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post #1 of 39 Old 08-16-2010, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I suppose it HAD to happen. My EH69 DVD drive has failed!

It started out okay last weekend. I was making a series burns, getting stuff off the hard drive. My usual process (protocol) is to make the DVD, then make a copy of it with my Copypal. Only after the Copypal has successfully made the copy do I delete the contant from the HDD of the recorder. Well, the after the third DVD that afternoon, the Copypal started to act "odd". It only copied a portion of the content to the blank, and then it beeped four times, and ejected BOTH disks. Thinking it was a glitch in the copy process, I put in a new blank, and the same thing happened. NOW, I reasoned, the source was ejected, so maybe it's telling me that the source disk is the one with the fault. So, I made another one with the EH69. this one copied fine on the Copypal. The next disk I made with the EH69 failed upon trying to write the disk name.

At this time I am suspecting I got a bad batch of T-Y blanks, but just to cover all bases, I got out a DVD drive cleaning "product" and went through the motions. After this, the drive would not recognize any disk I put in it, even finalized ones that it wrote itself, or ones written by my other recorders. I put in a -RAM disk, same thing. For DigaDo, I say the thing is NOT! making grinding noises. It IS making a noise like plastic clicking, like a plastic gear coming to the end of a travel and continuing instead of stopping.

I unplugged it for a day, but it has the same issues as before.

It *DOES* play commercially pressed disks, but it won't even recognize any others. I wonder what THAT means?

I contacted B&H, J&R and World-Import. B&H and J&R gave me the same unhelpful reply. They have no idea where service could be found for ese machines on the west coast, so I should contact Panasonic. I haven't heard from W-I yet.

Does anyone have any advice? jtbell had a similar probem with his EH68, but has never posted a solution to this problem.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #2 of 39 Old 08-16-2010, 04:03 PM
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Bummer! you may want to try and check all the ribbon connectors between the drive and main board it sure sounds like you've got a bad drive or hopefully a lose connector. Hopefully JT will have good news for you, otherwise I suppose it would be possible to purchase the cheapest used international Panasonic(EH-59 or maybe EH-x8 or x7 series) and swap the drive into your ailing top of the line EH-69. I'm guessing you may be able to find one of those used models for less than $200, I'd check with your other machines first to make they have the same model DVD drive. Of course the $130 deal would be best with Elgin but I'm quite sure they won't have parts for these machines.
Good luck!
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post #3 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I took your very good advice (thank you), and reseated all the ribbon cables. Unfortunately, the drive acts exactly the same.

Maybe DigaDo can help here. I thought the drive alone can't be swapped, but the drive and control board have to be replaced together. Is this true? If the board has to be changed with the drive, it looks like it would be a difficult task. The drive alone, so too difficult. Removing the control board looks not so easy. I suppose I should check the model numbers or part numbers to see if the EH67 or 68 have the same part before I do anything else on the subject. B&H rurrently has a used EH67 for $200. If the DVD drives were interchangable, that might be a good solution.

The manual has no suggestion for a service location. It merely says, unhelpfully...

Do not attempt to repair this unit by yourself. If sound is
interrupted, indicators fail to light, smoke appears, or any other
problem that is not covered in these instructions occurs, disconnect
the AC mains lead and contact your dealer or an authorized service
centre.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #4 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

...Maybe DigaDo can help here. I thought the drive alone can't be swapped, but the drive and control board have to be replaced together. Is this true? If the board has to be changed with the drive, it looks like it would be a difficult task. The drive alone, so too difficult. Removing the control board looks not so easy. I suppose I should check the model numbers or part numbers to see if the EH67 or 68 have the same part before I do anything else on the subject. B&H rurrently has a used EH67 for $200. If the DVD drives were interchangable, that might be a good solution...

DVD Drive specifications, laser assembly specifications, Digital PCB, DVD Drive controller board, ribbon cable and/or wired cable arrangements have much to do with compatibility considerations. Some of these matters are mentioned in the first seven posts in this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1263801

In that thread several of the hardware considerations are mentioned in post #5.

If the DVD Drive does not have an on-board controller board there will be four ribbon cables connecting the DVD Drive to the Digital PCB. If the DVD Drive has an on-board controller board there will be a single ribbon cable connecting the DVD Drive to the Digital PCB. The first photo compares these ribbon cable arrangements. Remember that the laser assembly ribbon cable (the wide data cable with the green gripping tab) is fitted to a locking/unlocking type connector.

