DVD Recorder problems - Grinding Noises or Clunks

Gavtech

Administrator
There are two common critical problems that come up regularly when playing discs in Panasonic machines.

Both involve noises: Grinding or clunking several times.

Each of these symptoms has very different causes.
Both can be fixed, one very easily and cheaply, the other less so.


(Other makes can be affected similarly, some of the information here may be useful in dealing with those too but the details herein specifically refer to Panasonic SD DVDR's)

Reading the following thread should allow you to identify the problem symptoms and lead you to the appropriate solution.
 

denis mills

Standard Member
Is it possible to transfer contents from one dvd hard drive to another?
I'm having problems recording to disc,and do not want to lose recorded archives.
Any help would be appreciated. (Panasonic EX75)
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Panasonic EX 75
You can connect to another recorder via a scart and transfer ... but only in real time.

What problems are you having with the DVD drive?
 

denis mills

Standard Member
The disc will not finalize and a scaping noise is heard plus u88 error.Have used a laser disc cleaner,and restored to factory setting,but still no good.
Thank you for your time.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
The disc will not finalize and a scaping noise is heard plus u88 error.Have used a laser disc cleaner,and restored to factory setting,but still no good.
Thank you for your time.
Will a disc ever play at all, anytime? Even for a small while [ Doesn't matter what type ]

... and if not, is the 'Disc in' symbol illuminated on the front of the display even when a disc is not present?
 

denis mills

Standard Member
When the disc is inserted it records fo a few seconds.It has been up to 50% then the scraping noise returns,and thats it. I do not get any disc in messages when it is empty.
It will play all the recordings from the hard drive via the tv,and will play other pre recoded discs,it just will not record from the hard drive.If it was not for the archives I do not wish to lose I would buy another,if the repair bill is too high. Many Thanks.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
When the disc is inserted it records fo a few seconds.It has been up to 50% then the scraping noise returns,and thats it. I do not get any disc in messages when it is empty.
It will play all the recordings from the hard drive via the tv,and will play other pre recoded discs,it just will not record from the hard drive.If it was not for the archives I do not wish to lose I would buy another,if the repair bill is too high. Many Thanks.
OK. Understood.

There may be a remedy if you are prepared to open the machine.

In the course of writing to disc, various housekeeping tasks are done which involve reading and writing to various parts of the disc. The disc spins up and suddenly slows down to perform these operations.

The disc sits on a small rotating platform about the size of a large coin and is held in place on that platform by a magnetic clamp.
There is a rubber ring on the edge of the upper surface of the disc platform which is meant to grip the disc to impart rotational drive to it.

Over time that ring gets contaminated with fine dust as a result of the throughput of coolant air, and it looses its tackiness and the ability to grip the disc.
How bad this problem is, will depend on how long the unit has been in service and the ambient environmental conditions in which it operates.

The scraping noise arises simply as a result of the disc continuing to spin, due to its momentum when the platform quickly arrests for some critical operation... As a result , laser lock is lost and the recording fails.


The simple remedy is to clean the rubber ring... but it does involve taking the top off the machine and then the top off the drive enclosure.
On most machines it involves removing the front fascia assembly also but that is a one-piece unit that is simply removed by releasing its plastic clips.

The best fluid for cleaning the rubber is stuff called 'Platenclene' which is used for improving the tack on print rollers... but it is difficult to get and unduly expensive for this tiny job.
[Edit - Not any more. - See here ]

Some clean with Isopropanol or Methylated spirit... but I recommend against this because it denatures the rubber and can cause cracking.

But the important point is that cleaning it with anything - [mild washing up liquid solution on a cotton bud....even spit on a handkerchief if necessary! ] ... should produce a radical improvement and a provide a return to normal service.

If you decide to tackle it, the usual cautions apply.
Unplug everything- of course.
Don't touch anything inside unless necessary.
Take your time. Have good light.

Examine the laser lens when in there. Unless obviously dirty this is best left untouched. You can do more harm than good.

I can provide a picture of what you can expect to find inside , if you feel you need it.
 
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Gavtech

Administrator
Here are some pictures.

This is not from an EX75 but you can expect it to be very similar to this, if not identical in the essential parts concerned.

Order of disassembly:

Remove top of machine - probably 5 screws

It may be necessary, and will be obvious if so, to have to remove the front assembly in order to get the cover off the DVD drive unit.
Unclip as necessary.

Remove cover of DVD drive - Typically five or six screws.

Take appropriate care - and good luck.
 

