1394 Died on my Sony camcorder?

yirm wrote on 3/4/2005, 12:48 PM
It's a very sad story. Several years ago, I bought a TRV-120 D8 camcorder because MiniDV was too expensive for me at the time. Well, a few months ago, it suffered the dreaded and unreparable dead capacitor problem. I really wanted to get a better quality MiniDV camcorder, but I have maybe 50 D8 tapes that I need to be able to transfer to computer. So I thought I'd save money and get a TRV-240 on Ebay. All I really needed it for was to transfer video, as I'd hopefully soon be getting a better camcorder for recording.

Last week I built a new computer. Nice, fast P4 on a D865PERL motherboard. Built-in 1394 on front and back panels. I tested the camcorder out on the back panel. Worked. Tested it on the front panel. Didn't work. And that was the last time I was able to get the computer, or any computer for that matter, to recognize the camcorder. At first I thought it was a problem with the motherboard. But then I tried the back panel again. Nothing. I tried installing my old 1394 PCI card. Nothing. I tried it with a different cable. Nothing. I tried it in my laptop which has built in 1394 and yet a different cable. Nothing.

Well, I shouldn't say "nothing." When the cable is hooked into both ends (camcorder and computer), the camcorder LCD does report "DV In." However, the computers (running XP SP1 or 2) couldn't care less. No little "boink" noise. Nothing in the systray. No applications reporting any available video devices.

I tried changing every setting I thought could possibly affect it on the camcorder to no avail. So, dear friends, do you think my camcorder's Firewire is dead, or am I missing something obvious? Am I doomed to buy yet another D8 camcorder that I don't even want just so I can transfer these tapes?

Any thoughts are appreciated.



kb_de wrote on 3/4/2005, 1:15 PM
As you described this TRV-120 D8 must be a none-miniDV, and how can it work through an 1394 cable?
And you say it worked once on the back side, also it reports "DV-In".
The simple reason I can guess should be that you haven't changed the camcorder into the play modus.
Furthermore, you'd have a look at the device manager of windows and your cam must be in the list.
BillyBoy wrote on 3/4/2005, 1:23 PM
If the camera when a firewire device is plugged in reports DV in, unlikely there is anything wrong on the camera side, sounds more like Windoz snoozing on the job. You should get the ding dong sound of course.

Have you checked the obvious things like:

1. Device Manager, to see if it detects/has problems with the 1394?
2. tried plugging anything else into the port?
3. ANYTHING work in the front pannel 1394? *

* Very common that you need to set something on the board and/or BIOS and of course plug in the cable from the case to the MB. Easy to overlook. I once had a case that came with 1394 and a bunch of other goodies on the front and a cable to had to plug in to a slot on the back to make it work.
yirm wrote on 3/4/2005, 1:27 PM
kb de -- thanks for your suggestions.

Digital 8 is a format created by Sony to put DV on Hi8 tapes. The recordings are DV, and there is a firewire port, and it can be transfered digitally. Just the form factor is different. I did it all the time on my old one, and several times on this one.

When the camera is not attached, you wouldn't see it in Device Manager. It behaves like a USB device -- it only shows up when it's plugged in (under normal circumstances). Now it doesn't show up at all on the computer (though the camcorder itself reports "DV In" on the LCD).

I tried it in record mode, playback mode, and Analog Passthrough mode.
Spot|DSE wrote on 3/4/2005, 1:38 PM
Does the cam show up in the Control Panel/System?
Cables can go bad, this is fairly common. Also, you could have a bent pin in the cable.
The worst that can happen is to have a cable that is mis-wired, and this has happened before. If that happens, the cam output is dead, but the cable company would pay for that.
Have you wiggled the cable in the cam? Any familiar sounds if you do?
Also, you might try removing the firewire card in Control Panel and letting windows reinstall it with the camera connected.
yirm wrote on 3/4/2005, 1:42 PM
Billyboy, thanks for your reply and suggestions.

The 1394 on the motherboard did show up in Device Manager with no bang. When I installed the PCI 1394 card, it showed up as well, with no bang.

If by "port" you mean the camcorder port I tried three cables, front and back connectors from the motherboard, the PCI card, and the port on my laptop.

Your suggestion to try another Firewire device in the computer is a good one. I need to get a hold of one though. And my prediction is that it will work.

