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Common Problems With a Tattoo Machine

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Tuesday 20 May, 2014 Written by tattoodiy

1. Turn up the Voltage to Max to get the Machine to Run
Troubleshoot: This is likely the same issue as No. 3 where your springs do not have enough tension. Same fix as No.3.
Fix: Loosen the back spring screw, flip the back spring/armature bar/front spring assembly around and turn it around so that the front spring is facing downward on the other side of the frame (basically you did a 180 with the assembly). Carefully bend the back spring downward to create more tension, do this a little at a time, a little goes a long way. Put the assembly back in its original position and tighten.

2. Sparking Between the Front Spring and Contact Screw
Troubleshoot: Some tattoo machines will spark a little bit but if you get excessive sparking then it may be a problem. Possible causes of excessive sparking is a rear spring that has been bent too tight, installation of a new front spring that has been plated or a bad capacitor.
Fix: Rear spring too tight
This would be the opposite of bending the rear spring for more tension, loosen the back spring screw, flip the back spring/armature bar/front spring assembly around and turn it around so that the front spring is facing downward on the other side of the frame (basically you did a 180 with the assembly). Carefully bend the back spring upward to decrease the tension. Put the assembly back in its original position and tighten.
Fix: New front spring
Not much of a fix here to be honest, you’ll just need to run the machine for a while till the contact screw takes off the plating layer and then it should stop sparking. If your machine is brand new and is sparking, this may be the fix for it.
Fix: Bad capacitor
If you have a capacitor that is the wrong UF, then it may cause the sparking. Liners will need to run a lower UF and shaders will need to run a higher UF capacitor. You may want to drop by Radioshack to pick up a few and test them with your setup. They are easy to solder on and off.
 
3. Needles are Chewing up the Skin
Troubleshoot: This is a tough one as it may simply boil down to lack of experience working with your needle depth. However, if this pertains to problems with a tattoo machine, two possible causes is your armature bar/springs assembly is crooked or your frame geometry is messed up.
Fix: The armature bare/springs assembly is a simple one as you’ll just need to ensure that the back spring connecting to the front spring and the armature below are positioned so they form a straight line in relation to the back binding post. There are tools that you can use to ensure you have them straight but generally speaking, eyeballing will do just fine. If your frame geometry is messed up, your out of luck, look at the machine from the top, midline and forward position from the back binding post. If the frame is noticeably bent in any of these views, you have bad geometry. Also, if you put the grip in and you can see that it is going in at a slant, same deal. It’s possible to bend the frame, if this is the case, please see the next troubleshoot on our list.

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