(?)
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Post# 465766   9/2/2023 at 10:28 (293 days old) by StanL (Florida)        

I have a Bernina 6100C that's started to smell bad when running.
One of the few repair places near me said it needs a new motor, but none are available until December.

He then added that when you replace the motor you need to replace the circuit board: something I can find no details about online.

I found some dealers selling the motor and have it avilable, but no one with a circuit board.

When I asked if he'd install them if I bought them and he suddenly had other service my vacuum required, including a new roller brush, which he had replaced less than a year ago (and he denies now).

I don't trust this guy, but I can't find anyone else to service the vacuum.

Is there such a thing as a circuit board and do you ALWAYS replace it, just because the motor smells?

How hard would it be to replace the motor myself if I know how to use a screwdriver and do minor electronics repair?

Post# 465775 , Reply# 1   9/2/2023 at 19:59 (293 days old) by repairman (Woodridge, IL)        

I've never worked on a Bernina vacuum before, but I've worked on many units that it was cloned from like the Simplicity 7000 series & Riccar Vibrance.

As far as I know, there isn't a board in those older machines. If it was one of the newer ones with the variable speed control above the bag chamber, that would be the only way of it having a circuit board.

Replacing a motor isn't too hard, you have 4 four screws that hold the front motor housing to the machine and then you can replace it from there. You have to remove the cleaner head which is not as easy as removing the cover. If you can send me a video of the unit running, I might be able to tell if it's the motor or not.

The vacuums are now made under the brand of Cirrus btw. You can still get parts.

Post# 465777 , Reply# 2   9/2/2023 at 22:03 (292 days old) by StanL (Florida)        

Mostly it smells bad. It sounds fine to me. Shooting the video, I'd swear it doesn't smell as bad as it did before.

I don't know if this video is helpful. The audio of the video do sound different from how it sounds in person, but I'm open to suggestions.

If I needed to replace the motor, and/or maintain the vacuum myself, does it really need lubricating (some how)?
Does it need "maintenance" every 6 mos.? My place is pretty small and I only use it once a week.


Post# 465783 , Reply# 3   9/3/2023 at 10:17 (292 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

eurekaprince's profile picture
Why not try to first replace all the air filters? Pre motor and post motor exhaust filters? In the video, it really does not sound bad at all. Maybe the motor was ďasleepĒ for many months before you bought it and it just needs some daily exercise.

That repair shop was really dishonest about what you really need done to this vac. Stay away from him. Some of them sense a naive owner and will always try to sell you a new belt and brushroll even when you donít need it.

Post# 465784 , Reply# 4   9/3/2023 at 10:31 (292 days old) by StanL (Florida)        

We've had the vacuum for years (we bought it new). The past several weeks someone else was helping us out and using it. When I got back to doing the chore it had that smell.

I changed the bag, thinking that was the issue and it didn't help.
I like your answer; I think a filter change might be more useful since I hear and see nothing else wrong with it.

The repair store kept telling me that the motor needs to be lubricated every 6 months along with filter replacements (something we never did before).

It had been 11 months since it was serviced last, so I figure it just needed cleaning up because of the smell.

Post# 465790 , Reply# 5   9/3/2023 at 14:08 (292 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
Your shop was definitely misleading. These do not have a circuit board, their top of the line models do however. If the motor runs fine but smells bad like it's burning, the armature needs to be cleaned. These motors can run for years without needing to be touched up, every 6 months is totally unnecessary and yours sounds like it's fine. I'd also clean the darker filters (there's three inside) and replace the white filter as well.

Post# 465791 , Reply# 6   9/3/2023 at 14:17 (292 days old) by kirbylux77 (London, Ontario, Canada)        

kirbylux77's profile picture
StanL, I agree with Eurekaprince - your dealer was trying to scam you.

I watched your video....the noise sounds normal. And there is no circuit board. If there was, there would be a slide speed control just above the bag door. Your motor does not need to be lubricated every 6 months, vacuum motors have sealed ball bearings in them on both ends that are designed to last the lifetime of the motor.

What your vacuum REALLY NEEDS is to be totally stripped down, wiped down with a rag & all purpose cleaner, reassembled and new filters installed. You said that someone was helping you with cleaning recently and using the vacuum. So you don't know how they were using it and what they picked up with it. Clean EVERYTHING on the vacuum....right down to the motor, there will be a foam batting surrounding the motor to reduce noise that will trap odours there. It's not that hard to disassemble and reassemble your vacuum.

In the future, if you want to avoid this dealer, the bags it needs are Panasonic U/Kenmore 5068 bags and belts are Panasonic Style U belts. All readily available online. If you can find a way to order the Bernina pre and post motor filters, then you can maintain the vacuum at home in the future and avoid ever having to visit this shop again. Good luck.

