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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 1st, 2005, 11:10 AM   #16
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Me ( Sorry Rob)

Hey everyone, just to clear Rob from the blame. It was I who said the comment about connecting while off. You can believe what you want. I have been a computer tech for about 10 years. Of that time I've experienced problems similar to the problems encountered with the firewire connection stated above. Fire wire is designed to work the way you have stated "in theory". I totally agree. However if things aren't properly grounded ( sometimes even if they are) you can run the risk of distributing a static charge to a device or a firewire port. Is it rare.. absolutely, but it does happen. If the device is off during connection it reduces this risk of affecting that device. It's just my 2 cents worth. Sorry if I offended anyone. Cheers
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Old June 1st, 2005, 08:04 PM   #17
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I would agree with Darrin. While it SHOULD be safe to do hot plugging/unplugging with firewire, there is still some risk that can be avoided totally just by switching off the devices. The connectors are well designed but not foolproof, and it is possible to short power or signal pins to the metal shell of the mating connector if you are not careful.

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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:16 PM   #18
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So, now I know...

I've been on a trip the last couple days and have had some time to think about this.
First off, in the "Eeek.." posting mentioned earlier, I mentioned that Canon tech service mentioned a "bent pin" in my camera's 1394 port. I used this as my assumption that the camera was the problem, which is why I went merrily along and plugged it into a computer that was probably to blame. "Damn..." I think, if they had just pointed me to the possibility of the computer being at blame, a lot of problems could have been avoided.
The 1394 port it was connected to was Mother Board based, not an extra card, and the MOBO is a fairly new, quality board. (Gigabyte )
Thanks for many of your replys, and I'll answer some of them here.
As noted earlier, the act of hot plugging and switching the camera is moot...I never attempted plugging the camera in "hot", instead, it was always in the off position when plugging the 1394 into it.

The computer is grounded, with a three wire (positive, neutral, ground) connection, and that was not a problem...Also, it was surge protected as well.

What I've learned from the posts I've gotten here, and others that I've read elsewhere, is that 1394 seems to be a fragile monster, and it can get really ticked off and eat your equipment, without warning, if it wants to. (i.e. It's cheap!)

So, that said, does anyone have any ideas on how to test a 1394 to see if it's bad, or about to be bad?

(more)
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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:17 PM   #19
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Ever try installing/replacing with a new firewire card? So far it seems the only common failure point is the port itself as everything else has been swapped on some level.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:23 PM   #20
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New playback gear

Continued...

This next part could almost be a new thread...I really believe the best way out of this mess is to buy equipment that would act as the playback medium for the tapes. This way, if I fry that, it won't be as expensive.
That said, if I got an inexpensive digital camera, would it properly reflect the images in the camera. That is, would it properly send 24P, 16X9, 30P, etc., and would the quality be the same.

(I know that digital is all 1's and 0's, and while all 1's and 0's are created equally, some 1's and 0's are more equal than others!!! Whew!!! That was Orwellian!)

Kidding aside, I have heard that there are quality issues and other issues with using other/cheaper or older digital cameras or playback devices with the XL2 DV tape. Any thoughts?
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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:24 PM   #21
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Patrick...Yeah, I got a new 1394 card, tried it and nothing...Also, tried a 1394 on another computer. Nothing


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Old June 1st, 2005, 11:17 PM   #22
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I thought I should chime in regarding the frying of Firewire ports on cameras by computers. Two years ago we had the firewire port on both of our DV cameras go bad in the same week, and we're all but convinced that they were fried by one of our Mirrored Drive Door Powermacs. We had the motherboard checked by Apple and they found nothing wrong with it, but if I remember correctly they replaced it anyhow. We haven't had any problems since, but that Powermac has since been retired as an office computer, and doesn't get any cameras connected to it. So I would definitely say it's possible, it happens, and it's an expensive and rare issue.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 05:58 AM   #23
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Patrick: I have to respectfully disagree with you.

Let me try to explain to you what I think:

1. why would/does anyone care what the standard says? A lot of things are being said that turn out to be not true in the real world. It is fine that the standard supports connecting devices that are powered on, but that is no garantuee both the cable and connector are 100% to spec (some manufacturing can result in slight changes from 100% spec!)

2. what problem is it to turn of the camera if this can possibly save it from harm? I've yet to hear of a camera that does not work if it is connected powered down and then turned on

3. so in this light I (and a lot of others) find it okay to use the word "wise". Whether or not you want to call it a "wive's tale".

And yes, I am using my "power" as a wrangler to tell everyone to turn there
camera off before connecting and disconnecting it. I don't want more people
to blow their ports! We have had TONS (at least 25, but probably more) users
here who've had busted firewire ports. Whether or not the "standard allows"
for this to happen or not is of no real concern to me (or the people with
blown ports), now is it?

It's not like this problem is just happening now. It has been going on for a
long time. We are just instructing people to be safe, no harm in that.

Okay, with that I would like to end this discussion on what to do or not to
do. Both points of view have been clearly explained and everybody can read
them and form their own opinion on the matter.

I'm going to "excersize" my role as wrangler to get us back on track after
this if needed. Thanks in advance for contuining with the original topic of
the thread!
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 09:44 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Scott Smith
It certainly doesn't hurt to have the camera powered off when connecting the FireWire cable. But, that said, Firewire was engineered to be hot-swappable. The Firewire contact pins actually have (ever-so-slightly) differing lengths to ensure that the "powered" pin makes contact at the right time, and not too soon, when plugging the cable in.

So, in the FireWire spec, there's absolutely no reason to power down devices when connecting or disconnecting them. Hot-swappability was one of FireWire's guiding motivations.

In the real world, though, a bad chipset or a bad FireWire cable could cause trouble. I would think it would be rare for a problem to occur by plugging in a "live" FireWire device, but since there's no harm in waiting for a device to be plugged in before powering it up, it's reasonable for people to feel more comfortable doing that. (And hey, nobody needs my permission. :-) But people should also know that FireWire was designed to allow "live" devices to be connected. (Just think of all those iPods being synched day in and day out.)

- Scott
My XL2 has done a two scary things. 4 horizontal bars across the screen, a sudden loss of all vital signs. But in the end it was all solved by removing the battery and taking out the small internal battery, forcing the camera into a hard reboot. You will lose all stored settings in doing this but it is better than the alternative. Try this with yours and see if your computer will recognize it then. I agree that the camera should be off when connecting and disconnectng any I/O cables or especally power cables.

Matthew Cockrell

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Old June 3rd, 2005, 03:52 AM   #25
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Good tip Matthew, always good to try and reset everything back to basics!
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 09:57 AM   #26
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Hmmm. Will do. It's worth a try.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 02:24 PM   #27
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Frying Firewire?

Hi.
I work in a camera shop here in the Uk and recently had a customer bring in a camcorder that he swore had 100v 'live' on the chassis. So we sent it to out repairers. I soon got a phone call form the engineer about it. It seems that because the power cable for the transformer is not earthed (itís just a two-pin connection) you get a 'floating voltage' through the unit that might show up on a meter. He also told me they regularly have blown firewire sockets on camcorders because of this. He said that one way round this camera-to-computer hot swapping is to use the camera on battery power. I know this is not always practical, and as I am not electrically minded I might have got the techno-speak wrong but I always transfer my footage using battery as I normally shoot very small lengths each time. Hope this might help a little.
Regards, Oliver.
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