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Panasonic DMR-EZ17K DVD Player/Recorder - Page 14

post #391 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiewolf View Post

Anyone know what the difference is between an F and an exclamation point when it comes to a failed recording?

A (F) means it failed to record the event. A (!) means their is not enough disc space to fully record that event to the disc.
You will get a F after a failed event and the ! before the event telling you to either change the disc or select a slower speed.
AFA powering up the machine the day of your event, I think(it's been a while) but I think that was only necessary if you used weekly or daily events. I don't think I needed to do that for one shot events.
AFA VCRs I know Canada Future Shops still had some last month, but I don't think any US retailers just sell VCRs only(those Canadians get everything)
Not sure if used would be OK but in my area anyway Pawn Shops and even places like the Goodwill stores always seem to have a large supply of older decent looking VCRs and their usually priced at a song, ~$10. If you went the used route and they didn't have a good return/exchange policy I'd bring a non critical tape with and plug it in at the store. Even without a TV if it looks like the counter is advancing and it's not eating or creasing your tape it's probably OK. The store might even have some tapes they'll let you use.
post #392 of 440
Might as well bring a piece of coax cable too, in case they have any TV's laying around.
post #393 of 440
That's true, might even be easier to bring a composite video and audio cable pair to run to the front A/V input of a display TV. Most stores that have used electronics usually have a wall full of running TVs and it would be easier to plug into the front than trying to turn the TV around to get the the RF input. Of course not all TVs have front inputs but I think many do.
post #394 of 440
Is there any way to make this system play PAL discs?
Thanks
post #395 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

The most recently added DMR-EZ17 (the one with the very dirty hub pictured above) was set up OTA and performed well. Following that it was set up cable-ready where it performed well. Last weekend it was scheduled it to record SNL on our local NBC channel 8.1. I was watching as the EZ17 recorded. At the end of SNL I manually stopped recording only to get a "disc problem" window. After the EZ17 recovered, the disc returned an "unsupported" message on that EZ17 and an ES model. Following this incident this EZ17 would no longer tune the digital channels, just the analog channels. I rescanned the channels with the same result. I pulled the EZ off cable and set it up OTA and rescanned the channels, finding all the local OTA analog and digital channels. I disconnected the EZ17 from ac power for a couple of days. Yesterday I set the EZ17 up cable-ready, ran the latest firmware and rescanned the channels. This EZ17 is now tuning all the Comcast cable-ready analog and digital channels.

And the bugs go on . . .

An update concerning this DMR-EZ17: A couple of days after the above post the Comcast digital channels were no longer tuning in. This EZ17 receives its RF signal passed through from another cable-ready EZ17 in the next room. (So far that other EZ17 has not lost its digital channels. Its occasional problem is the scheduled recording pause/record/freeze syndrome.) The EZ17 that loses its digital channels still had the channel numbers from the last channel scan but the channels would not appear when selected. Last night I rescanned the channels with the same result, no digital channels but the digital channel numbers were now gone. I disconnected the power cord overnight. This morning I set up this EZ17 in the next room connected with a RF pass through from a DMR-ES35V (a little-used cable-ready machine). Then I ran the EZ17 auto channel scan. Following that scan the EZ17 went into the automatic clock set. Soon the clock scan arrow froze. I waited a few minutes and pressed ENTER and then RETURN. The Comcast analog and digital channels are again present (as is the correct time). How long will the digital channels remain present this time?

So far I have not noticed the loss of digital channels with other EZ17 models.

And the bugs go on . . .
post #396 of 440
Is it possible there is some sort of "digital channel sync flag" that is not passed on the pass-through on the first ez17? So the 2nd ez17 is "blind" to this (as opposed to if the signal was coming right off the antenna/wall cable), if there has been a change in the state of the broadcasting channels?

I suppose it still does not explain how you were able to scan the channels in the 2nd ez17, originally, but were not able to this time (presumably while connected to the pass-through on the 1st ez17 the whole time).
post #397 of 440
Not sure if you remember but one of my 6 bad EZ-17s, I think it was #5, had the problem of no digital channels. Originally they were their but I did another channel scan to try and add one that did not show up originally and from that point on it got no digitals. Analogs were fine but no matter how I set it up or how many times I did a rescan I couldn't get any OTA digital channels.
I guess what I'm trying to say is analog but no digital seems to be a valid problem with the EZ-17 and personally I don't know if anything can be easily done about it.
post #398 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky View Post

Is it possible there is some sort of "digital channel sync flag" that is not passed on the pass-through on the first ez17? So the 2nd ez17 is "blind" to this (as opposed to if the signal was coming right off the antenna/wall cable), if there has been a change in the state of the broadcasting channels?

