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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old April 8th, 2007, 02:48 PM   #1
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Urgent Cable Question

Hi,

I shot some stuff I need to edit. This is a dumb but URGENT question, but what cable do I need to send footage from my A1 to my Mac G5? Is it a DV to DVi cable? Is there a particular brand or model I should get?

Thanks!
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Old April 8th, 2007, 02:52 PM   #2
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You need a 6-pin to 4-pin firewire cable.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #3
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Jim, it's a cable that is commonly referred to as either IEEE 1394, or FireWire, or iLink, or simply a DV cable. All four terms are accurate. To connect your camcorder to a desktop Mac G5, you'll need a FireWire cable that has a 4-pin connector at one end and a 6-pin connector on the other end (the camcorder has a 4-pin jack, the computer has a 6-pin jack). Your local electronics store will have one. Hope this helps,
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:26 AM   #4
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Careful!!

And be very careful about these darned cables.
I've had very bad experiences with hard disk drives, camcorders, all sorts of things.
Everybody swears that they're hot swappable - i.e. you can just plug them in and unplug them when you're done.
I have personally fried the Oxford chipset doing exactly that on more HDDs than I care to remember. Over a dozen dead HDD cases are proof of that. New PCI boards with FW ports on them on nearly every computer I own. The Titanium G4 powerbook I'm typing this on has its FW400 port fried. At least two camcorders back to the manufacturers, with identical problems - firewire port error, either a bent pin or an Oxford chipset blown.

The 6 pin FW plug carries power. The 4 pin one doesn't. The cables are sometimes screwed up, and the problem is that you can't really tell the good expensive ones from the cheap ones just by looking at them. Get a badly wired cable, or plug it into a loose socket (yes, they're meant to be shaped so you just can't do that. Believe me, you can) and nothing works.
And then, after you've tried everything else, you start to look around on the internet and frantically search through the forums and.... you get to here, where I'm at now.

There are plenty of threads all over the net about this subject. Nobody on the manufacturing side wants to admit that this exists, of course.

There's only one way I connect these things up these days -
a) power everything down
b) plug your FW device in
c) starting from the peripherals and working in towards the CPU, turn everything on.

And, when you're done
a) power off the CPU
b) power off everything else
c) disconnect the FW device.

Call me a ninny if you want.
I won't do this any other way any more.
I don't even use regular FW 400 on my drives - they're all FW 800 cables only these days. I even bought FW800 boards so I could stay away from the FW400s.

The only solid FW400 plugs I've found was on the Pana DVX100s. Long sides to the sockets, with crisp and positive engagement.

The Sonys I've used worked like loose teeth. The difference between the Sony FW iLink protocol and the rest of the FW400 world bears a little looking into (there's a reason why they are different options in the FCP setup menus), but mainly it's this design/manufacturing problem that nobody officially wants to recognize that has me, well, a little frustrated...

Take care!
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Old April 10th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #5
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I'm sure it's a good idea to be cautious of this, but I have never blown a firewire port over the years using two G4 PowerMacs, a dual G5, a Titanium PowerBook and an Aluminum Powerbook. I have used them regularly with about 10 external drives (Maxtor, LaCie, ACOM, Western Digital, Seagate), a VX-2000, PDX-10 and Z1.

Maybe I've just been lucky? I've also read the horror stories and don't doubt that they exist, but you need to consider the many thousands of people who don't have problems.

Now I did blow out the power supply on my Titanium PowerBook while the VGA port was connected to a large venue DLP projector which had a loose neutral power connection. That adventure cost something like $600 which my company covered since the machine wasn't under Applecare.

With all due respect, if you've fried 12 external drives and 2 camcorders then you're either incredibly unlucky or there's something odd about how you use them....
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:13 PM   #6
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yeah, i never heard of that either.
i hot swap dozens of times per day.
i have over 2TB of external FW drives that I hot swap.

The only device that I do express caution with is the
Canopus ADVC-100..but I just power it down before I plug it in or out of something else.

At any given time I have 5 onboard FW ports going and a daisy chain of drives thru those.

I'd suggest buying a 750W or better UPS with software that will manage your power. I've only lost one drive in over a decade..and it was because lightning actually hit my house.

Powering up and down a system everytime you swap is also not a good idea.
Computers should be left on as much as possible. This system probably hasn't even been rebooted in over 90 days.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:28 PM   #7
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I have same experiences. I have never had a firewire port go bad on me. I have had a couple of firewire enclosures kick the bucket but not because of hot swapping. Mainly cause they cost less tan $30 bukcs without a drive. Practically disposable.

Good Luck!
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #8
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I always turn off the camera or any drive before unplugging the cable, but I don't shut down the computer.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:53 PM   #9
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I think the best solution is keep the cable connected to the computer, and connect the camera when it's switched off. Then after switching it on, yo can hear the gong. Has been bulletproof for years here.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:57 PM   #10
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Gents
Maybe I can elucidate.
I ran post on a network TV show. We had 10, maybe 15 loose drives going at any time, not including the RAIDs. Three assists, plugging and unplugging all sorts of drives, all day and night long.
By the time we discovered the problem, the bad cable had circulated around quite a few drives ("try this cable, maybe that one's a problem") so I lost most of the drives within a few days. With deadlines and airdates, we didn't have much time to react.
And nobody else mentions the fact that if you have a bad cable, and it shorts out one FW socket, that socket now has a bent pin and that in turn bends the connecting pin of the next cable that's plugged into it. So that cable becomes bad, over time.
Don't believe me. Check this all out for yourself, google "firewire problems" or "can't see the firewire drive" and see how many instances your search turns up.
Sure, it was probably an isolated cable and batch. But it cost me enough for me personally never to try that again.
I say again, YMMV.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #11
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yikes! that sucks. i also find it intruiging since "firewire" has consistantly been one of the most trouble free areas of production for me. usb drives on the other hand, can really chap my ass.

it's good to know that a bad wire can cause so much damage. luckily i've never had one. looking at a firewire cable, it would seem pretty difficult to bend a pin. to date, i've treated these cables with very little dignity or respect.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 03:06 PM   #12
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Chris,

I'm not being critical, just trying to learn. If I have a bent pin or cable that would short a drive, how does turning the computer and drive off, connecting the bad cable, and then restarting again save the drive? Wouldn't it still short it out when the power was on again?

Thanks
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Old April 10th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #13
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It wouldn't, you're right.

I think it's just making my people slow down, take a little more care in aligning things correctly (and even checking alignment of the plugs into the sockets before they attempt to ram the plugs home), and maybe even visually checking that the plugs and sockets seem okay before just slamming them in there, that helps more than anything else.

After we isolated the plugs and wires, and replaced the Oxford chipsets on the boards, we haven't had problems in the FW400 systems since then. Once in a while something doesn't come up properly, I freak out, and find it's nothing much - except once this year we had an FX1 with a flattened FW socket pin that gave intermittent remote, but that wasn't one of our cameras, so I can't say where that fault came from.

We now use only FW800s if we can, never had a problem with those, hot swapped or not.

I'll not speak for my people, but I personally won't go to 400s any more unless I absolutely can't help it.

Surf the net for more on this - there's a lot more.
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