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Panasonic DMR E85H .....is this a good unit

5275 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  howie14

I have a chance to pick up a used unit for about $80.00 here in Florida froma guy that claims it was given to him as a gift & he does not need it. Anything I should look over before making the final purchase & is this unit one of the better ones that Panasonic put out???
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I am not personally familiar with this model.

There are several older threads discussing this model. To locate these threads go up to the Google Search AVS box and enter the model number.

Note that the only discs supported by this unit are DVD-RAM and DVD-R.

The Operating Instructions were copyrighted in 2004. This manual may be downloaded here:


Some specifications:

Recording system: DVD Video Recording format (DVD-RAM)

DVD-Video format (DVD-R)

Recordable discs:


12 cm (5q) 4.7 GB, 12 cm (5q) 9.4 GB, 8 cm (3q) 2.8 GB

12 cm (5q) 4.7 GB (Ver. 2.1/3k-SPEED DVD-RAM Revision 1.0)


12 cm (5q) 4.7 GB, 8cm (3q) 1.4 GB (for General Ver. 2.0)

12 cm (5z) 4.7 GB (for General Ver. 2.0/4k–SPEED DVD-R

Revision 1.0)

Recording time:

≥Maximum 8 hours (with 4.7 GB disc)

≥Maximum 213 hours (with built-in 120 GB HDD)

Playable discs:


12 cm (5q) 4.7 GB, 12 cm (5q) 9.4 GB, 8 cm (3q) 2.8 GB

12 cm (5q) 4.7 GB (Ver. 2.1/3k-SPEED DVD-RAM Revision 1.0)


12 cm (5q) 4.7 GB, 8cm (3q) 1.4 GB (for General Ver. 2.0)

12 cm (5z) 4.7 GB (for General Ver. 2.0/4k–SPEED DVD-R

Revision 1.0)

DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Video CD, CD-Audio (CD-DA)

CD-R/CD-RW (MP3, CD-DA, Video CD formatted discs)

Built-in HDD Capacity: 120 GB

Drive unit: High Speed Drive (correspond to 4 times speed with

DVD-R disc and 3 times speed with DVD-RAM disc)

LASER Specification

Class I LASER Product

Wave length: 795 nm 658 nm

Laser power:

No hazardous radiation is emitted with the safety protection

Audio system

Recording system: Dolby Digital 2 ch,

Linear PCM (XP mode, 2ch)

Input: LINE (pin jack)a3

Reference input: 309 mVrms

FS: 2 Vrms (1 kHz, 0 dB)

Input Impedance: 47 k≠

Output: LINE (pin jack)a2

(Load impedance: 10 k≠) Reference output: 309 mVrms

FS: 2 Vrms (1 kHz, 0 dB)

Output Impedance: 1 k≠

Digital Audio Out: Optical terminal (PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS)

Television system

Tuner system: NTSC-M

Antenna reception input:TV Channel: 2ch–69ch, 75 ≠

CATV Channel: 1ch–125ch, 75 ≠

RF Converter Output: Not provided

Video system

TV system: NTSC color signal, 525 lines, 60 fields

Recording system: MPEG2 (Hybrid VBR)

Input: LINE (pin jack)a3, 1.0 Vp-p; 75 ≠

S connectora3 Y: 1.0 Vp-p; C: 0.286 Vp-p; 75 ≠

Output: LINE (pin jack)a2, 1.0 Vp-p; 75 ≠

S connectora2 Y: 1.0 Vp-p; C: 0.286 Vp-p; 75 ≠

Component video output (480P/480i): Y: 1.0 Vp-p; 75 ≠

PB: 0.7 Vp-p; 75 ≠

PR: 0.7 Vp-p; 75 ≠


Regional code: ‚ 1

Clock unit: Quartz-controlled 12-hour digital display

Operating temperature range: 5 oC–40 oC (41 oF–104 oF)

Operating humidity range: 10 %–80 % RH (no condensation)

Power supply: AC 120 V, 60 Hz

Power consumption: 35 W

Dimensions: Approx. 430 (W)k79 (H)k274 (D) mm


(excluding protrusions)

Mass: Approx. 4.2 kg (9.24 lbs)


Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Mass and dimensions are approximate.
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If it is in good working condition - this model is selling for more than $200 at a popular auction site. Decent DVD recorder that also incorporates TVGOS programming feature.
I used an E85 for two and a half years before buying the more recent EH75V. It's still in my closet for use in case something happens to the EH75V. It's a good solid unit, and I'd consider it a bargain at $80 if it works OK.

If you're going to use it for OTA recordings, you need to be aware that it does not have an ATSC (digital) tuner, so beginning next February you'd have to use it with a converter box. The built-in TV Guide On Screen system gets its data piggybacked onto an NTSC (analog) channel, and I don't know whether the E85 can be made to work with the ATSC version of TVGOS via a converter box. You can still fall back on setting the clock and scheduling recordings manually like on a VCR. I used it that way for a year and a half, recording from a HD receiver via the line inputs.

If you're on cable, you'll still have some analog signals for a while, and you can always record via the line inputs, but there's still the matter of losing TVGOS.
It was a very popular model, although a few failed more rapidly than their owners expected. If your seller will let you check it before buying, make sure it will record and play on both its hard drive and DVD drive (bring a DVD-R blank with you). If both drives seem to work, $80 is a pretty good price.

Bear in mind most recorders dating from 2004 have difficulty using current blank discs available at retail. Dye formulas have changed radically. You may need to buy TY 8x DVD-R blanks online: all the discs in stores are 16x and not so good.
If you buy this machine the first thing I would do would be to take the cover off the unit and then off the DVD burner. Unless it has been recently cleaned I guarantee it will be dusty/dirty and will give you grief later on(cleaning CD's do not clean the spindle). I haven't seen a Panny more than a year old that didn't have a dirty spindle. It's a big problem with older Pannys, luckily cleaning it is quite easy and quick to do.

As others have mentioned media will be a slight problem with a unit of this age. You probably don't want to get the cheapest 16x discs from a discount store and expect them to work good. Also as noted +R discs of any type will not work, although that's not that big of a deal. Personally I'd miss not being able to record to cheaper -RW discs although RAM are superior their just more expensive, harder to find in B&M stores and less compatible with other players.

Overall if the unit worked good(most important would be the HDD, the burner can be easily cleaned if grinding) I wouldn't hesitate getting it. Without the HDD personally I wouldn't pay over $30? for one of a similar age.
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Jeff mentioned cleaning the rubber and plastic parts associated with the DVD drive hub and spindle. General information about this procedure and a link to details may be found here:

I used an E85 for a few years and was very happy with it. I would consider $80 for a working unit to be an excellent price.
I still use my E85 and have never had a problem with it. $80 sounds like a great deal to me. Not having an ATSC tuner is not a problem for me since I record from my DISH 622DVR.
I love mine, but you should research the "u99" problem and make sure the firmware is up to date.

Check out the thread on the unit at afterdawn.com.
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