With regard to laser assembly replacement you might want to PM Mickinct as suggested in post #7 of that thread. The laser assembly model number is found on the underside of that assembly. Viewing that model number requires some disassembly of the DVD Drive. It might be possible to view the laser assembly model number with a small dental type mirror positioned beside the laser assembly. The DVD Drives have small openings on the black plastic panel under the laser assembly, as seen in the second photo. With some repositioning of the laser assembly along the guide rods it might be possible to view the laser assembly model number through those small openings. The underside of the 3332AC model laser assembly is shown in the third photo. The underside of the 3331A model laser assembly is shown in the fourth photo.
LL
LL
LL
LL

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post #5 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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In that thread you referenced, jtbell has a pictureof the inside of his EH68, and it looks exactly like the inside of my EH69.



Yes, there are four ribbon cables. Does this mean that DVD Drive does not have an on-board controller board, and that they are actually a "single component" and must be kept together?

I think I need to learn how to post image thumbnails...

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #6 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

In that thread you referenced, jtbell has a pictureof the inside of his EH68, and it looks exactly like the inside of my EH69...

Yes, there are four ribbon cables. Does this mean that DVD Drive does not have an on-board controller board, and that they are actually a "single component" and must be kept together?

I think I need to learn how to post image thumbnails...

With DVD Drives that have four ribbon cables the DVD Drive controller is integrated into the Digital PCB itself. With this design it is Panasonic's "official" position that the DVD Drive and the Digital PCB must be replaced together as a "module."

The reality is that this is not always true. Mickinict has replaced laser assemblies in a wide range of models. I've successfully swapped 2006 model year four ribbon cable DVD Drives between different 2006 model year recorders, so far just the DMR-ES15, DMR-ES35V and DMR-ES46V models. I've also swapped 2006 model year Digital PCBs between certain very similar models, e.g., DMR-ES35V and DMR-ES46V VHS/DVD combo recorders. Swapping Digital PCBs between non-similar models, e.g., a DMR-ES35V VHS/DVD combo recorder and a DMR-ES15 DVD recorder doesn't work. Likewise, swapping a Digital PCB between a hard drive and a non-hard drive model isn't possible, according to Mickinict.

In order to attach photos just draft the post as usual and then go down to "Manage Attachments." From there just "browse" to find the photo on the computer hard drive, click the photo to "attach" it and then click "upload." Three photos may be "attached" in the first screen then two additional photos may be attached after that. There is a limit of five photos per post.

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post #7 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, here is another bit of data.

I had to talk VERY NICELY to my friends but I managed to convince them to open their machines The DVD drive model numbers are as follows...

EH67 VXY1992
EH68 VXY2015
EH59 VXY2056
EH69 VXY2056


My EH59 is busy right now, so I couldn't open it to see what its DVD drive number is. [addition] I have managed to open the case on my EH59 and it has the same part number for the DVD drive as the 69. [addition] The only google answers to my searching for these VXY part numbers was jtbell's post in this forum.

I wonder if those different drives are functionally equivalent, or if they are specific enough that they are non-interchangeable.

Thanks everyone for the help and support so far. I have enough reserve recorders that the repair of my EH69 is not urgent. Irritating, but not urgent!

I'm debating just boxing it up and sending it in for repair in Elgin.

Manage attachments, not just attach image--got it!

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #8 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Well, here is another bit of data.

I had to talk VERY NICELY to my friends but I managed to convince them to open their machines The DVD drive model numbers are as follows...

EH67 VXY1992
EH68 VXY2015
EH69 VXY2056

My EH58 is busy right now, so I couldn't open it to see what its DVD drive number is. The only google answers to my searching was jtbell's post in this forum.

I wonder if those different drives are functionally equivalent, or if they are specific enough that they are non-interchangeable.

Thanks everyone for the help and support so far. I have enough reserve recorders that the repair of my EH69 is not urgent. Irritating, but not urgent!

I'm debating just boxing it up and sending it in for repair in Elgin.

Manage attachments, not just attach image--got it!

Thanks for posting the DVD Drive model number information. I don't know how those DVD Drive models might differ.

