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  1. Member lacywest's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2001
    Location: California
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    I'm currently cleaning a spindle on a Panasonic E85H ... it was definitely dirty.

    Webpage >>> http://club.cdfreaks.com/f106/fixing-your-panny-when-theres-fault-lens-cleaning-doesnt-help-210507/

    Fixing your Panny: When there's a fault and lens cleaning doesn't help....

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    Before you sling your problematic Panasonic in the bin, you may want to try cleaning the spindle. This has worked wonders for me on my current recorders: I have a 3 year old DMR-E55 recorder (a fantastic old machine which gets used to play & record EVERY day) and an LG GSA-4082B multidrive in the computer, but this method has also fixed many malfunctioning Playstation 2's, and DVD-ROMs, RAMs, CD drives, you name it.

    The symptons of your Panasonic requiring a spindle clean are as follows. The machine may start to feel sluggish, particularly when formatting a DVD-RAM, performing erase functions, and may take longer to recognize discs. Then, you will start to get errors during recording and erasing, failed formatting, and the machine will not recognize some discs. Eventually it will be totally unpredictable and unreliable, and you may find that even after dismantling your machine and cleaning the lens most thoroughly, the problems persist. It may still play CDs and shop bought DVDs, those functions are the last to go. I will almost guarantee that this means a spindle clean is needed, although many would incorrectly blame these symptoms on a dirty lens, or even a defective laser, but the reality is, if the machine worked perfectly once, the laser is almost certainly fine. Panasonic use trusted circuitry to ensure a stable laser output.

    The spindle is the little round platter inside your machine that your disc sits on. Discs go into the machine and there they are placed on the spindle, after which a circular magnetic grip clamps the disc into its final position, the disc being sandwiched firmly between the spindle and the grip. "Yeah, I know all this already" I can hear you shouting.

    But the correct functioning of a spindle is absolutely CRITICAL in such a precise piece of technology as a DVD-RAM recorder, there is no room for error here as a dirty spindle will not spin the disc perfectly evenly - it can introduce wobble and jitter into the disc which even the cleanest lens will not cope with.

    You do need to open up your machine to clean the spindle but it is well worth it if your machine is out of warranty. Take off the outer lid and locate the screws that hold the lid on the drive unit. There are usually four screws, two at either side. Remove those screws and that lid should now be loose, but don't use brute force - on my unit you have to jiggle the drive lid around a little towards the back of the unit. It will lift off.

    You should now see the spindle. Notice the black rubber on the outer part of the spindle. With isopropyl alcohol and cotton buds, gently but thoroughly clean this rubber. It can sometimes look surprisingly dirty - carpet fibre, dust and tar from heavy smoking are the usual suspects in my experience. Clean the whole spindle too, then go back and clean that rubber again until it doesn't leave a mark on a fresh cotton bud dipped in alcohol. You may as well clean the lens while you are here. If you haven't cleaned a lens before, dip a fresh cotton bud in alcohol and brush the lens very gently with it, the lens will move slightly as it is spring mounted so don't be alarmed. Just be gentle. At this stage it's a good idea to clean the grip which is set into the lid of the drive unit. Now put your machine back together.

    You should have a Panasonic that's as good as when you bought it. The first thing I would do is insert a DVD-RAM disc and format it. You should notice the speed difference, and of course, a successful format is a good sign in itself. My E55 first packed up 5 months after I bought it, and it didn't occur to me to clean the spindle even though I'd been fixing PS2's that way for a while. Well, it did, but it was under warranty and I got a replacement. That was nearly 3 years ago, and I have cleaned the spindle twice in that time, most recently yesterday, after a bit of erratic behaviour showed itself. But we are heavy smokers in this house - most people wouldn't need to clean it that often

    Of course there are preventative measures you can take, like not putting in dusty or fingerprinted discs, cleaning the innermost part of discs you put in, and NOT handling a disc with its hole, just use the outside edge.

