Firewire ports destroyed by Z1, also case with HC1/A1? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old April 12th, 2006, 12:49 AM   #1
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Firewire ports destroyed by Z1, also case with HC1/A1?

I saw a thread on another website which details the destruction of both cameras and computers when the Firewire cable was plugged in incorrectly. This is very worrisome. I was wondering that if the Z1 has this weakness, then does the HC1 (and/or A1) also has this weakness/problem? I've only connected my A1 to my computer once via Firewire, and not following the precautions listed in that thread, and luckily no problems, but I am worried about the future (since it didn't happen to their Z1 until after 2 months).

Did anyone get an addendum regarding this Firewire connection to their manual, either included when they bought the camera, or from a repair center after repairs/checkups were completed and the camera was returned?

Is there a link (perhaps a .pdf) with this addendum that I could read and print out?

Last edited by Boyd Ostroff; April 12th, 2006 at 08:24 AM. Reason: removed link to another website
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Old April 12th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #2
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Hi Alex. Please don't post links to threads at other video forums.

I've heard anecdotal evidence of dead firewire ports on the Z1 myself. In fact, I was running a rental Z1 at the "Texas Shootout" last weekend although we weren't using firewire during the shoot. When they went to capture footage the day after I left, Mike Curtis mentioned that the firewire port was blown in his blog (I didn't do it... I swear! ;-)

But I don't understand how voltage can be passed through the 4-pin interface on the camera. Perhaps it's a grounding or static issue? Or a bad cable? Elsewhere I saw someone suggest that the cable was inserted backwards. You'd really have to force it to make that happen.

I regularly hot-plug all my cameras (VX-2000, PDX-10 and Z1) and have never seen this problem - thankfully - but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to be extra cautious. Shutting the computer down every time you capture seems like a big pain however....
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Old April 12th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #3
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Oh, sorry about that. But, how can people read the info if I don't link to it? Should I instead, copy and paste the text from that thread here instead of linking?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #4
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No, it would violate copyright restrictions to copy content from other websites. The problem is that it fragments the discussion to cross reference between what people are saying at DVinfo and another website. With 20,000 DVinfo members I'd think that others have some experience to share on this topic. But if you want to participate in the existing discussion on another site then of course that's another option which is open to you.

It's fine to post links to tech notes from Sony, but please don't create links which are dependent on active threads at another forum. Thanks for your understanding.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 08:41 PM   #5
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Well, how about a recap in my own words of the main points that I feel are necessary to really begin to talk about this topic with any sort of coherency and substantiality? Of course I am also participating in the other forum's thread, but I feel talking about it here would not only increase awareness, but also increase the pool of people who would be able to contribute and answer/ask questions.

To me, this seems to be a serious problem that I doubt I am the only one worried about -- it seems quite limited to not be able to reference other sites. I can understand where this site comes from for not wanting to reference other sites, but there's got to be a way to still talk about the same topic, yes?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:10 PM   #6
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Alex, I think you've answered your own question: a recap in your own words is the best way to proceed. Serious forum admins, myself included, are usually annoyed by enthusiastic participants cross-posting between different communities. I know of one individual banned from a couple of sites because of his prolific cross-posting habit; and it would not be too far off the mark to imagine a site owner litigating over cross-posts that initially originated from his community (not me, I wouldn't do that, but I know of others who have considered it).

At any rate, don't worry about trying to increase awareness of a particular topic, because a large portion of this audience also reads the message boards of all those other sites anyway. In other words, they're *already* aware. If it's important enough, the news will get around on its own.

If you see a topic of interest on another forum, the best place to discuss it is... on that particular forum. If you don't want to do that, then a recap here in your own words is the next best thing.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 08:01 AM   #7
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Best Way to Kill a Firewire Port

Step to take:

1. while logging and capturing footage, unplug the cable from the computer.
2. The computer will give you an error message "firewire device not found"
3. Firewire port on the camera will probably be fried.

I was editing (way back when) in college when a girl did just that with our film society TRV900. No more firewire.

The next week, by doing the opposite, somebody else ruined the FW port on our Mac edit bay. Be careful, adn always turn off the camera before unplugging FW cables.
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Old April 13th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #8
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Take a firewire and hold one end in the palm of your hand and pass the other end in front of your TV and a static spark will shock you in the palm.

This is exactly how I fried my GL2 . The thing to do is never connect your camera first always connect the firewire to your computer first.

Never unplug from the computer with the camera still connected. I fried two firewire ports before I figured this out. Good Luck.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #9
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FireWire ilink 1394 advice from Sony

Hey,

Unfortunately, I have lots of experince killing firewire. One was an A1U. I also zapped an FX1 and a TRV11. All in one day!

I got a note from Sony Broadcast in NJ that said, in a nutshell 'Sony cameras are not hot-swappable. To insure you don't zap your camera, shut off the computer you are using and the camera. Plug the wire into the computer, then the camera and boot up the computer. After the computer is running you can turn on the already-connected camera.'

I wish I had done this three zapped cameras ago. See the thread I started on this topic here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...firewire+ilink

Sony broadcast was great to deal with, by the way. Much easier than the consumer division for the FX1.

All the best,

David
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Old April 18th, 2006, 01:53 AM   #10
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Why can't they make them hot swappable? I would have thought that was a feature that firewire would want to have.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 12:05 PM   #11
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The first cam I zapped was a Canon GL2.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 09:28 PM   #12
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I almost hate to say anything, but I have been "hot" plugging and un-plugging Sony camcorders for 6 years now and never had or heard of any issues until this.

My HC 1 has been plugged in to and unplugged from a powered up pc dozens of times while it was "on" and "off" in camera, memory, and tape mode. Done it camera first and camera last. I've never considered it an issue. Works great for me.

Don't know what to say...reckon I'll just go on with what I've been doing.

Personally, I think Sony did a fine job of building my camera.


Jamie
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Old April 18th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #13
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Well, of course there are reports of it being fine doing it any way. But it seems that the problem doesn't occur right away, it might be two months after using the camera, years later, or never. But I think if you don't want to risk firewire port damage, it's best to turn off everything before plugging the cable in despite how inconvenient this is.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 01:11 AM   #14
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Ditto

Ditto Jamie, never had a firewire problem. You do have to disconnect from Z1, FX1 if you want to change the settings, then plug back in.
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Old April 19th, 2006, 09:59 AM   #15
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I think it is a static electricity issue. When the cam is plugged up first and the other end comes in range of a static field the spark jumps thru the wire and zap it is all over but the crying.

It was years before I zapped my GL2 and about a month later that I zapped my Sony. That is when I discovered by accident that if you pass one end of a fire wire in front of the TV set it would shock you at the other end.
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