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  1. Member
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    My panasonic es15 quit formatting dvdr disks but would format dvdrw's.

    Then 6 months later quit formatting dvdrw disks.

    I have reinstalled the firmware to no avail.

    It plays and records fine on disks already formatted so I have held off on buying a lens cleaner cause I might just switch to a tv card based recording system.

    Why would it play and record fine but not format?
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    A "lens cleaner" would probably just make the problem worse.
    Explained at http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/showthread.php/clean-dvd-cd-423.html

    I've never had to "format" a DVD-R or DVD+R.
    At most, I sometimes have to "erase" a DVD-RW or DVD+RW, but that's it.

    Sometimes erasing works poorly only DVD+RW in DVD recorders. DVD-RW don't seem to have much issue here.
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  3. Member
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    +R's and -RWs need to be formatted before first use, after that -RWs can either be reformatted to erase everything or you can simply delete each title. You'd never reformat a +R disc(in fact I don't think it's even a option since it's not reusable). Panasonics are more friendly to - discs but of course will write to everything.
    Does you ES-15 make abnormally loud grinding noises when formatting or finalizing discs? If so you probably need to clean the spindle, the spindle is a area that cleaning discs don't clean.
    If you see fine circular scratches on the innermost clear part of a disc(it should be crystal clear) it's a sign the spindle needs to be cleaned.
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  4. Member
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    Ever since I owned his unit, when you insert a blank dvdr disk it says something like "you have inserted a disk which needs formatting, do you wish to format now." I find it hard to believe that any dvd recorder would record on a blank disc without formatting first.

    I haven't heard any abnormal noises when trying to format...there is a little grinding sound but that has always been there...maybe it has just gotten to the point where it causes failure. I don't see any abnormal marks on the discs.
    I read about cleaning the spindle but it appeared that you have to disassemble the unit and it can be a problem if you don't assemble it back perfectly...it could stop working entirely. So I held off cleaning the spindle.
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  5. Member
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    Yes their is a possibility if you don't get the cover to the drive back on correctly it won't work at all. It happened the first time I cleaned the spindle on my ES-30v and I had 15 minutes of panic before I was able to figure out what was wrong.
    If you're afraid of taking the cover off you can just do what I do to one of my ES-15's. It's buried under a maze of wires and other equipment so I can't get the cover off without a considerable amount of work. On this DVDR I use the "spit" method. If I notice the grinding getting louder than normal I eject the disc and moisten my index finger with saliva. I then rub my finger gently around the clear bottom center part of the DVD, ONLY the clear lower center part. I then immediately insert the disc in the drive and close the drive. 100%(for me) of the time this quiets the drive and fixes my problems. You shouldn't do this if you've recently eaten or drank anything, you want the saliva to be as clean as possible. I've tried water but it doesn't work as well and I wouldn't really suggest any solvent be applied to your DVDs.
    I've been doing this occasionally (~once/month) to one ES-15 with no negative effects.
    You must use +R discs? They always need to be formatting but -R's never do, at least in Panasonic DVDRs.
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  6. Member
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    Thank you very much jeff.

    Yes I always use dvd+r and dvd +rw disks. I have been doing it for many years. I forgot why I was using these but I made a mental note to always use the +r media. I think it had to do with i use blank discs on my panasonic and my computer and one device would only write to or read +r disks. Basically I used them for compatibility between all devices.

    Now that I know that dvd -r disks don't need formatting, I will just use those to record on and that should solve the problem. (assuming they will finalize)

    After posting this, i realized that about the same time my rw disks stopped formatting, other dvdr discs would not finalize, so there is a problem with the dirty spindle. I will try the spit method you used.

    I don't mind taking the unit apart and cleaning the spindle but if i can't get it back together i guess i will have to send it to panasonic for repair.

    thanks again and i will update on the success
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  7. Member
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    You could have your ES-15 repaired but personally I might go the referb route. Panasonic would probably just want to replace your DVD drive which retails for something ridiculous like $300, plus labor.
    WGBD's sells the ES-15 for $72 http://www.wegotbetterdeals.com/dvd-players-recorders-dvd-recorder-c-23_260.html or if you don't need the tuner a EA-18 for $115 may be a better deal. The EA-18 is a '08/'09 model compared to your ES-15 which is '06. Pannys are all compatible, that is a newer Panny will finalize discs recorded on a older Panny and visa versa.
    Here's a link to a great thread by DigaDo which has photos to help your cleaning. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1055071&highlight=spindle
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  8. Member
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    Ok, I cleaned the spindle. It was an easy process however I had trouble getting the dvd tray to open. The top of the tray was hitting the unit frame and I assumed the tray was not down properly. After taking the tray out and studying how everything connected I re-assembled and discovered I did not push the dvd case top down far enough and that was the problem.

    After cleaning, dvd's that were not recognizable would play again.

    I have had mixed results on formatting.

    Two memorex dvdrw's that would not format earlier would finally format. However, 4 brand new dvdrw's from the same batch will not format.

    Sometimes it goes trought the process and says "disk formatted successfuly" then it jumps back to saying "disk is unformatted".

    Other disks will fail within a few seconds of formatting.

    Any advice?
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  9. Member
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    Maybe it's the Memorex discs.

    I have a DMR-ES10. Verbatim makes the most reliable DVD-RW that I have tried with it. Office Depot DVD-RW 4X is nearly as good. Sony and Memorex had a significantly higher failure rate.
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  10. Member
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    I agree, try some different DVDs other than Memorex before you try much more. Also note any of your regular R discs that may have failed during recording or finalizing (due to spindle slippage) may be permanently damaged and unfinalizable.
    I actually have had good luck with several Sony 2x -RWs purchased years ago, they were in orange jewel cases and not a spindle.
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