bum firewire port - macbook pro 2.5

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by go2car!, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. go2car! macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    finally stepped up from an old powerbook 800Mhz g4 from 8 years ago...

    ... and although ProTools 7.4.2 runs quite nicely, now, for 10.5.3, i was hugely disappointed to realize that:

    - bus powered firewire drives didn't mount
    - couldn't load another computer when it was in Target Disk mode...

    called 'apple [waste of time] care' and they:
    - walked me thru a DiskUtility check; all was fine.
    - recommended i remove the battery & power cable, and press/hold the power button for 5 seconds... (i thought it was similar to the ol' PrRam reset underneath the G4 keyboard, but she said it was an SMC or something...)
    - scheduled me for a "Genius Bar" appointment at my local store for Monday b/c all attempts at repair failed.

    great. at least i don't have streaks in the monitor... maybe that will come later.

    ...HOWEVER, ProTools LE worked flawlessly... even though i had to record to the internal drive in a pinch, but it *was* connected via firewire... however, it's completely powered on it's own, but even connecting the bus powered drives AFTER the Digi hardware, didn't help the drives mount...:confused:

    anyway... tossing it out there, curious if anyone else has an idea how long this will take to get repaired, or if i'll have the joy of reinstalling 8 hours of garbage all over again...
  2. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    well, for what it's worth, made a trip to the Apple Bar and although the tech was, indeed, baffled... A P-Ram reset *seemed* to "fix" the issue with recognizing the firewire drive.

    My old LaCie drive which worked perfectly on the G4, still doesn't work on it's own with the macbook Pro...

    seems like an upgrade to 2.5 Ghz, but a 'down-grade' on firewire port wattage... does ANYONE else have an issue like this...?
  3. Sirus2400 macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2008
    So did the drive mount or not? It seems like it did when you were at the bar, but now it doesnt again?
  4. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    Hard to step up from an 8 year old 800 MHz PowerBook when they're only 6 years old... but... ;)

    Resetting PRAM does sound like a good idea.
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The OS might be checking the device draw and the information supplied by the device.

    If the device draws more than it says, or isn't reporting enough info, the OS might simply be shutting it down and not letting it run on bus power.

    However if it is still shutting it down on a power brick, don't know. Only thing I can think of at that point would be firmware check on the device to see if it is a incompatible with the current FW chipset.
  6. cw2k7 macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2008
    The powerbooks and mac book pros are limited to 7 watts. (the pre 2001 powerbooks are limited to 6 watts)

    Voltage is limited to what the battery can supply so with the older powerbooks it was up to 16.6 volts. With the MacBook Pros it's 9 - 12.5 volts depending on charge of the battery (even when on power adapter). So as long as the battery is fully charged it should be able to provide enough power.

    My Mac Pro desktop won't provide power to run one of my bus powered drives when running it in OS X, but if I boot up WinXP via bootcamp it then provides the power to spinup the drive. So it looks like OS X is responsible for the placing stricter limits on power draw. (spinup is usually when the burst of power draw can be near to the limits). My Mac Pro is the original version and is limited to 7 watts per port, the newer models are 18 watts per port.
  7. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    hey everyone.

    THANK YOU for the ideas/advice...

    to date, the "Macally" drive (firewire & usb 2.0) mounts. which is great. my old "LaCie" drive (both are 60 G, 7200 rpm) does *only* if it's running off a powered drive. Otherwise, it does not mount (and no lights/power get to it.)

    [excuse me, the LaCie drive *does* occasionally mount when the Macally drive is FIRST in the chain from the computer, otherwise, it doesn't]


    unfortunately, it looks as if my OLD LaCie drive isn't dependable enough with this OS, but at least one of them is...

    While running ProTools, though, I did get a "remove some firewire devices from the [chain]" crash... so SOMETHING wonky/different is definitely going on.

    I appreciate everyone chirping in. Hopefully, I can get some better evidence for you guys soon. The tech was definitely baffled... and it looks like this surely isn't exactly figured out.

  8. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008

    well, the problem persists.