Since there is a good chance that the problem with your EH69 is a failed laser assembly perhaps the experts at Elgin will replace the laser assembly with the correct replacement--if they have it--test the machine for functionality, and call it good. Perhaps this isn't the "approved" repair method, but with a grey market product the idea is to return it to functionality--even if it's necessary to "stick it to the Man" (Panasonic corporate). Elgin might want you to sign some kind of disclaimer.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #9 of 39 Old 08-18-2010, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I changed my post above to include this additional information, and fixed a typo (my "busy" machine was a 59, not a 58).

I finished recording, so I opened the case of my EH59, and discovered the 59 and 69 have the same part number stamped on the DVD drive. I was pretty sure it would, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #10 of 39 Old 08-20-2010, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I sent my EH59 to Panasonic today. Partially I wanted it fixed, and partially I REALLY wanted to know what they would do with it. It wasn't doing me any good in its current condition.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #11 of 39 Old 08-28-2010, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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According to UPS, my EH69 arrived in Elgin Friday morning. Interesting that I have not gotten a phone call (I included my numbers at home and work) saying that it was an international model and that they could not work on it. I am hopin that this means they can and will work on it. Maybe I'll get a call next week. Here's hoping that they fix it and return it without incident.

I consider not getting a call to be a good thing at this time.

Luke

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post #12 of 39 Old 08-28-2010, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

According to UPS, my VCR arrived in Elgin Friday morning.

VCR
Boy that sure took the slow boat to China although it does take some time for my Mono Price orders to make it from CA to MN. A 1st class letter only takes ~ 3 days though.
If yours has a bad laser assembly and that's what's bad, hopefully that part will be interchangeable.
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post #13 of 39 Old 08-31-2010, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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An update. To recap, my EH69 started to make bad burns, inconsistent unplayable. After a few more write attampts it would not recognize any disks other than commercially pressed ones. It recognized that there was a disk there, but any recordable media, even disks it had made itself, and -RAM disks were "unreadable," or "damaged media." A cleaning disk was unsuccessful at fixing the issue.

Without calling first, I boxed it up and set it to Elgin, requesting the flat-rate repair service. The box contained a letter explaining the problem, a check, the remote control, and the EH69. I think sending the remote was unnecessary, . UPS said that it had been delivered last Friday morning. I expected a call telling me it was an international model an they couldn't work on it. No call came Friday, or Monday.

Well, impatience got the better of me and I broke down and called Elgin this morning. (The Panasonic repair service, not the whole town!) The very nice lady who answered the phone said that they had my machine and it was in service now. I commented that it was an international model and I was afraid that they might not be able to deal with it. She said that there was nothing about that on the screen that she was looking at on her computer, and that it WAS being serviced. She gave me the repair order number and suggested I call later on in the week and she'd have a tracking number for me.

A slight surprise there. None of the Panasonic McAllen Texas Wild Goose Chase run-around that has been reported, nor an issue with the region, nor any problem of any sort. She said that they would have called me if there had been any issues with the machine or the repair, so they obviously don't have a "block" on non-warranty repairs of international models. Of course, it isn't finished yet, and I don't have it back yet, but this is very encouraging.

Luke

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post #14 of 39 Old 08-31-2010, 08:52 PM
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You will be very lucky if they do the repair. My experience with a Panasonic EH-68 8 months ago was that they did not have the right parts, billed me and advised me to go to Panasonic corporate to get a refund. Which I did not do. My problem was worse than yours, a static discharge that must have fried something. You notice that the new -59 model has the eject and power button on the top now, not in line with the other press keys. That could be also to provide extra insulation from static electricity. Or maybe not. Still, best of luck getting your unit repaired.
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post #15 of 39 Old 09-01-2010, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the encouragement!

How long did they have your EH68 before they contacted you and told you that they did not have the necessary parts? They have had my unit for four full days now, and no one has contacted me. When I contacted them, I was told it was being serviced. How did they communicate with you about the unrepairability of your EH68?

I'm sorry to hear they could not help you. I assume they sent your machine back. If it needed the "main board" I suppose you would be out of luck, but components seem to be available, and compatible.

Luke

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post #16 of 39 Old 09-02-2010, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I called again today and the lady said that there was a delay because they had to put a part on order, and it could take as much as two weeks for the part to arrive. I asked if there was a problem or issue, and she said nothing was wrong except for the part, and there was no indication that it was not going to be serviced.

So, a delay. But once again, all indications are that it is repairable.

Luke

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post #17 of 39 Old 09-02-2010, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

An update. To recap, my EH69 started to make bad burns, inconsistent unplayable. After a few more write attampts it would not recognize any disks other than commercially pressed ones. It recognized that there was a disk there, but any recordable media, even disks it had made itself, and -RAM disks were "unreadable," or "damaged media." A cleaning disk was unsuccessful at fixing the issue.

