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Panasonic Repairs? The ONLY place for warranty or out-of-warranty service! - Page 7

post #181 of 494
I can't confirm that the $140 is the correct flat fee or not, only that I decided to send my E85H to Elgin doubleboxed, with a lengthy letter inside describing my problem with the deck, and a check in that amount, and I did this all without any prior authorization.

I shipped via FedEX ground on June 1st, confirmed via tracking that it arrived on June 3rd. Lo and behold, the unit was repaired and shipped back to me and received on June 9th. Frankly, no matter how incidental my repairs were, this service was superb. The deck came back in a single box, with foam reinforcement and large air bubble protection.

I knew from reading this forum and by the symptoms I had, that the unit's problem was probably limited to bad capacitors. And I must say, despite reading all the great descriptions of how to fix this myself, it still seemed daunting for someone without any electrical experience. Plus, I had half an HD full of material I didn't want to lose, a DVD-RAM stuck inside (I began to off-load things when the start-ups got a little squirrely) but didn't make it before the dreaded "PLEASE WAIT" was frozen in place.

Now I realize it cost me an arm and a leg to get this done, and I surely overpaid for the work accomplished, but the peace of mind was worth it in the end. And I know I probably have lousy Panasonic replacement capacitors (Part No. F2A1C6810023 for those who may want to know), but the thing is back to working great, and nothing on my hard drive was lost. So I'll just have to live with being on borrowed time again (but don't we all live that way?)

I told DigaDo that I felt like a wimp for having Panasonic do these ultra-basic repairs, but I really don't have a tech I'm comfortable enough with in my area to risk the suspected fix, and, well, I just wanted to assure anyone else in my predicament that you can still get Panasonic to do basic repairs on these great decks and don't toss yours in the trash unless it really has something seriously wrong with it. I've never worked with a better recorder, and I've tried a lot.
post #182 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avory View Post

.
.
.
Now I realize it cost me an arm and a leg to get this done, and I surely overpaid for the work accomplished, but the peace of mind was worth it in the end. And I know I probably have lousy Panasonic replacement capacitors (Part No. F2A1C6810023 for those who may want to know), but the thing is back to working great, and nothing on my hard drive was lost. So I'll just have to live with being on borrowed time again (but don't we all live that way?)

I told DigaDo that I felt like a wimp for having Panasonic do these ultra-basic repairs, but I really don't have a tech I'm comfortable enough with in my area to risk the suspected fix, and, well, I just wanted to assure anyone else in my predicament that you can still get Panasonic to do basic repairs on these great decks and don't toss yours in the trash unless it really has something seriously wrong with it. I've never worked with a better recorder, and I've tried a lot.

I disagree. First, the machine is irreplaceable. With the exception of the international models for sale in the gray-market, there is no replacement for your E85. If it had really died, only the Mag and an international Panasonic would be options for you. Second, if you aren;t at least somewhat skilled at electrionis, you could have done much more harm than good. $140 is hardly overpaying. I used to pay that much for my vcr clean&lube job at a good repair faciliity many years ago. Heck he charged $65 just to take the cover off a VCR, $140 for a repair, quick turnaround, and return shipping, is not so much.

Did it come with a paper describing the repais that were done to it? Mine did.
post #183 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

I disagree. First, the machine is irreplaceable. With the exception of the international models for sale in the gray-market, there is no replacement for your E85. If it had really died, only the Mag and an international Panasonic would be options for you. Second, if you aren;t at least somewhat skilled at electrionis, you could have done much more harm than good. $140 is hardly overpaying. I used to pay that much for my vcr clean&lube job at a good repair faciliity many years ago. Heck he charged $65 just to take the cover off a VCR, $140 for a repair, quick turnaround, and return shipping, is not so much.

Did it come with a paper describing the repais that were done to it? Mine did.

Here is one of my recent PMs that expresses the same ideas with my usual verbosity:

"...You should describe your Elgin experience.

As a non-tech my first stab at Panasonic capacitor replacement was an experiment with a non-functional parts machine. It had been (perhaps) forty years since I had had any hands-on experience with electrical equipment. (In the 1966-1971 period I had a FCC third class license that allowed me to operate broadcast station equipment and make transmitter adjustments under the occasional supervision of a broadcast station engineer that held the FCC first class license. But I chose not to persue that as a career.) In those forty years I forgot almost everything technical I had known.

There are any number of complications that one might run into with disassembly, capacitor replacement and reassembly. A simple mistake can ruin a good HDD/DVD recorder. AVS members realize this. That's why only a few do their own work. I'm retired with a fixed income so I have to pinch pennies. That's why I do my own repairs. My wife watches QVC. I cringe every time the big brown UPS truck stops in front of our house (unless it's some goodie for me.)

