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  1. Member
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    Based on the experience of members here, what lifespan can one reasonably expect of stand-alone DVD recorders, and is it usually worthwhile getting them repaired if the warranty has recently (of course!) expired?

    A few days ago my Panasonic DMR-ES10 went completely dead when I turned it on, after 1 year and 4 months of what I assume is moderate use. (I used it for ˝ to 2 hours of recording and ˝ to 2 hours of watching, most days.) I was pleased with its recording quality (much better than my VCR!), playback quality, and features, so I’m very disappointed that its life was so short.

  2. Banned
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    There are too many factors even amongst same brand and models to make an estimated quess about the average lifespan. In most cases, when the device is out of repair unless you know someone with the expertise to fix it, the prices of such product will fallen significantly enough to not justify getting an older device repaired when a newer device will offer more functionality and compatibility with newer media and display formats.

    The one thing I have noticed in today's tech buying world is that the cheaper in cost of the product and less of a name brand the longer it seems to last.

    The old saying "they just don't make them like they used to" is not just a saying. It is truth. But sometimes getting that older device repaired simply doesn't make economical sense.

  3. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Too soon to know. I've only had mine around 8 months +. I do give it heavier use than what you mentioned, but use it infrequently as a player, since I have a separate player that also does PAL, other regions, and has numerous playing features the recorder does not. I also am never quite sure what condition rentals or loaner discs might be in -- though I like to think I would spot a greasy fingerprint, for example, before inserting the disc -- so my preference is to only put clean blanks in the recorder, or discs that it has recorded.
    As to the rest, I suspect that the answer is going to vary quite a bit according to the brand and model. No idea how well Pannys stack up (or don't) these days, compared to the others. You might well tend to be very much more ticked if a topline, expensive model craps out on you early, compared to some Ilo or Cyberhome cheapie. And there are other factors, such as smokefree / pethair free environment, whether you have decent powerline protection (recommended for all electronics that are really important to you), etc.

  4. from what I've read, if you get more than 2 yrs on it, that was a good one.

    I don't think there is anyone with a burner older than 2 yrs, and moderate use, not just a furniture.

  5. Member
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    To answer the questions about the environment for my DVD recorder:

    There are no smokers, no pets, and no children in the house. The unit sits on top of a shelf with its top and sides completely exposed. Housekeeping isn't perfect, but it isn't terrible either. No surge protection on the Panny, but we've never had a problem with other electronics. I have played only 3 rented movies on it, everything else was burned on my computer or by the DVD recorder itself.

    But what I really want to know is whether or not these devices generally last more than a year or so for most of you.

  6. The answer to your question is "How long is a piece of string".

    I had a Yamaha CD recorder, used it to record 18 cd's, found not enough time to do the project i was on, restarted after the unit was 14 months old-it died !

    Most of my electronics experience tells me use the damn thing,use it use it use it.

    Believe it or not there is truth to the "bad luck person"syndrome, ever worked with anyone every time they touched an office computer it went wrong, but every time you used it is was fine, its like that.

    An extended warranty can be a good idea if a failure soon after the 12 months has elapsed is gonna really bug you.
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS

  7. I've got an E-10 from 2001 that's seen heavy use and still works fine. The E-20 lasted a little over 2 1/2 years. 2 years or less isn't true.

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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet

    But what I really want to know is whether or not these devices generally last more than a year or so for most of you.
    Two dogs, two heavy smokers, and a cat which likes to lounge on the cable box(rented) here and my devices have lasted longer than a year. Some much longer than a year, some not much longer than that, others have been working since the 1970's. When it comes to DVD recorders I have two. One which is approaching the five year mark and another that is almost 2 years old. I have had two DVD players die on me. A Sony and a Pioneer. Both were expensive at the time and still would be today relatively speaking. The Pioneer was nearly 5 years old when it died. I did not replace it. The Sony was just over a year old when it died. I replaced it with a cheapo walmart special which has far outlived the lifespan of the Sony device. All my electrical devices are on ground fault interrupts at the wall with power surge bars and in some cases an UPS device attached.