Attachments

AL S

Active Member
Gav,
How is this different from the error I had, eg no discs will play in the optical drive, disk indicator at all times, four clunks? Should I have tried this?
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Gav,
How is this different from the error I had, eg no discs will play in the optical drive, disk indicator at all times, four clunks? Should I have tried this?
No - you would definitely be wasting your time.

The fault described here has a completely different sound.


The four clunks that you describe are the sound of the laser aimlessly clunking up against its end stop looking for the disc which the laser just cannot see.

The 'disc in' symbol illuminated when no disc is present is part of its confusion.

When a drive has reached that state there is absolutely no hope for it.
Replacement is the only option.

It is not economically viable to replace the whole drive.
The only realistic solution is to obtain and fit a new laser module within the drive.

There is a 'how to' guide here.
 
Hi Gavtech.

Can the rubber ring problem occur with the new Panasonic Blu ray disc/HDD recorders?

Rob
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Hi Gavtech.

Can the rubber ring problem occur with the new Panasonic Blu ray disc/HDD recorders?

Rob
I have not heard of any cases of it yet... but theoretically there is no reason why not.

The basic disc drive components are probably universal and unchanged, and down to a few component manufacturers for the whole world.
So unless the clamp has been beefed up or the rubber ring somehow improved (I doubt both) then the problem could develop over time.

Alternatively, another approach to prevent the problem: the drive servos may be 'smarter' and the accelerations and decelerations more carefully controlled to limit the possibility of disc slip.
That is the sort of development that has happened in the past to deal with field problems so I could conceive of it being the case now.

But watch this space.

The HD machines have been around for a few years now and so far, I am pleased to say, they appear to be very reliable.
 

the_tractor

Standard Member
I have a DMR-EX75 with the clunking, on startup, DVD drive, with the disc symbol always on.
From reading this, and several other threads, seems to indicate a dodgy laser.

Before I take the plunge and buy the laser at £50+, what are the chances that the issue is not the laser?

I've had it 5 years, and it's probably due for replacement soon, but if I could get another year out of it I'd give this fix a go.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Before I take the plunge and buy the laser at £50+, what are the chances that the issue is not the laser?
None at all.

Good luck with the job.
 

the_tractor

Standard Member
None at all.

Good luck with the job.
Thanks man, got the laser, replaced it, and it's all operational.
It was the RAF3331A that was removed, and it was the RAF3332A that was the replacement.

One thing though - I didn't move the little sliver clip held on by the blue screw in left of this photo.


What does it do? :confused:
The DVD drive is running fine.
I will transfer it tomorrow when I get time, but I was just curious.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Thanks man, got the laser, replaced it, and it's all operational.
Good news- Well done.
It was the RAF3331A that was removed, and it was the RAF3332A that was the replacement.

One thing though - I didn't move the little sliver clip held on by the blue screw in left of this photo.


What does it do? :confused:
The DVD drive is running fine.
I will transfer it tomorrow when I get time, but I was just curious.
It will just be a retainer to prevent complete dislocation of the sledge assembly.
 
W

walburga

Guest
Thanks again for a very easy fix to the DVD slipping / clunking / not playing......Opened up my EZ25, 2 side screws, 3 rear screws, then 4 screws over the drive unit. Saw the small circle thing in the middle, looks like a rubber washer, small specks of dust / hair (?) all over it. Got cotton buds soaked in lens cleaning fluid and got it nice and clean, had a go at the lens while I was there. All up and running, took about 20 mins.

thanks
Allen
 

PhilGarty

Standard Member
Very frustrating!
I have a Sony HXD890 which has the grinding noise and increasingly won't dub to DVD successfully so your solution sounds perfect.
But I can't get the front panel/fascia off! Released 7 clips - two on top, two at each end and three on the bottom - but it won't come off.

Am I being stupid?
 
Gavtech,

Forgive me if this is not entirely applicable to this thread, but I have read it with interest and am wondering if the situation I am dealing with is in any way related and whether what you have suggested here would be of use.

Despite having access to an EX75 and a recently-inherited EX85, I am still using an EH60D as my main work horse - so we are talking about a well-used device which is around 5 years old. In the past few months, however, I have found that it is struggling to write to DVD-RAM discs. I can record to the hard drive, and everything is OK when I play back the content. If I burn that content to DVD-R or DVD-RW discs everything is still OK.

But, while the process of dubbing a programme to a RAM disk completes without any apparent issue, when I play that disk back, the resulting picture will suffer from multiple break-ups (similar to a freeview broadcast signal during bad weather) and stuttering. This is the case if I play the disk back using the EH60D or either of my other recorders.