Some of my posts describe my mistakes and experiments that haven't worked out. Other posts describe the experiments that worked. By reporting all this others are encouraged to describe their experiments, one way or another, so that others will be encouraged to follow or even blaze new trails.

I was one of the first to install a larger hard drive in a (Magnavox HDD/DVD recorder, this one a 2080 that) came with a 80GB hard drive. A few days after it's warranty expired I swapped in a 160GB hard drive. The 2080 not only "grew up" that day but other AVS members finally gave the 2080 model new respect. While I had paid around $240 for my first 2160, the 2080 had cost only around $80, purchased from an online store in Markham Ontario. At that price I wish I had bought more 2080 models.

Anyway, it's just a little past midnight and I'm rambling on and on so I'll wind this up now.

AVS is a great place. Don't be timid about sharing your experiences..."

Notice the caption of the attached photo from 3-21-2009.

During the Magnavox 2080 hard drive upgrade project I took more than seventy photos. A few of those photos are found in these Wajo sticky thread posts on the day of the upgrade and in the days that soon followed:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post16094760

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post16099346

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...6#post16114366

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post16113838

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post16121984

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post16122425

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post16122708

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post16130010
LL
post #184 of 494
To all, I hope it didn't come across that DigaDo was encouraging me to do the work on my DMR-E85H myself; far from it, he basically said what ChurchAV Guy did: don't feel bad for sending it off for a professional fix. So I did, and I couldn't be happier. And I do agree with you; the $140 is really a small price to pay for peace of mind. (The included invoice simply said capacitor repair, checked all electrical, firmware installed.)

By the way, while my E85H was taken out of line and sent off for repairs, it gave me an excuse to pull out a second E85H I had stashed in my closet. I purchased it on Craigslist a year ago for a mere $100 (no manual/no remote), and once I made sure it powered up, I mothballed it waiting for the time it would be needed.

Which was last week. When I plugged it in and checked it out, I realized it needed the firmware updated (it was a March 2004 production model, the one with the divide function problem, same as mine) and while I was in service mode, I checked the laser use.

Zero hours. Zero. And I remembered that the guy who sold it to me said they "never used it much." I guess not.

Evidently another family who found these things "too complicated." Of course I couldn't be happier, but it's back in the closet again, another example of a fine piece of equipment that couldn't find an audience.

(As an aside, I called Elgin and thanked them for taking good care of my deck, repairing it perfectly, and sending it back so fast. The person I talked to was genuinely surprised to hear my appreciation...she said they rarely hear good things, only complaints, and it gets discouraging.)
post #185 of 494
Avory , thanks for the info and update. You are correct in all aspects. The repir was capacitors, which is reassuring that it wasn't someting worse. They gave it a once-over and you now have some assurance that it will last a while longer. The decision to not do it yourself was hardly cowardice. I know guys wo insist on doing their own car repairs, and some of them go through vehicles almost twice as fast as I do (professional service with a mechanic I know and trust). In the long run, I am sure I save money by NOT doing my own repairs. If you had done it yourself,and something else had been wrong, you would not have known. Now you know, or at least are confident, that nothing else is worng with the recorder.

(This is getting awfully verbos myself!)

Also, I agree that many of these machines were returned because the owners could not understand and use them properly. This is VERY bad for the manufacturers (returns, no demand, long-term excess stock), and bad for the retailors (returns, open boxes, lowered prices, no profit) but this is really good for us who use them and know how when deals like you describe happen. You get an unused machine for what, $100, with zero hours on it?!? Amazing! Good for you.
post #186 of 494
reply to AVORY

I don't know about that $140.00 price for repair of E85H's, but I called the
800 number and was told to send the unit to Texas, which I did. A week later I got a call from "David" saying they received the recorder. In the conversation he said all recorder repairs were being sent to Texas. And that they were being repaired there and not Illinois. He also said that repairs could be $130.00 depending on what diagnostics found. That was two weeks ago. Still waiting for information.... Maybe I'll call Elgin?
post #187 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcheatle View Post

reply to AVORY

I don't know about that $140.00 price for repair of E85H's, but I called the
800 number and was told to send the unit to Texas, which I did. A week later I got a call from "David" saying they received the recorder. In the conversation he said all recorder repairs were being sent to Texas. And that they were being repaired there and not Illinois. He also said that repairs could be $130.00 depending on what diagnostics found. That was two weeks ago. Still waiting for information.... Maybe I'll call Elgin?

More complete information as to repairs and exchanges may be found in the first post in this thread.

The Elgin Illinois Service Center handles the repair of Panasonic DVD recorders at the $130 flat-rate.

