Author Topic: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!  (Read 2551 times)

Offline ssp3

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Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« on: July 20, 2023, 11:07:22 AM »
Everyone loves bus powered FireWire devices, right? Small, lightweight external HDD/SSD cases, audio interfaces, you name it. Well, aparently there was a problem back in the day with some of the G4s, that, strangely, went under my radar...

I was browsing Metric Halo, the makers of SpectraFoo, Channel Strip and Mobile I/O interfaces, website a couple of days ago and stumbled upon this bit of information.
http://mhsecure.com/faq/index.php?action=artikel&cat=1&id=39&artlang=en
Quote
If you have a faulty cable, or even if the cable is fine but does not connect correctly, the Firewire port in the Mac can become damaged due to a ground fault. This damage is caused by the fault in the cable, but it only occurs with bus powered devices that use 1394 recommended cable termination.
There are a large number of bus powered devices that follow that recommendation (it is an international standard, after all). This includes hubs, hard drives and other devices.

Maybe some of you already knew it (I didn't), but most of the newcomers to G4 world probably not, so they should be aware of this issue.

This is what information I have collected so far. It's all in Japanese, use Google translate.

https://www.medicalmac.com/mac98.html
The author has English version of the article too, but pictures have broken links. Use either Japanese version to look at them, or use archived version.
http://web.archive.org/web/20020805193853/http://www.medicalmac.com/mac98e.html

I also recommend reading user comments.

Original Ratoc article:
https://www.ratocsystems.com/info/announce/firephy.html


Here's one scary thread at MacRumours:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/firewire-woes.2285333/
« Last Edit: July 21, 2023, 06:48:25 PM by ssp3 »
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Offline ivanshpak

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2023, 12:41:49 PM »
This is the main problem why many brands were disappointed in this interface, in my experience, many devices burned for a lot of money for this reason, for example, Leaf and Phase One digital backs

Offline S. Pupp

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2023, 06:11:32 PM »
About ten years ago, I connected all my Firewire drives in a daisy chain to my MDD G4.  The FW port on the MDD G4 and the connected firewire ports of each device blew.  I was not happy.

Offline IIO

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2023, 10:24:03 PM »
i´ve never had any audio interfaces or disks which would support firewire bus powered - except one little 2.5" HD case which i dont use - but i know they exist.

it is an important tip to use proper cables and/or treat them good if you care about your PSUs, mainboard, or data.
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Offline ssp3

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2023, 10:53:35 PM »
I have 5 external bus powered 2.5" enclosures and one bus powered audio interface.  ;D
Everyone's darling M-Audio Firewire "whatever" can also be bus powered, so ..

Of course, almost any of these, with exception of LaCie Rugged FW800/USB3, could be powered from external PSU, but who wants to deal with that, right?  ;) Besides, despite the presence of +5V DC IN input socket, inXtron 2.5" enclosures, that I have, were sold without the external PSUs. From now on I personally will be very cautious when connecting anything bus powered to the older Macs.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2023, 11:10:56 PM by ssp3 »
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Offline ivanshpak

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2024, 08:02:21 AM »
Recently I started using such filters https://www.sounddevices.com/product/xl-1394 and recommend them to everyone

Offline IIO

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2024, 03:03:17 PM »
erm, what does it do?
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Offline ivanshpak

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2024, 02:51:25 AM »
erm, what does it do?

This is a filter and voltage stabilizer, and it also protects against short circuits.
These filters began to be recommended by Sound Devices after many cases of equipment damage, since this device is from the world of video production in the field, I trust their approach.

Offline IIO

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2024, 09:03:57 AM »
i see. glad to learn about something new i should buy. but it cannot protect against underpowerment, isnt it? :)

where to buy? price?
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Offline Jubadub

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2024, 11:40:39 PM »
where to buy? price?

I second this.

Offline aBc

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2024, 03:33:22 AM »
Gurgle…. “XL-1394 Firewire”.  ::)

OR… try eBay:
Currently five listed. Two in the U.S. - two in the U.K. and one in Australia.
Ranging in price from $44.21 to $114.99 (obo).

Offline IIO

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2024, 10:41:23 AM »
given that i run 24 HDs and 2 BD burners on a single fw port on my main G4 i wonder if i should actually have concerns about a short circuit in the firewire network.

or maybe i just buy one because i dont have one already. :P

but seriously, how could a short circuit happen and what could result from it?

unlike those camera and video persons, who are mixing video via external firewire routers and such stuff, connecting media is pretty straight forward. i even even individual 230 volt fuses for my disk setup.
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Offline IIO

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Re: Be careful with bus powered FireWire devices!
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2024, 10:54:31 AM »
ok, los internetos told me you only need it when there is actually a bus powered device behind it? is that right?
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