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Old May 25th, 2004, 08:27 PM   #1
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HELP!!! 1394 drives and deck have vanished from PC DV Pro!!!

I'm in a bind - the client is coming in to screen rough cuts tomorrow - Wednesday - I spent two hours on the phone with DELL Tech Support (they gave up since it's a 1394 issue). Here's the problem:

We are running two Avid DV Pro systems on Dell Precision 620 systems. One system has been up for almost two years; the other we put together last Summer. Both have external 1394 ProMax drives; both have Sony DSR11 DVCam 1394 decks; both have over a GIG of RAM. In short - great systems, no problems until today.

I got a call from one of my editors that the "1394 drives had vanished"; at the same time the other editor was complaining he could not get the DSR11 to appear - not in Avid, not in Windows. I was my day off but off I went.

I replaced the 1394 card with a new one. At Dell's suggestion I placed back the old one but in a different slot. We did a system restore. Nothing has worked. Please HELP!!!!

One small clue that might have no bearing - one of the editors tried to connect his system to the DA-Max transcoder that is across the room and which also services the other system. The editor of the system that is usually connected to the DA-Max (for digitizig from Beta) noticed that "the drives from the other system appeared in his machine" and he "deleted them" - I don't know if this somehow altered something in a 1394 network I didn't mean to establish.

Please - ANY help - even a small lead will be most helpful.

Does anyone know anyone in New York City that might be able to come in on short notice?

Thank you!
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Old May 25th, 2004, 08:55 PM   #2
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If you bought the drives from Promax couldn't you try calling them?

2- Anyways, you can disassemble the FW enclosure to get at the drive inside. Make sure you are grounded first.

Once you get the drive out you can hook it up just like any other ATA hard drive.

3- Avoid hotswapping FW drives to avoid damaging the firewire ports. If you want to be safe, then power everything on/off before swapping.

Also make sure you use good cable and don't insert the FW connectors backwards (which is actually possible).

4- I don't use FW drives myself so someone else might be able to help out here more.
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Old May 25th, 2004, 09:13 PM   #3
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The problem is not with the drives since they work in other systems. I've tried changing the cables.

Good try and I appreciate the response but I suspect the problem is deeper and not as obvious - but maybe I'm wrong (I cetainly hope I am.)

Thank you.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 03:55 AM   #4
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Do you have an ieee1394 bus controller in device manager? are there any red crosses in device manager?

I take it that these are Win XP machines? if so when the device is connected does it appear in My computer (when your deck is conencted a Sony device should appear?

You might need to re-install Win XP. Or you could try some of these: http://forum.matrox.com/rt2000/Forum36/HTML/000001.html Although it is mentioned for Matrox hardware, Number 4 might help?

Cheers,

Ed
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Old May 26th, 2004, 06:11 AM   #5
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I'm a bit worried about the "the drives from the other system
appeared in his machine and he deleted them" line.

It is a common thing that when you hook up computers through
some 1394 device they can see EVERYTHING that is attached to
the 1394 chain. Even if it is on another PC. This can get you into
trouble with drives indeed.

The part I'm most worried about is the "he deleted them" part.
How did he delete drives from Windows? The only way this can
be done to the best of my knowledge is to:

1) unplug the hardware (no problem)

2) un-assign a drive letter (no problem)

3) erase the partitions or format the drive (BIG problem)

So this is the first thing you need resolving I think. You say the
drive appears fine in another machine. Have you tested this
AFTER this problem started (and the guy "deleted the drives")
or BEFORE?

If it is after then this deleting doesn't make sense and all should
be well. If it is before, go test it NOW.

With that having been said and the drive working fine I'm thinking
one of the following things:

1) virus

2) windows update

Is there any chance those machines have automatic updates
turned on and have installed updates from the internet (which
I personally would not do automatically for critical machines)?

You can go to add/remove software to see what was installed
and hopefully when. It might be some little windows update that
is causing all this mayhem.

As Ed pointed out it is also very important to check out the device
manager to see if:

1) your 1394 card(s) is/are being detected without any conflicts etc.

2) the device you plugin to the 1394 card are appearing somewhere in that list as well
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Old May 26th, 2004, 08:38 AM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ed Smith : Do you have an ieee1394 bus controller in device manager? are there any red crosses in device manager?