Exchanges are handled through the McAllen Texas Customer Service Center. McAllen Texas is not a repair facility. McAllen will give quotes depending upon the model to be exchanged and shipping costs according to the customer's Zip Code. Exchanges are for refurbished products from the refurbishing facility in nearby Reynosa Mexico. Reynosa does not refurbish hard drive models.

Did the "customer service" person you talked with even know that your DMR-E85H is a priceless hard drive model? If that "customer service" person used the term "estimate" or "exchange" you know you're hearing an ignorant person reading from a script. When you hear from McAllen Texas they'll probably have an exchange quote of $140 for a non-hard drive DMR-EZ28 (or even worse a DMR-EZ17) direct to DVD recorder, a model with bugs and design flaws. Ask them "will you make my priceless DMR-E85H like new again?" The answer will likely be, "no, we don't repair hard drive recorders, only exchange them for current or recent DVD recorder models."

Keep us updated concerning your experience.

8/20/2010 Update: DVD recorder repair has been consolidated at the Elgin Illinois facility.
post #188 of 494
Great forum with some very good repair information. Well, after pulling an almost complete external source to DVD recording, I attempted to finalize the DVD and my recorder began making weird synchronised laser head sounds. After opening my unit up and doing careful dust removal, I opened the RAM drive to clean the notorious spindle. Still no good. It's as if the laser tracking mechanism is attempting to read a disc and can't so it adjusts itself three times and gives up. Almost like a BIOS code is being given. Three higher toned adjustment sounds and then one final lower tone sound. I opened the top to the drive again to verify what it was doing and watched the laser bucket ride along the rails, go back and fourth a 1/4 of the way to what appears to be slapping it's "head" on the middle spindle. Thus the three attempts to make a media read and return to rest. Any ideas what this could be? In my opinion, this sounds like the hard drive is waiting for some final data to send to the ram drive but fails. I wonder if there is a memory clear on the board like a CMOS clear or a memory cache method within the service menu? Maybe the ram drive is defective all of a sudden?

Thanks folks!
post #189 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by a16659235 View Post

Great forum with some very good repair information. Well, after pulling an almost complete external source to DVD recording, I attempted to finalize the DVD and my recorder began making weird synchronised laser head sounds. After opening my unit up and doing careful dust removal, I opened the RAM drive to clean the notorious spindle. Still no good. It's as if the laser tracking mechanism is attempting to read a disc and can't so it adjusts itself three times and gives up. Almost like a BIOS code is being given. Three higher toned adjustment sounds and then one final lower tone sound. I opened the top to the drive again to verify what it was doing and watched the laser bucket ride along the rails, go back and fourth a 1/4 of the way to what appears to be slapping it's "head" on the middle spindle. Thus the three attempts to make a media read and return to rest. Any ideas what this could be? In my opinion, this sounds like the hard drive is waiting for some final data to send to the ram drive but fails. I wonder if there is a memory clear on the board like a CMOS clear or a memory cache method within the service menu? Maybe the ram drive is defective all of a sudden?

Thanks folks!

Welcome to the forum.

Those are the usual sounds associated with a failed laser assembly. With a DMR-EH75V directly contact the Panasonic Service Center in Elgin Illinois for the very reasonable flat-rate repair.

DO NOT CONTACT PANASONIC CUSTOMER SERVICE AS THAT IS A SURE WAY TO GET INVOLVED IN A WILD GOOSE CHASE!

For more information concerning the flat-rate repair and contact information for the Elgin facility see the first post in this thread.

Pardon me, but I'm a curmudgeon this evening...

It is best not to open the DVD drive lid while the AC power cord is connected. But, if one insists on doing this never, ever, extend the disc tray with the DVD drive lid removed. Yes, I know, I've posted the remedial measures and step-by-step photos for reassembly/realignment of 2006 and newer DVD drives but some folks still manage to destroy the DVD drive before they read the instructions.

Here is the key to searching the AVS Forum:
LL
post #190 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

...It is best not to open the DVD drive lid while the AC power cord is connected. But, if one insists on doing this never, ever, extend the disc tray with the DVD drive lid removed...

Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

...Here is the key to searching the AVS Forum:

Posting images of PC screens is *MUCH* easier than TV screens:
  1. Open TWO copies of MS Paint.
  2. In your browser, program, etc..., COMPOSE the screen as close to what you want as you can.
    Press ALT-PrtScrn.
  3. In the FIRST instance of MS Paint, click on 'Select' (dotted rectangle, left side of screen, right row of icons, top box).
  4. Type CNTL-V (paste)
  5. CLICK on 'Select', again (removes WHOLE IMAGE select from the just copied image)
  6. Using your mouse, select TOP LEFT point of the subset of the first image (below the browser lines, for example), HOLD the LEFT mouse button, move the mouse to the BOTTOM RIGHT point of the subset, release the mouse button.
  7. Type CNTL-C (copy)
  8. In the SECOND instance of MS Paint, type CNTL-V (paste)
  9. To conserve space (and meet forum requirements), LEFT CLICK on the MIDDLE RIGHT and MIDDLE BOTTOM black dots and 'drag' the image smaller (i.e. reduce the WHITE SPACE).
  10. CLICK File -> Save, compose a name and select JPG as the type.
  11. SAVE.
  12. DONE!


