Sadly, support from companies is still limited, but there are a great many end users, like myself, who have been sharing their own experiences, tuned techniques and skills with the ever growing market of new machine embroiderers.
Machine embroidery is an addictive interest and very satisfying when it goes well, so it pays to seek good advice from well known, reliable sources. However, don’t always go for the first thing everyone recommends, reading the machine’s manual and following manufacturers advice is strongly recommended.
But saying that, I do want to tell you about my own experiences with one of the top brands and it won’t be pleasant for many of you to read, because they have a huge global following, and rightly so, their machines are great, unfortunately, if the support is poor, it can leave a bad taste.
As a sewing teacher, I rented Janome machines in my studio and alongside had purchased the digitising software to use in my embroidery machine. I set up a support group on Facebook to share ideas and projects when the software was first released. However, the software was a dud, it failed to work properly for the first few weeks, we’ll into January and February, less than two months of its release, it was still experiencing teething problems. I was receiving angry messages from customers thinking I was working for Janome and so I tried to get help for them.
The help was limited and the staff were grossly under experienced and absolutely technically unable to provide support desperately needed with they released the MBX Digitiser, coming in at £999 in December 2016. Staff didn’t understand Windows, Hasp errors and Wilcom seemed to be releasing updates every few weeks to combat these problems. Im quite technical, with a degree in engineering Im pretty quick on working technical problems out. I was calling Janome to explain errors that they couldn’t explain and suggested they email solutions out to customers. Within 11 months of setting up the page, November 2017, I had a Janome representative at my home, yelling at me to stop bothering their staff. I asked her to leave and sent all of my machines back to Janome.
Then within 18months to two years members of the support group were complaining that Janome had completely stopped providing the little support they had been doing for the program. The problems didn’t get better, with every new update, sprung a new problem.
The advice from Janome who couldn’t support their customers, was to go to directly to Wilcom, the makers of the software, MBX, who were inundated with requests of support. Wilcom basically got fed up of the possible hundreds of requests for support, and responded to one of my group members who shared her response back in February. Only just over two years of the softwares release…
For anyone who uses corel with their digitizer V5, I lost access to it a few weeks ago. Janome techs couldn’t fix it so they referred it to wilcom. Wilcom couldn’t fix it so they referred it to corel. Here is the answer I received from wilcom
Thank you for your patience. I have got the answer from Corel tech support. Unfortunately, it is caused by the compatibility issue with Windows 10 update. CorelDRAW Essentials X6 was developed very early, and there are a number of major updates for Windows 10. Eventually, CorelDRAW Essentials X6 is no longer working on Windows 10.
The solution is that you may update MBX V5.0 to MBX V5.5, which bundles with CorelDRAW SE version. CorelDRAW SE version is compatible with Windows 10. Please contact Janome for this update.
Sam C Zhang
Application Support Analyst
Wilcom International Pty Ltd
“Needless to say, I am not happy…..” was her response, and no doubt it would be for all of us who spent thousands with Janome.
Now you can buy an upgrade to the next version for a mere £249. It just gets better for Janome, but customers are still complaining the upgrade isn’t working for them.
The case above is ongoing, so I have decided to stay clear of Janome and their products. I understand, globally lack of support isn’t a problem, and it’s restricted to the UK. But this is a personal feeling from watching how the company performs and their consumer’s reaction. I’m not saying stay clear of any brand, just watch what you buy, don’t go spending hundreds on software until you know what it it you want to do with your machine. Not many people need to digitise, they just want to edit designs so a basic software package would be sufficient.
My advice to new embroiderers is to seek old software off eBay and have a play to see if you like the user interface. It might be that you end up paying well over £1,000 for a product that you simply can’t fathom.
You might want to try modular software, software that grows with you. Embrilliance is a great one for this, and you can use it on Mac as well as on Windows. You purchase a base editing software and add extras on to allow you more freedom to edit and design. The great thing about Embrilliance is once you have made the purchase, you download upgrades for free, you don’t have to go out and purchase the new software all over again for another whopper of £1000.
You can download lots of free trials from the big companies and there are a few companies that do trial periods.
Here are a few ..
Brother PE Design 10
Janome MBX 5.0
Janome Jnr 5.0