Post# 465794 , Reply# 7   9/3/2023 at 17:06 (292 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

eurekaprince's profile picture
Agree with all of the above. Donít forget to clean the ends of the brushroll- especially if the end caps can be taken off easily. If the person using the vacuum cleaned really dirty carpets, maybe filled with wet pet hair, the shmuts can get tangled on the ends of the brush roller and may cause weird smells. A thorough cleaning of the brush roll and brush roll chamber could definitely get rid of any odd smells.

Post# 465815 , Reply# 8   9/4/2023 at 06:29 (291 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

mark40511's profile picture
My Cirrus... which is almost identical to this...One time a few years ago I noticed a burning smell (very slight) but the sound was normal and the suction was there... I changed the bag because it had been a few months... changed the HEPA and it went away.. I also discovered that if the onboard tools (if not seated perfectly) can vibrate making you think it's coming from the motor...when it's just the tools vibrating (LOL) I literally went 2 years thinking my vacuum motor had an issue because of the weird sound but it was the tools. I never use the tools so they don't get moved. Anyway, in my case it was the crevice tool wasn't clicked all the way in.

Post# 465887 , Reply# 9   9/6/2023 at 14:21 (289 days old) by StanL (Florida)        

Didn't want to risk screwing this up disassembling and cleaning so I found another repair shop 20 minutes away. I just told them I needed it cleaned up and that it was running perfectly.

They just told me the burning smell is electrical and the motor is failing... which they say they can't find the part.

At least they didn't mention a circuit board. :-\

Now to find one online.

Post# 465894 , Reply# 10   9/6/2023 at 21:42 (288 days old) by kirbylux77 (London, Ontario, Canada)        

kirbylux77's profile picture
Sorry to hear that Stan. At least this repair shop was honest with you. I would definitely throw a new motor in if you can supply the shop with one, they are nice machines.

Post# 465901 , Reply# 11   9/7/2023 at 08:15 (288 days old) by StanL (Florida)        

The problem is, the motors really seem to have been on back order for 3 months and the best I've heard is maybe December they'll be back.

How are they still building commercial vacuums if this motor, used by several brands is unavailable?

I've tried a few online sites now and several would have let me place an order and then tell me it's back ordered. That's not nice.

Any suggestions?

Post# 466064 , Reply# 12   9/11/2023 at 11:40 (284 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
These aren't very common vacuums in the states and also these are being sourced from overseas so it'd make sense why parts would be on back order.

Post# 471786 , Reply# 13   6/10/2024 at 17:45 by StanL (Florida)        

So the motors are available again. They aren't too expensive, but the closest repair store that I don't like won't do the work, and one further away wants to charge me nearly triple the cost to get the part and install it.

I dismantled this today to see if I could and was successful. Turning it on it shot sparks out the bottom of the motor like sparklers. Whoa.

Anyway, I know these are Cirrus, but I'd like to find a list of parts/filters that I should also install when I get the motor. Maybe a belt too since it looks like it's getting old and brittle.

Post# 471806 , Reply# 14   6/11/2024 at 13:31 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
Before changing the motor out, clean the armature first with a seating stone to see if the sparking and burning smell issue would go away.

Post# 471808 , Reply# 15   6/11/2024 at 13:46 by StanL (Florida)        

Any links to guides on how to do that? Never heard of it.

Post# 471813 , Reply# 16   6/11/2024 at 15:36 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
This is what I use, still have it since 2017. Now if you get one of those, you'll need to downsize it so it'd fit through to reach the commutator. I used a band saw to split it in half.

Here's a video that'd give an idea of how to do it. You can clean it while the motor is running but I'd use caution. Usually that's what I'd do first before replacing the motor to see if that'd solve the sparking and burning smell problems.

Post# 471815 , Reply# 17   6/11/2024 at 15:45 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
Or you can jump into 3:43 of this video until 4:28 if you're still lost of how to do it with the motor running.

Post# 471886 , Reply# 18   6/15/2024 at 20:11 by StanL (Florida)        

Opened this up again today to see if I could access the commutator and if I had the 'nads to do this with flying sparks.

Yes and yes.
The surface is 100% black is so I tried using a bar eraser for giggles and it even reduced the sparks. Will pick up a stone and see what happens (needs to be 1/2-inch).

This seems like it will fix the issue.

I was originally told these commercial vacuums need regular 6 month maintenance service (although I've only ever done annually). Outside of replacing bags or filters, is there anything that needs to be done like oiling/lubricating something with something?

Post# 471887 , Reply# 19   6/15/2024 at 20:38 by StanL (Florida)        

Thinking of going with this stone since it is 5/8" x 1-1/8" x 4-3/4".
Probably could use it without needing to cut it down.

That said, in the first YT video you linked, a couple people recommended fine sandpaper as a better answer. Thoughts on that?


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