  9. Going Mad TheFamilyMan's Avatar
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    Sidebar comment to this topic: What a sad state our comsumer driven culture has become when an acceptable consumer electronics component's MTF is two years or less and it's more ecomonical to replace than repair. Consider all the energy, resources and toxic waste associated with the production and disposal of that component and you'll see what I'm getting at here.
    Usually long gone and forgotten

  10. Member vhelp's Avatar
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    Evening everyone

    TheFamilyMan,

    So true, so true.

    But, some of us are becoming more and more explorers of chance. That is..

    We are now adventuring in self-reliance, where we take our devices and breach
    the seal of warranty and fix it ourselves. In a way, this is the old way
    of doing things, when you look back at the very early pioneering days of
    pc computer.. where we used to get our (how shall I say it) popular machanics
    "kit" and buld it ourselves. We seem to be falling back on this old practice.
    A good practice, imho. This time-old practice died some late 70's or very early
    80's. But, now that hardware has become so cheap (not speaking on price) that
    they fall short of the mark of craftmenship, you can't help but fall back on
    the old practice of yesterday, now often refered (industisly speaking) as
    hacking.

    ( IMHO, it is not always worth the effort (as you say, earlier) to worship the
    warranty of a given device, even if it is early in the warranty -- just because
    it is free -- sometimes its not worth the *aggrivation* of packing/shipping
    and waiting. It is easier (if you know what you are doing) do just do it your-
    self. Read below. )

    Look at some of the recent topics on these dvd recorders where certain aspects
    of these units brake down, for whatever reasons (poor craftmenship) and you
    see (read) where some members are taking that step and crossing the line, to
    fix the unit themselves. I've read where some are replacing the Burners,
    while others are replacing the HDD, etc. Even the next platue.. where you
    have a perfectly working unit, with no faults (other than cheapism) but the
    user is replacing the HDD, gaining exta mileage out of the set limit.. ie,
    80g hdd unit vs. hacked add-on 200g hdd.

    People are turning back to the old practice of Amature Radio and Eletronics
    hobbiest. I like this "old" phrase. It remind me of the Popular Machanics
    days. There was also the Popular Electronics, too. I refer to both.

    -vhelp 4088

  11. Originally Posted by TheFamilyMan
    Sidebar comment to this topic: What a sad state our comsumer driven culture has become when an acceptable consumer electronics component's MTF is two years or less and it's more ecomonical to replace than repair. Consider all the energy, resources and toxic waste associated with the production and disposal of that component and you'll see what I'm getting at here.
    Absolutely, my Panasonic EMR-E55 lasted about a year and a half. Frankly, if I am going to pay $225 for something - I expect it to last longer than that. My DVD recorder was used only about 4 hours a week (at most) for recording only. Playback was always done on my normal DVD player. to reduce wear and tear. Its shameful how name brands are willing tarnish their name by producing shody product; needless to say Panasonic is now on the top of my s-list. Unfortunately, the production of digital shoddy product appears to be getting worse and therefore disposal and energy issues are only going to get worse in this digital age.

  12. Panasonic quality just isn't what it used to be. They used to make about the most reliable products on the market for the price. Now everything Panasonic I open is cheap garbage.

  13. Originally Posted by tacitus

    Absolutely, my Panasonic EMR-E55 lasted about a year and a half. Frankly, if I am going to pay $225 for something - I expect it to last longer than that.
    you're absolutely right, but then, how are they supposed to make their billions if that would last forever ?

    that's why I buy cheap crap these days, they broke anyway, they even last longer and have more features, and when they broke, I still have the other half of money to spend again, but now on something newer and maybe more features on it. this way, the some money last more....


  14. Banned
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    Originally Posted by lenti_75

    that's why I buy cheap crap these days, they broke anyway, they even last longer and have more features, and when they broke, I still have the other half of money to spend again, but now on something newer and maybe more features on it.
    You are a consumer. Those buying name brands for name brands sake are simply wasting money or need an ego boost. But it's a Pioneer . . .

    It kind of harkens back to the days on the playground when some kids had to have the latest trend in footware from a particularly overpriced manufacturer otherwise they could no longer be considered cool. We wore keds and were happy, hip, and cool with the fact that we had shoes to wear.

