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Recommendation to replace a Panasonic EH-55

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Can someone suggest a good replacement unit for my Panasonic EH-55 recorder? My optical drive appears to have gone bad for the second time in 3 years and I'm thinking that it might not be worth yet another repair since the last one lasted less than one year. I know people like the Magnavox units but from what I've read they don't use an IR blaster to change channels and that is a feature I definitely need for timer recordings. I record from a Comcast cable box and would need to change channels several times a day. I also need to make basic edits to the recordings before burning to discs and make chapter points. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkle View Post

Can someone suggest a good replacement unit for my Panasonic EH-55 recorder? My optical drive appears to have gone bad for the second time in 3 years and I'm thinking that it might not be worth yet another repair since the last one lasted less than one year...

Panasonic DVD Drives need routine cleaning of the laser lens and rubber hub atop the spindle (turntable). This post describes and illustrates the cleaning procedures:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1055071/panasonic-2006-and-newer-dvd-drive-hub-spindle-cleaning-and-reassembly-complications/0_60#post_14479898
post #3 of 11
Quote:
My optical drive appears to have gone bad

What EXACTLY is happening that makes you think the drive has gone bad? Is it making noises, or is it something else?
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

What EXACTLY is happening that makes you think the drive has gone bad? Is it making noises, or is it something else?

I'm getting the clunking and grinding noise when I put a disc in the tray. After I remove the disc I still get the noise when I close the tray and the light in the display indicating that there is a disc in the drive lights up and stays lit even when it's empty. I get an error message if I try to access the drive, like if I try to copy something from the HDD to a disc.

I will try the cleaning procedure recommended by DigaDo, but I tried something similar the last two times without any success so I'm not expecting any different results. I had not tried the saliva on a disc though, so maybe that will prove different this time around.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkle View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

What EXACTLY is happening that makes you think the drive has gone bad? Is it making noises, or is it something else?

I'm getting the clunking and grinding noise when I put a disc in the tray. After I remove the disc I still get the noise when I close the tray and the light in the display indicating that there is a disc in the drive lights up and stays lit even when it's empty. I get an error message if I try to access the drive, like if I try to copy something from the HDD to a disc.

I will try the cleaning procedure recommended by DigaDo, but I tried something similar the last two times without any success so I'm not expecting any different results. I had not tried the saliva on a disc though, so maybe that will prove different this time around.

If it sounds like THIS, then it is most definitely a burned out laser emitter. If that is the case, then I recommend you at least send a PM to the forum user MICKINCT about it. He repairs these things, and can give you a lot of information to help in your decision.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah_ItV5RBUg

This is not the same model as yours, but a bad laser would cause it to make the same series of sounds.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

If it sounds like THIS, then it is most definitely a burned out laser emitter. If that is the case, then I recommend you at least send a PM to the forum user MICKINCT about it. He repairs these things, and can give you a lot of information to help in your decision.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah_ItV5RBUg

This is not the same model as yours, but a bad laser would cause it to make the same series of sounds.


Yes that's the sound. I spoke with Mickinct on the phone yesterday, I still plan to try the recommended cleaning procedure in the next day or two, but don't expect it to help. At this point I think that I have to decide between fixing this unit for a 3rd time or getting a brand new Magnavox to replace it for the same price. There's almost too much information on the Magnavox's on the forum and it seems like the only way to change the channels would be to have my bad unit still hooked up and use the IR blaster just to change channels for the Magnavox recorder. Seems like more trouble, but it sounds like it would work. Decisions, decisions
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkle View Post

After I remove the disc I still get the noise when I close the tray and the light in the display indicating that there is a disc in the drive lights up and stays lit even when it's empty.
AFAIK if the drive light indicates a DVD when none is inserted it has a bad laser, cut and dry.
I had my first laser failure the other day, a moderately used ES-15. It was working fine, I inserted a Ty 8x disc and after a few seconds of recording it came up with a U66(or was it U99???) anyway now it always thinks a DVD is inserted, even when not. IMO a ES-15 is not worth repairing but I'd sure repair a EH-55. After 9 years of using Panasonic DVDRs this is my first laser failure, it's very odd you should keep experiencing this......I feel for you frown.gif
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

AFAIK if the drive light indicates a DVD when none is inserted it has a bad laser, cut and dry.
IMO a ES-15 is not worth repairing but I'd sure repair a EH-55. After 9 years of using Panasonic DVDRs this is my first laser failure, it's very odd you should keep experiencing this......I feel for you frown.gif

That's what I suspected, seems like the consensus is that it is a bad drive. So now I have two of these EH-55's with the same problem, the other didn't bother me as much since I didn't use it as much, but this one saw a lot of daily use. While I certainly don't plan to trash it, I'm weighing the options as far as putting more money into it again, I'm about 50/50 right now and want to read up a bit more on the Magnavox's before I make a final decision.

Funny that I started this thread asking for replacement recommendations and all the responses seem to suggest fixing what I have and NOT getting a replacement at all.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkle View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

If it sounds like THIS, then it is most definitely a burned out laser emitter. If that is the case, then I recommend you at least send a PM to the forum user MICKINCT about it. He repairs these things, and can give you a lot of information to help in your decision.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah_ItV5RBUg

This is not the same model as yours, but a bad laser would cause it to make the same series of sounds.


Yes that's the sound. I spoke with Mickinct on the phone yesterday, I still plan to try the recommended cleaning procedure in the next day or two, but don't expect it to help. At this point I think that I have to decide between fixing this unit for a 3rd time or getting a brand new Magnavox to replace it for the same price. There's almost too much information on the Magnavox's on the forum and it seems like the only way to change the channels would be to have my bad unit still hooked up and use the IR blaster just to change channels for the Magnavox recorder. Seems like more trouble, but it sounds like it would work. Decisions, decisions

If it means anything to you, I have had Mike repair several of my recorders (yeah, I put a LOT of hours on the ol' lasers) and all of his repairs have been very solid. The laser is like a light bulb, so when it goes, it needs to be replaced. You can't really FIX a light bulb. Very rarely I guess you could get a bulb with an unusually short life--it happens. It is the rare exception rather than the norm.

We are suggesting a repair because there is nothing available that has all the features of the EH55 that you report using. I would suggest a unit from B&H photovideo, an EH59 or EH69, but even though they are almost identical to your EH55, they do NOT have the IR blaster. That brings you back to a repair. The thing is, your EH55 is STILL very valuable, well worth repairing.
post #10 of 11
Oh, I neglected to mention that in my decade or so of research, I ran across an English translation of an article allegedly written by an alleged Panasonic designer engineer who was allegedly working with the DVD products line. In the long-gone article, he claims that the one thing most likely to ruin the life of your laser is bad power, especially power surges. There are capacitors and filters in the power supply that feeds the laser to prevent this, but they are not what would be called robust protection. If you don't have a UPS with aggressive surge protection, I would seriously recommend you get one. It is money well spent. Where I am, the power is very poor, and I'm sure that my UPSes have saved me many repair costs.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well I appreciate all the responses, looks like I'll have to repair what I have.
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