Without calling first, I boxed it up and set it to Elgin, requesting the flat-rate repair service. The box contained a letter explaining the problem, a check, the remote control, and the EH69....

Well, impatience got the better of me and I broke down and called Elgin this morning. (The Panasonic repair service, not the whole town!) The very nice lady who answered the phone said that they had my machine and it was in service now. I commented that it was an international model and I was afraid that they might not be able to deal with it. She said that there was nothing about that on the screen that she was looking at on her computer, and that it WAS being serviced. She gave me the repair order number and suggested I call later on in the week and she'd have a tracking number for me.

A slight surprise there. None of the Panasonic McAllen Texas Wild Goose Chase run-around that has been reported, nor an issue with the region, nor any problem of any sort. She said that they would have called me if there had been any issues with the machine or the repair, so they obviously don't have a "block" on non-warranty repairs of international models. Of course, it isn't finished yet, and I don't have it back yet, but this is very encouraging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

I called again today and the lady said that there was a delay because they had to put a part on order, and it could take as much as two weeks for the part to arrive. I asked if there was a problem or issue, and she said nothing was wrong except for the part, and there was no indication that it was not going to be serviced.

So, a delay. But once again, all indications are that it is repairable.

This is encouraging. I suspect the "optical pick-up" (laser assembly) was the first problem. Once that was replaced it might have been determined that there is a problem with the Digital PCB. Perhaps a Digital PCB for your EH69 is being sent from the UK or Australia as it might not be a regularly stocked part in Elgin or at Panasonic's National Parts Center in Kent WA.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #18 of 39 Old 09-03-2010, 06:40 PM
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Three weeks before I got the bad news, after when I confirmed the unit had arrived in Elgin by UPS. Unlike your problem, I think my problem was that the static electricity discharge somehow did terminal damage across the board. My EH-68 unit was made for sale in the Middle East, it came with a second manual in Arabic. When I ordered a replacement EH-59, I requested the one made for Australasia that comes with Japanese and English language manuals, which World Import sent. So far that unit works like a champ.
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post #19 of 39 Old 09-07-2010, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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gerrytwo and DigaDo, I was really hoping for a component level repair, like an optical pick-up or something. I assume that if it was a board level repair, they would have stated it was not repairable by them. I have been given some news that gives me hope, but I am still not going to believe it until I have it back in my hands and working. Buying an international model was a gamble, and I knew that going into the deal. My EH59 is working just fine, so I am content at the moment.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #20 of 39 Old 09-07-2010, 01:13 PM
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Not that anyone should care, but I was in Elgin last Saturday, and I'm going again this coming Sunday (I'm just up the road from there, with only a couple of towns in-between. I haven't had to use the repair service yet, but it's nice to have it so close).
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post #21 of 39 Old 09-07-2010, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Not that anyone should care, but I was in Elgin last Saturday, and I'm going again this coming Sunday (I'm just up the road from there, with only a couple of towns in-between. I haven't had to use the repair service yet, but it's nice to have it so close).

Oooh. In another small way I envy you!

Luke

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post #22 of 39 Old 09-23-2010, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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In case anyone is still interested, I have called Elgin a few times since my last post. the story was the same, waiting on parts--until this Monday. The very nice lady on the telephone told me thta all of the parts had come in, but one, which they were still waiting on, and since it had been at their facility for so long, she promised me that call to find out where that part was and when they could expect it.

I called again this morning, and I was told it had been repaired and shipped, and I sould get it tomorrow. She gave me the UPS tracking number 1Z......> which I put in the UPS tracking page, and indeed, it is scheduled to delivery tomorrow. I, of course, will have to test it first, but it APPEARS to have been repaired and returned. We'll see. I'm still a bit skeptical, but Elgin has not been too bad at what they do, so am still hopeful.

This is remarkably good news, as there was no comment on the repair order indicating a problem, except with the time delay in obtaining replacement parts.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #23 of 39 Old 09-23-2010, 04:03 PM
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In case anyone is still interested, I have called Elgin a few times since my last post. the story was the same, waiting on parts--until this Monday. The very nice lady on the telephone told me thta all of the parts had come in, but one, which they were still waiting on, and since it had been at their facility for so long, she promised me that call to find out where that part was and when they could expect it.