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    To everyone who replied, thanks for your input. I am a little surprised that this post wasn’t of interest to more people. Good to know that a lifespan under two years apparently isn’t typical. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be thinking about DVD recorders anymore.

    I suspected that getting my DVD recorder fixed by a professional is probably not cost effective, but I had to know what others thought. I don’t know anyone who is the equivalent of a “shade tree mechanic” for electronic devices. There is a repair shop recommended by Panasonic in town that charges $30 for an estimate and will apply it towards labor for repairs. I may go see them anyway because I really like this model, and there are few good alternatives in my price range among currently available DVD recorders. Buying a reconditioned unit online is another option, but I’ve never done that before, and I am a little leery of it.

    I agree that tossing my dead recorder in a landfill it is practically a crime, but while I can replace a component in a desktop PC, testing for faulty circuits is not a skill I possess. Then there is the problem of obtaining appropriate replacement parts …

    If I had to guess what went awry, I’d say something went wrong with the power supply. We’ll see what the guy at the repair shop says if I go to see him. He seemed to already have an idea of what the problem was when I talked to him.

    One reason I bought a Panasonic in the first place was that the other I items I’ve had with their name on the box were long-lasting (electric fans, microwaves, TV’s, VCR’s.) I am sorry to find out that this is not true in anymore.

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    If the cost to repair is too expensive at the repair shop ask the guy behind the counter if he wants to buy the boat anchor from you. Even if he only gives you $20 bucks you now have $20 to spend towards a new one, have made a friend at the repair shop(we love your broken junk), and have saved the planet.

  17. If you believe it is a power supply problem and it is out of warranty, I would take the cover off and check the fuse on the power supply board. It is made with clear glass and just a visual inspection should tell you if it is blown.

    [edit]The rate of change of technology makes the mean time to obsolescence sometimes more important than mean time to failure. I bought my ES10 in 3/05, but 10/05 it had been replaced by the ES20, and in 3/06 the ES20 was replaced by the ES15 so three generations occurred in 12 months. I just saw a Samsung blu-ray machine at BestBuy last night. The movies were $25 but the playback was nice indeed.

  18. Lets see, 1 Ilo R04 lasted 1 yr and 1mo, Philips DVDR75 1yr4mos, 2nd and 3rd Ilo R04's both around 6mos, all of these saw heavy use, now my second DVDR75 is almost a year old as is my ES20 and both still work. So I haven't seen the 2 yr mark yet...No smokers, no extreme heat, and not a dirty enviroment, just component failure. At least for now, I would be happy to see 2yrs. Way I look at it is how much would I have spent buying dvds, I can tell you it would have been alot more, especially since I always buy extended warrenties and have been refunded all the purchase prices on the 4 recorders that didn't last.

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    trhouse wrote:

    If you believe it is a power supply problem and it is out of warranty, I would take the cover off and check the fuse on the power supply board. It is made with clear glass and just a visual inspection should tell you if it is blown.
    Thanks for the tip. I checked the fuse. It is like the ones in my car, but not exactly the same. It had a hair-thin wire down the center with a thicker bead in the middle. I couldn’t see any breaks or smoke on the glass tube, so I’m guessing the needed repair isn’t as simple as replacing a bad fuse. Well, it was worth a try!

    The reason why I think the problem could well be in the power supply is that nothing had power afterwards -- not the display panel, nor the DVD drive (DVD still inside from a timer recording!), and it wasn’t warm to the touch anymore after a little time had passed.

    trhouse wrote:

    The rate of change of technology makes the mean time to obsolescence sometimes more important than mean time to failure. I bought my ES10 in 3/05, but 10/05 it had been replaced by the ES20, and in 3/06 the ES20 was replaced by the ES15 so three generations occurred in 12 months. I just saw a Samsung blu-ray machine at BestBuy last night. The movies were $25 but the playback was nice indeed.
    Good point, but not all of us can afford to be early adopters of new technology and replace our equipment once a year or more! I hope manufacturers will continue to see a reason to serve the needs of the rest of us.

