Panasonic DMR-EH55 User Review and Questions - Page 25 - AVS Forum
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post #721 of 881 Old 08-01-2008, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripper64 View Post

I believe the EH50/EH55 are the best recorders, but the DVD drives on them are junk. My buddys crapped out a little over a year on his and they wanted $400 to fix it. Mine is acting up too but I still have warraty until September 11. It makes a lot of grinding noises when transfering from the HDD to a DVD. When I finalize the disk I get major grinding sometimes. It screws the DVD up and then says its damaged. I can still get my hands on 2 EH55's in town But I am not so sure I want another one. I might go for the Pioneer DVR-560H or the 660H. I prefer the Panny though.

I have fifteen functional Panasonics from the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 model years. Six of my most heavily used 2005 and 2006 models average more than 3,000 recording hours per machine. One 2005 model has more than 4,200 recording hours.

Good environment is important. Avoid shutting up a Panasonic inside a cabinet. Maintain good ventilation. Avoid dusty surroundings and do not smoke in the same room with the machine. Do not handle discs with a finger through the center hole.

Oily residue and dust finds its way to the DVD drive's rubber hub/spindle area causing recording/finalizing errors/failures. Regular cleaning of the hub/spindle should prolong the useful life of Panasonic DVD drives. The attached photo shows hub/spindle cleaning of a 2008 model DVD drive.

The following post gives more advice and a link to the actual cleaning procedure:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post13997000

Many others report very good results cleaning the hub/spindle. Once a drive goes bad the cleaning procedure is of no help.

In 2007 I began to service/repair my own Panasonics once the original factory warranty had expired. With such heavy Panasonic utilization I had settled upon the 2006 models (four DMR-ES35V and four DMR-ES15 models) as workhorses. Then I purchased two additional DMR-ES35V models as-is for parts. Two of the DMR-ES15 models had been purchased used with bad DVD drives. Then the good DVD drives from the parts ES35 models were swapped in; it's a simple procedure to swap DVD drives between 2006 Panasonic models. I have also swapped other parts, circuit boards, mini-switches, chassis motherboards; replaced capacitors; serviced/adjusted/rebuilt VHS mechanisms and various other assemblies. (Panasonic DVD drives from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 model years may not be interchanged from one model year to another.)

Panasonic has a $130 flat-rate repair that includes return shipping, parts and labor through the corporate Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village Illinois. Additional information is found here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post14198066

It is a mistake to take a Panasonic to local "Panasonic Authorized Service" locations.
LL

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post #722 of 881 Old 08-11-2008, 12:35 PM
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Hi folks ~

Amazing forum you have here!

I'm on my third DMR-EH55, which I bought new-in-the-box in June from an eBay dealer in Canada, as Panasonic no longer makes a DVD recorder with a HDD and I couldn't locate one in the US. I installed it on July 4, after finally getting most of what I needed off of the HDD. Today it stopped recognizing any discs at all (brand new, from different new spindles).

It says "Cannot copy. Possible reasons are: Non-recordable disc, finalized (closed) disc, damaged disc, etc."

It says this even when there is no disc in the machine. It also fails to recognize that there's a finalized disc, or a "commercial" DVD -- or even a head-cleaning disc -- in it when set to drive select of "DVD." It even goes into Sleep mode with any kind of disc in it (which typically only happens when there's no DVD in it at all). I've rebooted it several times and even unplugged it for an hour. Same results.

I've always used Memorex discs with excellent success and the machine worked fine last night. Also, there were no early symptoms -- it just stopped working when I went to copy a film to DVD early this afternoon.

I have had the problems mentioned elsewhere in this lengthy thread before replacing each of my first DMR-EH55s but haven't seen anything like this before. Seems hard to imagine that it would die after just over a month of heavy use but apparently that's what's happened.

Like other folks here, I use this a lot -- burning maybe 10 or more DVDs daily. I have cancer so I have a lot of free time and, hence, an extensive film collection.

Any idea what would cause this, especially so quickly? Or what I might do short of sending it to Elk Grove Village, IL?

As always, I have 140 or so titles on it which need to be burned before I can switch to one of my other machines...

...which, thanks to you kind folks, I might be able to repair (both of them had the same "dying at 91%" and "grinding" problems frequently mentioned here and I did keep them).


