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Old June 9th, 2021, 02:49 PM   #1
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The firewire fry dilemma.

The JVC GY-HD*** camera family was a wonderful product when it came out but had its share of vulnerabilities. I don't think there were too many folk who disliked them if the cameras were survivors and working right.

One achilles heel and it was serious was the vulnerablity of the firewire ports and internal circuits becoming destroyed either by intermittent connection due to a spread out plug anchorage in the camera or hostile currents interacting along the cable between two powered appliances.

Death duels between some cameras and some Mac computers were mentioned in forum posts. The camera firewire port was usually the loser.

My conundrum is that I have accumulated three failed cameras with good functioning tape transports. Two have surviving firewire ports. I have a firewire card in a computer which offers a choice of four pin and six pin plugs.

One of the hedges against frying the mainboard or the firewire port in the GY-HD***cameras was to interpose a short intermediate cable which had no continuity of the powered lines in the six pin cable to effectively isolate the powered circuits of both appliances.

I seek a bit of reassurance from longtime users of the cameras that using a cable which has a six pin connection on one end and a four pin connection on the other will achieve the same goal of isolating the power circuits of the computer and the camera.

The computer is capturing fine from both a Sony deck and a Sony camera. I am that little bit anxious that I may run out of JVC playback devices with functioning firewire ports. Like farmed turkeys, the JVCs firewire ports seemed to look for any excuse to up and die.

I don't have a battery system for the cameras. I will have to run them via a powerpack from the mains power so have a concern about some hostility between the two appliances each being powered from a mains source.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Bob Hart; June 9th, 2021 at 02:50 PM. Reason: stuck letter "m" key
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Old June 9th, 2021, 03:45 PM   #2
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
The JVC GY-HD*** camera family was a wonderful product when it came out but had its share of vulnerabilities. I don't think there were too many folk who disliked them if the cameras were survivors and working right.

One achilles heel and it was serious was the vulnerablity of the firewire ports and internal circuits becoming destroyed either by intermittent connection due to a spread out plug anchorage in the camera or hostile currents interacting along the cable between two powered appliances.

Death duels between some cameras and some Mac computers were mentioned in forum posts. The camera firewire port was usually the loser.

My conundrum is that I have accumulated three failed cameras with good functioning tape transports. Two have surviving firewire ports. I have a firewire card in a computer which offers a choice of four pin and six pin plugs.

One of the hedges against frying the mainboard or the firewire port in the GY-HD***cameras was to interpose a short intermediate cable which had no continuity of the powered lines in the six pin cable to effectively isolate the powered circuits of both appliances.

I seek a bit of reassurance from longtime users of the cameras that using a cable which has a six pin connection on one end and a four pin connection on the other will achieve the same goal of isolating the power circuits of the computer and the camera.

The computer is capturing fine from both a Sony deck and a Sony camera. I am that little bit anxious that I may run out of JVC playback devices with functioning firewire ports. Like farmed turkeys, the JVCs firewire ports seemed to look for any excuse to up and die.

I don't have a battery system for the cameras. I will have to run them via a powerpack from the mains power so have a concern about some hostility between the two appliances each being powered from a mains source.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Never had any problems with Firewire and various home assembled PCs. My connection method was to connect the cable to the PC (usually the 6-pin end). Connect the camera to the 4-pin end with the camera turned off and no mains power adaptor connected. Then connect the power adaptor to the camera and power up. This sequence prevented any ESD of power surges from the double insulated charger.
After use, the camera was switched off, then any power connection removed firnally disconnecting the 4-pin camera end of the cable.
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Old June 10th, 2021, 12:42 AM   #3
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

Iíve fried two over the years and 6 to 4 adaptors mean the two I still have running are safe. A 6 way extension should be viewed in the same light as the 6 way on a computer. A potential risk. Sorry for the bad joke. I tape 4 pin adapters in so the risk of forgetting is less. Itís not just cameras. I destroyed the FireWire on a VTR too.
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Old June 10th, 2021, 04:20 AM   #4
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

I blew one VTR years back but then installed a Kramer PT-1FW Spark-Guard Pro DV Line Protector and since then never had a problem with cameras or VTRs. If not using a spark guard you really need to have the PC and the camera turned off before connecting them together. Then power up both units. Low current but sometimes the firewire port can arc at over 1000 volts. That will fry most things.

