"Hot Plugging" in MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Andrew07, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Andrew07 macrumors 6502

    Apr 25, 2007
    I've read that it's bad to connect or disconnect anything into the Firewire port while the computer is on, right? You should connect before bootup and disconnect when it shuts down?

    What about with USB ports? Is it ok to connect and disconnect while the MBP is running? Sorry if this is a silly question....
  2. TheJayWay macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2007
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Thats the first I've heard of it! What happens when you plug in and unplug a flash drive? I don't know all that much about the Firewire end of it, but I think it should be the same as USB where it's not a problem to "Hot Plug"
  3. Andrew07 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 25, 2007
    I thought I read online that plugging a Firewire device into the firewire port while it's on can fry the port...?
  4. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    As long as you eject the device, you should be fine..
  5. Ety macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2007
    I think there is only a possibility to short something with the smaller 4 pin connector. If I remember right there were some devices that could short when you unplugged it when they were on. I think those problems would have been corrected by now.
  6. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Firewire is hot pluggable, just like USB. If something fries removing it, it wasn't built right to begin with.

    With drives and things like that, you should eject them first to prevent data loss (since not everything might be written to the drive until you eject it).
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    OK OK -- there are previous threads on this, but I will recap.
    (From actual experience with clients)

    The 6-pin Firewire port (the D shaped one) is prone to loosening, and it is possible to put the plug into the port crooked, or even with a bit of pressure, backwards. (PLEASE don't reply to say "that's impossible 'coz the connector is not symmetrical", it is far too possible to insert it far enough to do damage, with the least amount of wear, or slackening of the sheet metal surround of the port)

    When this happens, the 12V power that the Firewire 400 port carries, can arc to the data pins. This fries the Firewire controller in the computer, the peripheral, or both. It doesn't help if one end is 4-pin Firewire (unpowered), if the other end is 6 pin and arcs. USB is not prone to this because it carries only 5V, and the rectangular connector has a large key integral to it which prevents insertion the wrong way, and the contacts are well recessed.

    It costs almost $1000 to replace the motherboard in a Panasonic semi-pro camera (ask me how I know...)

    So, if you don't want to risk failure, and you have any 6-pin Firewire 400 connections, make it a rule to only ever connect or disconnect with the power off on both the computer and the peripheral.

    The 4 port plug doesn't carry power, and I have never heard of a problem with the Firewire 800 plugs. You can argue that the 6 pin port wasn't designed right, and you may be correct, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a risk. It has not been/will not be fixed, because it is part and parcel of that specification.
  8. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Yikes. I'm terrified of someone who managed to jam their Firewire connector in backwards :eek:

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