Thanks so much for anything you can tell me -- even if it's just that I posted this in the wrong place! OK, a real answer would be more helpful

~Gary

PLEASE SEE FOLLOW-UP
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post #723 of 881 Old 08-11-2008, 12:42 PM
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Now that I fixed that bloody "black plastic piece" and have it working, at least to record and watch from my Direct Navigator, I deleted a lot of titles I was keeping just to watch. I'm up to 40 or so hours free, or 43%.

Still doesn't recognize a thing. I can still copy to it but eventually need to burn a disk.

What on earth could still be wrong, now that it's thoroughly cleaned? It'll switch to DVD using Drive Select, but has the red circle with the line through it when I insert a burned or commercially-made DVD. This is really killing me. Like you, I use mine a lot.

My concern with sending it to Panasonic is that they may delete all of my titles.
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post #724 of 881 Old 08-11-2008, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiroHere View Post

My concern with sending it to Panasonic is that they may delete all of my titles.

At least two other posters with Panasonic hard drive models had the same concern when they recently sent their machines to Elk Grove Village. They were having problems with the DVD drive. I believe that both posters mentioned that they included this concern in the letters they included with their machines. Both posters reported that their Panasonics were repaired and returned with hard drive contents preserved. These posts disappeared in the AVS "crash."

"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 #725 of 881 Old 08-11-2008, 03:42 PM
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I recently sent two EH75V's to Elk Grove Village for flat rate ($130) optical drive replacement only and they replaced the optical drives and updated the firmware while keeping the HDD contents intact. Had each unit back within three weeks of initially sending them out.

The Future ain't what it used to be...
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post #726 of 881 Old 08-16-2008, 08:43 AM
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How long does it take the TV Guide to download? Does it take over 24 hours? I have a cable without cable box setup and it's been 24 hours and the channel listing are still in progress. I live in Canada and use Shaw Cable.
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post #727 of 881 Old 08-16-2008, 07:39 PM
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Hello fellow Panny users. I just picked up my first DVR, a panasonic DMR-EH75VS. Kind of off topic, but thought I'd say hello since a lot of you were on this thread.

Did some research here and elsewhere and finally joined the "poor man's Tivo" club. I'd rather call it the smart man's tivo club. I can't believe people are using other machines and that these pannys are gone. In fact, the same day I bought this one, I bought another EH75VS off Ebay for parts.

Needless to say, recording via TV guide is amazing and even more amazing is the industry has abolished it. The only "free guide" I've seen on a modern machine is a Philips 5520 that records in PAL & is currently selling in Europe.

My girlfriend & I need to archive some old VHS tapes, the one touch copying should make it doable even for her. I don't watch much TV, and I hate commercials so this is the right machine for my needs.

The manual is easy to decipher, the unit started sucking down the channel guide overnight. Scheduling recording with the guide is the only way to go. The unit has some depth....I like the playlist feature, the auto-title feature, the ability to change the video clip preview still frame, lots of stuff....

It's like these Panasonics were the golden age of the DVR/hard-disc/DVD machine and nothing better has come along.

Japan gets to play with blu-ray/hard-disc right now. I don't know if they have TV guide. We'll eventually get those in the U.S. Till then, it looks like I'll be rocking with the DMR-EH75VS.
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post #728 of 881 Old 08-16-2008, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oiler1 View Post

How long does it take the TV Guide to download? Does it take over 24 hours? I have a cable without cable box setup and it's been 24 hours and the channel listing are still in progress. I live in Canada and use Shaw Cable.

Follow the instructions carefully. You can also try different zip codes in your area. If you do the setup correctly, input a zip code & cable system channel lineup it recognizes, you should be good to go.

The only hangup could be if the cable company is not transmitting the info down the cable. I wasn't sure if mine was, but turns out it does.
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post #729 of 881 Old 08-16-2008, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oiler1 View Post

How long does it take the TV Guide to download? Does it take over 24 hours? I have a cable without cable box setup and it's been 24 hours and the channel listing are still in progress. I live in Canada and use Shaw Cable.