An overview:

"The Kramer PT-1FW DV Line Protector is a small device that solves a huge problem in DV studios (or in any other DV professional or home DV application). Often when connecting a "live" DV source to a receptor, an electrical potential difference or any other element creating a high voltage(such as ESD or a live chassis) may permanently damage one or both of the connected devices. This high voltage may be seen as a spark occurring at the instant of connection, or may not be seen at all, but nevertheless can result in costly damage. The Kramer PT-1FW is installed between two cables—without requiring a power supply—and suppresses all transient high voltages down to the allowed level. It is a "lifesaver" for all studios and other DV applications using the 6-pin FireWire connector."

You can go 4 pin to 6 pin and back to 4 pin if required. Or 4 to 6 or 6 to 4. Totally flexible on connections. A few pop up on eBay and other outlets every now and again.

https://k.kramerav.com/downloads/manuals/pt-1fw.pdf

Chris Young
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Old June 10th, 2021, 08:23 AM   #5
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

Steve, Paul and Christopher.


Thank you for your responses.

I have been obsessive to the point of compulsive disorder when it comes to firewire cables always powering everything down before connecting and touching plug shields to chassis before plugging in.

One colleague's HD111 still laid down despite those precautions but it may well have been on its way out already.

The machines are being used to recover some WW2 oral histories about the Double Red Diamonds of Timor.

Some of the interviews were shot in MiniDV on a Canon XL1. Others were shot on the JVC GY-HD11, some in MiniDV format and others in HDV 1280 x 720 @ 25P.

Here is a 2003 assembly from some of the MiniDV footage shot by originator Steve Rice. His goal was then and remains now to complete a screenplay for a feature or an 8 part Netflix series written around the events described in the oral histories.

Towards the end of the presentation, the dialogue is very faint. A word which will make no sense is "criado". They were Timorese people, mostly teenagers who volunteered to carry materials and discreetly move out to find the Japanese for the Australians. They were not combatants.

When the Australians were finally evacuated, they could not take their criados, who were left on the beach. For many, their fate was sealed at the hands of the Japanese. If it were not for the Timorese people and especially the criados, the Australians would not have survived.

Australia's postwar treatment of the East Timorese people has been less than exemplorary. This was felt keenly by the veterans of the Timor campaign who judge Australia as a betrayer, given that any thousands of Timorese folk died at the hands of the Japanese invaders. There were further massacres at the hands of the Indonesian invaders who stepped into the space left by the retiring colonial Portuguese.


Last edited by Bob Hart; June 10th, 2021 at 08:42 AM. Reason: error
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Old June 10th, 2021, 08:52 PM   #6
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

Wow,Great to see this thread still alive!
I've had no fire wire issues but did have the dreaded AC Power cable pin collar break off in the AC socket. This causes the camera to not be able to run on battery power! A huge disadvantage! I only use the camera for video streaming so I run it off of AC power only after "doctoring" a few cables to make it work.
It would be great fun to run it on my V bricks again though! Since HDV tapes are pretty much not available I am looking into new cameras ...Maybe Sony FX-6??? Any suggestions are appreciated!
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Old June 10th, 2021, 10:34 PM   #7
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
The machines are being used to recover some WW2 oral histories about the Double Red Diamonds of Timor.
Bob. This is great to see. So much history slips past and future generations will never know what these people did to save and defend the lives we all live today. Sadly many stories will go to graves with those who were involved. It's a national tragedy really. I've been involved with history doco production for years and love to see independent producers trying to document this precious material. How we live today is often built on the blood and treasure sacrificed by the guys and girls whose legacy you are trying to preserve. Well done sir.

I've been on a labor of love series based on the history of the RAAF. This is a little bit a promo for that we released on the Air Force 100 Centenary recently.

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Old Yesterday, 11:58 PM   #8
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

Christopher.


Your presentation is a "must see" for me. I am trying to place the name of your narrator.

Alas my own efforts at presentation are very much inferior. What little I have shot I have done mainly for the sake of it being on the record that geneerations might benefit from in the future.

The originator of the footage, Steve Rice travelled at very short notice to East Timor with veteran Paddy Keneally, almost on impulse after he had shot an interview with him in Australia and discovered he was going on his annual journey there.

From a slightly different perspective on the RAAF during WW2, this little clip might be of interest.

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Old Today, 12:32 AM   #9
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Re: The firewire fry dilemma.

As may be this one which was shot on film.

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