Panasonic DMR-EX77EB spares or repair

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by bonzobanana, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Hi to all. I used to frequent this dvd recorder forum a few years ago where I would praise my Panasonic E-85H to the skies but as it boringly worked without issues I lost interest in writing about it and just used it on a day to day basis. Its still going strong and has been a reliable bit of kit. I can see that isnt the same for other E-85H owners though.

    Anyway more recently I wanted another dvd recorder with hard drive and took a gamble on a spares or repair Panasonic DMR-E77 on ebay. Its cost me about £50 in total.

    On arrival I thought it was perfect. Seemed to work without problems. Then came the U99 error that was mentioned on the auction page. Anyway I noticed the big chunky fan at the back was not operating when I first switched it on (fair enough as the fan operation is linked to a heat sensor I believe) but also was not operating when the unit had been on some time and seemed hot. So I ran it for a while without its top case on. No U99 errors. I then fiddled with the fan and lo and behold it came on when the machine is warm and so far seems to be operating ok. I'm not out of the woods yet but if nothing else I've made U99 errors less common as the ebay auction said 50% of the time. I wonder if the U99 error came in because the recorder sensed the fan wouldn't start when it was triggered when the recorder was hot. Hopefully if luck is on my side its cured.

    It seems a brilliant machine and I'm very pleased with its performance. Its multiregion too which is a bonus.

    My mother has also bought a dvd recorder from ebay. Hers is new and guaranteed a Sony RDR-HXD790 which she paid just over £100 for. Which no doubt I will be setting up when she gets it. Less space than mine at 120gig (mines 160gig) but apart from that looks pretty equal spec.

    Any advice about U99 errors and possibly cures greatly appreciatted just in case I haven't cured it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  2. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Well mine has been recording to the hard drive now for 8hrs plus and still no u99 so fingers crossed.
     
  3. Gavtech

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    When you say you 'fiddled', can you explain what you did?

    Running without the top on does liberate heat but of course renders the fan useless anyway, whether it works or not ...as there is no longer a closed system with a throughput of cooling air.

    But good luck anyway.

    U99 is one of those errors that does not decode to a specific cause but is a general micro error that can be rooted in a huge variety of possible causes.
     
  4. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Firstly after the recorder had heated up I noticed the fan wasn't operating and it was then I removed the top cover.

    I fiddled with the fan by vacuuming then using compressed air into the space near the spindle and while holding it a small amount of pressure seemed to click it in slightly. As if the two halfs of the fan weren't fully assembled.

    My mother's sony has just turned up so I'm off to install that now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  5. ramjet

    ramjet
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    the sony 790 will actually have a 160 gig hdd fitted , pegged to 120 gig for actual use

    this can be changed using a service remote or similar with a relatively easy 500 gig hdd as a maximum ( can be bigger but a lot more work )

    details on upgrading a 790 are in a special thread on this forum , but its not much different to the x70 models, of which there is a separate thread

    £100 is a good price for the 790 , I paid £96 for a 770 and added a £34 500 gig sata hdd so have effectively got a sony 1070 for £130 !!

    as for your panny , only time will tell if you have cured it but in any case you have improved it by fixing the fan
     
  6. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Very impressed with the Sony. I like the way it can control her sky digital box as well to record the few free channels she doesn't get on freeview. Had to forget about using the analog tuner on the sony as it wouldn't work with her humax pvr8000t which is connected via RF and not scart. If the humax was before the sony in the rf chain the sony prevented the humax's output reaching the televison and if the humax was after the sony didn't pass on the digital signal. However if you just use the sony's digital RF in and out its ok with the humax.

    Anyway a nice bit of kit the sony, no mistake. Hope its not too complicated for her.
     
  7. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Is there any particular reason why the humax is not connected by scart?

    It would provide a significantly better picture.
     
  8. bonzobanana

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    There seems to be some sort of problem with her humax. The scart image keeps breaking up like a loose connection. You can fiddle with the scart lead and get a temporary fix. I'm guessing something is wrong with the scart socket mounting inside the humax. Its not the cable. There is a scart socket left on the television which will accept s-video not rgb but just haven't got around to getting a s-video to scart lead for her. From memory I think the humax has a dedicated s-video port although I could be wrong. Picture is fine through RF.

    I offered to have a look at the humax previously and see if I could fix the scart sockets but she uses the humax everyday and was happy with RF. Maybe once she gets used to the sony I'll be able to sort the humax out.
     