Do you have anything yet? After 24 hours, your guide ought to populate with days 1, 2 and 8, then the next day should give you day 3 as well, and so on each day for the first week. Following that first week, if all is working normally, you should have a complete eight day guide thereafter.
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post #730 of 881 Old 08-17-2008, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by plplplpl View Post

Do you have anything yet? After 24 hours, your guide ought to populate with days 1, 2 and 8, then the next day should give you day 3 as well, and so on each day for the first week. Following that first week, if all is working normally, you should have a complete eight day guide thereafter.

It's been about 2 days now and I still see nothing. The tuner works and I am able to see and record shows manually and that's it! I have several DVR's though and I threaded the RF cable through one of them, I wonder if that is causing problems?

I reset everything again today to try again.
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post #731 of 881 Old 08-17-2008, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oiler1 View Post

It's been about 2 days now and I still see nothing. The tuner works and I am able to see and record shows manually and that's it! I have several DVR's though and I threaded the RF cable through one of them, I wonder if that is causing problems?

I reset everything again today to try again.

The recorder must be left off for a minimum 24 hours straight...that means no timer recordings, or turning on and off to check to see if guide info has been downloaded...

Dazed and confused over high tech.

Sigh...Concrap. The Internet Overlord Cometh
They're not com-tastic!
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post #732 of 881 Old 08-17-2008, 04:52 PM
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The instructions say you MUST make a connection (red/yellow/white cable) from the dvd/vhs common out on the Panasonic into the AV input on the TV. This is required regardless of your setup.

That's what my instructions said & TV guide has worked fine and downloaded some TV guide stuff within first 10 hours after I hooked things up. Double check your directions and re-do them if necessary. If your directions don't have that step, I'd re-do with that cable added.
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post #733 of 881 Old 08-17-2008, 10:10 PM
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It's working now. Yes, I did use the machine and checked many times so it was tough to get it to be idle for 24 hours straight.

I took it upstairs where I had my cable split and now it works! Before I was threading it trough another DVR but output was to in A/V receiver which is connected to my TV.
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post #734 of 881 Old 08-18-2008, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westly-C View Post

The recorder must be left off for a minimum 24 hours straight...that means no timer recordings, or turning on and off to check to see if guide info has been downloaded...

Darn .. After getting a trickle of listings yesterday, I checked again and all the channels say no listing. I am not going to touch this machine for 2 days.
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post #735 of 881 Old 09-03-2008, 08:43 AM
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Does the 55 have a go to time point search function? I find in a 4 hour recording, I have to FF 200x to get to a certain point late in the program.
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post #736 of 881 Old 09-03-2008, 09:45 AM
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No, I wish it did. It's the main reason I use my Sony DVD player to play all DVDs. I know this doesn't help for HDD recordings though. 200x (or next chapter, if you have chapters) are your only options.
AFAIK no Panny DVDRs have go-to function, or time remaining which I really like in my players.
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post #737 of 881 Old 09-03-2008, 10:03 AM
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The 55 has a "TIME SLIP" function which might be close to what you want, i.e., not a "go-to" but just a time-advance? Page 38 of manual says this:

1 Press [TIME SLIP].
2 Press [^, v] to select the
time and press [ENTER].
Play skips the specified time.
≥Each time you press [^, v], the
time increases [^] or decreases
[v] by 1 minute intervals. (Press
and hold for 10-minute intervals.)
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post #738 of 881 Old 09-03-2008, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

No, I wish it did. It's the main reason I use my Sony DVD player to play all DVDs. I know this doesn't help for HDD recordings though. 200x (or next chapter, if you have chapters) are your only options.
AFAIK no Panny DVDRs have go-to function, or time remaining which I really like in my players.

I've just checked the operation of the go-to function on one of my DMR-ES35V combo recorders. When playing a finalized DVD press a numbered button followed by ENTER. The DVD play jumps to that chapter number within the title being played. When playing a finalized DVD the SKIP buttons move forward and back incrementally by those same chapter locations. The five minute chapter marks are placed on the DVD during the finalization process. When playing an unfinalized DVD the SKIP button moves to the next title.

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post #739 of 881 Old 09-03-2008, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

The 55 has a "TIME SLIP" function which might be close to what you want, i.e., not a "go-to" but just a time-advance?

Yes, that would be his best option. I use T-slip all the time on my EH-55. I was thinking about DVDs but if his program is on the HDD T-slip is the way to go and would be much faster than 200x.

