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I just purchased my first longarm - Ultimate I - which has set dormant for ? years.  Still has the last quilt on the frame, stitches look good on this quilt..  Frame is 12? feet, black metal. Label date on machine is 09/93.  Unfortunately I could not run it d/t no electricity in shop where it was stored.  Its been dormant since 2013 at least.  My question is do I have it serviced or oil it and see how it works.

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While I have never seen a Ultimate I in person, I would suggest oiling the oil wicks.  When you touch the oil wicks, your finger should show a little oil residue on your skin.  If not, put 3 or 4 drops on the wick.  If you see a little oil on your finger, put 1 or 2 drops on the wick.  Then let the machine sit for a few minutes to allow the oil to flow through the wick material.  

Then with the machine unplugged, remove the needle.  Then turn the flywheel above the needle area to see how the internal gearing sounds/feels as you slowly rotate the internal workings.  It should sound and feel nice smooth and quiet.  No grinding of gears or like there is sand in the gearing.  I believe if you rotate the wheel downward on the right side of the machine that is the proper rotation direction when it is running under motor power.   You can verify this by looking at the hook assembly and watching it rotate counter clockwise.  If all sounds good, put in a needle and do the same thing.  If that sounds good, thread the machine and do it again to see how the hook picks up the bobbin thread as it rotates through the sewing cycle.  

Everything sounds and feels smooth, remove the needle and plug the machine into the wall outlet.  If the machine has a single needle up/down button, push it and see how the machine sounds.  If not, just start the machine off running in the slowest setting.  Again you are listening for things grinding or banging improperly.  I would not expect it, but you cannot be too safe.  

If it sounds good, then slowly increase the stitching speed.  Get the motor up to full speed.  Then slow the motor to 1/2 - 3/4 speed and let it run like that without a needle for a good 20 minutes.  It will not hurt the motor and it will get everything nice and warm.  Be sure to make sure the machine head cannot move and get something jammed under the needle bar that could mess up the timing.  Once the 20 minutes is done, then shut the machine off, and look for any excess oil dripping from around the needle area that could get on your quilt.  Wipe any excess oil off.  Then try the needle up/down button, if it works good great, if not adjust the uptown screw if it has one.  You are supposed to do this with the motor warm.  All sounds good, put a practice quilt sandwich on the frame, put a needle in, thread the machine, and start playing.  Start off slow and have fun.

Dawn shared with us a few weeks back that a normal machine used in a business will only need major maintenance after a 7 to 8 years.  If the machine was not used in a business, and has been sitting for years, it probably can go without major service for anther number of years.  Once you get comfortable with the machine, you can check for those sort of items that need to be dealt with.

Tell us how things work our for you.  If you have any issues, or something does not sound correct in any of these steps, call APQS and get support from them.  They are the system experts, so do not be afraid of calling them.  

Best of luck to you.




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Is your Ulti the one with the original speed control and no needle up/down feature? (That's how mine was before I added Intellistitch, an aftermarket stitch regulation.)  If you have the knob to turn on and turn up the speed (if I remember correctly it went from 0-1 to 10?) your machine will start stitching just as soon as you power it on. You have to be ready to move the head around. As soon as you're going to cease quilting you reach to shut it off.  IF I remember correctly.  By '93 it may have had the button on the handle to start and stop the machine, but you still would set your stitch speed above.  I hope you get years of enjoyment from your Ulti. I have loved mine.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I spent the last 3 days disassembling the table, moving the machine/table and setting it up in my "new" quilting room. My guest room will soon not look like a fabric store.  Thanks to my hubby and a couple of friends we were able to get it done in a day. My husband loved leveling the table - one of the things he really likes.   He also made sure he set it up just like it was a its former home. The frame has upper hardware with electrical plugs, extension cord, and rail system for the cord to travel on.  I followed Cagey's instructions (Thank you very much) oiled the machine, got to know how it worked and  plugged it in & smiled very big when it started up.  It ran with no problems, so we moved it onto the frame.  I put together some shelving for the new room.  I got some odd & end things from the person who sold it, who had no idea what it was, just wanted it gone.  Discovered I have a Hartley Fence, so did some research on how to use this.  I also got the original user manual and a couple of videos, needles, bobbins, etc.  I plan to start attaching my practice quilt tomorrow after work and see how it goes.  

I am sooo excited.

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