  9. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    My panasonic has been recording now for many hours as a test. Its actually reset the recording time to just over two hours so must have started writing a new file once it reached the maximum length of the first file. I'm not sure what that is somewhere between 14-16hrs I think. So its been recording for upto 18hrs so far without an error. Actually just realised its reset twice so its recorded two 8hr recordings and is now over 2hrs into the third. Still no sign of an error.

    After setting up the Sony and comparing to my old and new Panasonics its given me a greater perspective on the two brands.

    One thing I didn't like about the sony was it had two sets of RF inputs and outputs. One set for analogue and one set for digital. To use both tuners you have to input on one set and output on the other but it didn't seem to work right maybe I was meant to bridge both tuner connections externally but the instructions didn't mention that. It made the sony seem like a reworking of a model not meant to have a digital tuner.

    The build quality seems better on the Panasonic externally. Its heavier too. As I've looked inside the Panasonic I can say it looks pretty good inside but one pcb on the far right appears to have wire links connecting components rather than normal pcb tracks. Its hard to describe but the design looks quite primitive. Maybe mine is a early version before proper printed circuit boards were available.

    All in all both the Panasonic and Sony seem excellent designs overall. I think I prefer the panasonic user interface but only because I had a panasonic before and I'm familar with the panasonic way of doing things I guess. Both seem very solid in operation but with a few restrictions. I thought I'd be able to look at other inputs like the scart sockets when the digital tuner was recording but it won't let me on either machine. I can playback recordings on the hard drive no problem but can not look at any other sources including the analogue tuner. There hasn't been much functionality added since my original Panasonic E85 apart from freeview features.

    The sony did seem to have more recording modes but the panasonic seem to have enough anyway. The sony could control a skybox or other receiver which is a good feature. However the sony has a terrible built in display that you can not see from any distance and is totally inpractical. The panasonic display on the unit is much bigger and easy to read from a distance.

    The sony has coaxial digital output where as the panasonic has optical. The panasonic has a sdcard slot the sony has two usb sockets.

    Anyway its coming up to 19hrs now so far so good. I've fiddled with various features while its recording, played back other recordings, done chasing playback etc no problems. I've played a dvd no problems. I've played a foreign dvd no problems. So its looking more like its sorted. Its been operating now for a solid 24hrs without a blip.
     
  10. Gavtech

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    On the Panasonic, use timer recording rather than manual recording and you will be able to use passthrough of an AV2 source.

    In the case of the Sony, when recording , press Channel+ on the machine itself and you will force scart passthrough.
     
  11. Gavtech

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    Regarding recording from external equipment such as sky, the Panasonic approach is different to the Sony.

    The Sony approach is to control the skybox.

    The Panasonic approach is to use the skybox to control the DVDR using the External Link facility.
     
  12. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    I didn't realise the panasonic could do that. Sounds a better solution actually. Unfortunately my setup is skybox (plus 3 other sources) into AV control centre and then into recorder. Maybe I can run a second scart cable from the dvd recorder to the second scart on the sky plus box for that feature. I'm going to have to rework my setup anyway. I've yet to decide if the E85 goes upstairs with the projector or the DMR-E77 there are pluses and minuses to both.
     
  13. ramjet

    ramjet
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    the sony has 1 usb socket on the front , not 2 usb

    the sony has one digital tuner and 1 analogue tuner , so you can use either , or both

    the way to use both is to connect the digital output rf socket at the back to the analogue input socket using a standard female to male coaxial flylead

    yes it is in the manual as there is a diagram that shows this secondary connection , my x70 models are all looped this way with no apparent problems

    yes the onscreen sony menus are poor , but remember its a pioneer so maybe we should blame pioneer for that , but it is still usable
     
  14. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    I thought the pictbridge was a type of usb.

    Maybe I missed it but the diagram I saw had one connection to the analogue RF and one connection to the digital RF and that was it. I only thought about bridging them later. In the end I bypassed the analogue altogether as she has no analogue reception apart from the sky digital box and humax and sky is connected via scart anyway. I'm very close to her only a 2 min walk to my house but I get htv as well as westcountry tv so I'm not switched off analogue yet.

    Over 20hrs recording now!