I take it that these are Win XP machines? if so when the device is connected does it appear in My computer (when your deck is conencted a Sony device should appear?>>>

Taking the questions in order -- yes (ieee1394 appears in the device manager); no (no red crosses - appear working properly) ; no (the devices do not appear in My Computer" - although often the "ding dong" sound denoting a new conection does sound off but nothing appears)

Oz
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Old May 26th, 2004, 08:48 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : I'm a bit worried about the "the drives from the other system
appeared in his machine and he deleted them" line. -->>>

Rob,

I am also concerned with the "deleting them" action. That particular editor is brand new to XDV editing. I had supplied the other system with a long ieee1394 cable ONLY to access the DA-Max across the room. In my mind, that cable would have been connected directly to the DA-Max and nothing else. Obviously this is not what was done. Since I wasn't there, I will need to ask for details when I get to the war zone ... er.. office.

I do think you are in the right track and considering our time difference we might be able to get back in touch later in the day.

Oz
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Old May 26th, 2004, 08:24 PM   #8
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This has happened to me often---Normally the culprit is the controler inside the firewire drive enclosure---What I do in these circumstances is toss the box and get a new one. Recently I started buying Granite DIgital enclosures and so far so good. I would stay away from the ADS enclosures--I have gone through a couple. I'm in the NYC area too!.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 09:06 PM   #9
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David,

Not quite the suggestion that makes me feel better. ;-) I'ts not the drives - if it were all six of them would have gone south all at once; also the systems won't even recognize the DSR11 deck we have plugged into a separate 1394 board.

For now our solution is no solution. We were able to "borrow" a Symphony from another room (not ours) and transfer most of what we needed for one of our projects.

We gave a call to VCA and they are sending a technician over in the morning. Even though I explained it is NOT an Avid problem (Windows won't find any 1394 hardware) - my fear is that they will send an Avid tech who will be just as baffled as I am. Fingers crossed.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 03:33 AM   #10
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I fear you might have to re-install Win XP.

Do you have anything else connected to the other firewire ports when you connect your devices?
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Old May 28th, 2004, 10:30 PM   #11
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I hadn't responded sooner because things are back to normal... sort of. The "repairs" left me with more questions and not quite a perfect system. Let me explain.

Yes, the incident that caused the major problem was most probably the connection of one system to the DA-Max while it (the DA-Max) was connected to the second system. But that alone does not explain why we hadn't experienced the problems we are currently experiencing sooner. According to the very knowledgeable tech guy from VCA, we cannot have so many 1394 drives connected to one system. We especially cannot connect a few external drives AND a deck and expect it to work.

In many ways, he is correct. The "solution” was to connect only two drives per 1394 port . Since we have 6 ProMax drives on one system and a Firewire card with 3 ports, we connected two drives per port - 2; 2; 1. But that leaves the problem of where to connect the deck. He suggested the second 1394 card be placed in a slot as far away from the first one as possible. Well, that's not possible since the only slots where the 1394 cards fit are next to each other. So at the moment I have the DSR11 deck connected to a second 1394 card which is next to the other.

This is causing a significant number of "read ahead" failures. A solution I found was to turn off the drives I'm not using. This does minimize the problems - instead of constant errors and Avid crashes, we are now suffering from occasional 1394 drives going AWOL and having to re-boot the system to get them back.

Are you beginning to see why I now have so many questions? Why is all this happening? How am I supposed to connect a few external 1394 drives AND a 1394 deck to a system and suffer no problems? Why did these problems not pop up sooner? What are the limitations of 1394? Are there ways around this? IS a 1394 switcher recommended?

So there you have it. I have more questions but these are all for now. Any suggestions will be most appreciated. I have learned more about 1394 in the past three days than in the past 4 years. I know there has to be a way to make this standard a solid and dependable one, especially when a product like Avid XDV is based on it.

Oh, and by the way, the incident seems to have fried the 1394 port on the DSR11 which we bought just a month ago. But since we lost the 1394 port on a DSR1500 a long time ago, this might be an indication that not all was going as smoothly as we thought.