I suppose it still does not explain how you were able to scan the channels in the 2nd ez17, originally, but were not able to this time (presumably while connected to the pass-through on the 1st ez17 the whole time).

To your first question I would observe that I have been running RF pass throughs back and forth between several machines in two rooms, several of which have been EZ17 models. The unchanged arrangement has a Philips 3575 in another room originating a pass through of the RF signal from a Comcast Motorola DTC700 (always tuned to TCM) to my EZ17 #7653 in this room.

My EZ17 #5107 was the first RF pass through originator of the cable-ready signal to EZ17 #9779 in the next room. EZ17 #5107 was recently swapped out of daily use for service and is now set up on the receiving end of the cable ready RF pass through for evening viewing. EZ17 #5107 is having no difficulty with receiving cable-ready digital channels. EZ17 #9779 is now the originator of the RF pass through signal. EZ17 #1105 has twice been set up on the receiving end of the RF pass through and has twice so far lost its cable-ready digital channels. After EZ17 #1105 had its first loss of digital channels EZ28 #4720 was swapped into place for a brief time with no difficulty. EZ28 #4720 is currently set up for OTA reception.

Only EZ17 #1105 has been found to lose its cable-ready digital channels, twice so far.

I mention the loss of cable-ready digital reception here in order to hear if this is merely a sample defect or a widely observed defect.

The OTA scans specified "antenna" and the cable-ready scans specified "cable" with no subsequent interruption of signal sources.

In my city there are three main antenna farms, all within 10* of each other line-of-sight and less than 5 miles distant. There has been recent tower work that has caused recent local broadcast station OTA outages. I believe that these stations provide direct feeds to Comcast Cable so this does not cause broadcast channel outages of cable-ready digital signals.
post #399 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

I mention the loss of cable-ready digital reception here in order to hear if this is merely a sample defect or a widely observed defect.

It is now somewhat more than three hours since my earlier post. This morning EZ17 #1105 was set up in my home office. Since that time it has been on the receiving end of a DMR-ES35V cable-ready RF pass through. At the beginning of this test EZ17 #1105 was receiving all the cable-ready digital channels I expected to receive including local "in the clear channels" at their normal channel assignments and the 73.x subchannels Comcast duplicates the locals channels for an unknown reason, and a few strays--such as the main PBS 10.1 channel is also found at 109-12.

What am I seeing or not seeing at the moment? ABC at 2.1 is gone. CBS at 6.1 is present. NBC on 8.1 and NBC Weather on 8.2 are gone. (At the moment I am watching and recording NBC at 8.1 through EZ17 #5107, viewing on another TV in the home office.) PBS at 10.1 and 10.3 are present but the signals flash on and off at a rapid rate. (Comcast does not provide 10.2.) PBS at 10.4 is present without flashing. Fox at 12.1 is gone, but it's sister station at 49.1 is present. Another local station at 32.1 is gone. As I've been typing another local station (showing Wheel of Fortune) at 73.1 is just now starting to flash on and off. The same for another local station (showing Inside Edition) at 73.2. 73.3 is flashing as well. ION at 73.4 is flashing. TBN at 73-5 is flashing. 73.6 and higher are gone. PBS at 109.12 is present.

A quick return to 10.1 and 10.3 now finds somewhat better stability but the others are as reported.

I'm thinking that EZ17 #1105 may be satisfactory for enslaving to a cable box where the recording channel will be analog channel 3 or a line input.

And the bugs go on . . .
post #400 of 440
Yesterday my EZ17 just froze up on pause before starting a scheduled timer recording. Had to manually power it off. This is the second time in about a month. Never had a problem before then. And of course I missed both recordings. Good thing they are network shows that show up a day or so later on Comcast OnDemand.

Then I thought maybe I should upgrade the firmware. I’ve never upgraded on this unit & figured it might help with something. I d/l the firmware & burned a CD. But my Panny display indicated unsupported, which means it does not need an upgrade. I bought it Oct 2007. I can’t believe it would not take an upgrade after a year.

My TV displayed that the CD disc is incompatible. Also previously two or three times I’ve loaded a DVD-RAM and the unit displayed no disc, so who knows. Maybe I didn’t burn the CD correctly or maybe it’s time for a new recorder, but I’d like to upgrade on my time schedule. Anyway I’ll call Panny & ask them to send me a disc.
post #401 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

Yesterday my EZ17 just froze up on pause before starting a scheduled timer recording. Had to manually power it off. This is the second time in about a month. Never had a problem before then. And of course I missed both recordings. Good thing they are network shows that show up a day or so later on Comcast OnDemand.

