Replaced Laser Pickup for Panasonic DMR-ES15 but still can't record - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-04-2011, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I've just replaced the optical pickup 3331AC in my Panasonic DMR-ES15 but some disks won't play and I can't record. The old pickup wouldn't read any disks. It would make 4 "Beep" sounds and say "No disk." So I replaced the Laser pickup following advice from several internet sources including this forum.

After installing the new one only some DVDs can be read. Others will display "Unsupported Format." My unfinalized DVDs previously recorded with the old pickup won't read. Finalised disks will. I do notice though, that the initial read time after loading a DVD is longer than it used to be.

More critical is that DVD recording does not work. When I put in a fresh, blank disk it correctly reports the free space remaining. However, after a short recording it says recording failed. If I reload the same disk it again reports the same free space as if nothing was recorded.

I wonder if I might have knocked out the spindle alignment. The disk tray may have crashed into the drive spindle during one of the eject procedures I did. The disk tray got stuck mid way, but I can't remember if it got stuck onto the upper (part of the drive lid) or lower spindle (connected to the drive motor).

Is there any kind of reset or alignment that I can do to restore function?
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-04-2011, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philpreston View Post

I've just replaced the optical pickup 3331AC in my Panasonic DMR-ES15 but some disks won't play and I can't record. The old pickup wouldn't read any disks. It would make 4 "Beep" sounds and say "No disk." So I replaced the Laser pickup following advice from several internet sources including this forum.

After installing the new one only some DVDs can be read. Others will display "Unsupported Format." My unfinalized DVDs previously recorded with the old pickup won't read. Finalised disks will. I do notice though, that the initial read time after loading a DVD is longer than it used to be.

More critical is that DVD recording does not work. When I put in a fresh, blank disk it correctly reports the free space remaining. However, after a short recording it says recording failed. If I reload the same disk it again reports the same free space as if nothing was recorded.

I wonder if I might have knocked out the spindle alignment. The disk tray may have crashed into the drive spindle during one of the eject procedures I did. The disk tray got stuck mid way, but I can't remember if it got stuck onto the upper (part of the drive lid) or lower spindle (connected to the drive motor).

Is there any kind of reset or alignment that I can do to restore function?

As to intermittant read/write problems I would suspect damage to a ribbon cable contact strip. This often happens if the ribbon cables have been removed/refitted incorrectly or the ribon cable connector lock was not opened before removing or inserting the wide green grip-tabbed ribbon cable to/from the optical pick up. Also notice that the copper colored ribbon cable has a different grip tab orientation than the other cables. See these 2009 and 2010 posts, (notice especially the photos attached to the first and second posts):

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post18167365

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post18657726

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post15788573

If a ribbon cable contact strip has been damaged it might be necessary to trim off the damage in order to restore uniform connectivity, see this August 2009 post:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post17050430

As to mechanical functionality I would suspect DVD Drive reassembly/realignment errors. The most common error is failure to position the roller/slider to the left rear corner of the disc tray, as seen in the the attached photo.

The reassembly and realignment procedures are described in two February 2009 posts, beginning here:

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

This May 2009 post might also be helpful:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post16480525
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-04-2011, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I actually did pull out the Ribbon without unlocking it. I only realised when it was too late. Is that enough to make some disks unreadable and others readable? I checked the silver contacts and didn't see any damage. Is there any way of fixing this blunder?
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-04-2011, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philpreston View Post

I actually did pull out the Ribbon without unlocking it. I only realised when it was too late. Is that enough to make some disks unreadable and others readable? I checked the silver contacts and didn't see any damage. Is there any way of fixing this blunder?

Sometimes a ribbon cable connector contact might drift forward when the ribbon cable is removed, especially if the ribbon cable has been rocked back and forth or has been removed crookedly, i.e., one side at a time.

Carefully inspect the ribbon cable contacts for damage as well as the contacts in the ribbon cable connector itself. If a connector contact has drifted forward it's easy to drift the contact back into place with a very small, flat bladed screw driver. If a damaged ribbon cable contact strip needs repair trim back just far enough to remove the damaged portion and even up the contact strip (as seen in one of the linked posts) so that it may be inserted straight into it's connector. This will assure uniform connetivity.

I forgot to mention the routine DVD Drive servicing procedure, the lens, hub/spindle cleaning, found here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14479898

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post #5 of 5 Old 12-11-2011, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I have trimmed back the ribbon cable to remove any possible damaged contacts. The problem remains though. I am noticing that with the few discs that do play, it will only play for about 30 minutes and then the picture starts to pixelate and eventually freezes. It seems like the DVD recorder can only read in the inner radii, but not the outer radii. Any suggestions on what the problem is?

Could I have a damaged ribbon cable that loses conductivity when the laser moves outwards? How would I be able to test it?
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