Old 01-06-2009   #1
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DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

My Panasonic combo VJS/DVD DMR ES V46 has stopped reading any type of new or used DVDs. It is about two years old.

The failure started during a recording of a DVD when it had an error U88 and stopped, after which it tried to reset. Now the VHS part is working but it cannot read any DVD (DVD_R, DVD RAM, commercial DVDs, cleaning DVDs) and after closing the DVD drive with or without DVD gives the same message cannot read- check DVD.

Cleaning does not help. Is it possible to repair it, and is it worth repairing it or do I have to look for a new one?
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Old 01-06-2009   #2
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorkovic View Post
My Panasonic combo VJS/DVD DMR ES V46 has stopped reading any type of new or used DVDs. It is about two years old.

The failure started during a recording of a DVD when it had an error U88 and stopped, after which it tried to reset. Now the VHS part is working but it cannot read any DVD (DVD_R, DVD RAM, commercial DVDs, cleaning DVDs) and after closing the DVD drive with or without DVD gives the same message cannot read- check DVD.

Cleaning does not help. Is it possible to repair it, and is it worth repairing it or do I have to look for a new one?
If the DVD Drive makes "grinding" or "scrubbing" noises and fails during read, write or finalizing operations the disc is slipping on the rubber hub. Cleaning the DVD Drive rubber hub is the usual corrective for these problems.

The U88 error comes when there are other reading problem(s) with a disc in the machine. There might be any number of causes for these errors, a dirty or failed lens/laser assembly, a disturbance to one or more of the ribbon cables from the DVD Drive to the Digital PCB, or a problem with the Digital PCB itself. The U88 error may be accompanied with "clunking" or "chugging" noises as the DVD Drive attempts to read the disc. You mentioned "cleaning." Did that a cleaning include the DVD Drive lens? A gentle lens cleaning might restore functionality.

The U61 error is similar to the U88 error but occurs when there is no disc in the machine. The cause for these errors may be the same as for the U88 error.

Rubber hub and lens cleaning is addressed in this thread:

http://club.cdfreaks.com/f106/fixing...t-help-210507/

If the lens/laser assembly has failed or there is a problem with the Digital PCB then the Panasonic-approved procedure in 2006 models like your DMR-ES46V is replacement of the DVD Drive and the Digital PCB together as a "module." That module is described as the RFKNES46VP RAM/DIGITAL PCB MODULE, $621.69 for the parts alone through a local repair shop.

Panasonic offers a $130 flat-rate repair through their corporate Panasonic Digital Service Center in Elk Grove Village Illinois. That $130 flat-rate includes all the parts and labor (and return shipping) necessary to return a Panasonic to new functional condition. See this post:

http://club.cdfreaks.com/f106/panaso...8/#post2111599

One must decide if it is cost effective to repair or replace the DMR-ES46V. (I have a DMR-ES46V that is "dead." I have considered the $130 flat-rate repair for this outstanding product. I currently have other Panasonics that are serving me well so the DMR-ES46V may not be repaired.)

If considering replacement rather than repair the decision becomes a matter of utilization priorities. The Panasonic EZ series (2007 and newer) have well documented bugs and design flaws that were not present in the DMR-ES46V. There are some workarounds for use with EZ series machines mentioned in other CD Freaks threads and at the AVS Forum.

If dubbing videotapes to DVD is a priority then the $130 flat-rate repair is the best option as the EZ series combo recorders do not have the FUNCTIONS menu-initiated copying features that made the DMR-ES46V, DMR-ES35V, DMR-ES45V and DMR-ES30V such outstanding dubbing/copying workhorses. The EZ series combo recorders are limited to front panel control for internal dubbing/copying that yields unsatisfactory results, and headaches for the user, as detailed elsewhere. See this post:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post16245817

Last edited by DigaDo; 01-06-2009 at 19:49.
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Old 01-06-2009   #3
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

Thank you for your reply. I have read your comments on other threads and I was pretty happy that you answered.

The DVD does make grinding noises when trying to read. I am hesitant to clean the spindle because I have two left hands and could do more bad than good but I will try.

The U88 error happened during when recording, there were lots of noises, and the recording stopped. What wories me is that I have never seen any reported case where an U88 was followed by recovery for any panasonic model, even after cleaning. Has anybody been successfull ever in that?

I had no U61 error and the U88 error showed only once.

