Reliable brand Sewquiet 4000 clutchless servo motor

A few days ago, I received a new Sewquiet 4000 servo motor from Reliable Corporation. This motor is designed as a replacement for a conventional clutch motor for industrial sewing machines and has both pluses and minuses compared to the previous model (the Sewquiet 3000) and to clutch motors.

Sewquiet 4000 as it comes from the box
Sewquiet 4000 as it comes from the box

The unit weighs about 24 pounds. It has the usual hinged mounting frame for attaching to the bottom of the sewing table and tensioning the pulley belt. On the bottom of the motor is a small control box with a power switch, a ready light and a four-position speed control. On the back is a switch that controls which direction the motor rotates. The control box comes wired to plug directly into a 110V outlet. At the end of the motor is a lever that attaches to a normal treadle rod.

The speed control switch sets the top speed of the motor. Setting #4 (all the way counter-clockwise) yields a top speed under load of about 4500 RPM. Setting #3 gives a top speed of about 2500 RPM. Settings #2 and #1 are progressively slower. The actual speed is set by depressing the treadle. Light treadle pressure gives very good control of slow speeds up to about (I am guessing, not measuring) 1/3 of top speed. Past that point, motor speed abruptly changes to top speed.

I have about four hours of use with the motor after installation on my Juki DDL-8700, so these are early impressions.

What I like:
Unlike many servo motors, including its predecessor, the Sewquiet 4000 does not buzz at slow speeds. Motor noise is minimal and more or less proportional to motor speed. Like all servo motors, and unlike clutch motors, it is dead silent when not in motion. My Juki is now as quiet as most household machines, at all speeds.

The Sewquiet 4000 has excellent slow speed control, better than most servo motors and vastly superior to a clutch motor. Also better than the typical household foot pedal speed control. This is by far the nicest industrial motor I have ever experienced for slow detail sewing.

It is easy to adjust the “dead band” of free treadle motion before you get a noticeable spring pressure. You can make it very predictable how it responds when you first put your foot on the treadle, and how far you have to press the treadle to get the motor turning.

What I don’t like:
When the Sewquiet 4000 is switched off (using the power switch or unplugging it), its control box retains enough energy to sew another stitch or two. The predecessor Sewquiet 3000 did not do this: off meant off. This bothers me as a potential safety problem, since unlike a clutch motor there is no audible indication that the switched off servo motor might still have some “oomph” to it.

I called Reliable technical support about this. They immediately tried a machine in their facility and it also had enough excess energy to sew a half stitch after being switched off. They have apparently received no complaints about this, but it bothers me.

The transition between low-speed and top-speed is very abrupt. And if you hold the treadle “just so”, you get speed surges between high and low speed which I find extremely disconcerting. The effect is like a very grabby clutch, where you are nicely slipping the clutch to get partial speeds then WHAM it locks up. Reliable technical support confirms that this is the designed behavior. For full-bore production sewing this makes sense, but I usually do not sew at 4500 stitches per minute.

The precedessor Sewquiet 3000 had another knob which controlled how motor speed responded to treadle position (the “pickup” response). The Sewquiet 4000 has a fixed pickup that definitely takes some getting used to. After an hour or two of sewing up some samples, I was getting used to the pickup with fewer unexpected transitions to “hyper-drive”, but would still prefer a pickup that gave a hint about the near-by transition to full speed.

Sewquiet 4000 installed
Sewquiet 4000 installed

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  1. paul says:

    Thank you for the very interesting review. I have narrowed down my search to that Reliable Sewquiet 4000 to the Artisan 500 C 100/18. This particular Artisan is for slow speed sewing according to David at Artisan and it will run approximately 100rpms when the dial is set to #1. I’m a little surprised at that speed considering Reliable’s lowest speed is 785rpms with the addition of the 50mm pulley, which is not included. The Artisan unit also has 6 treadle positions which I’m guessing helps one regulate the speed? I’m looking for control of large top stitching on fine upholstery leather. I’m assuming the Sewquiet is actually quieter? I also saw a review on Ebay that recommends these two companies, but said he had an issue with the Artisan breaking after a few hrs. and not getting any support. Despite this, I’m leaning towards the Artisan and they were ever responsive to me over the phone. In fairness, Reliable was quick to respond to my emails.

    Any experience or advice would be great to here.

  2. paul says:

    Alison, thank you I will look into that. I realized I may have a fact wrong regarding the speed, perhaps David at Artisan was referring to to stitches per minute – I think the translation is 100spm/750rpms. This would make more sense, as I bet the basic parts of the motor are the same.

    Strange, I never got an automated email letting me know Alison had replied?

  3. Ohhh, I want one of these now….I tend to use my home machine when others are in the studio so as not to have to yell over the motor. Do I “need” it? No..but it would be nice. thanks for the review and post.

  4. MaryBethH says:

    What about the Sailrite motor in comparison?

    I’m shopping for my first industrial, and had sewn on several many MANY years ago in a small drapery/upholstery shop. I loved the capabilities. But in my search,and reading all these Wonderful blogs, I got confused. I think I want Adler, and that costs a lot. I have made a HUGE wish list- and the long arm sailrite keeps coming up close- drop in hook, walking foot, compound needle, etc. Why has no one mentioned that machine? Is it not an industrial? Only for sails? Also, looking a Juki’s. I’m on my way to see what the local shops (that don’t use web) have today- thanks to all of you contributing to this blog! :) I can’t wait to get to start sewing again for me and my family!! We have so many projects and clothes we want to make!

  5. Kathleen says:

    Sailrite has a lot of fans in small, one man shops but I’ve never seen the machines used in factories. I’ve also never seen the company represented at apparel industry trade shows so I couldn’t speak to the benefits of this brand.

  6. Mrs O'Brien says:


    Could a servo motor be put on a Sewnsei GC6-28 machine? I am a student about to buy one for a good deal.of $350.00, yet I live in a wood frame apt buiding for now.

    Thanks for your replY!

  7. Paul says:

    No regrets, I have 3 different servo motors on various machines. The 4000 is my fave, have it on 2 machines. I’m sure there are better ones to be had, but they might cost $$$.
    I replaced an ancient clutch motor on my ancient Fortuna skiver with the 4000 and it worked like a charm. It used to shake the whole house, it had exposed spinning parts and when you stepped on the treadle(clutch) it would physically move it to engage the motor and pulleys – super dangerous. Replacing it, I didn’t have to drill any holes the Servo motor fit right in.
    This 4000 servo motor is quieter than my others and it will blow your mind if you are used to clutch motors. Also clutch motors do a very odd thing, their speed increase automatically! They are always in a state of acceleration; this is why seamstresses are always feathering the pedal to slow it down and regulate the speed. This is not the case with servo motors.

    Misty made a comment about the motor continuing after its off. There are 2 possible reason for this. One is that she has a special added feature to her sewing machine that repositions the needle in an up or down position automatically once sewing stops. More likely the case, servo motors consume much less electricity and will have a little extra juice left in the motor that will drain out in within seconds after you turn it off, but if you accidentally step on the treadle/pedal the machine will sew a stitch or three.

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