On my EZ17 models the display shows this freeze up occurs at the REC 00:00 display, not in the PAUSE mode. When you inquire about the firmware CD be sure to ask about the Scheduled Recording Pause/Record/Freeze Up. Is the most recent firmware update supposed to correct this? Ha! Ha! Ha!

And the bugs go on . . .
post #402 of 440
This must be a concerted effort amongst the ez-17 army (like some bad I, Robot storyline). Mine, as well, has decided to be utterly unreliable just this week, after a loooooong stint of trouble free operation. It recorded Mon fine, but Tue- nothing, and then a repeat of nothing on Wed. Wtf?!

This evening, I will have to remember to power-cycle it once, with no disc in the tray (something I did not do, yesterday). Maybe that has something to do with resetting the timer gremlins, once they emerge (since if you shut it down w/o a disc, it will cancel any timer operations, thereof, so when you power-on, the timer awakes once again anew?).
post #403 of 440
I just happened to notice when the unit powered up & went into the Rec/Pause mode because I saw the 2nd red indicator came on & the 00:00 on the display. So I thought everything was going to be OK. I didn’t look at the Panny again till later on and still saw 2 red indicators and 00:00 and instantly knew there was a problem.

Till now the EZ17 has been reliable. But it is noisier & less responsive than my ES20. I do like the EZ17 QAM tuner - usually.

Initially there was a problem only with my PBS station. If there is motion, usually a slow zoom in or out, the picture blurs and then snaps back into focus, and keeps repeating as long as the motion continues. This happens if the recorder is used just as a tuner or when recording. So it has nothing to do with the recording itself.

I called the TV station and spoke with a VP in their engineering department. He said it might be due to the fact they have 3 subchannels and may be borrowing too many bits from the main channel. And that the Panasonic’s conversion to 480i might be causing the problem. He said he’d look into it & maybe tweak some settings. I don’t know if he did, but the problem persists.

However a couple weeks ago I recorded “The Tonight Show” on NBC HD and I noticed a similar problem. This time the brightness seemed to fluctuate in addition to the picture going in and out of focus. I watched the program again a couple days later and had the same problem. It does not happen during the NBC news preceding Jay Leno. And it does not happen during the commercials. I do not know if NBC is reducing the bit rate of the transmission during Jay Leno, but everything looks OK if using my TV’s tuner or the Comcast HD set top box.

I wrote a letter to Panasonic, explained the situation & that a few others on this forum have experienced the same focus problem. (If you search you will find this). I also asked if there was a firmware upgrade that may perhaps correct this. They replied they have not had any reports about my issues and there was no firmware addressing it. They recommended taking my recorder to an authorized service station. I was hoping they would send a firmware DVD anyway, but no such luck.
post #404 of 440
If you're seeing the same out of focus I saw with my EZ-17s (noticeable mostly on 1080i broadcasts) you'll be happy to know they fixed that with the x8 series Pannys. I kind of attributed it more to the way the tuner handled the downconversion from HD to SD than anything else. Once you realize it's their it will really bug you, if you have a screen capable of showing it. I didn't notice it on my SD Sony but on my HD Panny TV it really stood out.
post #405 of 440
I've seen this effect (if we are talking about the same thing) on digital broadcasts from sources other than what my ez17 has had its hands on. So I am not inclined to believe this is a behavior of the dvd recorder, itself, rather some funky encoder settings being tweaked with on the broadcaster end. It probably has something to do with using a longer series of difference frames in order to eek out a bit more "compression efficiency" in the encoding (would you put it past them to play around with this?...it's exactly the kind of stuff they would toy around with).
post #406 of 440
The broadcaster I spoke with acknowledged they were spreading bits among the main & subchannels. So they may not be completely innocent. OTOH, the EZ17 is the only tuner I have this problem with. The TV QAM tuner and HD STB do not exhibit these artifacts. So Panny may not be completely innocent either. It may be a combination of both, each one operating at the extreme end of an acceptable range of parameters.

I called Panasonic today to get a firmware upgrade disc. The rep I spoke with seemed more helpful than most so I brought up the timer/freeze and focus issues & he gave me a case number.