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    Even if it's the power supply itself and not just a fuse, it still might be worth your while just to replace the power supply. They're relatively cheap.

  21. Most electronics these days have the power supply on the main circuit board. It's not something that can be taken out and replaced.

  22. The ES10 has a separate power supply with a connector to the main board. It is also true of the Polaroid DRM-2001, Pioneer DVR-531H, Panasonic ES30V and ES35V, JVC DR-M10S, Sony GX315. I actually cannot recall a dvd recorder which I have opened which did not have a separate supply. Some Lite-On's and Cyberhome's are really small so that might be true with them.

  23. Member
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    trhouse wrote:

    The ES10 has a separate power supply with a connector to the main board.
    That's what I thought I saw too.

    I am assuming that when trhouse said :

    "it still might be worth your while just to replace the power supply"
    he meant I should still take my recorder to the service center and let the technicians take care of this job for me!

    I have to ask, since there are so many serious do-it-yourselfers on this list, but this circuit board dosn't seem like something that Panasonic would readily sell to a layperson, and I am not sure how to handle that weird looking connector.

  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ROF
    Those buying name brands for name brands sake are simply wasting money or need an ego boost. But it's a Pioneer . . .
    Very far from the first time you've been completely wrong here, Rof. There were good reasons the Pioneer Elite lines earned a premiere reputation. (Whether they were worth the money or not is a separate argument.) And their DVRs just outclassed almost everything else I investigated, and I check this stuff out pretty thoroughly before forking over the green. Features, performance, quality of build -- that's the decider. Then again, maybe the results I find with my unit will steer me to another conclusion, six months from now. But I doubt it. Should that happen, I'll be forced to agree with the premise that consumer electronics really has gone to hell.

  25. Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    trhouse wrote:

    The ES10 has a separate power supply with a connector to the main board.
    That's what I thought I saw too.

    I am assuming that when trhouse said :

    "it still might be worth your while just to replace the power supply"
    he meant I should still take my recorder to the service center and let the technicians take care of this job for me!

    I have to ask, since there are so many serious do-it-yourselfers on this list, but this circuit board dosn't seem like something that Panasonic would readily sell to a layperson, and I am not sure how to handle that weird looking connector.
    Panasonic used to use IC protectors in their power supplies. I don't know if they still do or not. They look like a transistor, but work like a fuse. Look on the board for white print that says ICP#, it will have a pointer to the IC protector if they still use them. They aren't very expensive, about the price of a fuse.

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    Well i have a panasonic standalone recorder that is over 3 years going on 4 and it still works as good as the day i bought it, although i don't use it for a player, only for recording off tv, LD's and VHS but it has been used ALOT!!!

    Originally Posted by lenti_75
    from what I've read, if you get more than 2 yrs on it, that was a good one.

    I don't think there is anyone with a burner older than 2 yrs, and moderate use, not just a furniture.
    Actually, i still have my first cd burner that is 10 years old, memorex 2X and it still works and believe me, it was used HEAVILY for a few years!!

    Also i have pioneer dvd/ld combo player that is 9 years old and a pioneer dv dplayer that is close to that and they both work fine and they have both been used heavily over the years in a heavy smoking household.
    But i have always taken immaculate care of my electronics and it's true, they don't make ANYTHING like they used too
    Off Topic, i remember 20 years ago having a 77-78 olds delta88, boy that was a gas sucking titanic tank!! would drive over ANY car today and keep on going for years with barely a scratch

    They make everything throwaway nowadays!!

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    Originally Posted by samijubal
    Most electronics these days have the power supply on the main circuit board. It's not something that can be taken out and replaced.
    Which DVD Recorders do not have them as a separate component? Every one I have worked on has one.

  28. DVD recorders are the exception then. I said most electronics, not most DVD recorders.

  29. Here is a photo of the power supply in my ES10. The glass fuse is circled. It appears a fairly simple assembly with only a few screws and the connector to the main board.



    I would think if Panasonic did a repair, they would just swap out the power supply for another one. Tech time would not be much. Parts cost would depend on if they use a new part or a repaired one.

  30. I don't see any IC protectors in there. Did they quit using them?




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