I've tried RAM disks that already have content on them, RAM disks that have been re-formatted and even brand new RAM disks and the results are the same. I can take the same media to either the EX75 or EX85, dub something else to the disk and it will play back perfectly - suggesting there is nothing wrong with the disks themselves.

Reading various bits and bobs on the internet it has been suggested that this could be a symptom of a dirty laser lens. It may be complete tosh, but there was a suggestion that the different focal lengths used by the laser when burning to different types of media explained why -R and -RW still produces a good result while burning to a RAM results in this apparent break-up of the picture.

If this is so, would cleaning the lens be a worthwhile exercise?
Would AF Platenclene be the right thing and if not, what would you recommend?

Many thanks.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Your careful and well described set of symptoms and circumstances indicate that the EH60D is performing inadequate burns on RAM discs.

The question is - Why?
I see three possibilities:

1 - Dirty laser lens
2 - Ageing laser
3 - Ageing power supply providing inadequate burning current.
I do not think it will be a dirty laser lens because the other functions seem ok.
However it may be contaminated enough to cause the problems you describe. But I am generally an advocate of never touching the laser lens unless there is absolutely no other choice.

It is possible to do more harm than good. Ideally laser lenses should never be touched at all.
But they can become coated in a general contaminant film usually of an oily nature. So a refined solvent such as Isopropanol is most suitable. You don't want anything that will leave any deposits that could cause optical interference. Definitely do not use platenclens for this job.
Use nothing harder than cotton buds to do the cleaning.

2 - Ageing laser is certainly a possibility. Lasers have a limited life and will fade in power toward the end of their life. It can be possible to eke out a bit more life by adjusting the burning current but unless you are in a position to measure this exactly and know exactly what you are doing I would not recommend this in any way as a self-help method.
Such approach is based upon that diagnosis being correct in the first place.
If ageing laser was the problem then I would be more inclined to recommend laser module replacement. There is a thread elsewhere that deals with this.

3 - The EH60D is actually a model from eight years ago so you can expect its support electronics to be significantly challenged by now...especially during RAM burning which is the period of greatest current demand in the machine.
It is probably worth checking visually the appearance of all the critical capacitors ( There is a thread about this too ) and replacing any and all of them.
They may be impacting on performance in the way described.
 
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Thanks Gavtech.

Your careful and well described set of symptoms and circumstances indicate that the EH60D is performing inadequate burns on RAM discs.
Working as a computer engineer I 'encourage' my customers to give me as much relevant information as possible. Generally when I'm on the other end of the situation (like now), I'll try to practice what I preach. But, yes, you are spot on - that's exactly what I am saying.

But I am generally an advocate of never touching the laser lens unless there is absolutely no other choice.
Oh, right there with you! That's why I asked first.

So a refined solvent such as Isopropanol is most suitable.
Is this something I am likely to be able to purchase from somewhere like Maplins? Also wasn't sure that I'd end up having to purchase a 200ml bottle when I only need enough to dampen the head of a cotton bud.

The EH60D is actually a model from eight years ago
Is it really?! I was judging my ownership on the fact I still have odds and sods sitting on the hard drive from 2008, but as I didn't wait that long after it was launched to buy mine, it could be 7+ years old. The old girl has had a good run. But if I can make good and keep her going a little longer I won't then have to think about what I should be buying as a potential replacement.
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
You can obtain isopropyl alocohol (aka isopropanol) from a pharmacy for a few £. They may well have to order it in for you. I have done this at my local pharmacy without difficulty, although I usually bring some home with me from the USA (where drug stores typically sell it off the shelf).
 
I still haven't tried my EH60D yet as it has too much on the hard drive and I'm dreading making a mess and rendering the optical drive useless. While it is still able to write happily to -Rs I shall gradually archive stuff off while using my EX75 for mainstream recording and then bite the bullet.

But, I've applied the "Platenclene" fix to an EX85 recorder (which was starting to make weird noises with RAM discs) and my mother's EZ25 which was definitely not happy at all with RAM discs.

Judging by the amount of dirt and fluff on that rubber section on the EZ25 I am staggered it read any discs at all. The EX85 wasn't quite so bad, but I could definitely see some accumulation on the rubber disc. But, in each instance, after getting rid of the grime and cleaning the area with a cotton bud with Platenclene on it, both are now no longer emitting pained noises and are recognizing RAM discs within a few seconds. More importantly they both seem to be able to record to these discs.

The exercise was very simple and the most difficult bit was finding a screwdriver that was able to undo the (very tight) screws in the DVD housing so that I could get to the assembly in the first place.

Great advice. Thank you!
 

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