I checked and rechecked the BIOS. There are components that can be enabled and disabled, but 1394 does not appear to be one of them. And everything is plugged in properly. I even checked the specs of the motherboard and case to make sure that the pins match up correctly. Besides, I've tried the PCI card and another computer -- my laptop.

kb_de wrote on 3/4/2005, 3:50 PM
quote: I checked and rechecked the BIOS. There are components that can be enabled and disabled, but 1394 does not appear to be one of them.

this is the point! a build-in 1394 port must be recognized by the m-board and you can choose relevant setup. if not so, maybe with another name and if you finally can't find anyone then, install that your 1394 PCI-card again.

you can do nothing until you see this device in the windows list and as you get it the cable and so on will be a Nebensache -- how do you call this german word in english?

a mythos for me still: you have tried on your laptop. do you have an analog capture card? try there to indentify whether the cam works really.
yirm wrote on 3/4/2005, 4:04 PM
It appears the the motherboard's 1394 cannot be disabled in the BIOS. But that's not the problem anyway. In Device Manager, the 1394 appears with no conflicts or trouble. The problem is that the Camcorder isn't getting recognized by the computer -- not the 1394.

According to Google translator,"secondary matter." Not sure if there's a direct translation, but I think understand what you're saying. Unfortunately, I I believe to be your premise -- that my 1394 isn't being recognized by Windows -- is incorrect. It's the Camcorder that isn't being recognized.

My laptop also has a 1394 port, so the fact that the desktop's motherboard's 1394, a PCI 1394 card, and my laptop's 1394 will not recognize the camcorder, all lead me to believe that the Firewire in the camcorder has been fried.

In other respects, the camcorder seems fine. It records, it plays back. I assume the analog ins and outs are fine. I have tried connecting the camcorder to three discreet 1394 devices. Failure on all three leads me to believe that the problem is with the camcorder. What I need is another 1394 camcorder to plug into my computers. But I'm pretty sure what the results will be -- I expect it would be recognized.

RalphM wrote on 3/5/2005, 10:44 AM

On my Sony miniDV camcorder, DV In or DV Out appearing on the LCD or viewfinder refers to whether the camcorder is configured to receive DV or send DV, not to whether there is actually data detected at the 1394 port.

On a recently purchased D8 (model TRV 460) the menu setting is available but I do not see an indication of it on the screen or viewfinder as on the miniDV camcorder. I'm not familiar with the 240, but suspect the menu system is very much like my miniDV machine.

I hope you can get the 240 to work. the newer D8s are less capable in the optics department IMHO.
leo d. wrote on 3/7/2005, 2:10 PM
can you check a DIFF CAMERA?

Nat wrote on 3/7/2005, 4:30 PM
Hey I had a similar problem 2 years ago.
I bought a sharp mini dv cam on ebay to transfer tapes. It worked fine for 1 year and suddenly firewire stopped working. On a PC it wouldn't get recognized and when plugging it in a Mac it would freeze the computer ! I sent it for repair but they asked 800$ (the camera cost me 700$.) So it's in a box and hasn't been used for 1 year :(
Bobpin wrote on 3/8/2005, 4:34 AM

I have just had the same trouble where computer would not talk to my ADVC 300 & Sony PD170P ,my problem turned out to be faulty firewire ports on the devices, I have had the ADCV 300 repaired and it works fine now ,still waiting return of Pd170 (6weeks so far)

flippin wrote on 3/8/2005, 9:40 AM
I had a Sony Hi8 vidcam hooked up to my computer via firewire and accidentally knocked the vidcam about 2 ft down onto a floor. After that kind of treatment the vidcam's firewire port no longer functioned (not too surprising!); however, the "analog out" port connected to my Canopus analog-->digital converter works fine.

My Sony vidcam is no longer even manufactured, so I figured this work-around would be better than trying to get the firewire port repaired.

Best regards,

RBartlett wrote on 3/8/2005, 10:16 AM
Exact same symptoms on my DCR-TRV110E.

I blame my Belkin firewire hub that I figured would save any peripheral or a fault on my PC from ever breaking my camera. Anyway, my PC firewire port is good but my Maxtor FW/USB2 storage is now USB2 only and my TRV110E is forced to be analogue in/out only aswell. My firewire port on the camera and external HardDisc is out-of-service.

