Panasonic EZ27/EZ28 Laser Pickups - why are they continually failing?



I am possibly going to post this on multiple sites so please give me some slack……

As we know Panasonic DVD Recorders are not the most reliable.

I currently have 8 Panasonic DVD Recorders either of the EZ27 or EZ28 ilk. Out of those I have 3.5 working machines. The 4.5 have all failed at the laser.

Now a quick aside here I consider myself a reasonably experienced person on this. The 0.5 reference is a laser pickup that has obviously been used by a previous user, and obviously a lot, because as, as defined by the service manual, it is at the less than ideal Level 3 – on its last legs – fair enough.

The issue is the other 4 that have failed – to the best of my knowledge these were perfectly good working units with no known issues at the level 1 (or better) quality. No issues with reading, writing or similar.

They have all failed to my recollection in exactly the same manner – not mid recording but in that period between finalising a (probable new) Verbatim DVD-RW from the last record and formatting another. A grand total of 5 mins burn time – with a gap in the middle. Infact. I am 99% certain every fail has been at the format stage because I don’t recall them dying during the finalise (and thereby losing me a program). You get a notice ‘this disk is dirty or similar message. The unit needs to restart. U61 error or whatever message’. The emphasis is a SUDDEN unexplained fail

Now up to this point, after extensive research on the Net, I thought maybe the fails originated because of a dirty spindle. Slippage occurs, laser lock is lost and the laser fails at that point. However fail #3 was not long after the spindle had been cleaned. Fail #4 (3 days ago) was after the spindle had been cleaned a couple of weeks ago. And NO the rubber had not been denatured.

A spindle issue is not at fault anymore than heat buildup.

Something is causing these laser units to go wrong or lose connectivity to the main unit.

Now notice I have not used the word fail there. In my trying to fix this I can still see the laser working. But you still get the no read message with the indicator there IS a disk in the drive. That said I get the same when I DISCONNECT the ribbon cable and turn the unit on – sure the laser does not activate because it has no feed but the same process occurs – the carriage moves back and forth, spindle works, the same messages etc etc.

It is almost as if the laser itself is ok but the recorder no longer sees it.

Now yes I know I can get replacement lasers, new and 2nd hand , and to be honest I hopefully have another laser on its way out of an ES15 after an ebay win, but one must question the overall point if these units can spontaneously go south just like this. The house looks like a Panasonic graveyard.

FYI I also own 3 Panasonic ES10s that I have owned from since 2005/2006 and they work and work and work (but of course no have no digital tuner), Not a hiccup.

This is my second EZ27 laser to stop functioning in 6 months – frustrated is not the word for it. Any ideas how to get these lasers back working would be appreciated. Or at least what I can do to stop my 5th fail.


I’ve just had a thought on this. Could it not be that the tracks on which the laser sled move back and forth become less lubricated and sticky as, over time, the grease that Panasonic applies in the factory thickens/degrades?

Does anybody know, when you format a DVD-RW, is writing only done at the centre of the disk or across various points on its surface? If its across its entire surface could it be that this, because it takes place over ONLY a minute, is the greatest sled movement whilst burning and, if the sled is not lubricated properly, the laser pickup is too taxed?

Could it be this simple?