Hi, Thanks for the forum and its help.
I purchased a Panasonic DMRES35V in 2006 and it played well until I tried to transfer an old favourite VHS casette over to DVD format this week. Initially I put a CD-RW disk in, which may have caused the problem, and then a DVD-R and then a DVD +R blank disk. I encountered a U88 error and tried to sort this out through the manual, what a joke. I then placed a new DVD-R disk into the machine and then accessed the DVD menue [for the last time it appeared] and was asked to 'format' the disk for recording. This failed and the end result was that I can no longer access the DVD drive, to record or play, and the DVD menu does not come up when DVD functions are selected from the hand controller. The only menu accessable is the VHS menu. The VHS drive works fine.
I have read a lot about drive failures in this model, DMRES35V, on this and other sites and am surprised that Panasonic continues to produce machines like the current DMREX47V I purchased, unaware of the DVD drive issues, which seems to have the same drive unit?
Anyway I came across an article in this forum which indicates that it might be the 'laser' which has failed in the DVD drive unit. Also one forum list on this site considered replacing the DVD drive with a PC DVD+/-RW drive in a similar JVC unit?
Can anyone help.
I am a retired electronics technician and could disassemble the DVD unit and make repairs/replace it if possibe.
A quote from Panasonic, Australia, was $352AUD to replace the DVD drive in the DMRES35V, and the new unit, the DMREZ47V, cost $425.
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Anyone with unidentified DVD drive problems in machines that have "been around for awhile" should make sure the laser lens is clean. Some people use the DVD disc with a small brush ("Laser Lens Cleaner") and others have had success with compressed air. Both w/o taking it apart.
If you can easily take it apart, try the compressed air trick since you'll have better access (I think).
Plan B is to fix or replace the drive, I guess!?
Start with resetting the recorder. Try pressing the power button on the unit for about 10 seconds. If that doesn't work, contact Panasonic and find out how to do a reset.
The universal reset for Pannys is (while unit is powered up) to hold down both CH up and CH down on the unit at the same time for at least 10 seconds. I guess it's worth a try. You didn't mention any grinding sound when it's trying to access the drive. If you had I would have suggested cleaning the spindle. A major problem with all Pannys.
Yes there is a grinding sound as if the drive is seeking. In hindsight it sounds like a dry bearing in a PC power supply fan. With the top of the box the top 'white' disk holder tries to spin but does not sustain. If somone could point me in the direction of a service manual with drawings and some advice on disassembling the drive I would have a look. Thanks for your suggestion on the oil. Regards, KH
Don't oil anything. Clean the spindle rubber, what the bottom side of the discs sits on, with a q-tip wet with alcohol.
Lumpy2-Here's a link to a post talking about spindle cleaning. Samijubal's correct, no oil needed. Every one of my Pannys have had to have the spindle cleaned at least once, even some that are less than a year old.
Just cleaned the spindle and top of the disk platen. The unit still runs up, beeps several times and comes up with NoRead. I took the cover off [with precaution] again and ran the unit up.
1. On turn on and after HELLO the 'laser' carrier comes to the center of the drive and bumps [making a beeping sound] against the stops several times, at this point the spindle motor gives a brief half turn.
2. Then the prosess repeats for a second time and the spindle motor gives a brief spin, 3 - 4 times but does not come up to speed.
After this I get the NoRead message.
Could the 'laser' be faulty?
I tried the up/down arros and came up with SETUP but cound not access any further as no TV connected to the unit at this time.
Thanks again for all your help.
A quick update. Used a piece of paper over the to of the drive, with lid off anf no disk, to 'see' if the laser was turning on. It is and shows 'red'.
When the problem first started I was in the middle of a disk recovery cycle, U88 error message.
I don't know why the spindle will not run up to speed but the motor works and is not sluggish - or dammaged.
Did you try cleaning the laser lens too?
Yes I did clean the laser lenz at the same time as the spindle.
I did notice that on my new Panasonic DMRZ47 unit the same 'beeping' noise occurs first when a disk is inserted and then the disk spins up to speed.
It could be that in pressing buttons as I did on the ES35V during the U88 error that I have upset its programing and although the laser carriage moves to the center of the disk seeking a 'start' signal it finds none because the spindle at this time crutial time in the start-up procedure is stationary. The spindle does spin however, 3 - 4 times, after the third or fourth time the laser seeks a signal from the disk.
This process is repeated twice regardless of whether a movie or recordable disk is inserted.
I have even tried putting the original DVD-R and DVD+R disks into the machine that I was using when the unit failed the first time with the U88 error thinking that somewhere in its memory the DVD drive and program is still wanting to complete the recovery cycle.