I also asked if an engineer could possibly call me. That may sound unusual, but when I wrote to Panny about an ES20 timer problem an engineer did call me. What a surprise & almost knocked me off my feet. After several discussions over several weeks a new firmware version was issued. Needless to say I was most impressed that someone took the time to investigate & correct a problem. So I'm hoping that someone will contact me. If not I will contact them again to follow up.
post #407 of 440
I received & installed the CD firmware that Panasonic sent me, version U7-426, dated May 21, 2008. And it took. This is the same version I d/l from their website & burned a CD which did not work. I’ve done this before with my ES20, but perhaps this time I did something wrong.

I did not d/l the RRT Firmware Update or Patch, nor does it appear to be on the Panny disc.

Anyway the unit still works, which is good. I’ll have to see if corrects the timer/freeze problem. It did not affect the focus issue, but I did not expect it to.
post #408 of 440
I had a problematic RAM disc which I washed (see thread on washing RAM). It seemed to work afterwards.

But I tried a timer recording this evening with this disc. I was home & started the recording 10 minutes early. That way I had time to change discs if it did not work. And it did not. The recorder came on & displayed 0000 and stayed that way for a couple minutes. So am not sure if it's the disc or the timer/freeze problem, which I just started experiencing about a month ago. I checked the scheduler & there was a red dot all the way to the left side which supposed to mean Currently Recording. I don't know why I'm getting the timer/freeze problem all of a sudden. I never had it for almost a year, but this makes the 3rd time in about a month.
post #409 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

I had a problematic RAM disc which I washed (see thread on washing RAM). It seemed to work afterwards.

But I tried a timer recording this evening with this disc. I was home & started the recording 10 minutes early. That way I had time to change discs if it did not work. And it did not. The recorder came on & displayed 0000 and stayed that way for a couple minutes. So am not sure if it's the disc or the timer/freeze problem, which I just started experiencing about a month ago. I checked the scheduler & there was a red dot all the way to the left side which supposed to mean Currently Recording. I don't know why I'm getting the timer/freeze problem all of a sudden. I never had it for almost a year, but this makes the 3rd time in about a month.

If your EZ17 is still under warranty call Panasonic. Since you have already contacted Panasonic concerning the Pause/Record/Freeze situation (and tell Panasonic that this AVS Forum thread is verification that this as a common experience among other EZ17 owners) you need not settle for a Panasonic representative's feigned ignorance of a common problem. You know and Panasonic knows that this is a common problem so you need not "jump through a hoop" to get satisfaction. It is not your problem that Panasonic finds it necessary to "reinvent the wheel" whenever hundreds or thousands of EZ series owners report the same problem. Your expectation is that Panasonic will make good on the warranty. It's as simple as that. Your should insist that Panasonic provides you with RMA information for warranty service at the Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village Illinois; or replace your EZ17 with known good product (not another one "just like it").

See this post for more information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1056657

None of my EZ17 models are covered under the original warranty. I've learned to live with the bugs and design flaws. I wish you well.
post #410 of 440
Well how long did you really wait? Aren't the 0000's "normal" upon the lengthy startup of an ez17? It can seem like an eternity when mounting a disc from a cold start, too right?

I'll tell you what, if there is any startup display on an electronic device that is most confidence-reducing, it's got to be the ez series. It just sits there outputting a black screen while flashing all sorts of nonsense on the front display for minutes, strange whirring sounds going on inside, etc. I just avert my attention elsewhere for a few minutes, and eventually it is up and running when I return.

Short of just waiting for apparent recording failure (at the expected recording time), have you tried a different disc (just to make sure it isn't just your dvd-ram disc that bit the dust)? Also be sure to power cycle it with an empty tray at least once, before finally dropping in a blank disc to be used later in a scheduled recording. I find this is useful to do to flush out the remaining gremlins, after a fit of misbehavior has ensued.
post #411 of 440
My EZ17 is out of warranty.

Normally it powers up into the pause mode about 1 minute before the actual recording start time. This particular time I waited 3 minutes into the actual start time. I don't think this was the same RAM disc that caused a problem last time, but I'm not 100% certain. I'm going to label the discs & keep track of which one(s) cause a problem. While I've had these discs several years, I've certainly not done anywhere the 100,000 re-write cycles as claimed for DVD-RAM. Maybe they're just starting to go anyway. It's just a bit strange that I never had the timer/freeze problem for a year & now I've had it 3 times in about a month. So maybe the discs are starting to fizzle out. I just would hate to buy a batch of new ones & still have the same problem.

