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The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.

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Old April 13th, 2006, 08:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Canada
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DVX100 needs new PCB?

Hey all,
It is never a good feeling when you drop off your baby (a.k.a DVX100) at the repair shop but it is even worse when you find out it is worse than you anticipated.

The dreaded red 'X' started showing up too frequently on my video shoots and I didn't want to overuse the head cleaning tape so I dropped it off at the shop to have the heads manually cleaned. I assumed this was the problem based on what the Panny manual says and from what I've been able to gather from other DVX users.

So I just called to check the status of the maintenance and was put through to the technician (oh, no...). He seemed very reluctant to speak with me, muttered something about how I should just be speaking with the receptionist and then said something about needing to order a PCB for the camera and to call back and speak to the people at the front on Monday (and leave him the hell alone...). I said "so it doesn't have anything to do with dirty heads" and he said yeah maybe that too except with the DVX you don't just replace the heads you have to replace the whole drum.

Now I'm confused and concerned. I know the printed circuit board won't be cheap to replace but why would this be related to the red 'X'? And is it true that you have to replace the whole drum on the DVX100? These guys do all the repairs for Panasonic Canada, they are literally next door to them so they should know what they are talking about. I guess the point of my rambling is aside from looking for sympathy I am wondering if anyone has been down this road before and knows what I might have done to warrant replacing the PCB. Thanks.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 10:01 PM   #2
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most of these repair shops don't trouble shoot down to the component. They just see that something is wrong with the board and replace it. Could be one little thing has gone on the board and it's more cost efficient to replace the board than trouble shoot it.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 04:50 AM   #3
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Not PCB afterall

They decided it wasn't the PCB afterall. Instead they said they ran my camera for 3 days to try and get the red 'X' to show up. Three days seems a little excessive to me. At the end they said the heads are fine and just cleaned the camera.

Great news except the first video shoot I take it out on I get 3 'X's in the first hour. I think I've noticed a pattern though, it appears to happen when I am in standby mode and then try to begin recording again.

I'm going to raise hell on Monday and will let you all know what the new diagnosis is for your own information. That is unless someone here has already been down that road and can tell me what the technicians should be looking at.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #4
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Location: Smithsburg, MD
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DVX Repair

Hello Amy,

We are an Authorized Panasonic Service Center in Maryland USA and if you have consistent head clogs, we replace the Drum Assembly. That may end up being the outcome when you get your DVX back to the ASC.

Best regards,

Andrew Hoffman
Senior Operations Manager
Specialized Communications
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Old May 5th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #5
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Hi Andrew,
Thanks for your reply, I wil keep that in mind. Is the drum assembly different than the heads? Because they said the heads are in good condition.

Anyways, as promised I am posting the latest info from the repair shop. I had the camera taken back in and was unable to get the red 'X' to appear. So I'm out of ideas. I have a wedding tomorrow and am going to use the Master Panasonic (MQ) tapes instead of my usual Professional (PQ) and keep my fingers tightly crossed.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #6
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Update as of 11-May-06

Latest chapter in the red 'X' nightmare. It appeared over 1/2 a dozen times when taping the wedding, however I was able to work around it by turning the camera on and off. Afterwards when I checked the footage at the points when the red 'x' appeared, it seemed to still have been recording and the sound and picture were fine. My latest theory was perhaps that it is a power issue since I use a MKH-416 that needs phantom. So I trotted back to the repair shop, spent about an hour trying to get the blasted red 'x' to appear with no luck. The technician said they can't repair it if they can't see it with the red 'x' and assured me that the heads and drum appear to be in good condition.

I needed some type of solution so I ponied up the plastic and bought a Firestore FS-4. Just got back from a day of corporate video shooting and no red 'x'. At this point it is doubtful that I'll ever find out the cause, but if I do I'll be sure to share so that someone else doesn't have to go through this torture.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 02:09 AM   #7
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This is a thought, probably totally wrong and out of the blue as I am no technician.

You mention, the red X comes up after a long period in standby mode. If in standby, the tape tension around the drum is coming off slightly and a clearence occurring between the heads and the tape, then the camera is maybe going to think there is a head clog happening.

It may well be a mechanical thing peculiar to your individual camera or maybe a bit of draggy dried out lube on a tension idler if the Panansonic tape transport has one.

To provoke the fault, put the camera on record stand-by then give it a gentle, but really rapid shake in the vertical or forwards-backwards drection or a combination.

In the following comment, I am going to be judged badly and there will likely be good reason put forward by others which may convince me to change my habits. - My personal preference in a setting where frequent periods of stand-by time happens, is to let the tape roll and cap the lens when not actually shooting.

If you are holding on standby to the point where the camera often times out, then shutting off and restarting may not be an advantage as it simply passes the wear and tear on to the tape loading mechanism.

My practice is huge a waste of tape I know and will not actually prevent any more head wear, but head clogs and tape misalignment may be less likely.

Capping the lens and recording black image to tape makes it easier to find the sections of vision in fast-forward playback. This practice exposes you to more tape cassettes and the risk of a faulty tape.

However it also limits the time period which may be lost due to a dud tape if you use it up sooner and move on to another good tape. Tape is cheap compared to that lost money shot.

Hopefully I am not sending you off on a goosechase andplease take notice of better brains than mine on this subject.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 11:17 PM   #8
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Amy, I'm experiencing the same type of issues with my DVX with only 180Hrs on it.

I took the camera in for a routine cleaning at the start of this year's wedding season. On the first wedding that I shot a week after the cleaning, I got several "red x" warnings. The footage at one point was terribly pixelated, at other points, the footage looked fine.

I took the camera back to the shop and they ran it for a few hours but found no issues. The guy gave the internal tape component a quick swab and sent me off. Weddings shot after that still experienced the "red x" but it was less frequent.. Now I don't trust the camera heads anymore and is contemplating a head replacement. I might also go down the Firestore route. How do you find the Firestore for the run n' gun style of wedding videography?

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