02 June 2005

How to replace the spindle motor on a Panasonic DVD-S35

Two years ago, I bought a Panasonic DVD-S35 dvd player. Nice features and cheap as anything.

18 months later, the player died.

Being a resourceful kind of guy, and having a lot of experience fixing things, I thought I'd take on this challenge.

It turns out this DVD player has a known weak point, the spindle motor. This is the motor that spins the DVD. The motor tends to start flaking out after 12 to 18 months of use. The symptom is that, one day, some DVDs won't play, and eventually, DVDs aren't recognized at all because the motor can't spin them up to a speed where the optical head to read the data.

So, most of you might toss the player at this point and move on. I did not.

I tracked down the part number for the spindle motor (Panasonic RXQ1016A Spindle Motor Ass'y) and ordered it from PartStore.com.

I got the part after having looked at disassembly instructions for a similar model dvd player. It looked like I'd have to open the case, undo two screws, put the unit back in, and hit play.

I was so, so wrong.

First, the DVD-S35 turns out to be a particularly fiendish unit to work on. So I tracked down an on-line copy of the service manual at a Russian service manual database.

Now, a service manual for this player is part fact, and part fiction. Fact: there are a few codes you can enter to see how worn out the player is. Fiction: parts are replaceable.

Getting the case open wasn't hard, but getting to the spindle motor assembly required taking out approximately: five ribbon cables, seven normal screws including two fiendishly tight jeweler's-type phillips screws, three springs, two axles, one gear, two plastic holder pins, two boards, and four solder points.

Yes, Panasonic uses solder as a structural element.

This was the case from hell. I spilled blood opening it. Following the disassembly instructions, it became clear that I was the first person to QA these. The instructions were obviously wrong in a few places.

Eventually, I removed the four solder points. I pulled the first plastic holder pin.

I pulled the second of the plastic holder pins.

The head snapped off.

Gah. Enough is enough. I curse the day Panasonic put their good name on a disposable home DVD player.

And I promise never to try to repair a $35 DVD player again.

Until the next one breaks.

Update: The replacement is a Yamaha DVD-5750. It's built like a tank and has been around long enough (over a year) that people have had enough time to really beat on it and review it. I am quite happy with it.


Anonymous said...

I have the exact same player and problem...perhaps it isn't worth my time and blood to fix it.

zippy said...

It's not worth it. What I really wish is to find a well-built DVD player that will last more than 12 months. If you find any reviews of especially well-made players, please post them here.


Kevin Osbahr said...

Well, my s35 crapped out after 2½ years with an H07 spindle error. I tried to fix it using some of the directions given in http://www.ledcar.com/pdvdh07/ combined with the service manual obtained from the website you mention here. Needless to say, trying to oil the spindle motor did not do anything. What's worse, now the damn thing wont open, close or do anything else but turn on (cannot turn off, sticks in "bye"). I don't have the patience to buy a new part and install. Next stop: Wal-Mart and one of their nifty 30$ DVD players.

Those do not hurt if they die after a year.

zippy said...

Kevin, 2.5 years of use? I think you got pretty lucky with yours!

I've since bought a Yamaha DV S-5750. It's built like a tank and has been around long enough (about a year) that people have had enough time to really beat on it and review it. So far, I haven't seen any complaints from other owners.


Nicole said...

Instead of commenting on your adventures in DVD players I would like to comment on your use of words in a Slashdot post..

I had no idea that anyone else on the planet used the word craptacular.

Kudos my friend.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Matsushita had much to do with this product at all. I think they just bought them from a Chinese garage factory and stamped a 'Panasonic' brand on it.

By the way, in Europe, resellers are obligated to offer at least two years of guarantee on any product.

zippy said...

Anonymous, I have no doubt about Matsushita farming this out to a Chinese company, but I think it would be better to say that Matsushita engineers had nothing to do with it. The business decision to brand a sub-par product with their name, on the other hand, well that's certainly the company's decision. I think it's fair to learn from this that Panasonic is not a reliable brand, because the word Panasonic may be on a poorly made device or a well made one, and you can't tell until you've brought it home which kind you got.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog!

