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A manual can be found here Panasonic DMR-E55 DVD Recorder User Guide
Or if you prefer, you can visit the Panasonic product support website ( just use google to find it) and look for the manual for your machine.
Try first unplugging unit from main, and holding the cancel button.
If that does not work try the following: Hold at the same time the stop button on the main unit and key >10 on the remote control at the same time for about 5 seconds, until you get the word "initialised" on display. This will reset the unit to factory settings.
The majority of problems with this particular model are associated with the power board. The drive unit is unlikely to be faulty. Do not risk further damage by immediately trying lense cleaning as suggested by some. The lense will very rarely require cleaning.
The power board can be repaired if you have some technical ability. I have posted full instructions on Fixya on how to do this but you would need to be able to use a soldering iron. These are good units that can usually be restored, so it would be a pity to throw it out for such a fault,
You can try a factory reset (reboot).Here are the steps..
The following will set your recorder to the Factory defaults. (Will not format HD on DMRE80).
With power off (stand-by mode/CLOCK DISPLAY SHOWING):
1)Press and hold [skip reverse] [Time Slip] [Eject] buttons for about 10 sec 2)Display will show 'L1 TEST' 3)Now power off DURING TEST 4)Clock should be fashing 12:00 5)Turn power on and language menu will be displayed on TV
Use for DMRE50 DMRE55 DMRE85 For the DMRE75V press both [dub] buttons and [eject].
I have been told that panasonic now have a faster speed disc on sale to suit the newer dvd recorders that dmr-e55 cannot record on as they are too fast.
You have to buy the slower speed ram discs to suit the dmr-e55.