It is a pain and does remind me that the mini-DV tape format is more flexible. I'd buy a TRV460 if it wasn't at such a premium and if it had a Mic-port and hot-shoe. I figure a TRV-255 would be enough for ingest of my old soccer-dad footage. However I thought like you, to get a similar grade of camera off ebay. I'm thinking I'll wait for Sony to make their last generation of D8 camcorders. I'd figure these would restore the features that they've slowly been removing. I only want to spend enough to be covered by my holiday insurance.

There ought to be self resetting fuses in firewire interfaces to handle overcurrent. Instead there are signal diodes which blow and need a service engineer to fix them. Easy work, but work isn't cheap in countries where folks wear camcorders like jewellery.

Recommendations, almost in order of cost:

Analogue capture from SVIDEO (into a £35 card with good shielded cables using DV or MJPEG), a bureau D8->miniDV service, an external analogue-to-DV-converter, or a new D8 camcorder.

I'm using a LeadTek WinTV2000XP to capture my D8 camcorder footage at home. Either direct to MPEG-2 DVD profile for immediate transfer to DVD or as MJPEG (PICVideo constant quality MJPEG) for use in Vegas. Shame I sniffed at the JVC SVHS/miniDV combo SR10 that my old work was disposing last year.

I think my next camcorder will be hard disc based but not one of these interframe compression efforts (not at D1 resolution anyway). I'm certain that SDI and gigabit-ethernet are all we need. Forget USB2 and FW100,400,800 etc. They are rather pointless with direct-to-edit technology. Ten-Gig-ethernet for Pro/high-bitrate HD use.

I put the firewire experience down to a current surge or grounding issue by way of having some kit on UPS and other kit on raw mains connected adapters. The Belikin hub is put aside now and anything else I've connected since works fine. Also my HD and camcorder fail to show up on my older PC that they used to work on too. So I'm convinced on the nature of the fault. Firewire has also been a problem to some Apple Mac systems. You need deep pockets or good insurance. Let this be a warning to others who have expensive gear that they intend to plug-and-play with. Sometimes it will let you plug, but won't play even if you pray.
[r]Evolution wrote on 3/8/2005, 4:30 PM
I have a TRV-900 with the same problem. When I contacted Sony support they said this is an issue that they are fully aware of. Has something to do with one of the pins at the Camera Connector. They will gladly fix it for a price. At the time I spoke with him it was $249 Flat rate. No matter how little or big your problem is he said it is a flat rate to have it fixed.

This made me wonder so a few days later I called support again and said that my camera wouldn't power up and I'd like to send it in for the Flat rate repair. I was then told that it may cost more.

So basically if your repair is $249 or lower you pay $249. If it is more expensive, you pay the more expensive price.

I haven't gotten mine fixed yet but I really need to. I've been using a DSR11 to capture but at times I need the PassThrough capabilities of my TRV900. The DSR11 doesn't offer Pass Through to VEGAS. -It will do Pass Through to Premiere Pro though.
logiquem wrote on 3/9/2005, 11:06 AM
Common problem. My old Canon Elura do not "speak" 1394 anymore and my DVX100 has been broken in the first week.

I discovered later that computer boot with Firewire connected on my Pyro card and camera on seems to cause this trouble.

A friend reported exactly the same with a Pana DVX100 on a G5...
RBartlett wrote on 3/10/2005, 7:43 AM
This is evidence that there must be a flaw in the design of firewire, or more likely the budget implementation of it.

Take a look (e.g. Google) for "Tyco raychem PolySwitch"
there is a technical article that describes the likely missing component in our expensive circuits titled:
Meeting IEEE 1394 (FireWire, iLink)
Overcurrent Protection Requirements
Using PolySwitch Devices

The fix, take care what you connect, when and what order you start things up. Or secondly, find alternative ways of getting video into your computer via the cheapest to replace method possible.
< geek mode >
I'm for the manufacturers moving to Gigabit Ethernet for video. It must be cheaper to implement than paying for firewire licenses. It may not be an isochronous interface (where the application can demand chunks of bandwidth) but in a point-to-point mode especially, this is not an issue. I can make exact length RJ45 cat5e cables, I can't do that with firewire.
< / geek mode >