P.S. >>> This is a great forum. I visit many tech forums, but DVInfo is the only one where I really feel among friends. I post questions here knowing I will get a thoughtful response - maybe not always a correct one, but intelligent nevertheless. Chris and the gang are to be commended for maintaining one of the most serious, friendly, and useful sites around.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 01:27 AM   #12
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To avoid damaging firewire ports, do not hotswap any devices. Power stuff down before changing things. Also be sure to use good cable and not to insert the connectors backwards.

2- It seems like your firewire devices are conflicting with each other.

You might want to try getting or moving to internal storage instead. It is cheaper, faster, and more reliable. You can get an ATA controller card and put a lot of hard drives inside one computer as long as space, cooling, and power don't restrict you.

Quote:
He suggested the second 1394 card be placed in a slot as far away from the first one as possible.
That seems to be a bit of hocus pocus IMO, although it might have a kernel of validity in it. Depending on the slots you put your firewire cards in, they may be forced to share an IRQ interrupt (which may or may not be bad).

To check this, go to (Win XP)
start --> run --> msinfo32
system summary --> hardware resources --> conflicts/sharing
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Old May 29th, 2004, 12:07 PM   #13
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Glenn,

No hot swaping here. In fact I have everything set to optimize performance and not easy removal. I've instructed all the editors to turn off devices and even the whole system before removing them.

I can't detect any conflicting devices. I'll check again when back in the office on Tuesday.

Tell me more about ATA controllers. Both of my systems are pretty much loaded as is. I know they are maxed out in IDE slots. For one of them I had to forego an internal Zip.

Still, I would like to hear more from someone about this 1394 limit as it is being explained to me. I opted to invest in 1394 external devices because they are cheap, easily available, portable, and, at least int he case of ProMax, reliable. But no where have I read of the problems 1394 can cause when used extensively with editing applications.

By the way, by moving the controlers away from each other, the tech guy explained that although there are two slots for cards, the Dell Precision 620 "sees" them as one. (I think he meant what you describe - sharing the same IRQ.) His suggestion was to place the second card "on the other side of the RAID card." The problem is that the cards don't fit there - at least not fully and the ports come to within an inch of the rear opening.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 12:43 PM   #14
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You can get SATA or PATA controller cards to allow more internal storage.

The card itself uses the PCI interface like your firewire card. Some of the higher end ones will use the PCI-X or PCI-E interfaces, which your workstation may have.

PATA = parallel ATA, also know as ATA, IDE, ATA33 ATA66 ATA100 and ATA133. It uses the big ribbon cables.
SATA = serial ATA. It uses smaller cables and you can only have one drive on each controller as opposed to 2 with PATA. The smaller cables are nice if you want lots of drives in your system.

The SATA/PATA controller cards will add more SATA/controllers. Here is an example:

http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduc...103-136&depa=0

Quote:
Tell me more about ATA controllers. Both of my systems are pretty much loaded as is. I know they are maxed out in IDE slots. For one of them I had to forego an internal Zip.
So in your situation above, an additional controller card could give you an additional (P)ATA controller and allow you to put in the Zip drive. Btw, Zip drives tend to fail... see http://grc.com/tip/codfaq1.htm
Then again, CD-Rs and hard drives fail too.

Quote:
By the way, by moving the controlers away from each other, the tech guy explained that although there are two slots for cards, the Dell Precision 620 "sees" them as one.
I have no idea what he's talking about. Your computer can tell the difference. IRQ sharing can happen but your computer "seeing" both firewire cards as the same is not a very good analogy.

I think you've already figured out what your problem is- the combination of firewire devices you are using do not work well together.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 01:08 PM   #15
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Thank you Glenn. You've been most helpful.

>>I think you've already figured out what your problem is- the combination of firewire devices you are using do not work well together.<<<

I certainly have - BUT what IS so unusual about using a 1394 deck with 1394 drives? And why is the number of 1394 drives significant? I'm puzzled by this since AVID is basing its DV Pro system on just this assumption. Are we all expected to get Mojo to take care of the deck input and store all media internally? This makes some sense but not when the thrust of the advertising is geared to using DV Pro with laptops!

‘Tis a puzzlement.
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