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Old May 29th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #16
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Hold on, you have Mojo on the firewire card too?

You should read Avid's support documents on it, Mojo is very picky. It seems that Mojo needs a lot of bandwidth as your computer has to move uncompressed video into and out of it. It would probably not do that well sharing bandwidth with other firewire devices.

Quote:
BUT what IS so unusual about using a 1394 deck with 1394 drives?
From what I heard: Decks and DV cameras use the FW100 protocol, which moves 100 megaBITs per second instead of 400. There might be some conflict when switching between FW100 and FW400 transfer modes. Some people on Final Cut forums report problems with a deck and FW drive connected to the same FW card and success when adding another card. And some other people have a deck and FW drive on the same card and capture fine.

Another possible explanation: There are some manufacturers that deviate from the standards for the interfaces the products use (firewire standard = IEEE 1394a). For example, the Promise RAID controller card "hogs" the interface (PCI). This lets it do slightly better in benchmarks, but can/will create problems if there are other devices on the interface (like sound cards). Or in many cases the manufacturer just isn't very good at making their products follow standards well.

Something similar may be happening here.

Well I'm sure a computer engineer could explain things to you, although that doesn't really help you.

Quote:
This makes some sense but not when the thrust of the advertising is geared to using DV Pro with laptops!
They market it... but if you read the Mojo compatibility article you will start to get unhappy with Avid as it becomes very difficult to find a laptop that is compatible with Mojo (following the compatibility article).

Quote:
And why is the number of 1394 drives significant?
I suppose there's a mild correlation between the number of FW drives and encountering problems. By adding more drives (especially of different brands) you add complication.

Some people are able to daisy chain a lot of drives... so 2 drives/port is not a hard and fast rule that I would necessarily follow.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 05:14 PM   #17
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>>Hold on, you have Mojo on the firewire card too?<<

Definitely NOT. I have also read the not too encouraging Mojo articles and I've decided to wait it out until something better comes along.

Can you recomment a IEEE1394 specific site that can be of help? I know of some but they are either standards definintions sites or not very coherent.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 07:38 PM   #18
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Sorry, I don't know any good sites except for one that talks about damaging firewire ports.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 11:20 AM   #19
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In theory you should be able to hook up 127 devices. I'm
wondering whether this is some bandwidth problem on either
the firewire busses or the PCI bus (more likely).

It is puzzling indeed that this problem didn't started happening
until recently.

As I pointed out I really feel we should try to get as clear as
possible what happened before this problem arose. I'm really
curious still what happened when the other guy deleted those
drives.

Carefully try to trace back to what happened in as much detail
as possible. Since it has worked it should be able to work again
now as well.

Otherwise you might want to try and narrow down when the
most problems start happening. Which specific drives on which
controllers or how many drives on a controller etc.

When the tech guy said your computer sees multiple cards as
one I think he was referring to the fact that the computer creates
one large firewire bus over multiple cards.

For example: if you have two firewire cards in your PC and you
hook up a drive to one card and another computer to the other
card the other computer will see the drive as well (under XP).
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Old May 30th, 2004, 07:27 PM   #20
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Rob,

Unfortunatelly the editor who "closed" the drives can't supply me with any more information. He says he "got an error message" and clicked off the drives. In reality the drives are healthy and back in operation. The problem is that we can't run all six drives AND the deck at the same time. Yes, this was possible before and it is a mystery to me why it is a problem now. It certainly makes digitizing a very touch and go experience.

I suspect many of these issues are human initiated - an assitant editor who panics when a drive is lost; and editor who reboots before all is closed down. Although I've initiated a no hot swapping rule - I wouldn't be surprised if some of that still went on.

While I was watching an assistnat editor digitize the other day and odd thing happened - the drives stopped responding (no red lights) but the digitizing kept on going. No error message, nothing.

oz
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 01:07 AM   #21
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : In theory you should be able to hook up 127 devices. .... Otherwise you might want to try and narrow down when the
most problems start happening. Which specific drives on which controllers or how many drives on a controller etc.-->>>

I had some time today to look into the problem a little. At first I went into Administrative Tools>Computer Management and saw that instead of the 5 1394 external drives, only 3 were showing as physical drives. Two of them were showing up as partitions of the same drive. This was most confusing, especially since after a few reboots later, the five drives showed up as they should.

But - the bottom line is that I cannot run the 5 drives at the same time. I need to turn off at least one drive in order for XP Pro to detect any of the drives. (I will test the fifth drive tomorrow to assure that it is working.)