LL
post #191 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

Welcome to the forum.
With a DMR-EH75V directly contact the Panasonic Service Center in Elgin Illinois for the very reasonable flat-rate repair.

DO NOT CONTACT PANASONIC CUSTOMER SERVICE AS THAT IS A SURE WAY TO GET INVOLVED IN A WILD GOOSE CHASE!

For more information concerning the flat-rate repair and contact information for the Elgin facility see the first post in this thread.

I DEFINITELY second this suggestion. My Panasonic EH50 needs a disk drive repair and I mistakenly called Panasonic Customer Service. The young guy that answered definitely wanted me to send it to McAllen, TX where he said it would be exchanged for a repaired unit or a newer, better unit.

I hesitated, told him I wanted it repaired, what about sending it to Elgin, Ill.? The customer service rep said my EH50 was not being repaired any more. I figured it was time to say thanks and hung up.

I called the repair facility in Elgin, related my story to the girl on the phone, and she said, upon hearing it was a hard drive unit, said "Oh, it's a hard-drive unit--you don't want to send it there, send it to us, we'll take care of it!"

So I did.
post #192 of 494
I have a Pan EH55 with the symptoms of a failed laser assembly. I've tried to reach the Elgin facility to verify the current procedure and pricing for flat-rate repair but haven't been able to talk to a live person or get a call-back.

If any of you have recently been through this process, please verify the phone number you called and/or relate the instructions you were given for returning your unit. I've read conflicting info here about the amount to enclose, which IL facility to send to, etc.

Also, for those of you who sent back HDD units, did you remove the HDD contents before returning? My hard drive is virtually full and I'm a little paranoid about sending it back and losing the contents. On the other hand, it would take FOREVER to unload the contents to the EH50 and the Mag 2160 (first I'd have to make room...).

Did you send back your unit in the original carton, and if so, did it get returned in that original carton? Did you double box?

Thanks for your help. I love my EH55 and I only regret not buying one or two more while they were available.
post #193 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by torgy View Post

I have a Pan EH55 with the symptoms of a failed laser assembly. I've tried to reach the Elgin facility to verify the current procedure and pricing for flat-rate repair but haven't been able to talk to a live person or get a call-back.

If any of you have recently been through this process, please verify the phone number you called and/or relate the instructions you were given for returning your unit. I've read conflicting info here about the amount to enclose, which IL facility to send to, etc.

Also, for those of you who sent back HDD units, did you remove the HDD contents before returning? My hard drive is virtually full and I'm a little paranoid about sending it back and losing the contents. On the other hand, it would take FOREVER to unload the contents to the EH50 and the Mag 2160 (first I'd have to make room...).

Did you send back your unit in the original carton, and if so, did it get returned in that original carton? Did you double box?

Thanks for your help. I love my EH55 and I only regret not buying one or two more while they were available.

The Elgin facility is the one that repairs Panasonic DVD recorders at the $130 flat-rate. Keep trying, it's especially hard to get through when some office personnel are on vacation.

As has been mentioned several times in this thread one should provide a written description of what the recorder is doing that it shouldn't or failing to do what it should. In that description be sure to mention that you wish to retain the hard drive contents, if possible. That way the Panasonic experts will try not to disturb those hard drive contents unless they find that its necessary in order to return your recorder to a fully functional condition. It's never good to fill up a hard drive. To assess overall functionality the Panasonic experts might have to delete some recordings to provide necessary hard drive headroom to determine satisfactory functionality of the Digital PCB. To be safe I would suggest that you offload enough recordings to another recorder to provide perhaps 10-15% headroom on the hard drive. That percentage should provide a safe headroom allowance. (I should mention that I don't own Panasonic hard drive models--perhaps owners of Panasonic hard drive models will clarify this headroom matter. I own seven Magnavox and Philips hard drive models. Update: Three days later, 8/6/2010, I purchased a 2005 Panasonic DMR-EH50 HDD/DVD Recorder.)

Be aware that with this 2006 model a replacement DVD Drive might require that the Digital PCB be replaced as well. If that's the case the recorder will be returned to you with the operating code set to 1. If your recorder was set to operating code 2 or 3 it's a simple matter to reset your remote to code 1 and then change the recorder's operating code back to 2 or 3 and then change the remote back to 2 or 3 as you please.

