Electric Ball Winder Repair Tutorial

Warning - this is a photo heavy tutorial on how to fix your broken electric ball winder.

Have one of these? Does it perform poorly or not at all? Chances are very good that the fix is simple. The original drive bands tend to crack, stretch, fall off or just not have enough power.
OK, we will take it apart and fix this sucker. It is fast and easy. You will need some stretchy drive band [I got mine from Babe's Fiber Garden], a phillips head and flat head screwdriver, flame and scissors.

Lay your UNPLUGGED baby down on its side. [Note, I am wearing gloves only because I have a boo-boo. Also note that I keep my extra fuse taped to the top of my winder above the switch.]
Unscrew and remove the white cone.

Remove the clip with the tip of your flathead. Lift off the black geared unit from the shaft.

Remove the 4 corner screws but NOT the flat screw near the power cable.
Lift off the top gently. It will remain attached inside by 4 wires on clips. If these become detached during the fix, simply re-insert them onto the clips before you end.
Ah, here is the problem. The belt has slipped the track and is cracked at the join.

Cut a length of stretchy drive band just a tiny bit smaller than the current one. Heat both ends in a flame and press together until firmly attached. It pays to practice this move ahead of time with a small scrap of band. When you finally get a join that you like, trim it down with scissors or an exacto-type knife. I snip with scissors and gently reheat, then roll with gloved fingers. It doesn't have to be perfect, just not lumpy enough to jump the track.

I stretched it a little to get it back in the track.

OK, let's put this baby back together. Check your wire clips and put your cover back on. Screw in place. Now, on the bottom of the black plastic geared part, there is a tongue sticking out. As you slide it down onto the shaft, line the tongue up with the slot until it is fully seated.

Your teeth will engage the black center shaft. Make sure it is all the way down and then put in the clip with the tip of the screwdriver. Go ahead, give it a good shove.

Say, while you are down there, make sure you tighten this nut a bit to save you some trouble later. Put on the white cone hat and you are ready to go.

Now my electric ball winder ZOOMS. It was easy.

I thought it was the gears from the grinding I heard, but no, it was just the belt. The drive bands from Babe's Fiber Garden (of the PVC spinning wheel fame) were exactly the right size for this -- perfect fit. It took a week to get the drive band, and 5 minutes to fix. Man, I have been winding like mad since. Alpaca cloud, 440 yds, in less than 1.5 minutes with no touching. Oh, and while I was monkeying around, I did open the metal loop guide closest to the white cone. That way I can easy thread it instead of trying to get a thread in the hole - I just loop it.
I have to tell you, I hated this winder when I got it. It cost a fortune and had no power. I have bad hands and needed help winding. I wanted a working tool. Now I have something I am quite happy with and it really saves wear and tear on my hands, so I have more knitting, less winding. It does help to have organized skeins. I had to rewind one that had become slightly fulled during the dye process. So if you were wondering if you wanted to add this to your wish list, I recommend it highly. In fact, keep your eyes open on the auctions. I always see non-working models go for a song. I just bet that it is only the drive band holding these back. Now you, too, can fix it.


knitmd said...

When you first learned to knit, did it ever cross your mind that this journey would take you into electric engineering or small engine repair?

I hope you have a very happy New Year!

owl knits said...

This was invaluable. I love learning to fix stuff. Thanks!

tisjewel said...

Hi, which babe drive band is it? The spinning wheel drive band or the electric spinner? Thanks so much for the tutorial!

John said...

learn more about electrical troubleshooting at http://electricalrepair.blogspot.com

fibergal said...

tisjewel - I just asked them for the stretchy drive band but I think it is the spinning wheel one. It is slightly thicker than the electric winder that I have.