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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2012
So here’s a rabbit hole for people to get lost in... I have an old external hard drive with FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394 6 pin) ports ONLY. I need to connect to a new MacBook with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. How on earth do I do that? I’ve been scouring the interweb for a cable or converter box, and no luck so far.

Free Atta-Boy to anyone who can help. Thanks! :)


Nov 2, 2018
The only options I know of, would be a TB3 to TB2 adapter (apple and a few others like Akitio sell these), and then a TB1 (which is compatible with 2) to FW adapter, but I think the only adapter sold was for FW800, so you'd need a further 9 to 6 pin adapter or cable

So this *should* work:





Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Perhaps easier and cheaper to pull the drive out of the old firewire enclosure and put it into one with USB? I have a couple milk crates of old Firewire drives and copied all the data from them a few years ago. I ended up swapping the drives from some of the firewire-only drives into cases that had USB.

But I also have the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter and a cable like the ones in the in the links above and they work fine. I was using a Mac without USB-C ports, so I didn't need that adapter. My only observation is that the Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter gets very hot when connected, even if no drive is plugged into it. Probably a bad idea to leave connected for an extended period, and I suspect it could drain a laptop battery very quickly if it's not connected to the charger.
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macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
Like Boyd says...

Take the enclosure apart and take the drive OUT.

Then connect it using either a USB3/SATA docking station, or perhaps an enclosure like this:

You can try the adapter route if you wish, but probably too much $$$ and there's no guarantee it will work...


macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2008
$94 in adapters would also buy a brand new 4-6 GB external drive with a warranty.

If it's a matter of pulling the data off the old drive, without having access to a FW host, then a $10 drive adapter cable, or a dock, could accomplish that, and be kept around for loose drives.

Doesn't make much sense to sink any appreciable amount of money into a dead interface.
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