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Thread: Firewire Port Fried

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Oakland, CA, USA

    Default Firewire Port Fried

    In a momentry lapse of judgment, I plugged in my PowerBook G4 using a Firewire cable into an external DVD-R drive that was also plugged into another computer that was turned on. Big mistake! Although the PowerBook was off, just plugging it in caused the PowerBook to give a start-up chime. Although it took some recovering (like resetting the PMU & recharging the battery), the PowerBook is still working for me, except that the Firewire port is now defective. So is the Firewire port on the external drive that I plugged it into. While I was testing the Firewire port afterwards on the PowerBook, I plugged in both an iSight camera & an external hard disk drive. Now both of those devices are quite dead as well! My question is, what could have caused that to happen? Could it have been due to an electrical short on the defective Firewire bus, or what?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Concord, CA


    Ouch! Well, the first thing that surprised me is that your subsequent use of the iSight and external HD caused them to fail also. If the port was dead because of an over current condition, there is circuitry within the mobo FW to protect. It was or is a very small wire designed to melt like a fuse before damaging anything else. So I think the port is still there on both Macs.

    Disconnect wantever FW devices are still connected to either computer. Run System Profiler and under Hardware select FireWire. Does it show the FireWire Bus? Selecting it, does it show a Maximum Speed? If you see these, then I think your FW Bus is still there.

    Next, your situation reminded me of a problem that cropped up with 10.3.7 update. While you may be running another version, some of the troubleshooting and fixes may be your solution, such as FireWire ports non-functional near the bottom of the page. It would seem that the first fix to try would be a combo updater for your version of OSX. Someone else may have other suggestions. k

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Tokyo, Japan

    Default On-board FW ports on B&W dead

    I had also run into trouble with the FW ports after updating to 10.4.9 I tried looking in the system profiler for the FW bus, and got nothing - completely blank for the FW bus. Tried the combo updater, and still dead. Finally went out and got a PCI FW card (2 external + 1 internal FW ports), installed it. Checked the connection for the FW ports to the mobo, they seemed loose, so tried to reseat them.

    Fired up the B&W, and checked PCI cards first - the FW cards were found and work (subsequent testing). The FW bus on apple profile was worse than before - after the spinning beachball did its thing for 2 seconds, apple profiler shut down. It repeated this when I ran through the steps again.

    Since the PCI card (~$20) fixed things, I recommend that as a cheap alternative, but I hope that the FW ports dying is not indicative of future trouble...

    I'm already looking into 'newer' used machines... (Dual G4 or G5...).

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