    This time, the "tried and true" Macally drive is first, Digi002 (firewire audio interface) 2nd, and the Echo Firewire audio card 3rd in the firewire chain...

    and low and behold... NONE OF THEM WORK (are recognized, mount, exist)

    i even tried the ol' P-Ram reset.

    damn. does this sound like a "logic board" issue? There 2 bus-powered firewire devices (one drive, one audio interface) are both "blinking," but both are without a "solid" light.

    It seemed like I could chain up as much as i wanted on the 7 or 8 year old (depends who's counting) Powerbook G4! Now, it's useless on the Macbook Pro.


    really disappointed . . . what gives?!?
  9. rlm22b macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    I think I may be having a similar problem. Just got this MBP from Apple a few weeks ago, they replaced my last one. Went to do my Time Machine backup for the first time yesterday and my Maxtor drive wouldn't mount via the FW400 port, though, it mounts instantly with USB. Not sure really what to do, the drive mounted on the first 2 MBPs I had.
  10. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    whoever's keeping score:
    just got back from the Apple Store with a "brand new 2.5 mac book pro." they said it was likely a logic-board issue, and since my previous computer was so new, i shouldn't have to wait for a repair.

    got home... same problem...

    i just got off the line with [someone] from apple support - and he was floored that i would even imagine using more than one bus-powered drive. he insisted that it was too many devices, and forwarded a message to the engineering/tech staff to confirm.

    needless to say, he wasn't any help.

    again, these 2 bus-powered drives, and audio interface work famously with my wife's, new, MacBook (as well as my old G4)... so the question remains, why do the Pro's [stink]?

  11. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    the 3rd appointment at the Guinness Bar in Atlanta, GA and I was greeted with a very attentive rep.

    We tried, and tried, but the bottom line is that NO ONE KNOWS why you can load up 3 devices on a MacBook, but only 1 or 2 on a Pro.

    Common sense tells me that perhaps they have a limit on the output of the Pro's to make sure that all 2 usb, 2 firewire, and whatever else is on this logic board can work at any given time...

    I am waiting for a response from 'engineers' at Apple - as requested by a phone support tech to shed some light on this issue.

    As for experimenting in the store, again, all drives loaded up on a Macbook, but the issue remained with every other Pro that we tried... as well as a 17" Pro... which we weren't necessarily expecting it to work, but wanted to try it regardless...

    Something changed... it would be great if a FIRMWARE update could knock this issue out . . . . .


    ...until, or if, that ever happens, i'll have to change my set-up around to accommodate the weaker bus...
  12. Eric L macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2008
    I had a similar problem with a pair of OWC Mercury OTG drives. It worked fine FW800 and USB, but FW400 wouldn't power up, much less mount on my 6mo old MBP (17", 2.4).

    I remembered reading on here (Wish I could credit the OP) that the FW400 port on the MBP's is recessed more than it should be. The FW400 cable won't insert into the port far enough to make contact. He trimmed the plastic block that surrounds the connector itself to allow it to be inserted farther into the port.

    I trimmed mine back 1/16th of an inch and lo and behold, it works now!

    Ultimately it didn't matter much, since I run both drives (Samsung 320gb inside each) daisy-chained into the same FW800 port (bus powered only) but I was glad to resolve this "problem". Hope it helps here.........
  13. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    Eric, what a great point.

    I felt there may have been some sort of physical connection issue too - but never really followed it up..!

    heck, it can't hurt. i'll get to finding a 1394 cable to trim... and let you know how it goes.
  14. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    the trimming of the cable, although it seemed to fit better, did not resolve the issue.

    I have been in contact with Apple support and their engineers apparently requested CAPTURES of my system information when the drives were attached.

    I was able to send them their requested ACCD_[drive name]_1.dmg files today.

    I sent one from my wife's MacBOOK which could easily load all 3...

    I sent two from my MacBook PRO when 2 of the 3 devices were powered up. (If all 3 devices were connected at the same time, they would all lose power.)

