Old Firewire Cable 4pin to 4pin

CantKeepUp wrote on 9/26/2015, 3:49 PM
I just dusted off my old video Digital8 video camera to capture some old tapes on new laptop (which I have actually had for 3 years but never used it to capture video!) and now I am scratching my head.

It’s a custom built Mythlogic laptop and which I ordered specifically with Firewire port for this very scenario however, I as I grabbed my old firewire cable to plug-in, I noticed it was a “mini” firewire port on my laptop (like the size on camera) – and didn’t have the large usb-sized-looking thing that I use to plug into the firewire port on the back of my desktop.

So, I scratched my head a bit, looked online, and found a 4pin to 4pin Firewire cable.
I thought that would be the fix and but after connecting, I cannot connect to the camera. My computer doesn’t seem to recognize it at all.

Anyone know if there is an issue going 4pin to 4pin on a firewire cable?


PeterDuke wrote on 9/26/2015, 7:00 PM
As far as I know, the larger plug is six pins and includes a power feed to the peripheral device. If you have only the smaller four pin connector on your camera, as is normal, then i can't see why it should not work from the point of view of the cable.

Try changing the firewire port driver on your computer (legacy/non-legacy).
Chienworks wrote on 9/28/2015, 9:21 AM
My first guess would be a bad cable.
DavidMcKnight wrote on 9/28/2015, 10:02 AM
Some firewire chips were notorious for simply not working for capturing video. An HP laptop comes to mind. Seems like back in 2009-2010 I had a customer come in to our office with his HP laptop, DV camera, cables, the whole bit. Neither Vegas Pro, VMS, or one other non-Vegas capture utility would work. When I plugged his camera and cable into our desktop firewire it worked fine.
Bliss Video Productions wrote on 9/28/2015, 3:12 PM
First question -- Are you running Windows on this laptop? If so, does the Device Manager show the firewire card?

It sounds like you used to connect this camera to another PC which had a 6-pin firewire port on it, is that right? If so, then it's possible that the last time you did that, you may have blown the firewire port on the camera. To test this, take the camera and cable to another PC with a known-good 4-pin firewire port. See if that computer recognizes the camera when connected. If it doesn't, then most likely you either have a bad cable or a blown firewire port on the camera.

If the other computer DOES recognize your camera, then the firewire port on your laptop could be bad. Have you ever used it for anything else? Like maybe a firewire external hard drive? If so, did that work?

If the port works for an external hard drive, but not for the camera, then DavidMcKnight may be right. Or it might be a driver issue -- try updating the firewire drivers.

It's even possible that it's simply a matter of how things are connected and powered up. I seem to remember I had a computer once that would only recognize a camera connected via firewire if the camera was connected and powered up before the computer was powered up. Weird things can happen.
Bliss Video Productions wrote on 9/28/2015, 3:22 PM
You might also go into the BIOS setup on your laptop and see if there is an option turning IEEE1394 on/off. Could be a BIOS issue.
mdindestin wrote on 10/1/2015, 11:46 AM
I blew one of my sony cams Firewire ports with the 6 to 4 pin cable. Also had lots of issues with cables being bad. No other cable has given more trouble. On top of that, firewire connections are hit or miss for me.
Bliss Video Productions wrote on 10/1/2015, 4:09 PM
I've never had any problems capturing with firewire, but you do have to be careful. Always -- ALWAYS -- connect the 6-pin end of the cable to the computer first, then connect the 4-pin end to the camera. Doing it the other way is what blows firewire ports on both computer and camera.

There were only 2 scenarios that ever gave me any trouble capturing with firewire -- if the capture drive was the same as the program drive, or if the capture drive was 5400-rpm. As long as I captured to a separate data drive, even one connected via USB, and the drive was at least 7200-rpm, I never had a problem.

Firewire capturing with a Canon HV30 can be a challenge -- all of the camera's settings have to be just right, or else the computer won't recognize the camera. Plus, the camera has to be set to the right format -- either DV or HDV. But if the camera is set correctly, it captures just fine.
PeterDuke wrote on 10/2/2015, 2:21 AM
"Always -- ALWAYS -- connect the 6-pin end of the cable to the computer first, then connect the 4-pin end to the camera. Doing it the other way is what blows firewire ports on both computer and camera."

I don't see that it would matter what order you plugged the cable ends in, provided that you did it correctly. I haven't studied this, but it may be possible to partly insert the large 6-pin end in the wrong way round, such that the power is connected to a signal pin, thus damaging the camera. The computer end should be alright, however, unless you killed the power feed at the same time, but a dead power feed should not matter since it is not used.
Bliss Video Productions wrote on 10/2/2015, 10:44 AM
Well, it doesn't matter as long as both the PC and the camcorder are turned OFF. But if the PC is up and running, then it becomes a problem.

On the 6-pin connector, at least one of those pins is for power. So if you connected the camera first and then fumbled around trying to plug in the 6-pin connector, you could accidentally cause the data pins on the cable to brush against the power pins on the PC, which would send power through the data lines of the cable to your camera. This is what blows firewire ports. And it can cause a power loopback that can blow the firewire port on your PC as well as the one on your camera.

If you connect the 6-pin end to your PC first, then connect the 4-pin camera end, you avoid this problem.