Panasonic STB service guides / manual and Blue Sparkly problem - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-28-2001, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to start a new thread for this so it can be found more easily in a search.

My experience designing IC chips since the mid 70's leads me to suspect that there are defective ICS on the board in the Video generator circuit that cause the heat up blue sparkly problem. Any of the ICs could contribute to the problem, but the particular ones would be the Ram, DACs, or Decompression chips.

I have found a part number to order the Service Guide for the TUDST-50 and TU-DST51A. These are not full service manuals, but they are reported to have schematics and troubleshooting flowcharts including that magic number for the test pattern display, and be about 30 pages in length.

I ordered them and was told they are on back order for 6-8 weeks.

Here are the publication numbers, these aren't the order numbers, but with the model number and this publication number I've finally got Panasonic to cough up service literature for these beasties.

TU-DST50 publication number MTC9901791C1
TU-DST51A publication number MTC9906034C1

Maybe if enough of us order these, they will actually print them and ship them.

The phone number to order parts and manuals is 800 833 9626. The manual for the PV-HD1000 is now available.

Putting all the info in one place, the service menu with test patterns is accessed by selecting Display, and then highlighting Backdrop, and entering the magic number 728412 on the remote. While that number is entered there is no indication that it is being accepted.

After the entire string of numbers is entered, the video output stops for a few seconds and then the service selections appear. Of particular interest is the video check that is actually a test pattern diplay of a vertically split screen (on the TU-DST50) with color bars on the top and a multiburst on the bottom.

The multiburst was reported to extend out to about 2000 pixels resolution in the right most box. The box just to the left of that has 1000 pixels resolution. A true 1080i display would be able to display the 2000 pixels box with the same clarity (alternating white and black lines) as the other boxes. On my UM monitor, the 1000 pixels section is fairly clear and within the 2000 pixels area I can make out that there are about twice as many vertical lines as in the box before, but I am seeing color convergence and shadow mask artifacts there.

As I had suspected, the UM is certainly good for the 1280 pixels needed for 720p, and I am able to see that 1080i feeds have more horizontal resolution on my UM monitor even though the resolution is attenuated by the screen characteristics.

Someone with an YPrPb to RGB converter and hi res monitor (such as a computer monitor or 19" or 21" can probably see the 2000 line display clearly, even if they didn't have a larger true 1080i capable box.

It would be very interesting to hear which HDTV products have the capability to clearly display the doubling alternating white and black lines in each of the boxes.

As it was reported that the Panasonic STB's output is attenuated at the highest frequency box on the right side, it would be normal for a true 1080i display to have the white lines not be as white and the black lines not quite as black as the box immediately to the left, but the lines should be clearly visible and there should be twice as many as in the box immediately to the left.

I can confirm that the value displayed by the IEEE1394 test in the service menu does in fact display the unit's bus address that it reports to other IEEE1394 devices when queried electronically. I have access to equipment that can display those electronic IEEE1394 bus queries.

There is no reason for the user to modify this number. It is most likely that this provision was included in the service menu so that after the STB was manufactured, Panasonic could enter a unique number into each box.

About the Blue Sparkly problem- Panasonic knows of this defect. Even if the unit is out of warranty or second hand I'd complain if they charge very much to fix this.

I talked to the Digital Products and Projection TV group that handles the STB support, at telephone number 888-843-9788.

For an out of warranty repair the typical repair charge is $50.00 according to Panasonic. Ship the unit to:

Panasonic Factory Service
1705 N. Randall Road
Elgin, IL 60123

direct phone numbers:
847-468-5543
847-468-5566

Include a check for $25.00 with the out of warranty unit for their evaluation fee that will apply to the repair charge.

Call the 888 toll free number above to verify that this information is current before sending.

After I get the service guide and schematics, I will probably be able to identify which IC(s) are potentially bad causing the blue sparkly problem. It may turn out that these chips are custom to Panasonic, especially the MPEG decoder, and it may be cheaper to let Panasonic fix the box.

In any installation that uses that Panasonic STB, it is important to provide adequate circulation around the unit, and not block the air holes. In my own cabinet, I mounted a small muffin fan through the back and a suspend the TUDST-50 with 1/2" wood strips under its feet. There is a clear air space of 1.5" above the unit, but my added fan keeps the enclosure cool.

There is an audio playback problem when the Toslink output of the TU-DST5x is connected to many brands of Dolby Digital decoders / amps particularly when tapes are played with the PV-HD1000. The problem manifests itself as random muting or clicks and buzzes occuring during tape playback while there is no corresponding visible video dropout. The problem occurs at random places and is not associated with an actual dropout on the tape, but is likely a problem in the firmware or toslink chips inside the STB. The solution involves the use of a Pansonic / Techniques brand outboard decoder or integrated decoder / amp, or a high end decoder that is able to mask the glitches. The glitches do not occur when the tape is played through the DTC100 with the 169time.com DVHS option 1 or 2 that permits such playback. However, the 169time.com equipped DTC100 is not a drop in replacement for the Panasonic STB since the DTC100 has RGB outputs, and can only record to the PV-HD1000 when an option 2 equipped unit is used.