I have lifted the DVD drive out of the machine and checked capacitors on the supply and control board and they all look OK. No leads or cables look loose and all seem to be pluged in correctly.
With thanks again for your help.
That moving to the center and spinning 3-4 times in a cycle could be the unit doing a series of Performance Calibration tests, which happens every time a blank disc is inserted. It's determining the best power and speed for burning to that disc. It's apparently not finding what it needs, or the tests are failing for some reason, ???
Have you tried a Verbatim or Taiyo Yuden disc, arguably the best two disc makers today, just to make sure it's not disc related?
Have you tried resetting the recorder like jjeff said? If a reset doesn't work, the laser is probably bad. The laser can still emit a beam when they won't read a disc. It will spin to full speed to calibrate. Those few spins are the recorder trying to read the disc and not doing it.
Hi, Jeff, Wabjxo and Sami
Thanks to you all for your time and replies.
I have tried the 10-second power button and the channel up/down button reset.
At present pushing the up/down channel buttons at the same time brings me to a ‘SETUP’ menu, but without a TV connected I do not know what this really means.
If the laser is dead how difficult is it to replace one. I have a Dick Smith DVD reader, with a faulty power supply, with a similar looking laser diode, although this one is blue it lights up as a ‘red’ laser?
When the problem first started, after the U88 message, I did notice, after pushing some buttons on the front panel, another message -'INIT"? At this point, not being able to go any further, I just turned the unit off. Have I upset the default programming of the control board?
With thanks again for you time and help.
PS: There is a similar unit for sale on eBay, Australia, and might consider buying this one and using the old one for spares.
There's always a way to do a reset. If neither of those options resets the recorder, I'd contact Panasonic and see how to do it.
Panasonic USA and I would think other places are quite specific on the burner that will work. From what I've read you would basically need the same year '06 in your case, donor unit. Even if it's a Panasonic different years will not work to swap the whole the burner unit. Now I suppose parts within the burner might be common, but not the whole unit.
Hi, JJeff, Sami,
Have sent a request to Panasonic USA. Their parts list does not have a DVD drive? Will let you know what results. The ES35V on eBay has passed the $150 mark and not likely to be an option. I have noticed that on the new DVD redorder, DMREZ47V there are no buttons on the face plate, only an eject/load button for each drive?
You need to contact Panasonic and find out how to do a reset. I've had to reset recorders a dozen times over the years. It may or may not work, but, it's definitely the place to start.
Hi, JJeff, Sami
Apologies for lack of response. AANET Email is down so don't even know if Panasonic have replied as yet. I cannot even log onto my members area to read WEB mail? The old PC with this thread died last night and I have spent most of today building a new unit and rescuing the old hard drive. The failure was a motherboard address buss to RAM issue which and had been a problem from the start of the unit. Anyway hope to have Email fixed soon.
Hoping your back online now Lumpy. I have the same exact problem, did you ever find a parts list or fix for this?
Yes, I did find a parts list for the USA https://www.pstc.panasonic.com/default.asp
However it does not list the DVD drive, something I picked up on on other posts on this model. A local repairer could not obtain the DVD drive and the Panasonic repairer asked $350 to 'fix' the unit. We now use it as a PAL TV box and VHS player.
A controler board at $450 is dearer than buying a new unit, which we did, before we found out that a lot of people have reported DVD drive problems with this 'type' - series of recorder.
As yet no reply from Panasinic, and I don't think that we will ever get one.
Yeah I found that it is 130 dollars to repair, no matter what is wrong with it. They are sending me a label to send it in. I'm going to research other combo units and see if I can find a better one for the price. Let me know if you found a better "bang for the buck" model that actually lasts.
Just googled and found this thread. I was wondering how the Topic Starter is going with his problem. My DVD Recorder (same model) has just encountered the same problem and i'm searching for a solution.
I have cleaned the laser and spindle already but I have also been unable to find the reset code.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Here's a link to someone's experience with swapping DVD Drives on 2006 Panasonic models ... it's the next thing to try after cleaning the Spindle and Lens doesn't fix the problem http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=15088527 However, obtaining replacement parts can be extremely expensive.
nb. for 2006 Models, the DVD Drive has been paired with the Digital PCB ... they are sold as a single "module" and must be replaced as such (otherwise the alignment data in the Digital PCB needs to be changed to match a specific DVD Drive and only Panasonic can do that).
It isn't practical to change components like the laser diode by itself... it also sounds dangerous.
Oops. I misread DigaDo's AVSforum post. It seems that DigaDo did have success at swapping DVD drives between different 2006 models while retaining the machine's original Digital PCB even though Panasonic says that the Drive and the Digital PCB are to be replaced together. (On the other hand, he had no luck when he tried to swap Digital PCBs between different 2006 models)
Also, he says later in the Post that there may be (or were) "second parties" who offer replacement OEM laser assemblies but he didn't know who they were ... still, it sounds like a dangerous thing to do unless you know something about lasers.
