Thanks for the quick response. I actually tilted the machine and switched the power on so that I could see what was happening since we could only 'hear' the sparks till then (or assume it was sparks that were making the sparking sound
What we saw was: it was sparking at the place where the mains lead goes into the machine. i.e.: mains wires are plugged into the plug on one end and the other end goes into the machine - the place where it terminates is (or looks like) a PCB. I trawled through a few spares sites today and gathered that it was a 'module'.
the sparking sounds happen as soon as we switch the power supply on. the motor doesn't come into play until a program is selected and run. am i correct?