Fixing your Panny: When there's a fault and lens cleaning doesn't help

vbimport

#1

Before you sling your problematic Panasonic in the bin, you may want to try cleaning the spindle. This has worked wonders for me on my current recorders: I have a 3 year old DMR-E55 recorder (a fantastic old machine which gets used to play & record EVERY day) and an LG GSA-4082B multidrive in the computer, but this method has also fixed many malfunctioning Playstation 2’s, and DVD-ROMs, RAMs, CD drives, you name it.

The symptons of your Panasonic requiring a spindle clean are as follows. The machine may start to feel sluggish, particularly when formatting a DVD-RAM, performing erase functions, and may take longer to recognize discs. Then, you will start to get errors during recording and erasing, failed formatting, and the machine will not recognize some discs. Eventually it will be totally unpredictable and unreliable, and you may find that even after dismantling your machine and cleaning the lens most thoroughly, the problems persist. It may still play CDs and shop bought DVDs, those functions are the last to go. I will almost guarantee that this means a spindle clean is needed, although many would incorrectly blame these symptoms on a dirty lens, or even a defective laser, but the reality is, if the machine worked perfectly once, the laser is almost certainly fine. Panasonic use trusted circuitry to ensure a stable laser output.

The spindle is the little round platter inside your machine that your disc sits on. Discs go into the machine and there they are placed on the spindle, after which a circular magnetic grip clamps the disc into its final position, the disc being sandwiched firmly between the spindle and the grip. “Yeah, I know all this already” I can hear you shouting.

But the correct functioning of a spindle is absolutely CRITICAL in such a precise piece of technology as a DVD-RAM recorder, there is no room for error here as a dirty spindle will not spin the disc perfectly evenly - it can introduce wobble and jitter into the disc which even the cleanest lens will not cope with.

You do need to open up your machine to clean the spindle but it is well worth it if your machine is out of warranty. Take off the outer lid and locate the screws that hold the lid on the drive unit. There are usually four screws, two at either side. Remove those screws and that lid should now be loose, but don’t use brute force - on my unit you have to jiggle the drive lid around a little towards the back of the unit. It will lift off.

You should now see the spindle. Notice the black rubber on the outer part of the spindle. With isopropyl alcohol and cotton buds, gently but thoroughly clean this rubber. It can sometimes look surprisingly dirty - carpet fibre, dust and tar from heavy smoking are the usual suspects in my experience. Clean the whole spindle too, then go back and clean that rubber again until it doesn’t leave a mark on a fresh cotton bud dipped in alcohol. You may as well clean the lens while you are here. If you haven’t cleaned a lens before, dip a fresh cotton bud in alcohol and brush the lens very gently with it, the lens will move slightly as it is spring mounted so don’t be alarmed. Just be gentle. At this stage it’s a good idea to clean the grip which is set into the lid of the drive unit. Now put your machine back together.

You should have a Panasonic that’s as good as when you bought it. The first thing I would do is insert a DVD-RAM disc and format it. You should notice the speed difference, and of course, a successful format is a good sign in itself. My E55 first packed up 5 months after I bought it, and it didn’t occur to me to clean the spindle even though I’d been fixing PS2’s that way for a while. Well, it did, but it was under warranty and I got a replacement. That was nearly 3 years ago, and I have cleaned the spindle twice in that time, most recently yesterday, after a bit of erratic behaviour showed itself. But we are heavy smokers in this house - most people wouldn’t need to clean it that often

Of course there are preventative measures you can take, like not putting in dusty or fingerprinted discs, cleaning the innermost part of discs you put in, and NOT handling a disc with its hole, just use the outside edge.

Anyway, I hope this helps somebody. The posts on CDFREAKS have been helpful to me for many years, so I hope I can put something back. It would be good if you could let me know if you fix your recorder using this method, and if you have any questions just let me know.


#2

That’s a good tip SaintBaz, thanks a lot.


#3

My pleasure, Teesside, especially if it saves 'em going in the bin.


