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Old February 11th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #1
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Where Oh Where did my FireWire Go?

Goodbye firewire:

I have lost the firewire on all three of my Sony cameras. I have a A1U, a FX1 and a TRV11.

None of the cameras will work with any of my three computers (my firewire drives and networking still work). The cameras will not communicate with each other by firewire, either.

Here is what happened, as far as I can remember. I tried to transfer a DV tape with the TRV11 and a FW cable (I'll call it cable1). The camera was getting old and was starting to short out so when my computer did not recognize it, I was not surprised.

I tried a new FW cable (cable2) thinking it was a cable problem. No luck. Then I tried the FX1 with both cables and it was not recognized either. I don't remember with cable I tried first.

Thinking it could be a computer problem, I tried another PC with both cams. Nope.

I knew that my A1U worked with my laptop and cable1 the day before, so I decided to test the laptop adn the cam. For some reason I tried cable2 first. IT WORKED! I concluded that it must have been a cable problem. Then I made the mistake of testing cable1 with the laptop and the A1U. Now the A1U's firewire does not work.

Can a bad cable cause Firewire to die on a camera? Can a shorting-out camera cause a cable to go bad? Can my cameras be fixed? There was a LOT of stress during these tests so I may not have my story straight!

Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!


(Search helpers: FireWire, ilink, i.link, fire wire, 1394, problem, lost connection, problem!)
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Old February 11th, 2006, 11:50 PM   #2
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Some people report blowing the firewire ports on things like firewire drives... it can happen if the power on two of the pins ends up in the wrong place. Maybe that could be it???
If you have a volt/multimeter, you might be able to check to see where the voltages are ending up.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 11:55 PM   #3
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I was just talking with a client that fried her FX1 by trying to plug in the FireWire incorrectly. What cautions need to be taken when hook up the FW? I thought they were hot swapable. Hshould the camera be off when plugging in. What do you mean by power ends up in the wrong place? By the way she said the repair will cost $250.00.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 12:03 AM   #4
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In the 6-pin firewire connector, two of the pins carry power on them. You don't want the 12V DC current going into the other pins/wires.

The 4-pin connector doesn't have those two wires.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 12:11 AM   #5
 
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David,
I'm betting you have a firewire cable with pins wired in reverse. This can happen on a 6 to 4 pin cable, I saw it in a software company once, it took out 4 cameras before they found the problem in the cable they were using. It was a super cheap import.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 01:39 AM   #6
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How do you properly slot in your firewire ports?

Should the devices be turned off when you slot it into port?

I notice that when I have FCP and I slot in my Firewire device HD100 FCP will crash, and I would have to restart FCP.

Now I'm freaking out!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 08:15 PM   #7
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I took out the firewire on my XL1s with my firewire cable. I tried diffrent stuff like you did, nothing worked. It all ended up as a warranty repair with Canon.

They had to change the mainboard.
I think you will have to turn in your cameras too.

Kind regards,
Andreas
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Old February 20th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #8
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I'm still confused about it.

I thought that the power issues mentioned above must be the problem. Now I am not so sure.

First of all, I have used the cable in question for years without a problem. It must have somehow gone bad. Could it now be channeling 6 pin power when it did not before?

Second, I now realize that I zapped my A1U cam from a PCMCIA card that (I think) does not have power!

I assume the card does not have power because I cannot power my external USB drives from it. The drive will not power up like it does on non PCMCIA ports. The card I used also has a port to plug in a power cable.

I guess that even though the PCMCIA card cannot power my USB drive, there is still enough power in it to zap a very sensitive 4 pin firewire port.

I just wish those ports were not so sensitive!!!
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Old February 20th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #9
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I really don't know what kind of power is supplied via USB and what kind of power is supplied via 6-pin firewire (and basic electronics is hardly my strong suit either), but it does seem plausible that there could be a considerable difference, and also that your PCMCIA card might power the 6-pin firewire connection while not powering the USB connection.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 07:43 PM   #10
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i.link Advice from Sony

Hi again,

I learned from Sony today that we all need to plug in our i.link cables to our computers first, then to our cameras - or a static charge could damage the camera.