I already have a case number from Panasonic & also responded to their online questionaire asking about the problem. I'll have to give them a little time to respond. If not I'll contact them again.
post #412 of 440
Well remember there was that one time I asked about the lifespan of a dvd+rw disc, because one of them was giving me trouble. It was really far too early to expect it to be eol, but it was now flaky, nonetheless. All is well now, that I ditched that disc. The other discs in that same collection are still in-service just fine, as well. So maybe it is not unusual for "a" disc to just prematurely die?
post #413 of 440
Well I had another timer/freeze problem with a different disc. This makes 2 failures out of the last 4 timer recordings. Never had this problem till a few weeks ago. Must be because the unit is now out of warranty. Meanwhile the good old ES20 keeps working.

If anyone else has a case number from Panasonic please let me know.
post #414 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

If your EZ17 is still under warranty call Panasonic. Since you have already contacted Panasonic concerning the Pause/Record/Freeze situation (and tell Panasonic that this AVS Forum thread is verification that this as a common experience among other EZ17 owners) you need not settle for a Panasonic representative's feigned ignorance of a common problem. You know and Panasonic knows that this is a common problem so you need not "jump through a hoop" to get satisfaction. It is not your problem that Panasonic finds it necessary to "reinvent the wheel" whenever hundreds or thousands of EZ series owners report the same problem. Your expectation is that Panasonic will make good on the warranty. It's as simple as that. Your should insist that Panasonic provides you with RMA information for warranty service at the Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village Illinois; or replace your EZ17 with known good product (not another one "just like it").

See this post for more information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1056657

None of my EZ17 models are covered under the original warranty. I've learned to live with the bugs and design flaws. I wish you well.


Since my EZ17 is out of warranty I thought I'd clean the lens & spindle. I have seen your photos of these parts and thank you for posting them. Is there anything special or tricky I should know about opening up the recorder or the drive?
post #415 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

Since my EZ17 is out of warranty I thought I'd clean the lens & spindle. I have seen your photos of these parts and thank you for posting them. Is there anything special or tricky I should know about opening up the recorder or the drive?

This post provides DVD drive disassembly and reassembly advice and a link to the Saint Baz hub/spindle/lens cleaning procedure:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14479898
post #416 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

This post provides DVD drive disassembly and reassembly advice and a link to the Saint Baz hub/spindle/lens cleaning procedure:

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


Thanks for all the information.

It took only a few minutes to do. The most difficult part was removing the 4 small screws that hold on the drive cover. The plastic that they are screwed into had a real firm grip on them.

The hub had some dirt on it which I cleaned off. I cleaned the lens too. Even though the RAM discs looked clean I washed them just to reduce any dirt transfer back into the recorder.

I also checked for leaky capacitors & did not see any.

I just set up the recorder for a series of short timer recordings & will have to wait & see what happens.
post #417 of 440
Since cleaning I tried 4 short & 1 long timer recordings and so far all were successful. Of course that does not mean a lot, but at least I did not have a 50% failure rate. I'll keep a short leash on this unit for a long time.

Panny sent me another firmware upgrade CD, presumably in response to my case number. However it's the same version they previously sent me.
post #418 of 440
I don't recall if this has been discussed before (but I vaguely recall something like it in some discussion), but has anyone ever noticed the fan running (ever so subtly) even while the ez17 is powered down? I never noticed this before until I recently snooped around in an utterly quiet room, with all of my equipment shutdown for the night. Does the fan really run 24/7 on this thing, or is it just momentarily directly after shutdown? If the former, why?!
post #419 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky View Post

I don't recall if this has been discussed before (but I vaguely recall something like it in some discussion), but has anyone ever noticed the fan running (ever so subtly) even while the ez17 is powered down? I never noticed this before until I recently snooped around in an utterly quiet room, with all of my equipment shutdown for the night. Does the fan really run 24/7 on this thing, or is it just momentarily directly after shutdown? If the former, why?!

I don't hear mine running, but is has been off for a while and my ears are not the best. Maybe DigaDo can give an answer.
post #420 of 440
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

I don't hear mine running, but is has been off for a while and my ears are not the best. Maybe DigaDo can give an answer.

Normally the fan runs whenever the machine is powered on.

The fan also runs when an "abnormal inner temperature [is] detected" acccording to the DMR-EZ17 Service Manual (Canadian English) at Service Mode 7.1.1. In that circumstance "U59 is displayed for 30 minutes." "Self-Diagnosis Functions" states "display appears when the drive temperature exceeds 70* C. The power is turned off forcibly. For 30 minutes after this, all [remote control] entries are disabled. (Fan motor operates at the highest speed for the first 5 minutes. For the remaining 25 minutes, fan motor is also stopped.) The event is saved in memory as well."
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