Digado, on the EH-55 HDD I don't believe their is the option to automatically have chapter marks every xx min. like on the 3575/6. It is quite easy to add them though. Their is a dedicated button on the remote that can be pushed anytime during playing and it adds the chapter mark. Personally I don't use chapters on the HDD since I mostly timeshift then delete. If I was burning to DVD I would then take advantage of the chapters.
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post #740 of 881 Old 09-03-2008, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

The 55 has a "TIME SLIP" function which might be close to what you want, i.e., not a "go-to" but just a time-advance? Page 38 of manual says this:

1 Press [TIME SLIP].
2 Press [^, v] to select the
time and press [ENTER].
Play skips the specified time.
≥Each time you press [^, v], the
time increases [^] or decreases
[v] by 1 minute intervals. (Press
and hold for 10-minute intervals.)

Time Slip only works on HDD recordings and unfinalized discs. It doesn't work on a finalized disc.

John
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post #741 of 881 Old 09-10-2008, 08:35 AM
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It's becoming more common for my EH-55 to record (to HD) a scheduled pgm and abort after less than 10 seconds. I don't discern much of a pattern except that typically the thumbnails for the "aborts" do not show the program name - but might indicate the network. Please note that I've never filled the HD much past the 50% mark so it should not be terribly fragmented. I called Panansonic and they were not familiar with this problem and suggested a reformat. It might come to that but I have so many unscreened programs backlogged on the HD that I would not reformat casually.

Thanks,

Paul
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post #742 of 881 Old 09-10-2008, 09:31 AM
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The usual recommendation for a disk showing signs of a corrupted structure is to offload everything onto -RAM disks and then do a format. If the format does not help, it COULD be a failing hard drive, in which case, getting the content off is very important, if you care about it.

This does not sound like a hard drive problem to me. It sounds like some kind of flaky EPG issue, though I am hardly an expert in these matters.

Luke

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post #743 of 881 Old 09-10-2008, 10:41 AM
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It could be that the recorders firmware PRAM has become corrupted by a power surge, etc. Have you tried an overall system reset? This usually clears stubborn clock/timer weirdnesses. You could also try re-initializing the TVGOS setup, go thru the entire host channel setting thing once more. Look in the troubleshooting section of your manual for reset tips. Many areas in the US are having TVGOS hiccups, especially thru cable-provided host channels, but if you are still getting a fully-populated and updated guide screen you should be OK in that regard. This sounds more like an internal recorder glitch.
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post #744 of 881 Old 09-10-2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

At least two other posters with Panasonic hard drive models had the same concern when they recently sent their machines to Elk Grove Village. They were having problems with the DVD drive. I believe that both posters mentioned that they included this concern in the letters they included with their machines. Both posters reported that their Panasonics were repaired and returned with hard drive contents preserved. These posts disappeared in the AVS "crash."


Hi guys & gals ~

I haven't written for awhile because I had to send mine back to the good folks at Elk Grove Village (note for future readers here: they honor Canadian warranties as well -- free o' charge, including shipping BOTH WAYS!).

While it was in for service I used one of the two other Panasonics I'd fixed, again, thanks to you. So when I got the new one back (in 10 days or so) I wasn't able to use it until I'd cleared the 20 hours of new films I'd put on the old one.

Hooked the new one back up this past weekend and all's swell! They were able to save my HDD, as DigaDo had suspected, so I couldn't be happier.

Thanks so much to all of you who assisted me before the Big Crash of '08!

~Gary
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post #745 of 881 Old 09-10-2008, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiroHere View Post

(note for future readers here: they honor Canadian warranties as well -- free o' charge, including shipping BOTH WAYS!).