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post #2 of 10 Old 03-28-2001, 02:01 PM
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Richard,
I think you have discussed this in the past on AVS. I'm having problems using a demo PV-HD1000 (2/99) I bought two weeks ago from the AVS classified section. It will play tapes made on my consumer PV-HD1000 (8/99), but it's recordings are usually full of digital artifacts and even if they work they will not play well on the other unit. I've tried cleaning the heads and other than more perforations in the top cover, the only difference I see is that the fan flow is reversed on the demo--blows in at the power supply whereas in the later porduction unit the fan is mounted on foam blocks and blows outward away from the power supply. I just called Panasonic to get a manual, but it's backordered until late April. I'm using TU-DST51 STBs and should have another consumer model PV-HD1000 this Friday, and I could just keep the demo PV-HD1000 for playback only, but I would really like to have a fully functional backup machine. Do you have any ideas or know if Panasonic will service the "not for sale" demo models?
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-28-2001, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I have seen another earlier PVHD1000 that had the demo sticker on the back. It is pickier about tapes it will record on but it is very good at playing back tapes from other machines. This demo machine will usually record ok on DVHS DF300 tapes and Fuji ST-120 tapes, but it has dropouts when recording on ST-160 tapes. Also I noticed that the earlier demo machine did not have a self cleaner built into it while the newer PVHD1000 machines did.

Okay, I've verified that other earlier demo machines exhibit a problem recording. The one that I've seen was never sent in for service since it plays tapes fine, and just gets used for that.

I believe that the demo sticker on the machine was put there since the machine was not intended to be sold at the time is was given to the dealer, but since then dealers had been selling them.

It is logical to think that they would service the machine for you, or replace it with a servicable one. The issue with the demo sticker was Panasonic's mistake and / or the dealer's mistake. It wasn't the consumer's mistake and the consumer should not be made suffer from this IMHO.

If I were trying to get a "demo" PVHD1000 service, I'd call Panasonic, keep track of the names and extension numbers of people I talked to, and get clarification on all open issues. It's probably simple.

When sending the unit for service, take special care to package the unit with at least 4 inches of padding around all sides and also do not allow packaging material to enter the mechanism. Double boxing with padding is the best bet. Choose a reliable carrier. Follow up with Panasonic and make sure they have it logged into their system upon receipt.

Let us know how it goes.


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post #4 of 10 Old 03-28-2001, 04:27 PM
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Richard:

One time I managed to get through to a high level person at Panasonic's Elgin, IL repair facility. He told me the fix for the sparkle problem involved replacing several components AND new firmware. I asked if this also added 5C and he wouldn't comment. As you say, the heat probably fried one of the components you mentioned, others may have been replaced to reduce the heat load. Note: I've heard the sparkles are not a record problem, i.e., they go away on a clean machine. Heat is not a problem once the box is opened up and an external fan added. It sure would be nice to know exactly which components were replaced or which one got fried to produce sparkles. My goal is to get rid of the sparkles without sending the unit to Panasonic.

BTW, I can read all of the multi-burst sections on my 21" ViewSonic G810. Although the RH bursts are clearly visible and crisp, there's a lot of moire there as well.



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post #5 of 10 Old 03-28-2001, 08:30 PM
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I can clearly resolve the 1000 line burst but the 2000 line burst is a grey field through my system (Sony 1292Q and Faroudja 5000). I will hook up a computer monitor and report my findings then; we'll see if the big F keepsd all 2000 lines when line doubling 1080i.

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post #6 of 10 Old 03-29-2001, 08:15 AM
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Riichard,
I've only tried DF-300 tapes in the demo PV-HD1000. Like you, I've had no problem using it for playback. After I get a third machine tomorrow, I'll send the demo to Panasonic for repair--I should call them today to check out their service policies.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-29-2001, 09:25 PM
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Richard, thanks for the info on TU-DST50/51 service. I called the number and ordered Service Guides for the 50 and 51, Instruction Book for the HD1000 (I don't have one), and a Service Manual for the HD1000. She said everything was in stock except the HD1000 Service Manual, and the items in stock would be sent right away!! The $26 service manual was put on backorder.


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post #8 of 10 Old 03-30-2001, 04:34 PM
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Richard,
I received a third PV-HD1000 today and this one (G9SC30541--8/19/99) works as well as my original (G9SC30853--8/23/99). I took the demo unit (B9SA30332--2/22/99) to the Dallas Panasonic factory service center which will send it to Elgin, IL for repair of the pixillated recording problem. Since I had a receipt from The Good Guys dated Feb 2001 from the AVS member who sold it to me, Panasonic will fully cover this service under warranty. They didn't mind at all that this is a "not for sales" demo model and acknowledged that dealers often sell such equipment. I hope thay can fix it or replace it with one that's fully functional!
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-25-2001, 07:32 PM
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There have been a lot of questions about this topic lately, this thread has a ton of info, so I thought a bump was in order.

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post #10 of 10 Old 11-08-2001, 02:23 PM
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So, is it better to stay away from "dealer demo" unit and try to locate a "consumer version" or the trick here is really to get the unit manufactured later than 02/99 ???

Andrey
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