    Anyway, I hope this helps somebody. The posts on CDFREAKS have been helpful to me for many years, so I hope I can put something back. It would be good if you could let me know if you fix your recorder using this method, and if you have any questions just let me know.
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  2. Member lacywest's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2001
    Location: California
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    Panasonic DMR E85H .... got it last year on Ebay ... Summer of 2008 ... very low price compared to the price the EH50 was going for.

    Seller said it would not record to blank DVDs or recognize burnt DVDs. Store bought DVDs yes ... but not home made ones.

    Well I cleaned the spindle ... I actually removed front panel ... held on with clips ... actually came off by surprise. But nothing got broke. I then removed the 4 screws holding the lid onto the DVD Burner .... uh uh ... carriage ... and there was everything there to look at ... laser ... spindle ... the works.

    Was not hard to see the rubber spindle ... definitely dirty ... peach fuzz ... around the edges ... stuff embedded into the top rubber surface. Took about 10 Q-Tips to get it clean. In one area ... it had a glazed look in one spot ... took a few Q-Tips to get it to look clean. I'm near sighted ... so when I take my glasses off ... I can see very up close.

    Inside ... [with the lid removed] the black plastic DVD Burner enclosure ... lint ... peach fuzz ... furr balls ... was easily visible. Blew them out with air can.

    And it now ... WORKS

    It reads my DVD-RAM disks ... I even took a DVD-R with a XXX movie on it and dubbed it to the Hard Drive and played it back to test it out ... it worked.

    What do I do with these DVD Recorders .... I hook them up to my Directv HR10-250 ... and record the shows I've recorded on the HR10-250 DVR drive for archive purposes.

    There are still a few stations broadcasting on Analog stations ... nothing great ... HSN is there ... advertising Halloween decorations for your front yard. Saw some cool stuff ... but I'm not going to pay 80 bucks for an inflatable black cat.

    Works for me. I got it working ... COOL COOL
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2007
    Location: United States
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    I assume this will also work on a Pioneer 531?

    I have another thread going about it not burning anymore DVDs, but maybe I need to do this heavy-duty cleaning?

    Thanks.
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  4. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    I've cleaned my old Philips DVDR-985 several times. It's not brain surgery....just common sense. It's already broke...can't break it any more than it already is.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2007
    Location: United States
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    That was my thinking as well....
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: Minneapolis MN
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    Good luck, although it has been reported by Orsetto that the Pioneer DVD drive doesn't lend itself to being taken apart for the cleaning.
    You could try a trick I use on my Panasonics, that is eject the tray, unplug the DVDR. Then gently slide the tray in and out to gain visual access to the spindle, finally take a long wooden handled q-tip (commonly used in the medial industry) soaked with cleaner to try and clean the spindle.
    While you can't clean it as good as taking apart the drive it's worked on my Panasonics.
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  7. Member lacywest's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2001
    Location: California
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    I've got a Panasonic EH50 with the 100 GB Harddrive inside ... works okay but the eject button process is frustating ... the tray keeps going back in.

    I've got two Panasonic E50 machines ... no hard drive in them and they still work just fine. And the remote control for them is handy ... they have a eject button on them and they can control the EH50 ... so after a few clicks more then I want to do the EH50 Tray stays open ... or I grab the disk inside really quickly ... and put one in really quickly.

    But ... this EH50 is picky on what DVD-Rs I can use ... wont behave right with any of the new DVD-Rs being made. Finalize usually wont happen.

    But the one DVD-R brand that works every time ... is the TY ... value pack DVDs ... so I really hope that our advertisers here that sell that brand of DVD-R ... keeps selling them ... they work with no problems with my Panasonic EH50.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: Minneapolis MN
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    Even though the E50 and EH-50 sound similar, the E-50 is a '03 model year DVDR(last year for the eject on remote) and the EH-50 is a '05 model year(first year of increased resolution up to 4hrs/disc). If you were ever thinking about swapping DVD drives I doubt it would work. I've read DVD drives are pretty much only compatible for same year models.