Great news, should my Canadian EH-55 need service. The shipping is sure a odd thing. So many people report they have to pay shipping to, and they pay return. Then others report what you said. I guess it's kind of the luck of the draw on who you get on the phone
Anyway thanks for the heads up. Many people including myself kind of though we were warranty-less on our Canadian Pannys. Good to know this is not the case.
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post #746 of 881 Old 09-11-2008, 06:13 AM
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Hi Luke, when you say RAM disk I'm guessing that means a SD card. Putting capacity issues aside what would be the deal in restoring content from the SD card to the HD once it's been reformatted?
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post #747 of 881 Old 09-11-2008, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld2007 View Post

It's becoming more common for my EH-55 to record (to HD) a scheduled pgm and abort after less than 10 seconds. I don't discern much of a pattern except that typically the thumbnails for the "aborts" do not show the program name - but might indicate the network. Please note that I've never filled the HD much past the 50% mark so it should not be terribly fragmented. I called Panansonic and they were not familiar with this problem and suggested a reformat. It might come to that but I have so many unscreened programs backlogged on the HD that I would not reformat casually.

Thanks,

Paul

I have always had this problem with the EH55 (see post #666 in this thread). If you check the recording history it will probably indicate xHost for the recording status. I have never been able to prevent this problem, it just happens randomly. I have deleted all programs from the HD, updated the FW, and reset and rebooted, but nothing makes it go away. It is just a bug in the EH55 FW. My resolution is to record shows on multiple recorders from multiple stations. This provides backups for DVR failures and station screw ups.
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post #748 of 881 Old 09-11-2008, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld2007 View Post

Hi Luke, when you say RAM disk I'm guessing that means a SD card. Putting capacity issues aside what would be the deal in restoring content from the SD card to the HD once it's been reformatted?

No, you misunderstand me. There are DVD +/-R disks and RW disks, and there is another variant called -RAM disks They are treated by the DVD recorder like a mini hard drive in that you can do almost everything with -RAM disks that you can do with the dard drive. Here is an ad describing them. They are heavily mentioned in the manual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay214128 View Post

I have always had this problem with the EH55 (see post #666 in this thread). If you check the recording history it will probably indicate xHost for the recording status. I have never been able to prevent this problem, it just happens randomly. I have deleted all programs from the HD, updated the FW, and reset and rebooted, but nothing makes it go away. It is just a bug in the EH55 FW. My resolution is to record shows on multiple recorders from multiple stations. This provides backups for DVR failures and station screw ups.

I would call that an unacceptable solution to the problem. Panasonic should find the problem and fix the firmware. In reality, I doubt that a closed off and terminated product and product line, will ever get much further attention from the manufacturer. Maybe that IS the best solution. It irritates me though that the problem can't be fixed.

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 #749 of 881 Old 09-14-2008, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Great news, should my Canadian EH-55 need service. The shipping is sure a odd thing. So many people report they have to pay shipping to, and they pay return. Then others report what you said. I guess it's kind of the luck of the draw on who you get on the phone
Anyway thanks for the heads up. Many people including myself kind of thought we were warranty-less on our Canadian Pannys. Good to know this is not the case.

The fellow on eBay from whom I bought the unit also told me that Panasonic USA wouldn't honor the Canadian warranty, as they were two totally different companies. The truth is that I'd have happily paid the $130 mentioned elsewhere in this thread, because I use the bloody things so much! And they continue to sell new-in-the-box on eBay for $700+ with shipping, with the only new ones I've seen being sold in Canada.

I'm not sure if it matters who you talk to in Elk Grove Village. Following my brief initial conversation with a woman there, back in August, I realized I'd forgotten to ask for an RMA (Returned Merchandise Authorization) number, so I called back. This time I got a different person, and he assured me that no RMA was required. Just pack the box up with NO accessories -- not even the power cord -- write up a brief explanation of what's wrong (being sure to mention that you'd like them to save the HDD's contents, if applicable) and take it to a UPS Store.

The woman at the UPS Store wasn't too happy about the whole thing, as she said that the locally-owned franchises don't make a dime on these returns. When I asked if she gets a lot of Panasonic returns, she said that this was her first one, so she was apparently just in a bad mood.

But she typed a few things into her computer and a label printed out automatically. No charge whatsoever -- including insurance! And the machine arrived back at my home in 10 days, tops.

Again, this only applies to drop-offs at UPS Stores -- not sure what happens if you have to use an alternative shipping method (from, say, a rural area).

Just keep this info on hand -- I know that I do!:

1-888-439-2676
Panasonic Service Center
1590 Touhy Ave
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Thanks again, all!
~Gary
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post #750 of 881 Old 09-15-2008, 07:02 AM
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Good info, thanks.

RG
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