SIIG Express Card Reader for SXS Cards - $48 at DVinfo.net

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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old February 9th, 2008, 11:28 AM   #1
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SIIG Express Card Reader for SXS Cards - $48

Howdy..

Like most, I was hesitant to purchase the Sony USB card reader for a couple of hundred bucks. I have a MacBook Pro, so I can use that for fast uploading of clips, and I can transfer them to my Mac Pro via Giga-net. It works pretty well..

I noticed, however, that SIIG (and others) make a PCIe Express Card reader that you can pick up for under $50 at places like Newegg.com. Some had said that you only get USB speed with this reader, but I was unconvinced...

So I bought the reader, and added it into an extra slot in my Mac Pro. I was hoping to put the reader bay into my empty secondary CDROM drive slot but I could find no way to route the cable up there. The Mac Pro is as tight as a drum inside....

The good news: The reader works just fine, and works at PCIe speeds. I can transfer footage to my Mac Pro with ease! It's a great solution and works VERY fast.

The bad news: I can't get the card to be recognized without a reboot. If I have the card inserted upon boot, everything works just fine, and it shows up as an SXS card. I can also eject it, and it will dissappear, but if I reinsert it, nothing happens unless I reboot.

I've heard you can work around this problem on a Windows PC by using the device manager to 'scan for new hardware' upon which it finds the card again, but I can find no similar command for the Mac.

Does anyone know any way to have the Mac 'rescan' it's PCIe bus to re-detect the card? I've tried the System Profiler 'rescan', but that doesn't work. I hate finding solutions on a PC that I can't find on my Mac, so I'd love any suggestions you all have...

Thanks. Happy to report this inexpensive solution works, but with that one caveat. Look forward to your thoughts...

Best,

Ben
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Old February 9th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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You should be ok if you unplug the whole USB unit, ExpressCard and all (after unmounting/ejecting the volume). Then switch the card while disconnected and reconnect the USB reader to your mac.

Sometime USB readers can be fickle; I've also found that using a different port to reconnect sometimes works better. Use a powered USB-hub to get some extra ports.

George.

P.S. This has me wondering what interface the EX1 uses internally, USB or PCIe... Since the SIIG reader expressly states it only supports USB-type ExpressCards (cards can implement either or both connection types).
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Old February 9th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #3
 
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dunno about a MAC, but, on a PC, just go to the Device Manager and do a "Scan for Hardware Changes". No need to reboot.
The PCIe cardreader is a true PCIe card bus device. It will do USB interfacing, as well, but that requires a second connection to the USB bus.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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Hi, George...

This is not a USB unit. There are no USB cables hooked up. That would defeat the point of having a fast file transfer. This is a PCIe device that's in a PCIe slot in my Mac Pro. You can use USB with this device, but I'm using it with PCIe...

Hi, Bill...

I think you didn't read to the bottom of my post, because I make that exact point. It works on a PC with the Device Manger, but I'm looking for a Mac Solution.... Thanks, tho....

Best,

Ben
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Old February 9th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #5
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Hi Benjamin,

I assumed since you started your post with a reference to the Sony USB unit that you were using a similar device.

As stated in the specs the SIIG device is only hot-plugable for USB Card implementations: Hot-plug support allows you to connect/detach devices without turning off your system (for USB-based ExpressCard devices)


The ExpressCard standard boasts general hot-plugabillity, so it must be an implementation or driver issue. The latter may be something for Apple to fix.

I know some apps rescan some busses, mainly for volumes to be fixed. So you could try on of those to see it their rescan function also kicks up the changed ExpressCard. Maybe you have DiskWarrior or CopyCatX on your disk... CopyCatX has a trial; use Command-R to rescan.

There are scsi-bus rescan shell-scripts for linux, so it may be possible to initiate a PCIe rescan under Mac OS, but don't ask me how ;) Some of these linux guru's like Macs as well, so maybe ask around...

George/
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Old February 10th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #6
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Have you tried mounting the card using disk utility instead of having to reboot? Sometimes when I plug my camera into the computer only 1 card shows up but I can mount the missing one using disk utility.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 09:48 AM   #7
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Howdy...

Good suggestion. I've tried using Disk Utility, but unfortunately, it doesn't show up in the list, so I can't mount it there...

I don't think it's an 'Apple' issue, as they are definitely capable of this since the MBP's express card slot is hot-swappable. It's true, the SIIG manual does say that it's not swappable, I was just hoping for a work-around similar to the 'device manager' on the PC... Where's my OSX device manager :-) ?????

Best,

Ben
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Old February 10th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #8
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It's been removed for your convenience in the spirit of user friendlyness by the good people at Apple. ;-)
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Old February 10th, 2008, 04:35 PM   #9
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Hi Benjamin,

Did you load the Sony SxS drivers? You dodn't mention that in your post.

On the Sony page it says: After restarting, insert SxS memory card into ExpressCard slot. SxS memory card will be recognized as removable drive.

It looks like thats whats missing here.

George/
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Old February 10th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #10
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Yes, I have loaded the drivers. Without the drivers, the card will not be recognized at all, reboot or no reboot...

Everything is working just as it should except for the reboot issue. I'm sure it's a limitation of the SIIG card reader, because the MBP card reader does allow for hot-swapping...

Best,

Ben
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Old February 10th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #11
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I have been investegating the same issue and wrote to Synchrotech who make a similar product. The technician there wrote back to me and told me that the culprit is the computers IRQ-controller. This is what he wrote:

"Thank you for contacting Synchrotech. Here is the quote you requested. All shipments are made by FEDEX. The hot swapping issue is caused by the host computer's IRQ contoller... Some hot swap and some will not let you hot swap...

I wish I had better info for you.."

Hopefully this can be of some help to you.

/ola

PS. Sorry if you did not appreciate my comment about Apple. No bashing intended. I share your frustration being on the wrong side of the fence. I would like to be able to use FCP but do not want to leave the PC-world. Same same but different.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #12
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I appreciate your efforts, Ola, and no offense was taken. I agree with you about the Apple sentiment...

Still looking for some cool UNIX command line that will make this problem go away.... :-)

Best,

Ben
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #13
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I'm kind of confused by this post.
If you have a MacBook Pro doesn't that already have an expresscard slot?
If so why do you need a second one? Am I misunderstanding something?

I would be interested in an Expresscard to to PCMCIA adapter though for my G4 Powerbook.

There is a Novatel XCA-3 that was made for wireless routers (less than $50) , but I don't know if that would handle the SXS card information or whether its only good for the routers.

- Lenny Levy
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #14
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Benjamin was trying to connect this unit to his Mac Pro (desktop) to read SxS cards.

Most of the 'consumer' adapters and such are only suitable for ExpressCards that implement the USB interface, not the PCI Express.

The Sony USB adapter is the only supported adapter for connecting to a system that doesn't natively support ExpressCards.

George/
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Old November 29th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #15
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Anything New here?

Just wondering if there is an updated solution to the reboot issue?
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