I called again this morning, and I was told it had been repaired and shipped, and I sould get it tomorrow. She gave me the UPS tracking number 1Z......> which I put in the UPS tracking page, and indeed, it is scheduled to delivery tomorrow. I, of course, will have to test it first, but it APPEARS to have been repaired and returned. We'll see. I'm still a bit skeptical, but Elgin has not been too bad at what they do, so am still hopeful.

This is remarkably good news, as there was no comment on the repair order indicating a problem, except with the time delay in obtaining replacement parts.

That's great news. I just got one of my EH55s back from them today. Mine WAS the optical assembly and it was fixed and back to be within a week of them getting it delivered.

I asked the nice lady with whom I spoke about the parts issue. A year or so ago when I had another unit repaired there they had mentioned they were planning on doing repairs for as long as the parts held out. I got worried that maybe they WERE running out since these units aren't getting any newer.

This time she said they were having no issues getting parts and they plan on offering the repair service indefinitely.
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post #24 of 39 Old 09-23-2010, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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That's encouraging news. Mine is a "special" case because the EH69 is not an American model like your EH55. It's an international model, sold without warranty or any guarantee that anyone in the U.S. could even work on it. I'm still waiting to see if it works properly. Like I said above, Elgin has a good reputation for doing it right.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #25 of 39 Old 09-23-2010, 11:20 PM
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That is good news so far! If your EH69 seems to be working OK when it comes back, I may take a chance and send my EH68 with the dead DVD drive to Elgin. I don't mind waiting for parts since I'm now using an EH59 as a replacement.

I wonder if the Elgin facility would take a credit card number and signature instead of a check, to avoid the hassle of having to get a refund if I send a check and they can't do the repair?
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post #26 of 39 Old 09-24-2010, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd call and ask aout a credit card. The people I have talked to on the phone have been very nice and very helpful. I was told I can call for status on my machine's repair any time that they are open, and as many times as I want.

847-468-5543

I sent mine in before I contacted them, on the grounds that they MIGHT have refused it, but if they actually HAD it, they might just try to fix it. It has been Aug 20 to today, Sept 24. UPS says it's "out for delivery" which means I will get it sometime today.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #27 of 39 Old 09-24-2010, 11:24 AM
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I've always paid them with a credit card. I even asked this time if they preferred I send a check along with the unit and they said no, they'd call me once the unit arrived and I could give them my credit card info over the phone.

So that's what I did. They called. I gave them the info. I had the machine back in around a week.
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post #28 of 39 Old 09-24-2010, 12:40 PM
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". . . They called. I gave them the info. . . ."

Isn't that risky? I don't give identity info or password unless I initiate the call.
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post #29 of 39 Old 09-24-2010, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
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". . . They called. I gave them the info. . . ."

Isn't that risky? I don't give identity info or password unless I initiate the call.

I'm not overly paranoid. When I send a machine to a Panasonic Service Center and I get a call from the Panasonic Service Center the day after my UPS confirmation showed it got there, I kind of figure it was from the Panasonic Service Center.

But, to be perfectly honest, I was out when they called and I called them back. PLUS I used the phone number I also used to call them many times over the years.

So I think I was OK.
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post #30 of 39 Old 09-27-2010, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, they fixed it!

First the bad news. 1) I was reading stuff about the flat rate changing to $140, so that's what I sent, they put on the bill that the repairs cost the $140, even though since then, it has been made cleaer that the flat rate is still $130. Ten bucks is snot a big deal. 2) It took five weeks from the day I sent it to the day I got it back. two weeks of that was transit time, but they had it for three weeks. I was told it was all waiting on parts, and maybe it was, because I called the day before they shipped it and was told that there was still a part to come in. If it came in, they finished the repair and shipped it back to me the next day.

They pealed off the sticker on the back that W-I had put on saying 110-240v, 50-60hz, exposing the model number. The same number is on the front in big bold letters, DMR-EH69, but they went with the back plate info.

Now the GOOD news. 1) The HD contents were un touched. All the titles and playlists were intact! 2) I tested it with DVD-Rs, DVD-RAMs, and DVD +R DL disks. All worked! They fixed it.

I will put it through a BUNCH of stress tests to see how it holds up, but I am confident that if they really fixed the problem, I will get long service out of my $140. If they merely fixed a symptom, (something else CAUSED the problem) then it will go out again.

All the repair order said was, fixed laser pickup.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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