#4

SaintBaz - you da man! Your solution saved me $100 or more in repairs! For several days, I called those Panasonic knucleheads and had me turning the dvr on, off, pushing buttons and sent software to update the firmware (which didn’t even work, by the way) and never mentioned a word about the spindle being dirty! You’re a hero, man!


#5

Reminds me of the old problems related to cassette tape players. Deja Vu all over again.


#6

SaintBaz, you truly are a saint! I cant thank you enough, nor can my very good buddy with a “dead laser” in his Panny DMR E85 H recorder. YES, it worked! when looking at the little platter, it seemed really clean, but the tiny build up of dust and muck that was cleaned off was causing the very problem normally associated with a dying laser.

It works as new now, including DVD RAM disc’s Thank you again SaintBaz, I will remember this trick in all my CD/DVD drives in future. :clap: :clap: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#7

Cheers folks! I have been informed by a reliable source that the lens is very rarely the cause of the fault, and cleaning just the lens will rarely sort your problem out. It’s noteworthy that even small amounts of debris on the spindle can cause problems on Panasonic DVD-RAM units, and recording to a RAM, especially timeslipping, is the first thing to suffer, probably because of the very complex way the data is recorded.

I must stress again, this cleaning procedure will restore your recorder’s performance to the way it was when you first got it out of its box - faster recognition of discs, faster navigation and formatting, and trouble-free operation.

All the best,
SaintBaz.


#8

just out of curiosity, do you think this would work on any dvd players?? between me & lots of others(family & friends) i can say we’ve thrown away atleast 20 pieces of equipment. i will defineately try it on the next on that i run into and i know of 1 e55 that got put into a closet because of eratic recording & playback.thanks for the info
saint baz!!


#9

Yes, it should, on any DVD player. This has worked for many Playstation 2’s that developed a disc read error, and internal cd/dvd-writers - them being DVD pickups and all, the same rule applies. They all have spindles and the platters on those spindles get dirty faster than any lens, probably due to people holding their discs by the hole in the center. Always handle discs by their edges to prevent transfer of grease / debris.
So when somebody tells you get a lens cleaner or the laser is dead point them to this thread, because experience tells me that it is hardly ever true.

Good luck in the future!


#10

SaintBaz, I don’t believe it! Tried it first on a DMR-HS2 which hasn’t recognised any discs for 4 years - 30 mins later its writing to and deleting from -RAM discs as if new. 2 hours later dubbed and finalised a x16 -R disc again like new. Since then done the same with a problematic DMR-EH50 with the same results. Panasonic were quoting me approx. £180 each to replace the drives, with no guarantee that the problems would be sorted!
Without doubt the best information I’ve seen. Many thanks.


#11

Hello - this is my first post here - I have a DMR ES-25S that I bought in March of this year. It is now only able to read Taiho Yuden discs. I bought a spindle of Sony DVR-R discs and the recorder won’t read them any more - it used to. This is still on the warranty and I could bring it in for service. I also just last night bought a close out DMR ES-15S for $34.97 at Sears. I powered it up and slipped in a Sony disc and the recorder read it perfectly. Hopefully, all that the ES-25 will require is the cleaning procedure that you wrote so well of. If the warranty was out of date I’d do this myself.
John


#12

Hi does anybody have any experience of a panasonic dmr-hs2 the loading tray wont open. When you press the open button it reads “open” on the display and clicks and wirrs but then nothing. There is no disc in the recorder it also shows “read” on the display then “no disc” even though there is no disc in the tray Cheers Malcolm


#13

Hello,
Well I have tried to get my player to read disk’s again but with no luck. Well that’s not entirely true. I have always been able to use the lens cleaner and some older DVD movies even ones that I have burned. Trying to use a new DVD or rented ones I get the lovely read error and out pops the disk. I have a LG RC797T I have cleaned the lens and also the spindle as mentioned above in this post. Still no luck…What might the issue be if it still reads older disks but not newer ones? I priced a new deck at $137. half the cost of the player originally. Any thoughts would be great.
Thanks,
Micah


