14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 18, 2008 10:25 AM by Miles Johnston

    Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards

    Level 1
      I realize this is not exactly a Adobe Premiere Issue, but since it is the video editing application that I use every day, and camcorders are an essential part of the food chain to feed premiere pro.

      Has anyone had problems with the firewire connection burning out your Canon XhA1,XLh1, etc. camcorders circuit board. Earlier this year I had rented two XLH1 camcorders and both went dead on me. After sending in to the factory for service, they said the root of the problem was that the firewire cable sent reverse voltage into the camera, frying the circuit board. This REALLY has me nervous as i own two Canal XHA1 cameras (little brothers to the XLH1) and the general layout and design are nearly identical, so I would suspect that it could happen on all of the models. The funny thing about the earlier incident is that I proceeded to connect a third camera (one of my XHA1's) cameras to the same computer via firewire and had no problems at all. (Luckily for me as this was for filming a live perfermance with all three cameras, so I was done to the last strike!). I'm sure if I had known about this issue that I would have not connected to the computer via firewire (I was using onLocation for live recording to computer) as the risk factor would have been way to high.

      I am curious if others have every experience similar issues with Canon equipment, or other vendor equipment.
        • 1. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
          Matt Petersen Level 3
          Tim, could be unrelated, but I do recall reading somewhere there is a persistent issue with FW power issues, and that those issues stem from badly wired FW ports or even cable errors (apparently it's possible to jam a worn FW cable into it's socket upside down).

          Like I said, could be unrelated, maybe I dreamt it, but I'll have a google around to see if I can find the source material.

          MP
          • 2. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
            the_wine_snob Level 9
            Tim,

            Seems that Jeff Bellune posted something on this in the Video Lounge. There are not that many posts there, so a search should be easy. IIRC, some of these problems have come from plugging/unplugging live, powered FW cables.

            Hunt
            • 3. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
              Jim_Simon Level 8
              >they said the root of the problem was that the firewire cable sent reverse voltage into the camera

              That seems unlikely. Only 6-pin cables carry power, and most cameras have 4-pin Firewire.
              • 4. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                Matt Petersen Level 3
                That's right Jim, but I think they're suggesting that reversed firewire cables (reversed at the 6-pin end) would cause power to be carried to pins at the 4-pin end that should just be carrying data.

                that's my memory of it at least.

                MP
                • 5. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                  You can't really reverse either end of a 4 or 6-pin Firewire cable. It only fits in one way. Specifically for this reason.
                  • 6. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                    Level 1
                    Except that it does happen, and quite frequently. And a bad cable will blow out the FW port on every cam you test it with.

                    Very well-documented on all the camcorder boards out there.

                    NEVER hot-plug either end of a FW cable.
                    • 7. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                      Oh, not this again. It's like that 7 Mbps thing. Sometimes, false data just won't die.
                      • 8. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                        mike velte Level 1
                        I have personally seen a faulty PCI slot (firewire card plugged into) cause 4 cameras to fry their 1394 controllers. The PCI slot allowed current up the 4 wire cable.
                        • 9. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                          Level 1
                          I recently leant a friend my Sony Cam to specifically rule out either a dead FW port in his PC or a dead FW port in his camcorder. He confirmed my camera was recognised initially, but when he went back to capture video, the port went dead.
                          Funnily enough when he returned my camera sure enough he had fried mine also. Apart form the obvious recommendation of connecting the equipment when swiched off, I have heard some of the combination video capture (his was a Pinnacle) cards which include a FW port can cause this fault.

                          I myself use a stand alone FW Pci card and have regularly connected cams HOT without any issue.
                          • 10. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                            Level 1
                            >>Oh, not this again. It's like that 7 Mbps thing. Sometimes, false data just won't die.

                            I don't know about any "7 Mbps thing" but why would you say this is false? What authoritative info do you have, other than that it hasn't yet happened to you?

                            The people who burned out their FW ports certainly don't think it's false. Neither do the techs who have had to replace these boards. Neither does Sony, who in all their instruction manuals specifically say not to try to hot-plug a FW cable. And it certainly IS possible to insert a 6-pin plug upside down if you try hard enough, or are drunk enough.

                            What do you know that they don't?

                            And even if it is being overly cautious, how much harder is it to plug in your cam *before* you power on your PC? Why would you not want people to take a simple precaution to avoid this?
                            • 11. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                              Level 1
                              Thanks all for your responses to my original post! Your responses definitly indicate that firewire MAY cause problems if either inserted incorrectly (very hard to do, but possible, i tried over the weekend and although I could not get a 6 pin tightly inserted you could get it "wedged" in maybe to make contact), or the cable is attached "HOT". Regardless of situation, it is VERY clear to me that I need to "practice safe Firewire connectivity", and always connect camera with power down. A couple questions that do arise;

                              1) should the power on the computer be off as well as the camera when connecting the cables, if so then I would assume power computer up first, then camera second. (does it matter which end of the cable gets plugged in first when both units are off, would/could stray power/static charge be an issue?)

                              2) Power Down Option A: the camera is powered down first, then the computer computer is powered down, then remove the cable from the camera end first, then from the computer.

                              3) Power Down Option B (computer stays powered up): Power down camera first, remove firewire cable from camera end, then removed cable from computer second, rsulting in no need to power down computer.

                              Thanks again for all your comments, it has really helped clarify an issue that had me very concerned about blowing cameras (and usually at the worst possible time!)

                              -tim
                              • 12. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                                Level 1
                                In my experience it doesn't matter which is powered on or off first, only that everything be powered off when connections/disconnections are made. Some say to even make sure the battery is not installed on the cam before you connect anything. Even if it's useless paranoia, it can't possibly hurt.

                                Some people say to power on the PC first, then after windows is running, power on the cam. Others say to wait for Premiere to be fully loaded and active before you power on the cam.
                                • 13. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                                  Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant
                                  I burned out my Sony HDR-HC1 by inserting the six pin connector in upside down. It doesn't take much effort to accidentally do this. I would not class either connector as worn out, the usage was not really that much. My procedure is to never unplug the six-pin connector,it is to easy to accidentally plug it in wrong.
                                  • 14. Re: Firewire burning out Canon HD Camcorder Circuit Boards
                                    Miles Johnston
                                    Its not the first time USB abd Firewire ports are reverse wired on the motherboard.
                                    Look up your PC's manual, and measure the voltage on the ports.
                                    Check that the port is hard wired on the PCB, or via a plug in socket.

                                    Before you blow up a camera, try it ona simple cheap firewire external hard drive (without the drive plugged inside)
                                    I have seen 2GB USB sticks turn into pocket warmers, as the USB port voltage pins are reversed inside a PC.