    I find it odd that your EH-50 has problems with newer DVDs and yet your older E-50 doesn't? FWIW my EH-50 has no problems with even the cheapest of 16x media. I don't use Memorex but I tested some of my newer TDK 16x discs and they were the same mfg. as Memorex but they still burn fine.
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  9. Member lacywest's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2001
    Location: California
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    Originally Posted by jjeff
    Even though the E50 and EH-50 sound similar, the E-50 is a '03 model year DVDR(last year for the eject on remote) and the EH-50 is a '05 model year(first year of increased resolution up to 4hrs/disc). If you were ever thinking about swapping DVD drives I doubt it would work. I've read DVD drives are pretty much only compatible for same year models.

    I find it odd that your EH-50 has problems with newer DVDs and yet your older E-50 doesn't? FWIW my EH-50 has no problems with even the cheapest of 16x media. I don't use Memorex but I tested some of my newer TDK 16x discs and they were the same mfg. as Memorex but they still burn fine.
    I have not opened up the EH50 machine and cleaned it ... it is on the bottom of 3 high of devices on my entertainment shelf ... but I really should clean it too ... as for what DVDs can be burned on the Panasonic E85H ... don't really know. Before I cleaned it ... it would not read any DVD-R or DVD-RAM disk ... I guess I could try some MAXELL DVD-R disks and see if they burn correctly and finalize correctly. It is the finalize portion that messes up on the EH50.

    I dont use my E50 machines ... anymore ... I haven't used them since I got my EH50 units ... I was using those cheap CompUSA DVD-Rs disks ... in the E50 machines.

    But CompUSA is no longer in Fresno and I don't drive to Fresno no more ... I had in a job in Fresno until ... June 30 2008 ... for 4 years and 2 months ... and now I'm on Unemployment ... ... my job depended on California State contracts being renewed.
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2011
    Location: Melbourne
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    I just wanted to say a very big thank you to lacywest and the other members on this forum for the 100% correct advice on the spindle cleaning threads, my machine DMR-XW350 , it was driving me mad with dvd-r's about 80% failures, after taking your advice, which I must admit didn't fill me with confidence at first thinking this couldn't be causing all of this trouble , but now has my machine is working as new, no groaning noises no failures just perfect.
    I never would have believed it without trying it, also how easy the burner is get to on the Panasonic , compared to my old Pioneer it is far easier, infact really easy, at first I was worried about having a go but worried for nothing, who could imagine such a small amount of dirt could have such a huge effect in it's performance.
    Once again, thanks for your help, I never would have worked this out for myself, regards Paul.
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  11. Member lacywest's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2001
    Location: California
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    To astro500 ...

    Glad to hear you got in there and cleaned the spindle area ... yep it makes alot of difference ... I'm using Panasonic EZ17 and EZ27s now ... my EH85 ... it wont turn on ... but a search on the Internet told me the power supply has a few capacitors that like to bulge up and leak ... so I need to clear an area on my workbence and open it up again and replace some capacitors ... no biggy ... I've done this sort of thing before ... Laters ... Mach10 ... aka ... Lacywest
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  12. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2013
    Location: canada
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    I would never have thought of cleaning the spindle! I have 3 DVD-RAMs that would not read in my (~2007) Panasonic ES-35V recorder even after cleaning them as well as cleaning the laser. I tried the "quick" method of reaching through the front with a long Q-tip. After that, all 3 discs read properly! But one of them did not read the second time I tried it, so I will have to go the whole 9 yards & remove the cover to do a thorough cleaning. I am putting a copy of this thread in the user manual for the recorder.
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  13. You can get pure alcohol from ACE or other stores for about $4 qt.
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  14. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
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    Great. Another one post wonder who joins us to grave rob an old thread and say "Thanks". Maybe the moderators should consider putting something in the official forum policy statement warning them that if their only reason for joining us is to dig up an old thread and thank us for helping them that we'd prefer that not bother.
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  15. I used the procedure a few times on my Panasonic DMR-ES10 and it worked just like new afterward. However the most recent time I tried I was not so lucky.