Repairing for the flat rate seems interesting, what worries me about this model which I otherwise like is the lack of reliability. Are you aware if an extended warranty is an option after the repair?

Thanks again.
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Old 01-06-2009   #4
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

The easiest test for a dirty spindle is apply a small amount of saliva to your index finger. Then lightly coat the bottom inner clear part of your DVD(only the clear inner part ~1/2" out from the center). Immediately insert the disc in your machine and try recording or editing. Your error should go away if disc slippage was causing your problem. If you still get the error I'd suspect something else.
AFA repairing your machine, the ES-46v is one of the best combos Panasonic made(my personal favorite is the ES-30v but it lacks the upconverting found on the ES-46v). It's well worth getting fixed, even for $130. You could spend upwards of $300 for a EZ-48v(Panasonics current combo) and still not have the quality of the ES-46v.
Other than the occasional spindle cleaning the ES-46v has proven to be very reliable.
For newer machines (after the one year warranty has expired) Panasonic will send you a letter asking if you want to extend your warranty, for a fee. I doubt they offer the warranty for older recorders like the '06 ES-46v but I'm not positive. Digado has sent machines into Panasonic, he probably knows.
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Old 01-06-2009   #5
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorkovic View Post
Thank you for your reply. I have read your comments on other threads and I was pretty happy that you answered.

The DVD does make grinding noises when trying to read. I am hesitant to clean the spindle because I have two left hands and could do more bad than good but I will try.

The U88 error happened during when recording, there were lots of noises, and the recording stopped. What wories me is that I have never seen any reported case where an U88 was followed by recovery for any panasonic model, even after cleaning. Has anybody been successfull ever in that?

I had no U61 error and the U88 error showed only once.

Repairing for the flat rate seems interesting, what worries me about this model which I otherwise like is the lack of reliability. Are you aware if an extended warranty is an option after the repair?

Thanks again.
Concerning reliability, three of my 2006 DMR-ES35V models (non HDMI versions of the DMR-ES46V) have accumulated more than 3,000 recording hours per machine. My two similar 2005 DMR-ES30V models have accumulated around 4,400 and 3,000 recording hours, respectively. One of my 2006 DMR-ES15 models has also accumulated more than 3,000 recording hours. I consider my ES series Panasonics to be problem free and very reliable. My five EZ series machines are plagued with bugs and design flaws uncorrected by firmware updates. The best that may be said of my EZ series machines is that they are only somewhat reliable. Important recordings are never solely entrusted to EZ series Panasonics. Important recordings are entrusted to ES series Panasonics or my Philips and Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders.

Recently I brought a non-functional U61 error DMR-ES35V, purchased as an "as-is parts machine," back to full functionality but only after swapping parts, first the Digital PCB and then the DVD Drive. The various efforts to rehabilitate that machine are found in a series of AVS Forum posts, beginning in November 2008 and concluding with a May 25 2009 post. That series of posts begins with this post and continues to the end of that thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post15092330

"Grinding" or "scrubbing" noises usually indicates that cleaning is necessary. "Clunking" or "chugging" often indicates that parts replacement is necessary.

The rubber hub and lens cleaning should take fifteen minutes with a DMR-ES46V. Photos and more detailed advice are found in other threads in this and the AVS Forum. The main cautions are:

1. The machine must be disconneced from the power source.

2. Do not drop the DVD Drive lid screws into the machine. Dropped screws must be retrieved. Do not use a magnatized tool to retrieve dropped screws. (I use a little gripper tool to start threading screws or screw removal. That tool is pictured in one of my May 18 2009 posts at the AVS Forum.)

3. Be gentle when cleaning the lens. The lens suspension mechanism is easily damaged.

4. Be sure to position the roller/slider to the left rear corner of the disc tray before securing the DVD Drive lid.

5. Be sure the DVD Drive lid is fully seated before securing the DVD Drive lid. The screws go in the holes closest to the corners of the DVD Drive lid, not the holes toward the middle.

Some other posters have mentioned extended service contracts through Panasonic. My only personal experience with Panasonic's Illinois Service Center was a warranty repair in 2006 for my first DMR-ES30V. Perhaps Panasonic did not offer an extended warranty/service contract on that machine after accessing the Service Mode that indicated the number of laser use hours that machine had accumulated in just eleven months of service.