Back in August 2006 I sent my DMR-ES30V packed only in it's original box to Elgin for a warranty replacement of the DVD Drive. I affixed the shipping label provided by Panasonic directly to the outside of that box. Within two weeks my ES30V was repaired and returned to me in the original box.
post #194 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by torgy View Post

I have a Pan EH55 with the symptoms of a failed laser assembly. I've tried to reach the Elgin facility to verify the current procedure and pricing for flat-rate repair but haven't been able to talk to a live person or get a call-back.

If any of you have recently been through this process, please verify the phone number you called and/or relate the instructions you were given for returning your unit. I've read conflicting info here about the amount to enclose, which IL facility to send to, etc.

Also, for those of you who sent back HDD units, did you remove the HDD contents before returning? My hard drive is virtually full and I'm a little paranoid about sending it back and losing the contents. On the other hand, it would take FOREVER to unload the contents to the EH50 and the Mag 2160 (first I'd have to make room...).

Did you send back your unit in the original carton, and if so, did it get returned in that original carton? Did you double box?

Thanks for your help. I love my EH55 and I only regret not buying one or two more while they were available.

Your story parallels mine. I too had a near impossible time getting someone on the telephone. After maybe four or five calls, someone called back and told me to just send my EH55 into Elk Grove. I don't remember the number, or the address exactly right now. I included the note describing the problem and $130 payment and got my recorder back in about two weeks. They had replaced the drive and controller board.

The contents of the hard drive were not touched. The repair did not involve the hard drive, so I assume they had no reason to fiddle with it. From your description, your repair is the same as mine, a failed DVD drive, so I would expect your HDD to be intact upon return as well. (Ah, HEM! Not a statement of warranty, merely an opinion. )

I sent mine double boxed, with the inner box being the original carton.

I wonder how long spare parts will be available of these units?
post #195 of 494
It's so hard to get a person on the phone at Elk Grove because the office staff is busy checking Craigslist for old Panny DVD recorders to buy up and cannibalize for replacement parts!

Or maybe those come up by the pallet-load on the truck from McAllan TX--all the HDD recorders people are suckered into returning in exchange for a POS EZ-series machine!!
post #196 of 494
First, a major thanks to all on this forum for the great education.
I have owned the DMR-E85 since 2005 and loved using it. Eighteen months ago, a local authorized Panny shop replaced four capacitors for me. In June, a power failure seemed to cause another incident -- when it came back on the unit wouldn't record, had lost audio and suddenly had a jumpy picture.
The local service shop said it would be $500-plus, but couldn't nail the repair cost down until they got at it. No thanks.
I followed Avory's lead and without authorization, shipped it off to Elgin IL, in the original box and packing, on July 9, and enclosed the unit's specific story and current problems, plus the $140 flat fee. The DMR-E85 was returned to me July 21 in a double box packing, my original box inside.
It's working just fine (apart from U99's just the first two nights hooked back up, but the ON button caused a reset and it's been fine since). I don't think I overpaid and I'm thrilled that Avory and the rest of you have blazed a great trail for those desperate for critical repairs.
The invoice/note that came back to me specified parts as two capacitors and the following lines exactly:
Service performed: PART REPLD ELECTRICL, INSTALL FIRMWARE, CHECKED OK
Technician's comments: REPLACED CAPS ON P/S, MAIN PCB, UPGRADE

Anyone care to translate that for me?

Again, to all, many thanks for the insight.
Tim
post #197 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadlinewriter View Post

...The invoice/note that came back to me specified parts as two capacitors and the following lines exactly:
Service performed: PART REPLD ELECTRICL, INSTALL FIRMWARE, CHECKED OK
Technician's comments: REPLACED CAPS ON P/S, MAIN PCB, UPGRADE

Anyone care to translate that for me?

Again, to all, many thanks for the insight.
Tim

Tim,

The first of my paragraphs is an interpretation of the service performed and the technician's comments. In the second and third paragraphs I offer an opinion.

I believe that the first line indicates that electrical parts were replaced, the second line indicates that the replaced electrical parts were capacitors and those capacitors were in the power supply section of the main (chassis) printed circuit board. The first line indicates that there was a firmware update run after which the recorder checked out OK.

The use of the word "upgrade," after the mention of capacitors in the technician's comments, might indicate that the new capacitors are of a higher performance specification than the original capacitors.

It is unlikely that the word "upgrade" refers to replacement of the Digital PCB or DVD (RAM) Drive as these parts are not specifically mentioned. These parts are usually evaluated during diagnosis and, if found within performace parameters, they would not be replaced. If these parts were found to be below performance parameters they would have been replaced.
post #198 of 494
Quote:
Service performed: PART REPLD ELECTRICL, INSTALL FIRMWARE, CHECKED OK
Technician's comments: REPLACED CAPS ON P/S, MAIN PCB, UPGRADE

Well, my universal translator reads it as..
Parts Replaced, Electrical
Installed firmware
Checked ok
Replaced capacitors on Power supply
And they upgraded the Main PCB board

Perhaps the caps the local service shop added weren't the right kind?
post #199 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearToLand View Post

Why?