We had the same model and received the same error messages.

Your blog saved us alot of time.

Anonymous said...

I've had the S35 for about 5 years and have just had the H02 problem arise. Time to duck down the road for the $35 special. I feel lucky I got so long!

Anonymous said...

My S35 lasted almost 5 years as well. It outlived the Best Buy service plan by a few months. Hate to see it go, but not worth the blood!

lord_velos said...

I too got 5 years worth out of my S-35. I had the same somple motor problem myself once, but i was lucky enough to fix it by kinda forcing the motor to speed up with a drill motor I have. Bot now its shot and I say.. to hell with it. I'm off to buy a better and new one.

Ben said...

i got this Panasonic DVD S35 player back in the spring of 2003. Today, I got an H07 error, followed by an H02 error. I cleaned the lens assembly and proceeded to watch three more episodes of 24. Then I got another H07 error. From the reading on this it doesn't seem like it is worth it to fix it. But it was a good 6 years on a DVD player.

Ashesofsin said...

I had the same problem, I unscrew everithing I could, I separated the black Plastic mechanism of loading and unloding the CD, and with a syringer loaded with gun oil y droped a few drops under an over the axis of the spining motor... after a few senconds it started to work perfectly... and it´s been more than a week I´ve done and it keeps going on!

The Moral... Never again I´ll buy Panasonic DVD player or home Theater, better a chinesse cheap brand...

Tuve el mismo problema, desatornille todo lo que pude y separé el macanismo de carga y de descarga del cd y con una jeringa cargada con aceite lubricante de armas le puso un par de gotas arriba y abajo del motorcito que hace girar al dvd, al principio no pasó nada pero despues a los pocos segundos anduvo de maravillas, hace una semana lo hice y todavía sigue andando de lujo fiera!

Moraleja nunca mas compro un DVD Panasonic o un sistema de audio Panasonic... mejor compro algo chino y barato! si se jode por lo menos se lo tiro por la cabeza al vecino!

Anonymous said...

I bought my Panasonic DVD-S35 in 2003 and it's had a real work-out at different times. Recently, I got all the 'H' errors (H02, H05, H07). You could tell that the spindle motor wasn't getting up to speed. It was completely shot so I put it in a bag ready to get rid of. When the time came to dump it, I thought I'd open it up. So I opened the top (1 screw either side, 3 at back), and was able to reach the lens to clean it with a cotton tip (used Windex). Had a little fiddle with the white circular spindle, closed it all up and it started working again! But for how long? I'll let you know. It still, however, has the problem of getting started when you first switch it on. You need to switch it on, then off until you see 'Bye', then use the remote to 'Open' the tray. Keep repeating this process until the tray opens. Click 'close' and the disc should start to spin/read. If not, the unit is truly dead!

Tech_Guy1 said...

Great Blog.

The question now is how far can I throw my S35.

Thank you for this, I was seriously think about fixing this, saved me some blood.


spindr said...

I have had the s35 for 9 amazing years. Picture has been crystal clear, and no errors reported. Only last week it stopped playing, would make noise and then power down. I took the cover off and found the disc not spinning. Read this post http://wiki.xdroop.com/space/hardware/Panasonic/DVD-S35/H02+Fix and tried it. The disc would spin for a bit then slow and stop. Understanding that pressure on top could cause this, I pulled up gently on the black plastic housing around the white spindle and voila! I threw in a Maxell lens cleaner disc and then Star Wars... perfect!

Unknown said...

I've had my S35 for 10 years now, and it just started giving me problems a few days ago! (I'm getting the H02 error, as well.) I'm going to read the post that spindr suggested and see if I can fix my baby before buying a new one! :)

jumpshipman said...

Do you still have the new motor?
I need one for my McIntosh DVD player.
The link to the parts store is dead.