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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New reader here, drawn to the forum by Googling for E85H help.


Other than taking my 2 month old Panasonic E85 to the local service center, any chance I can get it to kick out of the self check loop it's stuck in? I was inserting chapter markers in a program on the HD when a timer recording to the RAM kicked off. The unit locked up, turned off, restarted, and has been in a "self check" loop ever since. The loop takes about 63 seconds start to finish, and begins with "please wait", "self check", "CH 1", and then "BYE", after which the loop starts over. There is a new blank Panasonic RAM stuck inside. Have tried all the normal button push combinations and the only one that gets any response is toggling the eject lock, but drawer still won't open. Panasonic phone support had me try (in order) unplug, hold power button, U99 eject disc combo, and initialize to factory combo, all to no avail. Their response is take it to the local authorized service shop. Hate to do that if I can work past this myself - would like to save some of the programs on the HD.


Have tried all the following:
  • Eject Disc: (Off) CH^ + Stop
  • Eject Disc: (Off) Press Stop twice, then Open/Close
  • Toggle Eject Lock: (On) Power + Stop for 5 secs
  • Eject Disc U99: (Off) Power + Stop + CH^ for 5 secs
  • Init to Factory Default: (Off) “|
 

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Hope you didn't have anything important on HDD ! Goodbye !

Sounds like firmware corruption which requires replacement digital pcb.

Sadly, replacement pcb will force format to HDD
 

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Try opening the unit, unplug the HDD power and try again with the button pushing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinCheckin
Try opening the unit, unplug the HDD power and try again with the button pushing.
Tried this yesterday (figuring I would probably lose HD programs anyway) and all I get is "TEST * L1", after which I still can't seem to get anywhere. Thanks for the suggestion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptek
Hope you didn't have anything important on HDD ! Goodbye !

Sounds like firmware corruption which requires replacement digital pcb.

Sadly, replacement pcb will force format to HDD
Based on what I've been reading, was suspecting the same thing. What's on the HD isn't that important, nothing irreplaceable. The Panny phone support guy indicated that, even if I could get the firmware update CD into it, the update probably won't take care of this problem. Today I finally received email from Panasonic support indicating if the unit is still in warranty it can be repaired by sending it to Panasonic Digital Service Center, 410 B Airport Road, Elgin, IL 60123. 'course I seem to remember the user guide saying not to transport the unit with a DVD inside, but what's a guy to do, eh? Really liked this thing while it was working, but am totally unimpressed by such "firmware frailty". Have always been happy with Panasonic video equipment in the past, but I see now I should have done some research before buying this one. Thanks.
 

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Man, what's up with Panasonic reliability? My E95 just crapped out on me after only 3 months of use! I woke up one morning to find it in "U99" mode. I tried turning it off, then back on again (as the manual says), but after appearing to start [fairly] normally ("Please Wait", "Self Check"), it just goes "U99" after about 15 seconds. Every time. Tried unplugging it (while off), but same thing happens. Can't get through to customer service, of course. "We are experiencing higher than normal call volume...." :mad:
 

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I think Panasonic reliability is fine. Problems happens with all manufacturers' products.


Did you update the firmware? If not, the U99 mode will kick in. Happened to me on my E-500. After the upgrade. no U99 and the TV Guide works great.


RG
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Originally Posted by rgazzara
I think Panasonic reliability is fine. Problems happens with all manufacturers' products.
Not to try and get a flame war started or anything, but in my opinion this is a wholly different type of reliability issue. We're not talking about a part breaking or wearing out too soon. This is just poor programming, plain and simple, and it was like that right out of the box, on day one, complete with the green TV guide etc. Programming so bad that it can corrupt itself enough that it has to be factory serviced. Even Windows PCs aren't that bad. How many posts are there where someone says they took the original back and the replacement was just as bad. I should have taken the clue when there were 3 already opened units for sale at BBuy. But I was too blinded by the promise of new and better functionality to stop long enough and wonder why there were so many returns. After all, it's a Panasonic, and I've always had a great experience with their products - I just need to decide which one has the features I want, right?


I have VCRs that are 10+ years old that still work fine, and have never refused to spit out a tape just because they were "confused". They've had mechanical problems, yes, but these aren't due to someone burning the prom with instructions that can't handle the foreseeable case of a timer recording starting up while a tape is playing at the same time (oh dear, what shall I do, I guess I'll lock up until I get back to the factory for more instructions). True, my VCRs don't have the flexibility (or picture quality) my DVD recorder had when it actually worked (there were less that 30 hours on my E85 before it wigged out) but which device will I trust from now on? It won't be my Panasonic DVD recorder, especially for recording to the hard drive, which is the main reason I bought it versus a straight DVD recorder. If the problem were caused by a power surge that fried something I would understand, but this thing got confused just by virtue of the fact that it was being used. And the fact that TV Guide can download instructions that can lock it up - well, let's just hope TV Guide and Panasonic don't have a "falling out", or gets paid enough by HBO to introduce a "glitch" that prevents you from taping your favorite HBO programs. And these problems don't sound like isolated events - when they happen often enough that so many different people can compare notes, that sure sounds like a serious manufacturing problem to me. Not really the "reliability" I expect from any reputable manufacturer, least of all Panasonic. They could take the initiative, admit they've got problems with these things, and offer to do what it takes to make it better, but that sure hasn't been my experience. I'm almost hoping now now I can get it "fixed" enough times before the warranty runs out that my extended warranty will hit its "lemon" clause and I can get my money back.