The procedures necessary to reassemble a 2006 or newer Panasonic DVD Drive when the disc tray has been extended with the DVD Drive lid removed are found in two February 2009 posts in the "Panasonic 2006 and newer DVD drive hub/spindle cleaning and reassembly complications" thread:

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

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post15773564

Of course, if folks would read and follow the instructions and heed the advice and cautions they wouldn't need those procedures.

I used to say "cleaning the lens, rubber hub and spindle area is so simple that a cave man can do it." Perhaps I should have said "it takes a cave man to do it."
post #200 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadlinewriter View Post

The invoice/note that came back to me specified parts as two capacitors and the following lines exactly:
Service performed: PART REPLD ELECTRICL, INSTALL FIRMWARE, CHECKED OK
Technician's comments: REPLACED CAPS ON P/S, MAIN PCB, UPGRADE

Anyone care to translate that for me?

Again, to all, many thanks for the insight.
Tim

As I read it, line one is saying that he replaced some electrolytic capacitors, installed newer firmware and afterward did a standard check, showing everything as OK. The second line, if I read it correctly, says that capacitors on the power supply board, and the main PCB board were replaced, and the firmware was upgraded.

These shorthand lists are not too specific. Since it says that two capacitors were replaced, I think there was one in the power supply, and another on the main PCB (printed circuit board). It's standard for all machines that come in for service to have the firmware checked, and upgraded if an upgrade is available. The note does not say the main board was changed, so I am thinking the "upgrade" applies to the firmware, and the "replaced caps" applies to the P/S and main PCB.
post #201 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

More complete information as to repairs and exchanges may be found in the first post in this thread.

The Elgin Illinois Service Center handles the repair of hard drive and earlier models and the Elk Grove Village Illinois Service Center handles repair of the recent/current models. Elgin and Elk Grove offer the $130 flat-rate repair.

Exchanges are handled through the McAllen Texas Customer Service Center. McAllen Texas is not a repair facility. McAllen will give quotes depending upon the model to be exchanged and shipping costs according to the customer's Zip Code. Exchanges are for refurbished products from the refurbishing facility in nearby Reynosa Mexico. Reynosa does not refurbish hard drive models.

Did the "customer service" person you talked with even know that your DMR-E85H is a priceless hard drive model? If that "customer service" person used the term "estimate" or "exchange" you know you're hearing an ignorant person reading from a script. When you hear from McAllen Texas they'll probably have an exchange quote of $140 for a non-hard drive DMR-EZ28 (or even worse a DMR-EZ17) direct to DVD recorder, a model with bugs and design flaws. Ask them "will you make my priceless DMR-E85H like new again?" The answer will likely be, "no, we don't repair hard drive recorders, only exchange them for current or recent DVD recorder models."

Keep us updated concerning your experience.

after telling "David" from the Panasonic facility in McAllen Texas I wanted the $130.00 repair and giving him my Credit card info. I waited a week and received a letter from them. It stated that the "REPAIRS" would be $700.00, and they needed my approval.
I informed them to ship it back to me UNREPAIRED. I'm still waiting for its return.
I also asked them to ship it to Elgin, but they said they were no longer associated with
Elgin, and could not ship to them.
post #202 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

More complete information as to repairs and exchanges may be found in the first post in this thread.

The Elgin Illinois Service Center handles the repair of hard drive and earlier models and the Elk Grove Village Illinois Service Center handles repair of the recent/current models. Elgin and Elk Grove offer the $130 flat-rate repair.

Exchanges are handled through the McAllen Texas Customer Service Center. McAllen Texas is not a repair facility. McAllen will give quotes depending upon the model to be exchanged and shipping costs according to the customer's Zip Code. Exchanges are for refurbished products from the refurbishing facility in nearby Reynosa Mexico. Reynosa does not refurbish hard drive models.

Did the "customer service" person you talked with even know that your DMR-E85H is a priceless hard drive model? If that "customer service" person used the term "estimate" or "exchange" you know you're hearing an ignorant person reading from a script. When you hear from McAllen Texas they'll probably have an exchange quote of $140 for a non-hard drive DMR-EZ28 (or even worse a DMR-EZ17) direct to DVD recorder, a model with bugs and design flaws. Ask them "will you make my priceless DMR-E85H like new again?" The answer will likely be, "no, we don't repair hard drive recorders, only exchange them for current or recent DVD recorder models."

