And while I think about it….

Bernina USB Data Pens……

Recently I saw on one of the Yahoo Groups that it was possible to use a generic USB data stick in the Bernina machines that use the USB sticks. I did not realise that before. I was under the impression that you had to use the Bernina USB data pen. But these USB pens from Bernina are expensive so I have carefully hung onto mine and always put it away after using it – away from curious little fingers! Especially Henry (grandson) as he is always into everything. He loves looking in cupboards and pulling things out everywhere! I have already lost a Smart Media Card and adaptor which is used in my Janome 300E due to his “curious fingers”. ( I suspect he tossed it in the rubbish bin and I didn’t see it.) So I didn’t want to loseWeight Exercise my Bernina USB data pen. Anyway, I digress!!

The only thing you have to really know when using a generic USB data pen in your Bernina is that you must choose one that has only a low data storage limit. I found two in my stash of older USB data sticks that were only 128MG. (Now that’s a very old data pen as they are hugely larger than this these days). If you should find a smaller one then all you have to do is pop it in your computer, go to My Computer, right mouse click on the Pen Drive and choose Format. All the data will be erased and your USB stick will be nice and empty and clean and ready to go.

To test the USB stick out after I had formatted it, I opened a design in Embird Editor and saved the design in EXP format and sent it to the newly formatted USB stick. I popped the stick in my Bernina 730 and switched the machine on. The USB icon showed up straight away and when I selected it, lo and behold, there was my design – all ready to go! Well, that worked! I am very pleased about that as now I have at least 3 USB data sticks to use – and possibly more floating around in drawers if I look!

I hope this helps someone – and may even save you some money – as you can use an older USB data pen rather than buy one from Bernina. Save your money for important things like some nice new feet for the machine – as the Bernina feet are amazing…..

P.S. Since writing this post one of the lovely ladies who reads my blogs wrote to me with this information for anyone wishing to use the San Cruzer USB data pens –

“I read your Hooplah article about using non-Bernina USB thumbdrives on Bernina machines. In the USA I use a brand name of SanDisk Cruzer (easily found at Best Buy or Target), no larger than 2 GB. You have to format the thumbdrive first, and then it works just fine for accepting .exp formats. I use a SanDisk all the time for all of the machine models, all the way up and including the 830. Bernina prefer us to use their labeled devices which are close to $90, rather than to encourage the use of the SanDisk that could be purchased for far less (sometimes on sale for $9!). Here is the link where you can download the launchpad removal program file, which is what I use to format a SanDisk thumbdrive. “

19 Responses to “And while I think about it….”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Best of luck and sorry for the late reply.

  2. Mary says:

    I use lots of different brands and sizes of USB on my Bernina 730 and 880. Some of the sticks even have some data files on them. The machines only open the design files. Sometimes the 730’s like to have the stick in first before you turn the machine on. Also sometimes they take a few minutes to open. You can try to send the designs to the stick through Artlink7, the free design transfer software from When you click the icon to send to machine, a device selection window comes up and you can choose the .ART selection and it will convert your design automatically for the 730 and write it to the stick.

  3. Dale says:

    Thank you so much for posting this information! My SanDisk 8GB is working great now to store my .exp files, and they show up fine on my 750QE. So grateful for your instructions and the link to download the uninstall program! Ready to go stitch my very first embroidery design!

  4. Marion says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    many thanks for your tipps how to format the USB stick. It worked and I am more than happy. Sorry for the late response to your advice, I simply couldn’t find the page again. but now it’s bookmarked.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Hi Marion
    Absolutely, Yes you can use a “normal” USB stick in your Bernina 730. As you probably know I also have a Bernina 730 and I just use a regular USB stick in mine. It works just fine. But my advice to you would be to format the USB stick first on your computer using the Full Format and not the quick format. That will remove any odd file that might be on the stick. Watch for some USB sticks as they sometimes have manufacturers files and folders on the USB sticks. Check them under My Computer/Computer and delete them and then right mouse click on the USB stick and use the Format command. Fat 32.
    Don’t buy a Bernina one. They are way too expensive. But also remember that the more designs that you load on a USB stick the longer it will take to load on your machine. The sticks are so cheap that you’re best to buy several (smaller capacity if possible) and just load up to about 20 on and spread the designs between sticks. I probably have a six USB sticks on the go at any one time. They’re only a few dollars each these days! Good luck….Oh, use the money you saved on the Bernina ones to buy generic ones from your PC store. 🙂

  6. Marion says:

    sigh…I am so glad I found this blog ! I am a new user to the Bernina Artista730 (although the 730 is not new) and had exacly the same question. Can I use a “normal” USB stick in the Bernina machine. Now I just have one more question before I start formating an old USB stick. Does the same go for the Artista 730 ? ‘Cause here (in Germany) the Bernina dealer is saying now and charging an arm and a leg to sell his
    “special” Bernina sticks. I would so much appreciate an answer. Thanks a lot !!

