Firewire danger?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by scooterguitar, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. scooterguitar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #1
    I do basic recording and use a firewire interface...I just heard that disconnecting the firewire cable with the macbook on can literally damage the firewire port on the mac?
    Any truth to this?
     
  2. faintember macrumors 65816

    faintember

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    #2
    I don't believe I have ever heard this, and I use a FW interface on a daily basis. The only damage (other than accidental) that I can think of would be bus powering a device for a long time that should really not be bus powered.
     
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #3
    Yes

    Although Firewire is supposed to be hot-pluggable, the Firewire 400 socket is prone to loosening and can allow the plug to be inserted at an angle or even backwards, with only minimal force. If the plug makes contact while it is angled, it can short the 12V power line directly to the the data lines, this fries the Firewire circuits on the Mac, the device, or both.

    This has happened to a number of customers. Replacing a logic board on a Panasonic DV camera costs over $700...

    The safest method is to make a rule that you never plug or unplug Firewire unless both devices are off.
     
  4. faintember macrumors 65816

    faintember

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    #4
    I stand corrected and bow down before the horned-one.

    CanadaRAM I have never seen that problem, and I probably plug/unplug FW devices more than others. I shall be more careful in the future.
     
  5. scooterguitar thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #5
    Wow, great info. I have done it a few times as I am new to my setup, but will adhere to it for sure from now on! So...my interface is powered via the mac, so safe to assume just shutdown the mac and then pull the firewire, right?
    Does make sense, and better to be safe than sorry:)
     
  6. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #6
    I concur with CanadaRAM from first hand experience. of the Macs in my sig, the FW 400 ports work only on the MDD and the 1670.

    For each of the others, a FW device was at one time plugged in in reverse. Boom, no more FW.
     
  7. maxrobertson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location:
    Jakarta
    #7
    I'm glad you posted this. I could never afford to replace my camcorder or even get it repaired. And my MacBook, well it's under warranty, but when it's out that would be horrible. I don't know how I would afford that either.
     
  8. looking4anotebo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    #8

    What if you need to frequently plug/unplug a fw device? It would be a pain to shut everything off every time.

    Wouldn't the best solution be to just make sure the plug is properly inserted before you hook it up to the other end?
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #9
    Doesn't matter. A short while inserting either end will suffice to blow it out.

    The pain of shutting down is less painful than the pain of lost data and repair bills.

    If you do have to plug and unplug frequently, get a Firewire hub, so that if the FW400 socket becomes damaged, you can just throw out the hub and replace it. And whatever you do, if you damage a Firewire cable (either the plug or by crimping or squashing the cable) throw it out immediately.
     
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #10
    I've plugged/unplugged firewire drives on my computer hundres (maybe thousands) of times and have never had a problem.
     

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