    I recently have been burning some DVD-R's for a couple of people and decided to randomly check of one of the burns by playing it on my Panasonic recorder. In going through the chapters I noticed at one point there was freeze ups and a lot of pixilization. Thinking that it was a bad burn and that my burner may be on the way out, I still checked the burn on other machines. On my Blu-ray the disc played perfectly fine in that part. The saw the same result with my computer also. Then I tried the same disc on another Panasonic (DMR-E85H) and it showed absolutely no problem with that part of the disc. Therefore it had to be my Panasonic.

    I first tried a dry cleaning with a lens cleaning disc as Panasonic doesn't advice using isopropyl alcohol on the lens. I tried that three times and the disc still played back the part of the disc the same way most of the time. I played that part of the disc several times and for some of the time it actually played it fine.

    Then I decided to do another spindle cleaning, the same way I did it previously. The spindle wasn't very dirty which really wasn't surprising as the last time I cleaned it was a few months ago. I removed what little was on it anyhow. I also very gently cleaned the lens with the alcohol and another clean Q-tip and barely touched it when doing so.

    With the machine put back together I played the same disc that I burned on my computer. I first heard a somewhat loud rumbling sound when playing the disc that I was trying earlier. This happened the very first time I cleaned the spindle but only lasted for a moment so I figured like before that the alcohol still needed to dry. Then I tried the disc again and the sound would not go away. Then I tried the cleaning disc and the same sound was there. I tried another dry cleaning with that disc and then two wet cleanings with it but the same noise remains.

    I called Panasonic and upon the reps instruction tried to get the machine back to factory settings by pressing play and record and the same time after having ejected the tray and then turning it off. This worked a few months ago when I saw some minor pixilization on a recording that was made by this machine. That disc had played fine on the other Panasonic I mentioned above so I knew it was the DMR-ES10. After the reset the machine played that disc without the minor and momentary pixilation. This time however the reset did not get rid of that rumbling sound.

    The rep said I will now need to have it serviced. Before I even consider that I thought I would check to see if anyone had any suggestions. I tried posting this on the myce.com forum but after I registered I never received an e-mail to activate my membership. That was a few days ago. When I use the contact link I am not able to enter any text on the fields to submit any information. Finally, the help link posted on that page doesn't work for me.
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  16. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    The DMR-ES10 was first released in 2004 or 2005. I think manufacturing was discontinued in 2006. 8 years is a long life for a DVD recorder, and it is likely failing. After much use, DVD drives wear out, and after 8 years, electrolytic capacitors can start to degrade.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 31st Dec 2013 at 10:35. Reason: punctuation
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  17. Thanks for your response and for confirming my suspicion.

    I purchased the unit in April of 2005 and it has seen a lot of usage over the years. It was regularly being used for first time recordings. However it was also used to transfer what I previously recorded on more than a couple of hundred of VHS tapes onto DVD-R's.

    I decided to see if anyone else experienced a similar situation and if so would there be an easy fix to the problem. I guess I also wanted some type of confirmation from someone else that it is just wearing out before it is finally retired. I do have to say that I did get my money's worth out if it.

    I actually have a brand new DMR-ES15 and I just began using it today. Hopefully it will last at least as long as the DMR-ES10. Particularly where I don't plan on using it nearly as often with my VHS to DVD-R transferring now completed.
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  18. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: Minneapolis MN
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    Yes I'd also guess your ES-10 may have capacitor failure due to it's age. The '06 ES-15 is a decent little cheap recorder and does a very good job recording but it's build quality(as you can probably tell from it's weight) isn't quite up to your ES-10s standard. '06 was a pivotal year for Panasonic, their DVDRs were quite a bit lighter and cheaper built than '05 and older. Not that '06 model year DVDRs were junk, IMO it was kind of a pinnacle in reguards to picture quality but build quality wasn't as good. By '07 and the introduction of the EZ and EA Panasonics they had started a downward spiral as far as bugs and '08 was essentially Panasonics last new model year.
    I have several ES-15s with quite a few hours of use, one quit rather early on with a laser failure, laser failure(due to the fact the ES-15 had no cooling fan(to cut costs) like previous Panasonics) is the most common problem with the ES-15.
    Try and keep it as cool as possible and it should reward you with many years of use.
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