Ok, rant mode off now, I feel a little better (but I still have a 2 month old $400 paperweight to get fixed). Sorry, but Panasonic has lost a lot of ground in this household. :(
 

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Mr_Fixit


I had the exact problem with my E95. If you search for 'Test *L1' you'll find my old thread. Like you, I tried all the various resets etc.. I eventually had to take the unit in for repair. In the end, the digital PCB and the HDD was replaced.


A day or so after I dropped the unit off I was told by the repair shop it would take four weeks for the PCB to arrive from Panasonic. I thought this was unacceptable. I wasn't sure who was to blame, the repair shop or Panasonic, so I called Panasonic to complain. The rep on the phone informed me that the PCB was indeed going to be late in leaving Panasonic, it was not the repair shops fault. The rep also noticed that the PCB cost over $500. I asked why the unit was being repaired when surely it was cheaper for Panasonic just to give me a new unit. The rep agreed and I was told they'd get back to me with an answer. I never did get a response (I know, big suprise) but I did get my original unit back. It may be a placebo effect, but the unit seems to work a little different than the original. I'm wondering if I waited for the PCB due to a redesign, or because so many go bad they can't keep up with demand. I'm still confused as to why Panasonic chose to repair the unit instead of just giving me a new one and saving themselves $$$$.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Fixit
Not to try and get a flame war started or anything
Yeah, OK... ;)


Sorry to have planted a bee in your bonnet. Panasonic sells a huge number of DVD recorders (as well as other products) and there are bound to be some problem units. I was just making the point that all manufacturers have some problem units when mass manufactured...this is no surprise. All you have to do is read this forum to see the problems others are having with Pioneer, Toshiba, etc.


One cannot gauge the reliability of a product from the rants (oops, sorry, the discussion :) ) of a few individuals, as it is frequently the case that people that have problems with their products speak the loudest (and the longest).


I have been using a Panasonic E-500 for several months now and it has worked perfectly. The TV Guide problem was corrected by the firmware upgrade. I'll be the first to admit that Panasonic was slow in acknowledging the problem (probably because of marketing folks), but they did and it was fixed.


I hope that you get your problems solved quickly and to your satisfaction. Meanwhile, even though my E-500 could serve as a doorstop, I am happily enjoying its wonderful performance as a competent, functional piece of video equipment that I would not trade for any other model.


One happy Panasonic DVD recorder user.


RG
 

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I had this [bad ram disc/U11/recover/bye] happen on my HS2. I tried many of the suggested solutions for powering off, accessing the service menu, unplugging; etc-and found none of them to work for RAM discs. From other experiences, some do work for defective -R discs, but the HS2 is real anal about spitting out a defective RAM disc.


One solution that others have used for Ram discs successfully was to take the cover off and remove the disc. I really didn't want to do this as it involved a lot of disassembly of my HT setup just to get the HS2 out.


So I got risky and tried something that a Moderator from another forum had mentioned: I gently pried open the tray door [about 10 degrees max--until it felt it didn't want to go more] while pushing the open/close button. After a couple of cycles, the tray opened! The defective ram disc went directly to my fireplace. I powered down and upon power up the HS2 is working perfectly.


This is risky, because I suspect if the door is pried too far damage is done.
 

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Mr. Fixit, when you tried stop + channel up did you hold the buttons down for 5 seconds? And was the machine off when you tried that sequence? Looks like you did. Well, it has worked for me in the past.


(Press and hold the power button till the machine shuts off. Then with the machine off press and hold "stop" and "channel up" on the recorder for five seconds and release (release both buttons after 5 seconds whether something happens or not) The unit should turn on and eject the disk.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylisp
Mr. Fixit, when you tried stop + channel up did you hold the buttons down for 5 seconds? And was the machine off when you tried that sequence? Looks like you did. Well, it has worked for me in the past.
To be quite honest, I can't tell you for sure if I tried that particular combination for just 5 seconds or not. I'm sure I would have tried it with the unit both on and off. Since a lot of the posts refer to 5 seconds I don't doubt that I could have tried it, as well as for 10 seconds, and probably for 30 seconds. Heck, I probably wore the buttons out trying all the different combinations so many different times. ;)


It's in the local shop now, which turns out to be the same place I usually take my other electronic gear in for service (my Sony, JVC, and Mitsubishi equipment, but knock wood no other Panasonic stuff so far). Their off-the-cuff estimate was 2 weeks, but my guess is that's just based on fitting the work into their schedule and only having to do the firmware upgrade. They mentioned they have several Panny DVD recorders that they are doing that with, I think the other one was an E95?. Guess we'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara
Yeah, OK... ;) Sorry to have planted a bee in your bonnet.
The bee was already there, I just let it sting the innocent bystander who was nice enough to offer an opinion. Didn't mean to unload on you, and being the new reader I haven't yet got a feel for how other manufacturers are doing with their recorders (although from actual experience I do know my parents' RCA DVD recorder has also locked up, but nothing a "power boot" wouldn't fix). Guess this is just my first of these new breed that have consumer updateable firmware, and also the first that essentially committed suicide in such a manner - aren't they programmed to wait until a couple days out of warranty to do that? ;) Guess I'm just used to dealing with mechanical/electrical failures, not logic bombs. If the quirks are fixed it will be a nice little unit, but I'm afraid it will take some time for me to gain any confidence in it again. It's in the shop now, will have to see how this unfolds... Thanks for the restrained response. :)


Steve
 
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