  7. Debbie Sutherlin says:

    After weeks of stressing with an $85 Bernina stick that was less than 2 years old and that was not working…I took my machine and computer to our local computer store. Set everything up like a crazy lady almost in tears. The repairman walked over put in a new USB stick and it’s worked perfectly. What a rip off dealing with Bernina.

  8. Carolyn says:

    You could try reformatting the USB in your computer. If that doesn’t work then you may have to see your dealer re this, sorry

  9. Debbie Sutherlin says:

    My Bernina USB is not working. It will not show up as being inserted in machine. What can I do to correct this?

  10. lander says:

    convert ART pes hus files
    (with the artlink software from bernina website)

    choose save as … and change the format to
    BERNINA-USB format (.EXP)
    It will actually write 3 files with the same name (EXP bmp inf)
    copy all 3 on your usb disk.

    or choose to card/machine export
    (it will write to the usb stick after pressing the green arrow)

  11. Carolyn says:

    I just use a generic USB stick for my Berninas. Any should do. I have the Micro Cruzer (1GB) in my machine right at this moment. I do not know why the one you tried isn’t working. But make sure you buy the smallest capacity one that you can

  12. Diane says:

    I tried reformatting Verbatium in all possible formats and tried with EXP file and it still can’t be recognized.

    I’m looking on the internet at SanDisk now. It was said the 1 GB MicroCruzer works. Do you know if the 1 GB Cruzer Micro will work as well? It is 1/2 the price of the MicroCruzer, but I don’t want to waste any more money so would like to get what worked for others.

    Thanks for the help.

  13. Carolyn says:

    Try writing to the USB stick as EXP format and see if that makes any difference. Also check the USB pen under My Computer and makes sure that there are no other files – such as Verbatim files on there – and if there are remove them and then try writing to the stick again. Sometimes companies put their own sets of files on USB sticks. They aren’t necessary and can be removed.

  14. Diane says:

    I bought some 2 GB Verbatim USB sticks and have tried formatting them (FAT) and putting an .ART file on. My 730 will not read stick – light blinks for a few seconds but when USB icon is pushed, won’t respond.

    Any ideas besides going out and buying SANDISK sticks would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Carolyn says:

    Hi Nancy,
    To format a USB pen you just pop it in a USB slot on the computer. Go to My Computer and select the pen, right mouse click and choose Format from the pop-out options. Click Start in the Format screen and your USB pen drive will format for you. You should then be able to use your USB pen in your 730. Make sure that your USB pen is not larger than a 4MG capacity though, otherwise your machine may not like it.
    You won’t need to pay for a converter to send designs to your USB pen as Bernina has a free program called ARTlink on their web-site which is free to download and install. You can send your designs to the USB stick using this program. Best of Luck. Carolyn K

  16. nancy minshew says:

    how do you format a usb drive before you use it. I have just purchased a bernina 730 and am having the same problems as otheer Nancy. Also, all oof my designs are formated in PES. Do I need a converter to be able to download them to usb? I have an Amazing mini converter box that converts the designs to a card so I can embroider them. Any help will be appreciated. Nancy Minshew, Largo,FL

  17. rourri says:

    Hi folks… I was surfing for new usb sticks that work for embroidery machines and happened upon this blog. I will tell you what I tell my embroidery students: the ones that almost always work are SanDisk MicroCruiser. You must run the U3 launch remover on SanDisk’s website inorder for it to be “hot plug” readable…if not you are stuck rebooting your sewing machine with the usb in it. Also, some berninas (like the deco) will only read items in the “Embf5” folder. So create one at the base of the usb, and then save everything there. The smaller the size the better for this stuff, but its not truly necessary. I have a few 8 gig sticks that work just fine. However, its just not worth the price to buy a larger one as the machines will never see more than 1gig on the stick. Also if you over load the stick with a ton of designs, the stick will not be seen anymore. Unload it, and then start all over. Do try to not use these sticks for permanent storage… they get lost easy and also are more subject to data corruption (like a zap of static) than other long term storage options (like an external hd).

    Sometimes you will find the rare gem of a usb that is not a sandisk and will work with out doing anything to it. Microcenter every so often has these items at the checkout. Some corporate give aways (like trade show stuff) will work too. A few of my more adventurous students will buy one and test it now and again.

    I hope this helps you!

  18. Carolyn says:

    Hi Nancy
    Did you format the USB pen before you used it? What program are you using to send the designs to your USB pen? Are you using Embird or another program. And for your machine, which format are you using? You should write the design as an EXP format for your 730. Let me know and I’ll see if I can help you

  19. Nancy Borger says:

    I have been trying to get this to work. The smallest USB I have here is 2gb. I followed your steps but my 730 will not recognize the generic USB. The stores now have 4GB as the smallest. I really am frustrated because it is the principal of the thing. A USB is a USB and it should work. When I look at the USB on my computer the design is there……don’t know what else to do.

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