    I didn't realise the sony and pioneer were similar. I've just looked around the web and see they have some sort of agreement to jointly design dvd recorders dating back to 2006 I think. However the dvd recorders themselves are probably oem samsungs I guess made for both companies on the cheap in china or at least dvd recorder kits made in china probably assembled in europe where the freeview bit is bolted on. Looking around it looks like the actual dvd writer is a samsung or liteon drive.

    Still going well at 20 1/2hrs

    I've not turned my ceiling fan on so the room is pretty hot at the moment too.
     
  15. ramjet

    ramjet
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    the sony units are actually pioneer units , come from the same factory or whatever , very little difference between them , and they use the pioneer service remote for making changes. these facts are well documented on this forum and they use the same service update files for the firmwares

    the pictbridge may be a type of usb but you will still only find one standard usb2 socket on the front of the sony

    the diagram for dual tuner connection is on page 19 of the 890 manual and page 16 of the 870 manual , these manuals can be d/l from the sony website and opened in adobe acrobat reader

    if you were to use the guideplus epg then you would need the analogue connection for the itv host channel unless you used sky eurosport , but I prefer the freeview epg anyway
     
  16. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Whether the unit is a sony or pioneer I doubt either company actually makes them. Its possible there is a pioneer factory knocking out sony products but I suspect its probably a oem kit from china being assembled in europe. I'm not questioning that the unit may be designed by pioneer only where its made. From what I've read sony assemble a lot of stuff from chinese components in eastern europe like slovakia and hungary to give them european made status but a cost effective price.

    I don't know how the guideplus thing will work because even if I enabled analogue she doesn't have any analogue channels its switched off where she is.

    the manual she has for joint analogue and digital reception has one cable to analogue and one cable to digital and no cable going between the two sets externally as far as I remember. She has the 790. I enabled analogue first just in case it was needed like recording from the humax but thats about the only thing it could ever be used for and it didn't work. She's got a whacking gert 32" sony 100hz CRT with a built in subwoofer and a flat trinitron widescreen tube. Not easy to move back and forth. However I could certainly enable analogue RF but there doesn't seem much point now.
     
  17. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Well over 31hrs recording now. 3x8hrs and now into the 7th hour on this section.

    I'm pretty sure the issue was fan related. I think the recorder would try to start the fan when it was hot and the fan wouldn't start and it would bring up the U99 error and stop working to prevent the recorder from overheating. I've done nothing else.

    I think I'll wait until this evening and if no errors edit down what I've got and write a dvd-r to check that functionality. If that works without issues I think I'm in the clear.

    Well chuffed.
     
  18. Gavtech

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    Yes - Good result.
     
  19. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    I've got it making timer recordings from freeview now and its also playing back from the hard drive earlier recordings. I've tried mucking about a bit but it seems really stable.

    Done some editing of files which I've read is the most likely to cause issues but I never had any with my DMR-E85H and I'm not having any problems with this one. Editing is just like my older Panasonic a joy to use.
     
  20. Gavtech

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    That would make sense. Copying and or editing are the highest current demand conditions... all drives working / laser burning ....so plenty heat.
     
  21. bonzobanana

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    Just to add a bit more info. Started using the recorder regularly and have done a lot more editing and no problems. Seems like it was the fan all along. Worth bearing in mind if you get the occasional u99 error as maybe the fan failed to start up on that occasion.

    I've been using my mothers sony more now in an attempt to understand it so I can better explain it to her. She's not encountered any problems so far. I noticed a small problem. She had taped the wrightstuff on 'sp' mode I think. About halfway along in the quality settings. I noticed a very slight variance in colour as she was playing back the recording. Just occasionally it would vary a bit. Its possibly a symptom of variable bit rate recording in that the recorder decided to start increasing the compression and then reduce it again. Just wondered if this was normal. Reminded me a bit of the old macrovision protection on tapes which could have the same effect on televisions. Her television is a 32" 100hz Sony CRT set. Can't remember the model. The sony is connected via scart RGB. A sky digital box is connected via the other RGB scart socket on the tv and a lead goes from the sky digital vcr output scart to the sony's scart RGB input. Maybe its bleed through from the scart connections being connected like that.

    Also I tried to play some divx files from my mp3 player on her recorder via usb but couldn't find a way to do this so presume it can't do it. It could play mp3s and look at images without problems but not play divx. The manual as far as I can tell doesn't state you can't do it but neither does it tell you how to do it.

    Still don't like editing on the sony. The panasonic is a breeze especially with its uber fast picture search to get to different scenes.
     

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