Keep us updated concerning your experience.

I sent my DMR-85H to McAllen, Texas first week of July. Ten days later got a call from "David" saying $45.00 INSPECTION fee needed. Gave him my credit card info. Two weeks later got a letter saying repairs would be $700.00. I said NO. Ttried to have them send it Elgin,Ill but they refused. Said they are no longer associated with Elgin, and had to return it to me. I said to return it unrepaired..Its been two weeks and I still haven"t got it back.
post #203 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcheatle View Post

I sent my DMR-85H to McAllen, Texas first week of July. Ten days later got a call from "David." ...after telling "David" I wanted the $130.00 repair and giving him my Credit card info... (David said a) $45.00 INSPECTION fee (was) needed... Two weeks later got a letter saying repairs would be $700.00. I said NO. Tried to have them send it Elgin, Ill but they refused... they said they were no longer associated with Elgin, and could not ship to them... and had to return it to me UNREPAIRED. I said to return it unrepaired..Its been two weeks and I still haven"t got it back.

For convenience I've consolidated both posts in the above quote.

You got caught up in the Panasonic Customer Service Department's "WILD GOOSE CHASE" horror story--as have many others.

Here is the new rule: If a Panasonic recorder is no longer under the original Panasonic warranty do not call Panasonic Customer Service expecting to get "service."

For owners with problematic EZ series recorders they might consider calling Panasonic Customer Service in order to exchange (for a fee) their problematic EZ series recorder for another one JUST LIKE IT, (problematic, that is). Or, better yet, find a good old ES or EH series recorder or consider a Magnavox 2160 or 513 (both HDD/DVD recorders) currently priced between $159 (a like-new factory refurbished 2160 at jr.com) or $227 (a new 513 at walmart.com).

With a DMR-E85H it's time to contact Elgin concerning the flat-rate repair:

Panasonic Service Center
410 B Airport Rd.
Elgin, IL 60123

1-847-468-5543
post #204 of 494
Not to check a gift horse's mouth or anything, but why do you think the Elgin center continues to repair these old machines at such a reasonable rate with such high efficiency (once you know the secret handshake to get your ailing Panny in the door)?

And why doesn't McAllen just have a script for their phone reps that has them ask the caller "Does your recorder have a hard drive?" Customer sez yes, he's immediately transferred to Elgin to hash it out.

Yeah, I know--Big Corporation. I've worked for one of those, and logic doesn't always figure into how they do things. The McAllen Experience is what I expect from trying to support from a consumer electronics company after the 90-day/6-mo./1-yr warranty has expired.

Outside of AVS, does anybody even *know* about the Elgin Option (I'm big on creating new proper nouns today!)?

It's almost like Elgin is running a sort of subversive, clandestine, Archibald Tuttle (from the movie Brazil) operation where customers are taken care of the way they should be, as a way of sticking it to The Man!!
post #205 of 494
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

Not to check a gift horse's mouth or anything, but why do you think the Elgin center continues to repair these old machines at such a reasonable rate with such high efficiency (once you know the secret handshake to get your ailing Panny in the door)?

And why doesn't McAllen just have a script for their phone reps that has them ask the caller "Does your recorder have a hard drive?" Customer sez yes, he's immediately transferred to Elgin to hash it out.

Yeah, I know--Big Corporation. I've worked for one of those, and logic doesn't always figure into how they do things. The McAllen Experience is what I expect from trying to support from a consumer electronics company after the 90-day/6-mo./1-yr warranty has expired.

Outside of AVS, does anybody even *know* about the Elgin Option (I'm big on creating new proper nouns today!)?

It's almost like Elgin is running a sort of subversive, clandestine, Archibald Tuttle (from the movie Brazil) operation where customers are taken care of the way they should be, as a way of sticking it to The Man!!

The more critical question is how long will Elgin be allowed to continue to "stick it" to "The (Panasonic) Man?"

If you go back in this thread there is discussion that the Elgin (and perhaps Elk Grove Village) Illinois facilities have the Panasonic name out front but the operation itself is owned/operated by a contractor. I believe that the Reynosa Mexico refurbishing facility might also be a contractor as the generic brown "Panasonic" refurbished product boxes have something like "Refurbished for Panasonic" on the box end sticker. On the other hand the McAllen Texas facility is part of Panasonic's "corporate structure." I remember reading that Panasonic's Louisville Kentucky offices--probably the Customer Service telephone support operation and some administrative offices--were drastically downsized with almost the entire operation transferred to McAllen Texas. McAllen Texas is about ten miles from Reynosa Mexico.
post #206 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

Not to check a gift horse's mouth or anything, but why do you think the Elgin center continues to repair these old machines at such a reasonable rate with such high efficiency (once you know the secret handshake to get your ailing Panny in the door)?

