DMR-ES46V Freezes During Simultaneous Recording and Playback

I have a Panasonic DMR-ES46V (same as a DMR-ES45V but manufactured for Sam’s Club) which has been freezing up on me ever since I got it new a year or so ago. The freezes always occur either while I am playing back a program that is still recording (I believe this may be called “Trailing Playback”) or while playing back one program in DVR mode while another is still recording in DVR mode. The problem never occurs if I am recording one program in VHS mode and playing back another in DVR mode (or vice versa).

Also, the problem is quite predictable. It always only happens while I am manipulating the playback in some form (fast forward, reverse, pause, etc.). I can pretty much guarantee that it will occur eventually if I take those actions during the recording and playback situations I described.

I am always using Panasonic DVD-RAM discs (the recommended blanks for use with this recorder) and the problem has occurred with numerous different Panasonic blanks purchased at many different times. For that reason, I don’t suspect that the problem is caused by a bad batch of blank discs.

Also, once the problem occurs, the device will stop recording (and playing back as well) and stay frozen until I power it down and back up. The minimum amount of time for one of these “resets” is almost always 3-4 minutes (or more) to cycle through the power down and up sequence and during that time, no recording is taking place. For that reason, the problem is quite frustrating since it has caused loss of recording of at least several minutes during many important programs.

I have contacted Panasonic but they had no suggestions. I did download the latest level of firmware for my recorder from their site but my machine said it was already at that firmware level when I tried to install it.

Finally, I noticed another thread on this forum regarding what seems to be the identical problem but on a Panasonic DMR-ES15 (“DMR-ES15 Freezes During Trailing Playback”). I don’t know how similar that model is to mine but the problem described seems identical to mine. There apparently was no resolution to that problem.

I am suspecting a design problem more than a defective unit at this point and since the device is out of warranty, I am about at the point of retiring it for use as a spare and replacing it. Before I do however, I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem and successfully resolved it or otherwise has any suggestions for something I haven’t tried. Needless to say, the experience is leaving a bad taste for me regarding Panasonic DVD Recorders.

Not sure if you’ve ever cleaned the spindle but a dirty spindle can cause disc slippage which can lead to some odd things. Haven’t heard about it having problems with “chase play” watching the beginning of something while recording the end, but chase play would probably require a secure grip on the disc, something that’s not possible if the spindle is dirty. A classic sign of a dirty spindle is a loud grinding noise when writing to disc. Note the room may need to be quite and you may need to be hear the unit to hear the grinding.

BTW the ES-15 ('06 model DVDR only) should have a similar drive as your '06 combo does.
Spindle cleaning takes less than 1/2 hr and many a Panasonic user has said it makes there old machines record like new. Here’s a link to the original thread talking about spindle cleaning.
http://club.cdfreaks.com/f106/fixing-your-panny-when-theres-fault-lens-cleaning-doesnt-help-210507/

Thanks for the feedback. It doesn’t sound to me as if a dirty spindle is the likely culprit since the problem has been occurring since the unit was brand new. It’s definitely worth a try however so I will give cleaning it a go.

I have a ES-15 and ES-25 (with upconversion) and have occasionally done chase play and haven’t had any lockups , but the majority of my chase playing is done on my Panasonic EH-55 with a HDD.
If you really like to chase play I’d suggest a DVDR w/HDD. Panasonic no longer imports a DVDR w/HDD so I’d probably suggest a Philips 3576 or Magnavox 2160 which both have HDDs. You won’t get quite the picture quality as with a Panasonic (mostly in speeds from 2+hr to 4hrs/disc) but with a HDD you can fit many more hours on the HDD so you can use a faster speed and still not fill it up. Good luck on your cleaning, I agree if it’s done it from the beginning it probably won’t be the spindle, but spindles should probably be cleaned once/year anyway.

I went ahead and carefully cleaned the spindle, lens and grip according to post you provided. The spindle didn‘t seem very dirty to me and as I had said previously, the problems had started very shortly after I had unpacked the recorder brand new from a sealed box. I did get some dirt off of the spindle nevertheless.

I gave it a good test work-out after the cleaning and had been just about to declare it fixed when it locked up again, just as it had all the previous times. So…it’s back to the drawing boards from that standpoint. It was still a good tip though and I appreciate it very much.

>>If you really like to chase play I’d suggest a DVDR w/HDD. Panasonic no longer imports a DVDR w/HDD so I’d probably suggest a Philips 3576 or Magnavox 2160 which both have HDDs.<<

I bought the Panasonic because I had a Panasonic VCR previously and which after 10 problem free years of service (after 10 years it finally snapped a belt which was no big deal) still had a terrific picture quality. Based on that, I decided to go with the Panasonic DVD recorder but that hasn’t been nearly as positive an experience as the Panasonic VCR was.

In addition to the lock-ups I described previously, I find the electronics in the DVD recorder very sluggish to respond to commands from the remote control and it’s also very easy to mis-program. In the 10 years with my Panny VCR, I probably lost less than 5 programs due to mis-programming. With the DVD recorder I have lost probably over a 100 programs in one year due to mis-programming.

Also, the clock doesn’t keep accurate time. It keeps gaining time and eventually reaches the point where it clips the ends off of timed recorded programs. I am constantly having to adjust the clock to keep it accurate. Finally, one big problem I will have in changing brands is that I have a large number of archived programs stored on DVD-RAM discs, which of course is a proprietary Panasonic format. I will have to keep a Panasonic device around in order to play those, which I am sure is part of their marketing strategy.