Problems With Bernina 480 (Plus Solutions)

The Bernina brand is known for making spectacular looking computerized sewing machines, the Bernina 480 is no exception. The sewing machine does not shy away from any of the features and build quality of other (more premium) Bernina sewing machines. The Bernina 480 is part of Bernina’s 4 series line, which are high-end sewing-only computerized sewing machines. Because some other sewing machines may have expandable functionality not allowing for sewing but embroidery and quilting as well, the Bernina 480 is not like that. Apart from its amazing capabilities and look the Bernina 480 has its fair share of problems. Some of which tend to make it seem like a standard sewing machine when it is in fact a computerized sewing machine.

Table of Contents

1. It Is A Sensitive Sewing Machine

This is the kind of functionality you should expect from the Bernina 480, it is sensitive in that when nothing you set up is correct, the computerized Bernina 480 sewing machine will not work. From incorrectly placed threading, to mismatched settings, the Bernina 480 will not startup if any of these critical components haven’t been adjusted correctly. Which makes it a problem for beginners and amateurs alike. But Bernina often advertises thus particular sewing machine as a great start for beginners.

To Do

  • Reading the Bernina 480 user manual before using it will definitely help understand the sewing machine better.
  • Beginners should never start their sewing journey with a computerized sewing machine, no matter how most may be advertised.
  • The Bernina 480 is also quite complex for more experienced sewists, this is an important detail to remember if you’re planning to buy the sewing machine.

2. Faulty Top Tension

This tension is also known as upper tension or needle thread tension and it affects the threading on the underside or back of the fabric you’re sewing. Fortunately this problem on the Bernina 480 can be easily solved because it does cause the threads on the underside to become loopy and bundle up, this can also cause the sewing machine to stop sewing and hault or worse break the needle you will be using.

To Do

  • As stated before, thread tension can easily be adjusted on the Bernina 480 using one of the knobs on the right side of the touchscreen display(the one on the top) to adjust the tension of the needle thread accordingly.
  • Make sure to use fabrics that do not affect your sewing machine’s performance (that is heavy, or fluffy fabrics.) As these can also affect the upper thread tension of your Bernina 480 sewing machine.
  • Re-threading your Bernina 480 sewing machine can also help with this problem.
  • If this problem persists however you can then take your Bernina 480 sewing machine in for servicing at an accredited Bernina shop or affiliate.

3. Occasionally Unresponsive Touchscreen

Sometimes when the Bernina 480 is overwhelmed with tasks the touchscreen display that is the central control panel of the entire sewing machine will not respond to your touch input. This problem is due to the fact that the Bernina 480 is essentially a computer at this point and it is liable to most things computers are liable to, like an overload or a computer virus. Which can cause this problem.

To Do

  • If this problem occurs you would have to recalibrate the sewing machine’s touchscreen using the stylus pen the Bernina 480 comes with.
  • When sewing make sure that you only assign the Bernina 480 one task at a time otherwise it will become overloaded.
  • When using the Bernina 480 sewing machine’s USB feature to transfer images of stitch designs and patterns be sure to make sure that the images are in a format that is recommended by Bernina, which you will find in the user manual.
  • You can always unplug the Bernina 480 sewing machine from the power source to reset it and return it to its default settings.

4. Needs Updates Regularly

The Bernina 480 computerized sewing machine runs on a complex software program that sees the sewing machine needing regular updates to continue functioning correctly as intended. This is a problem because it can become quite frustrating to install an update which you can only download from the official Bernina web page. Making the Bernina 480 an even more complicated sewing machine than most users would like.

To Do

  • You can take your sewing machine to a Bernina store or dealer where you initially purchased the sewing machine to install the updates for you. Which is an entirely different problem if the place of purchase is a long drive away from where you live.
  • If you feel confident about your ability to update the sewing machine, you will need to place a USB drive on your computer’s USB port. Visit the Bernina website and search for the Bernina 480. The website will alert you if they’re any updates available. If there are any, you can easily download them by clicking the download button, saving them to your USB drive.
  • Remove your USB drive from the computer and insert it into the Bernina 480’s USB port and install the update.
  • Always make sure that the USB drive is inserted securely into the port for the duration of the update.

More To Do

  • Do not leave your Bernina 480 sewing machine unattended as long as it is plugged into a power source. This can cause damage to the electronics inside the sewing machine.
  • When cleaning the sewing machine after a sewing project, make sure it isn’t plugged.


The Bernina 480 computerized sewing machine is one of Bernina’s best feats at a computerized sewing machine. But one has to wonder, if computerized sewing machines can have the same problems as other regular sewing machines (or even more) are they really worth it considering they can go as far as being five times the price of an average sewing machine. Which can honestly do away with the 120 stitch patterns or the USB functionality that most users don’t even use (until they have to update it.)