That's the first I've heard of it. By the way, it's not what zapped my cams since my FW cables are always plugged in to the computer.

I've also learned that other dvinfo users don't even charge their batteries on the camera for fear of a zap! Now I think I will get a charger, too. These cams are VERY sensitive.

I'm currently looking for a 4 pin 1394 pci card that won't zap any more cameras. All I have found so far is this: the Startech PCISATA2F3 (do as search for a vendor). I'm not positive the 4 pin does not carry the 12V, but a 4 pin cable is not _supposed_ to have power.

Thansk for all the input, y'all!

Last edited by David Bourne; February 21st, 2006 at 08:18 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:06 PM   #11
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It never hurts to ground yourself before plugging anything in (or touching a delicate component at all). Touching the chassis of your computer with your finger (as long as it is plugged into a properly grounded outlet) is an easy way to do that (especially if you almost always have the sides off, like I do).
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Old July 16th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #12
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This just happened to me. It's covered by warranty right?
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 01:10 AM   #13
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Another one bites the dust

My HVR-A1U just started doing the same thing. I was plugging into a new system and it didn't detect the camera. Thought it was the system so tried my standard one and it no longer worked either. Figured it was the cable so bought a new one, still no luck. Reset the camera... still not working. A friend sent me a link to this page and got really sad.

I'm always very careful about static and use the same plug in method every time (computer, camera, camera power on). Has anyone confirmed that once this happens there is NO WAY to fix it without sending it to Sony for repair? And if a repair is needed, what kind of cost am I looking at? Is $250 about on par?

Any information you can pass on about personal experience would be greatly appreciated.
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Old February 12th, 2007, 09:44 PM   #14
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Thank you Sony...

Sony finally got back to me. They charged me $130 to tell me my iLink was broken (bravo on the detective work there) and to fix said problem they need to replace a board that costs $1,000 and it will be $500 in labor to swap it out. So for $300 less than I originally paid for the thing, they will gladly repair it.

So, if anyone wants an HVR-A1U for cheap, let me know because I'm not going to mess with it. The cost just doesn't make sense considering my original investment. I'm done with Sony.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #15
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A similar issue

I have recently experienced something very similar.

My Sony Z1U was no longer recognized neither by my Sony Vaio laptop or my cheapo (Fry's) desktop - this desktop has a video/TV card on the back and an extension box on the front, both have firewire. BUT! The strange thing was, the camera worked fine with another cable and another PC at my church. My home cable is 4 pin to 4 pin, at the church I use a 4 pin to 6 pin. I tried both DV and HDV modes.

So, evidently I suspected my firewire cable. Went to Fry's and bought another one - no change. I have to mention, I was only trying on the front connector on the desktop, and the laptop. Hmmm... recently I've been playing a lot with codecs and software... so I thought that was it, and decided to reformat the laptop. Guess what? No change...

Off to BestBuy and bought another firewire cable, much more expensive. STILL DEAD!!! Called a friend on this and he suggested I power down both the laptop and the camera, then power up first the laptop, only after the laptop is up and running, power up the camera. Yup, the laptop recognized the camera and after auto-installing the driver, started working.

Back to the desktop - still dead. But now I knew the cable is good, so got on my knees and plugged it to the back of the desktop - voila, it's working.

Lessons learned: 1. Never trust a new cable. 2. A defective cable can damage the firewire plug on your computer. 3. Windows is still Windows...

So David, before you ditch those camcorders, do some more testing! I'm just speculating, but there may be something in the Sony camcorders that memorizes a failed connection attempt. Try a known good cable and another computer, try shutting off both the computer and the camcorder, then start the computer first, only after that turn on the camcorder.

I really hope you can sort this out. There is no power on the 4 pin plugs/cables, so I don't think your camcorders got damaged.
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