I contacted a couple of Spare Parts websites. One couldn't supply the Drive for my particular model while the other quoted $300 AUD and a 7 day wait while they order the part from Panasonic. I suspect that Panasonic may provide their Service Agents with refurbished Drives rather than make New ones for outdated models.
I would suggest contacting DigaDo directly via AVS pm system. He is probably the most knowledgeable DIY Panasonic user you'll find anywhere on the web, and he is very generous with his knowledge. He has many related posts spread all over AVS, he will probably respond to a PM by directing you to the most useful threads.
The ridiculous $300 burner cost quoted by parts dealers is the average price charged by all recorder mfrs, not just Panasonic. These machines are like cars, they're worth much more as parts than complete units. Also, Panasonic made changes here and there during the life of various model series, it is easier and cheaper for them to bundle the drive with the PCB to simplify retail servicing but it may not be strictly necessary for DIY. DigaDo generally seeks out similar second-hand recorders and cannibalizes the drives, it ends up being much cheaper. You might check with the primary Panasonic office in Australia, and see if they can match the special flat-fee repair service Panasonic offers in USA for out-of-warranty repairs. It costs $130US, inclusive of repair parts and return shipping. This flat-fee system is very reasonable and the best possible service option for Panasonics. You may need to be persistent, even in the USA Panasonic tries to keep the existence of this repair service quiet unless customers really push them.
Hi Oresetto. Thanks for the advice. Actually my Posts were just to provide more information to others who wanted to try a DIY solution. DigaDo's AVS posts were the most relevant/helpful ones that I've found so far. Thanks also to JJeff for posting a link to instructions on how to do "Spindle cleaning".
I just downloaded a Service Manual from one of the Google Sponsor links when you search for "Panasonic DMR-E... Service Manual". To get into Service Mode, first put the machine in STANDBY mode, then press the buttons ChUp OPEN/CLOSE and REC all at the same time on the front panel (Ch Up is hidden inside the AV3 input flap). Eventually the front panel display will show "SERV" (after its "HELLO" messages). Anyway, pressing  then  on the Remote Control tells me that I have an Error Code of "04" which is a Digital PCB or Communication Error (whereas an Error code of "02" means a "Defect of RAM drive"). (To exit from Service Mode, press  then  which should get you back to "SERV" and then POWER-OFF the machine).
I was hoping for a Defective RAM Drive Error Code because I could have tried replacing it with a RAM Drive from another (cheaper) 2006 model (DigaDo said that he had success with putting ES35V RAM drives into his ES15 machine). Unfortunately, he didn't have much success installing a Digital PCB from a different model even though they all have the same part number, VEP79132). So I may have to look specifically for a machine that's the same model as mine.
I also tried Resetting the machine back to its Factory settings (putting it into TEST mode) but it didn't help. Also, TEST mode disabled my Remote Control (which is why I'm reluctant to Post the button sequence to get into TEST mode) but I was able to reactivate the Remote Control by resetting the Code in the Remote Control back to DVD1 (see User's Manual)
Just a quick update on my DIY repair. I decided to order the part (RAM drive with Digital PCB) from the Panasonic Spare Parts Agent (Australia) and fit it myself. I had about 90 programs on the HDD that I wanted to keep/copy off, so I thought it was better to fix it rather than get another secondhand machine (I bought mine from Ebay so I guess I can't complain too much about it breaking down). Anyway, Panasonic wanted me to send my defective part back before they would send me a Refurbished part.
The Service Manual was helpful in showing me which screws to remove and which ribbon cables to pull off. It also warned me to remove the Heatsink from the Digital PCB since the Heatsink isn't supplied with the Replacement Part. But it didn't tell me that the PCB Board actually "plugs in" to the thing that it sits on. So I had "some fun" figuring that one out when I tried to fit the new part. I finally powered up and the machine powered itself down after it told me to WAIT. I pressed STANDBY again, it said "HELLO" and now everything works ... however, I had to recheck all my SETTINGs (some were changed to weird values). So far so good.
I got the same U88 code on my Panasonic DMR--ES15. Read through the queries and tried the power buttton on for 10 seconds. It went 'bye' and I turned it back on the got the code again. Coincidentally my DMR-EZ48V got the same code two weeks ago and the authorised Panasonic repair shop found a faulty 'DVD-RAM Drive assembly. Part No. RFKNES15GN. None available in Australia.....too old. I'm off to the appliance store tomorrow to get a new machine with all the bells and whistles.