#14

great post saintbaz!

i’m in dire need of help on this unit. i was copying a show from the dvr hard drive to a dvd-r on monday night. the copy failed (perhaps because the disc was smudged). since then the machine is not reading DVDs at all. i receive error code U88 at times. it won’t even read a lens cleaner DVD.

i left it plugged off today to see if it will reset. that did nothing. i tried saintbaz’s tips today but to no avail. i cleaned the spindle of the damed thing until i could not see a spec of anything on it. unfortunately, the machine is in the same state it was before and still giving the U88 and not reading ANY DVD.

here are some pictures from today’s adventure - http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y72/andreebay/Panasonic%20DVR/

does anyone have any idea what i should try next? the thing worked fine last weekend.

shucks!<!-- / message -->


#15

Nice try, but it didn’t work for my DMR-E30. The symptoms are that it will play commercial DVDs just fine, but it will not recognize any recordable media (DVD-RAM or DVD-R), putting up that blasted “U11” error code.

Any other thoughts?


#16

Lens cleaning disc?


#17

won’t even read one in my case.


#18

Thank You so much for this valuable info, I’ll give it a shot & see how it goes. Have a great weekend!
Sincerely,
Jrsj


#19

SaintBaz, thank you for the information on my Panasonic DMR-EH75V, unfortunately it didn’t take care of the problem. The spindle was dirty & did clean up nicely. When you open or close the DVD tray it says reading but know description pops up; it use to say DVD. If you toggle through the drive selects, you see SD card, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” /><st1:Street w:st=“on”><st1:address w:st=“on”>HHD Hard Drive</st1:address></st1:Street>, VHS Cassette, & use to be DVD. When you close the DVD bay with or without DVD inserted, it says reading & making the normal sound of the drive, but displays Diga functions says “Incompatible Disc”. In the menu for DVD, you have selections for schedule, VCR plus+, advance copy, setup, & use to be disk or DVD management, there’s just a blank spot now! Let alone the U61 error code, I may have received a U88, it flashed so fast I really couldn’t tell. Again my machine works beautifully except for the high speed burner which is very important. I’m wondering if I’m to the point where I should consult the service center in <st1:place w:st=“on”><st1:City w:st=“on”>Elk Grove Village</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st=“on”>IL</st1:State></st1:place>. Or possibly keep searching the forum for a fix. Again, thank you so much for any information on this unfortunate situation.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /><o:p></o:p>
Take care,<o:p></o:p>
Jrsj:(<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>


#20

[QUOTE=Jrsj;2042598]SaintBaz, thank you for the information on my Panasonic DMR-EH75V, unfortunately it didn’t take care of the problem. The spindle was dirty & did clean up nicely. When you open or close the DVD tray it says reading but know description pops up; it use to say DVD. If you toggle through the drive selects, you see SD card, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” /><st1:Street w:st=“on”><st1:address w:st=“on”>HHD Hard Drive</st1:address></st1:Street>, VHS Cassette, & use to be DVD. When you close the DVD bay with or without DVD inserted, it says reading & making the normal sound of the drive, but displays Diga functions says “Incompatible Disc”. In the menu for DVD, you have selections for schedule, VCR plus+, advance copy, setup, & use to be disk or DVD management, there’s just a blank spot now! Let alone the U61 error code, I may have received a U88, it flashed so fast I really couldn’t tell. Again my machine works beautifully except for the high speed burner which is very important. I’m wondering if I’m to the point where I should consult the service center in <st1:place w:st=“on”><st1:City w:st=“on”>Elk Grove Village</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st=“on”>IL</st1:State></st1:place>. Or possibly keep searching the forum for a fix. Again, thank you so much for any information on this unfortunate situation.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /><o:p></o:p>
Take care,<o:p></o:p>
Jrsj:(<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>[/QUOTE]

I’ve sent you a private message, hope it helps.

SaintBaz