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Old February 23rd, 2008, 01:39 AM   #1
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HVX202: Problem getting Firewire disk to work in host mode

Hi all,

I'm trying to hook up a Western Digital "My Book" 1.5TB drive (700GB in RAID 1 mode, the way I want to operate), and my HVX202 steadfastly refuses to cooperate by blinking in red "1394 INITIAL ERROR".

The only purpose for this is to copy data off the P2's to the harddisk in the field, without involving a laptop computer.

Does anyone know how to make this work, or what kind of firewire harddisk is required? I refuse to spend AU$2800 on a measly 100GB drive, so FireStore is not an option. Any off the shelve firewire 800 capable drive in a RAID1 config should be able to easily obtain the required datarate.

I have tried to format the disk in NTFS (would have surprised me if that worked, needless to say it did not), tried a 32GB partition in FAT32 as primary, extended, active, not active, tried em all... no luck. Panasonic's statement that you have to use a "compatible harddisk" for firewire does not help a bit there, either....

Does anyone have a disk working? If so, what brand, what file system / format are you using?

Thanks!

- Balt
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:44 AM   #2
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Have you tried formatting your HDD using the HVX202 "format" function? Come to think about it - why not just try a NON-RAID Firewire HDD first. Datarate is not a problem here - because you are not capturing the data in real time - but, you are just copying the already recorded P2 data to another HDD - so even if you have a slow Firewire HDD - it will not be a problem - so long as it is capable of at least 480 Mbits/sec (which an ordinary 7200 RPM HDD will be able to cope).

Please note you have to supply external power to your HDD - the camera will NOT supply any power this way. Also, there is a limit of the number of times you can copy data from a P2 card to one HDD ... 15 times. Therefore, assuming you have a 32GB P2 card, and it is recorded up to the brim, the maximum amount of data you can copy will be only 15 x 32GB = 480GB. Using a 16GB P2 card means you will be able to record only 240GB to that same HDD.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 12:24 PM   #3
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I've seen issues with the MyBook's that used a hardwired RAID configuration like yours.

The cam doesn't like them
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 05:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies.

This is the first time I have heard about a copying limit with the P2 card!? I have not seen or heard of that anywhere else... Does that apply to the clips, i.e. each clip can only be copied 15 times, or to the entire solid state disk, i.e. 15 copy operations and it will no longer permit copying?

Cheers

- Balt
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:13 PM   #5
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The limit of 15 copies per P2 card (not individual clips) - but the entire P2 card - is because of the scheme the HVX202 uses for copying data to an external HDD. Each time you invoke the copy operation, one PARTITION is created on the HDD ... and the maximum number you can create is limited by design to a single hexadecimal number ... 1 - 15 (1 - x"F") ... therefore, you can only copy the P2 card(s) up to 15 times.

Note - if you have 2 P2 cards in your camera, first - you designate SLOT1 to copy - wait until it finishes - then you designate SLOT2 to copy - wait until it finishes ... that is counted as 2 (not 1) copy as far as the limit of 15 times go.

It is stated in the manual - by the way - see page 83 Step 7.

That is why I state in my previous note that the maximum HDD space that this copy operation will use depends on the capacity of the P2 card used.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:32 PM   #6
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Hi

we seem to have different manuals (I'm in Australia). I did however find the statement of "15 times copy limitation" on page 84, at the bottom in the section explaining that the copy function does indeed, well, copy!

As an IT professional, that strikes me as a rather bizarre way to access a harddisk, to create a partition every time you copy data on it that is. Very, very odd. Particularly because that seems to contradict page 85, which states:

"... 2) you may format the harddisk drive for usage by the unit"

If I format the harddisk, and the camera is going to create its own partitions on top of what I have previously formatted, bad things will happen. Unless it will write to an existing partition that I formatted.

The manual leaves a lot to be desired for. I also own the Barry Green book, that's an absolute must have! He gives a lot more detail around page 95 on how to format.

Cheers

- Balt
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:46 PM   #7
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Balt,

Panasonic manuals are written by Japanese, then translated into English. That's why it leaves so much to be desired - joking...

I don't see that operation of formatting the HDD and creating a partition for each copy of the P2 card a problem. If I format a HDD, it wipes out every partition on the HDD. Then for each copy operation, the camera will create one partition on the HDD (on the HDD's partition table), then copy the entire P2 card to that partition.

If you dump every P2 card into one big partition, you will get into trouble. What if the file name on P2 card 2 is identical to the file name on P2 card 1? See my point?

The ONLY real problem I see is this - mounting a HDD with a maximum of 15 partitions under Windows mean you are effectively requiring 15 drive letters to mount. There are only so many alphabets (D to Z) that you can use. A,B, C are already reserved ... provided you don't have any CD/DVD drives, no other partitions on your computer ... etc. However, in reality, mounting the maximum of 15 partitions could cause your Windows based OS to run out of drive letters.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 01:42 AM   #8
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The file names in P2 are unique, at least if you follow the format specifications when creating new file names. Thus, no problem when copying into the same "virtual" P2 on a harddisk. I rest my case, creating a new partition to dump a P2 onto disk is not a good thing to do.

The problem I hope will get fixed when the 64GB SSD's (well, P2's) are out. That will require them to be able to address a real file system, not FAT32 any longer. I hope they build NTFS support into the camera (and whatever the linux/mac based FS's are called that are capable of storing more than 32GB).

Cheers

- Balt
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Old February 24th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #9
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Balt,

I have to disagree with you that the file names on one P2 card is unique. There is one file on every P2 card that is NOT unique - LASTFILE.TXT (or something like that). It points to the last P2 data file inside the VIDEO and AUDIO sub-directory.

So, if you just copy every P2 card into one big partition, you end overriding the LASTFILE.TXT.

No way you can edit the video after that.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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The point obviously is not to just blindly copy all files from the P2 to disk, but only the content, and to update the content.txt intelligently. If you bother to create a file structure based on more than filenames, why don't they take the extra effort and do it right?

Because the P2 standard is not well documented in the manual, I was making many assumptions based on what I would consider an intelligent choice when working in a professional video environment. The only thing established at this point is that file ID's will always be unique between cameras, because the camera serial number plays into that, however, the filenames apparently have been abbreviated, so there is a one in however many thousandth chance that the filename will be repeated. That's poor design.

Had they chosen to support file copying onto NTFS partitions, they could have used up to 255 characters for the filename, thus creating a real universally unique ID for each file.

Cheers

- Balt
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Old February 24th, 2008, 08:23 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, we are now talking about something that we can't change at all. I don't think you will see support NTFS as an option coming from Panasonic. Too expensive - Microsoft will start asking for royalties per camera. No way. Already FAT and FAT32 is already putting manufacturers at arms. And I doubt we will ever see an "user documentation" on the internals of P2 any sooner.

Hence, a separate partition per P2 card copy is the way to go. No choice.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 06:35 AM   #12
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But with 64GB P2 SSD's around the corner, how do you think they will solve the FAT32 size limitation problem?

Cheers

- Balt
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Old February 25th, 2008, 07:44 AM   #13
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Balt,

What is the problem here with 64GB P2 cards? FAT32 limit of addressing is 2 Terabytes.

Of course, once you go beyond 32GB limit, the sector/cluster allocation goes up into the stratosphere. But, with video files in the tens to hundreds of Megabytes per file size, this limitation of FAT32 might not be that bad as you think.

Of course I will be happy if Panasonic can allow NTFS as a supported partiition in an external HDD.
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