Is there any protection for over-voltage via Ilink 1394 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 6th, 2009, 04:34 AM   #1
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Is there any protection for over-voltage via Ilink 1394

I have a four year old Sony HDR-FX1 that has been a workhorse in my small business, and that I have used with my various Macs all along, recently Final Cut (and my Macs) failed to recognise the camera, I could neither get images in or out.

Delievered the camera to the local Sony repair and they concluded that some components connected to the ilink/firewire port on the camera were blown (I would assume by over voltage), I got the camera back, supposedly fixed, hooked it up to my Mac - and nothing.

Went back to the shop again, and they say itīs the same problem, and that my Mac(s) are toasting my camera, they are the pros, so I assume they are right, the guy says there is some device that you could put in between the camera and the PC/Mac to avoid this from taking place....

Now I am searching for some kind of iLink protection cable, all I found so far is a cable aclled a "firewire port isolator" but as far as I understand this will not do anything for me since I use the 4pin to 6pin Firewire cable that is not suppose to carry power anyway.

I would love it if anyone could help me out, my camera is back for 2nd repair, and when I get it back I would love to use it!
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Old February 6th, 2009, 06:00 AM   #2
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Blown 1394 ports are not uncommon. According to reports here and elsewhere the primary culprit is mis-alignment when hot plugging the cable. While power is not supplied to the four wire connector that goes to your camera, it is apparently possible to mis-align the six wire connector at the computer end when plugging it in.

Best solution is to connect your camera to your computer with both units powered off. The next best option is to plug the cable into the computer first, making sure the connection is secure. Then plug in the camera. IMO, this second option is much less safe than the first although I've been known to do it more than I'd like to admit.

Oh wait. I just did. (grin)
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Old February 6th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #3
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I hear some people use a Canon HV10 to capture footage from their FX1. But the Mac may blow the firewire on that too so I'm probably not being much help, however, this could keep your FX1 from being in the shop.
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Old February 6th, 2009, 05:05 PM   #4
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The 6 pin end of the cable has power on one of the two pins which are not used in the 4 pint connector. So if the 6 pin end is inserted far enough off, it can apply power to one of the signal lines and blow the chip at the receiving end. An internal short of the 6 pin connector could do it too. Having both devices off before connecting them doesn't help if you have power to the wrong place in the connector socket.

Sorry, I don't know of an isolator, having never looked for one.

I cured my nervousness by using and Adaptec PCI card to provide my 1394 outpt and snipped the power link on the card going to one of the output sockets, so that the socket itself could never see power. I then dedicated that output port to my camcorder connection.

It turns out that my motherboard also provided both a 4 pin and a 6 pin 1394 connector on an extension outlet, so it is probably possible to source a PCI card that could provide a 4 pin output. This again would prevent power being near the socket itself.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 04:08 AM   #5
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isolator exists , they are limiting bandwith to 100Mb/s instead the regular 400 than firewire can deliver. This i not a problem for DV/HDV video that is around 25Mb/s, but it could for using hard disk.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 05:01 AM   #6
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Isolator box @ B&H

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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:17 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone, especially Ervin - I have ordered the Spark Guard you mentioned, I have also ordered two new FW 6 to 4 pin cables and I am throwing away the ones I got. In addition I will from now on shut down both computer and camera befor connecting... untill I get rid of the DV/HDV world for good and go with REDs scarlet system for the "low profile" jobs...
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Old February 14th, 2009, 12:33 AM   #8
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Ofcourse the other "safe" option, is not to use your FX1 for downloading your video but another consumer type of digital camera. That's what I use (Sony TRV80) so I can "protect" my FX7 and now my new Z5. I also use it to rewind my tapes too.

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Old February 16th, 2009, 06:46 AM   #9
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So if you use a 4 pin to 4 pin firewire cable to connect to a laptop, does that mean there is far less risk of blowing a port than connecting to a 6 pin port on my desktop?
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Old February 16th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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John,

I have seen no articles that analyse the reality of 4 pin, but I can see no reason that power would be taken to the 4 pin receptacle. My motherboard has 2 nine-pin headers for firewire outputs to the back of my case. The outputs are one 4in and one 6 pin socket. The wiring of the plugs at the motherboard end for the 4 pin are 2 wires less than the 6 pin. So my 4 pin connector cannot have power by faulty cable or anything else.

I suspect that the same is true for any 4 pin firewire socket, such as you describe for a laptop. Power will not be run to the receptacle and so cannot turn up on even a bad cable connector.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Ian
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Old February 17th, 2009, 01:20 AM   #11
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I use 4pin to 4pin (iLink)

Am I safe from this issue? My PMW EX3 has a small iLink port and my laptop has iLink port aswell. People keep referring to the 6pin, so is 4pin safe?
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Old February 17th, 2009, 06:45 AM   #12
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Just to clarify a possible misconception

The issues with firewire connections is, in most cases, NOT the extra power line on the 6-pin connector! It's the static build-up that gets discharged over electronic components in the camera, shorting out an IC or transistor.

In theory, the 5 volts line present in the 6-pin connector/cable can, accidentally, go to the wrong pin IF THE CABLE OR THE CONNECTOR IS DEFECTIVE, but it has been reported to cause probems in far less cases compared to issues caused by static discharge.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #13
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A few years back I remember reading that it was advised for all Sony cameras to be turned off before connecting to a computer, that Sony's were prone to the problem at hand. Nothing said about why Sony and not another manufacturer. I got into the habit with my PD150 and continue to do so with my Canon.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #14
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Could one nuetrelise the cable somehow?

I often touch the end of my cable before putting it into my camera (to nuetrelise it), with the battery out. However I leave the battery in my laptop in (too much hassle to take it out).

4pin to 4pin.

Should be safe right?
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:50 PM   #15
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4 pin firewire doesn't carry power. The 6 pin variety does. At any rate, trying to discharge the connector end does no good. It's not a static charge build up like a shock. It's steady power.

P.S. We're not related somehow are we???
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