With out of warranty Panasonics I service/repair my own machines. My dead DMR-ES46V model's problems must wait for future attention. That machine's power supply fuse is good and the electrolytic capacitors have no obvious defects.
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Old 02-06-2009   #6
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

While this is slightly embarassing I am making this update because it might show a typical experience. I opened the unit, I hoped to get access to the hub but instead I had access to the DVD drive, I was not able to disasemble it, in the process leaving one of the screws inside and one of the little flat cables disconnected. I put the unit back together and I am in the process of sending it to the repair center which I contacted already. The DVD laser lens cleaner which did not work was from Radio Schack. I did try to use a DVD humidified with liquid from a solutiom of DVD cleaner, it did not work.
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Old 02-06-2009   #7
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorkovic View Post
While this is slightly embarassing I am making this update because it might show a typical experience. I opened the unit, I hoped to get access to the hub but instead I had access to the DVD drive, I was not able to disasemble it, in the process leaving one of the screws inside and one of the little flat cables disconnected. I put the unit back together and I am in the process of sending it to the repair center which I contacted already. The DVD laser lens cleaner which did not work was from Radio Schack. I did try to use a DVD humidified with liquid from a solutiom of DVD cleaner, it did not work.
Your DMR-ES46V disassembly went too far. The rubber hub and lens cleaning requires removal of the DVD Drive lid. The DVD Drive itself should not be removed from its platform and the DVD Drive ribbon cables to the Digital PCB should not be disturbed.

The disassembly needs to go no further than opening the DVD Drive lid, as seen in the first photo of a DVD Drive in a DMR-ES15. Notice the rubber hub atop the spindle, the laser lens assembly that runs along the rods and the roller/slider correctly positioned to the far left at the rear of the disc tray.

The wayward screw must be retrieved. I use a small gripper tool, as seen in the second photo, for small part retrieval or to start threading a screw or final screw removal.

Reconnect the ribbon cable(s) to their respective connectors, as seen in the third photo, reposition the black ribbon cable shield, as seen in the fourth photo, and secure the DVD Drive to the platform it shares with the Digital PCB, as seen in the second photo. (Your DMR-ES46V will also have a ribbon cable from the Digital PCB to the HDMI card, as seen in the fifth photo.)

Then go back and follow the earlier instructions for cleaning the lens and rubber hub, position the roller/slider to the far left and secure the DVD Drive lid.

If the cleaning does not restore your machine to functionality then, by all means, send it to Elk Grove Village Illinois for the flat-rate repair.
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Last edited by DigaDo; 02-06-2009 at 23:46. Reason: adding fifth photo
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Old 03-06-2009   #8
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

Thank you DigaDo for your kindness. Your pictures did help even though I have to say that it was difficult to figure out the directions from them. Iwas able to do the cleaning, the lid is the top of the disk drive, held in place by four screws. I wish I could tell this was the happy ending, but what happens now is that after the tray opens to accept the DVD it cannot close. One possible reason could be if putting back the unit did not leave it in a perfectly plane state. I will ship the unit to the repair shop, I hope they will accept it.
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Old 03-06-2009   #9
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Re: DMR ES V46 cannot read after u88

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. . . Your pictures did help even though I have to say that it was difficult to figure out the directions from them. I wish I could tell this was the happy ending, but what happens now is that after the tray opens to accept the DVD it cannot close. One possible reason could be if putting back the unit did not leave it in a perfectly plane state.
The original directions for the Saint Baz lens and rubber hub cleaning procedure are found in the first post in the following thread:

http://club.cdfreaks.com/f106/fixing...t-help-210507/

Later posts in that thread provide additional advice, cautions, photos or links to other posts that have photos.

Your DMR-ES46V model's operational problems may have come about if the ribbon cables were damaged or incorrectly reseated in their connectors, the DVD Drive roller/slider was not correctly positioned to the far left corner at the rear of the disc tray, the disc tray was disturbed/extended while the DVD Drive lid was open or the drive lid was not correctly seated and secured.

I've provided detailed instructions and photos for disc tray reinstallation/realignment in this post and the post that follows it at the AVS Forum:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post15745506

My photos may appear somewhat awkward as I'm doing things with my left hand. I am right-handed. It is necessary to use the right hand to operate my camera.

Last edited by DigaDo; 03-06-2009 at 20:43.
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