I tried daisy chaining the five drives as they were originally, but that no longer works. I reverted back to what the tech guy configured - two drives, daisy chained and plugged into one port of a three port 1394 card. This allows me to plug in 4 drives into two ports and 1 into the third port. With the exception that the fifth drive is not showing up, this configuration seems to work.

I hope I've mentioned something that might strike a familiar chord. I'm at a total loss for answers.

Oz
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 03:58 AM   #22
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My guess would be that there is something wrong with one or
more drives. Probably with the firewire interface, especially when
daisy chaining. You might want to try swapping drives around in
one chain to see what happens. 5 drives gives you 32 possible
combinations to try.

It is really odd when drives start appearing as partitions on others.
That's VERY dangerous for your data. It sounds like one or more
drives cannot uniquely identify themselves anymore somehow.

This is very strange!
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Old June 3rd, 2004, 02:03 AM   #23
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Very strange and frustrating. I posted a cry for help on the Avid-L mail serve. If I don't get some useful responses from there, I'm really in trouble, deep trouble.

Oz
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Old June 5th, 2004, 08:46 PM   #24
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Well, there have been no definitive replies from anyone, not even at Avid-L. But I did get some quality time with the system today (Saturday and no one around) and I was able to pinpoint a few issues.

It seems the 1394 connection is lost after a certain amount of time. This explains why the digitized material does not show up - because by the time the db is being created, the connection, or drive, is no longer online. Forcing an exit from Avid and then forcing a database restore reveals the digitized clips except for the last one (where, I presume, is where the 1394 connection parted from the system.) But why should this happen is beyond me. I've turned off all screen savers and power management; and it's not the drives since they do come back after a reboot.

That is as far as I was able to get today. I had hoped to do some editing since my editor experiences a freeze or crash everytime he attempts to render.

As with everything else in computing, I'm learning tons from all these problems.
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Old June 5th, 2004, 09:24 PM   #25
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Have you thought about switching to internal drives?
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Old June 5th, 2004, 09:31 PM   #26
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Have you thought about switching to FCP? I haven't had your problems since I sold my Media Composer.
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Old June 6th, 2004, 02:05 AM   #27
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Glenn,

Yes, I have given the possibility of switching to internal drives some serious thought. In fact, I'm looking to purchase a large IDE drive from Dell. The drawback to internal drives is a singular one - lack of portability between systems. As it is right now, not only can we port media from one PC based Avid to another, we can even port it to a Mac with a Mac based Avid.

Jeff,

I haven't given the idea of switching to FCP a second's worth of thinking. The expense would be prohibitive not only in hardware but in re-training our editors and assistant editors. If Apple were to bring out a PC based FCP (fat chance) 0 then maybe I would look into it.

By the way, we do work with FCP since soem of our outside editors use it, and they also report similar problems with 1394 drives. So I don't feel this is an Avid problem.
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Old June 6th, 2004, 03:04 AM   #28
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Dell probably isn't the best place to purchase an IDE drive from.

newegg.com would be the place to go for the least hassle. If you're looking to really save, I'd check the following sites:
pricewatch.com and pricegrabber.com (both let you find the lowest price)

Hot deals sites like fatwallet.com, gotapex.com, etc. Retail chains usually have loss leaders on hard drives, but they are typically limited quantities and are designed to lure you into their store so you make impulse purchases.

2- Portability: You could get removable drive bays for internal ATA drives. I haven't tried this myself for video but it should work just as well as firewire. A downside to these is that they may be annoyingly loud because of the fans.

There are other solutions that might be worth looking into.

Gigabit ethernet. This should do at least 10MB/s in real world transfer speeds. (Just a wild ass scientific guess). It should easily handle 2 DV streams.

Replace all your firewire drives with big ones. Normal ones go up to 250GB but Lacie sells 500GB and 1000GB drives.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 11:10 PM   #29
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I've been looking at 1394b as a possible solution to my problem... or not. I was looking at the Medea G-RAID 320GB Titanium Color FireWire800 that ProMax sells as a more robust way to have my cake (keep the 1394 standard) and eat it (solve the write ahead and missing drives problems). What does ayone think?
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Old June 8th, 2004, 07:23 AM   #30
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A solution if you need to access data across multiple machines
is to have one server having all the storage and data and letting
the machines access this data over the network. You can all
set it up so that it looks like the storage is attached to the local
machine without any problems. You can also do centralized
backup and mirroring for example in such scenarios.

This can be a simple as a server with a stack of harddisks or an
external cabinet with drives. Or it can be more advanced with
full blown SAN's or NAS networks.
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