    I'm very eager to hear what the engineers at Apple may come back with. This is a step backward in the use of the laptop line, but regardless, I hope they figure something out. If this is fixable with a firmware update, i would be very happy... not holding my breath, though.
  15. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    the "final word"

    The engineers have responded to me with the following info:

    •Both of the FireWire connectors provide unregulated 9 to 12.6 V at
    0.9 A maximum (fused). Developers should design to < 7 W maximum
    sustainable power.
    •The MacBook Pros do not provide as much bus power as previous
    versions of the PowerBook G4.
    •I would recommend that the customer try the fw800 port and if the
    issue still persists to power the device off of an AC adapter.

    That being said it seems that this is expected behavior related to the
    design of the machine and is not considered abnormal. Apparently the
    devices are operating beyond the specs of the computer and there is
    not a technical solution to this situation.

    I apologize for the inconvenience,
    [apple care representative]
  16. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Question- your Digi002 interface requires AC power, to my mind it's a poor plan to use bus powered drives any time you have AC power available. It's just not reliable in any case, and the last thing you want to have happen when you are recording is a hard drive shutdown.

    Other point - the Apple rep is right, it was never intended to run more than one hard drive device from bus power at a time. The power drain is additive, and two or more will almost certainly exceed the design spec. Hard drive manufacturers are also notorious for pushing the spec -- "Well, if 900 mA are available, surely there's enough leeway that we can draw 1000 mA..."

    Are these drives 3.5" drives or 2.5" drives?
  17. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    au contraire...

    actually, the bus powered drives were/are ideal for MBOX (usb bus powered) setups where i would be with or without AC, but needing to mix/edit sessions off the bus powered 2.5" 60gb, 7200 rpm drives...

    The idea of having more than 1 hard drive came about b/c of the way that ProTools can record to multiple drives, as well as having back-up copies on separate drives when i travel for security.

    Who wants to add another wall-wart when you can run them all off the bus?

    As well, the audio interface (audiofire 2) was a perfect alternative for balanced audio, without having to use the 1/8" audio jack on the MacBook (or G4) when double checking audio files against iTunes reference files or simply having a superior sound-card for playing movies, etc.

    Add these together, and you have 2 hard drives (2.5") and an audio interface, that i've been using for a good while on a Powerbook G4. Upgrade to a Macbook PRO and none of them work when they're all plugged in... that would leave you with questions... no?

    Regardless, when I use the 002, I still don't plug in the bus powered drives... but i recommend using the audiofire 2 "after" the 002R and any/all hard drives "before" it, as the 002 will 'reset' almost any device plugged into it when opening a session... hence, you need to make sure the hard drives are first in the chain.

    as well, WHY WOULD IT WORK ON A MACBOOK, OR A G4 POWERBOOK and not work on a MacBook Pro???!!!
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Because plugging them all in is overloading the circuit, you got away with it on the earlier machines somehow.

    You can't get 3 gallons of water in a 2 gallon bucket -- you'll have to modify the setup one way or another. Possibly you can locate some USB "power only" cables to power one or both of the drives if they have USB ports?
  19. go2car! thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2008
    ummm... yes, i've definitely had to revise my set-up... and that's fine. if that's the way the Pro's are, nowadays, that's cool.

    HOWEVER, the "current" Mac'Books' load 'em great... and although i didn't try them on the iMac, I would expect them to do the same, too.

    ...who knows about the Towers... but the fact remains, something changed, and perhaps it's an effort to preserve battery power, but i guess we all know that the MBPro's just won't do it.

    I'm telling you, Canada, when they all power up in a snap on the "current/new" MacBooks, it's not like i'm pushing the limits/frontiers of technology... it's just that they dumbed down the MBPro's for one reason or another.

    anyway... i don't really want to argue about this, it was a bizarre issue... it seems that the engineers aren't really coming clean about anything... and it obviously is still working on their *other* line of computers, so who the heck knows...

    anyway, best of luck with everything for anyone else who is accustomed to running bus powered devices... we just found a limit for the MBPro's, that's all.


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