And why doesn't McAllen just have a script for their phone reps that has them ask the caller "Does your recorder have a hard drive?" Customer sez yes, he's immediately transferred to Elgin to hash it out.

Yeah, I know--Big Corporation. I've worked for one of those, and logic doesn't always figure into how they do things. The McAllen Experience is what I expect from trying to support from a consumer electronics company after the 90-day/6-mo./1-yr warranty has expired.

Outside of AVS, does anybody even *know* about the Elgin Option (I'm big on creating new proper nouns today!)?

It's almost like Elgin is running a sort of subversive, clandestine, Archibald Tuttle (from the movie Brazil) operation where customers are taken care of the way they should be, as a way of sticking it to The Man!!

I think the more important issue is how long will they have the parts to continue repairing these units? As I recall, someone posted about a year ago they sent in a hard drive machine and Elgin couldn't repair it because they were out of that that part and didn't have access to more.

I know the last time I sent a machine there I asked about how long they w/b doing repairs and I was told something like they w/b doing them as long as they had the parts available.
post #207 of 494
Thread Starter 
In earlier posts I've suggested that folks watch out for private-party "refurbs." I used an example of a guy named Julio working out of his garage where the "refurb" procedure consisted of wiping the dust off the recorder with a damp rag.

Perhaps Julio brought his damp rag with him and got a job at Panasonic in McAllen Texas. Perhaps "The Man" reasons that for $700 (plus the $45 estimate) Julio might find some DMR-E85H parts machine to cannibalize and see if he can figure out how to "refurb" this recorder so it actually works. The McAllen mindset is "why should we allow a customer with an old recorder to get it working for the few dollars Panasonic gets from the contracter in Elgin when we can soak the customer for $745 by having Julio do the work in McAllen."

Perhaps that's the reason for the Panasonic Customer Service McAllen Texas Wild Goose Chase. It appears that Panasonic Customer Service has managed to figure this out on their own. Don't blame me for giving them the idea.

Now, here's what Panasonic should do: Start building HDD/DVD recorders again, even if they are tunerless models, for the US and Canadian markets. Of course, Panasonic won't do that because Funai can do it at a more competitive price point with the Magnavox 2160 and 513 models.
post #208 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

The McAllen mindset is "why should we allow a customer with an old recorder to get it working for the few dollars Panasonic gets from the contracter in Elgin when we can soak the customer for $745 by having Julio do the work in McAllen."

Perhaps that's the reason for the Panasonic Customer Service McAllen Texas Wild Goose Chase. It appears that Panasonic Customer Service has managed to figure this out on their own. Now, don't blame me for giving them the idea.

A cunning plan, much like the kind the character Baldrick came up with in the old BBC series Black Adder, only.... Who's gonna shell out MORE than the original cost of the machine to have it repaired?

However, the idea that Elgin is an independent contractor--maybe they even had the repair concession for all Panny DVDRs (may explain the move from Elk Grove)--that's now operating on its own, somewhat "under the radar."

I know, who cares as long as they continue to provide this tremendously valuable service. But I'm one of those people who likes to speculate on the "why" question!
post #209 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breyean View Post

I think the more important issue is how long will they have the parts to continue repairing these units? As I recall, someone posted about a year ago they sent in a hard drive machine and Elgin couldn't repair it because they were out of that that part and didn't have access to more.

I know the last time I sent a machine there I asked about how long they w/b doing repairs and I was told something like they w/b doing them as long as they had the parts available.

Check my post #164 one of my units is of need of the main board, to which is no longer available.I'VE got plenty of brand new sealed hdds for these and replacement laser assemblies for them but no main big boards.
post #210 of 494
Sorry, haven't been monitoring this thread lately, but to torgy's questions that may not have been answered fully by others: yes, I double boxed my E85, making sure there was plenty of room on all sides at every point, wrapping the unit in plastic, then filling with "peanuts" (never use peanuts with anything that isn't well wrapped as the styrofoam breaks into little pieces and gets into nooks and crannnies). I didn't have the original boxes or molded styrofoam inserts, but this works IF you get good boxes. Don't scrimp on the boxes, and ship via FedEx ground; it has the best rates for large, bulky items and is reliable. None of my boxes was used in the return; instead, Panasonic used a generic size and filled it with foam that I guess they blow inside, not quite sure how they did it, but it comes wrapped in plastic. It was pretty secure in there despite not being double boxed. I had written a lengthy letter explaining my problems and plead with them not to disturb the hard drive if at all possible, since I knew it was probably OK. I also had a DVD-RAM disc stuck inside. It was returned and the hard drive was undisturbed as well. As I said before, I couldn't be happier with the folks at Elgin. I don't think the whole thing took more than a week or so from the time I mailed it.
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