1 2 3 Previous Next 32 Replies Latest reply: Jun 30, 2014 6:59 PM by cheeseoman Branched to a new discussion.
Christopher Davis2 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

The problem with my question is that I know already there is no solution...


I have a Macbook Pro circa 2009. It came with the new Firewire 800 port shape. SInce day one it has given me problems. If you leave the laptop on your table and do not touch it, things are essentially fine. There is no motion, so the connection is stable.


But the second I shift the computer, or pickt it up to move it to another location, the weak fit between the cable and port causes it to dismount. The cable is a flimsy plastic, whil the previous Firewire plug had a firmer connection, much like a USB connection. If you move a laptop around with a USB device connected, it is not likely to jiggle loose.


I have tried multiple cables. It is simply a very poor design. I am VERY shocked that a) this fundamental problem even exists, as it is seemingly a major flaw, and b) I have not seen or heard much complaint in the general Apple community - this can't only be happening to my machine.


Is anybody aware of this problem? It's extremely annoying - every time I shift my machine or move it, the Firewire 800 jiggles loose and my drive dismounts. I am astounded by this... Can we have the previous Firewire plug design back?


My only option is to use the USB for this external drive and just avoid the Firewire altogether. Very disappointed.

Macbook Pro 2.26Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • 1. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Apparently your FireWire port is damaged. Other people don't have this problem, or we would see it reported here. Take your machine in for inspection and repair.

  • 2. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    If from day one of having a new Macbook Pro I had a problem with any part of it I would of had it looked at and fixed.

    I personally would not of waited 3, or almost 3, years to do something about it.


    If you have Applecare extended warranty and the notebook is still covered take it in and have it looked at.


    There is nothing any of the users on this forum can do for you.

  • 3. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Christopher Davis2 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I did take it in several times and they just said it was probably the cable. We're talking about the actual construction of the hardware - the outside of the machine that accepts the plug, and the design of the crappy plastic plug shape of the third party cables (of which I have tested several) for Firewire 800. The cable jiggles loose whenever you shift the machine.


    It's nothing inside the machine that they can "fix".


    And since it doesn't always interupt my workflow if I'm not moving around, I just let it go. But then there are times when I am stupified in disbelief. It's not like a USB plug that fits snug. It's not lie the previous Firewire post. Those were both snug.


    Sure, I'll take it in again. But I guarantee you, warranty or not they will have nothing to offer.


    I'll take it in and let you know.

  • 4. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    Right now I have a firewire adapter connected to my MBP 2011 with a 250GB drive sitting in the adapter base.


    I just picked up my notebook and moved it around, then I wiggled the cable and plug connected to the notebook. I did not have any disconnects.


    You should of showed this to the Apple people, used one of their cables and then politely ask them to fix it 3 years ago.


    It can be fixed. It could of been fixed 3 years ago. What you need is a new Logic board as all the side connectors are soldered onto the logic board.


    Now that Logic board may cost you several hundred dollars. 3 years ago it would of cost you zero.


    Sorry but that is just the way you allowed it to be.


    Well if they have a record of your visits and the problem you have with the FW port you can bring that up and then as I said above use one of their cables and show them the problem. It really isn't about what they will do. It is about what you show them and ask them to fix it as it was like that from day one.


    Good luck.

  • 5. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Christopher Davis2 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Fair enough. I should have dealt with it definitively back then. I'll take it in and report back.


    Thanks for the "tough love"!

  • 6. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    You are welcome and I do hope you get it fixed under warranty.

  • 7. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Christopher Davis2 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I took my Macbook Pro in today and explained the situation. The "genius" instantly focused on the connection between the external harddrive and the cable, and not the connection between the cable and the computer.


    This would automatically exclude the computer from being the source of the problem in the context of his diagnosis. The firmness of the connection was the same on both sides: flimsy, wobbly, weak. But he INSISTED that the connection between the external drive and the cable was just enough looser and weaker, and therefore, that was THE problem. I was thinking "come on man are you kidding me?"


    I thought this was somewhat disingenuous to automatically exclude the machine itself, but I can't determine with 100% certainty he was wrong. You could wobble both sides equally. I moved the computer around a bit and the drive dismounted as expected a few times.


    I know based on my experience it's the connection between the cable and the computer, not the cable and the drive. I've been dealing with this for three years. And so, as I expected, there was really no definitive outcome or remedy. He basically sais the design of the port, even if faulty was "not his problem".


    Overall he did not fully agree that the connection design was problematic. I found a little baffling considering how wobbly and loose it is, and especially compared to the previous FW 400 port design, and the standard USB design. They fit firmly. And more generally I am still baffled that I seem to be the only noticing this problem.


    So, a long way of saying there does not seem to be a solution to this issue for me. Overall I have a hunch it may be the cable and not the machine. But I have only been able to find one cable on the market, this same cheap piece of plastic junk in the Apple Store for $39.95 (are you kidding me ???????!!!!!!!!!).


    I will certainly have to evaluate the FW port if/when I purchase another Macbook in the future.


    I'm disappointed, but unless I want to search around for another overpriced cable, it seems there is no solution. Case closed.

  • 8. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    I just bought a Firewire 800 Dock (that also has a USB2 port) for Seagate GoFlex external hard drives but it has a standard SATA connector on the top of it that you can plug any drive into.

    Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk Desktop Adapter - Firewire 800/USB 2.0 STAE105


    It comes with both a very nice FW 800 cable and a USB2 cable.

    You can buy them on Amazon for $45 and change.


    On my 2011 MBP the firewire connection is fairly snug. I don't know if it is the port or the cable.

  • 9. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    domchristian Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)

    Sorry - bit late. Just like to say that I sympathise with the OP and the FW800 port/conector design IS quite a bad one. This is something that both me and others I work with are aware of.


    It's not reliable and frequently dismounts. There's no point in taking a machine to apple with this problem, they do not recognise it.


    FW 400 and USB are both much more secure connections.


    I have a brand new G drive that I use for audio. It has high quality cables. I have used it on several macs, and they all seem to have this annoying problem. One slight nudge and you get the drive removal warning message. I thought it might be the older drives I was using, but as this one is doing it too it seems to be inherent in the design - it's quite obvious when you see how 'wobbly' FW 800 cable attachment is...


    Unfortunately it also seems to eventually lead to the port on the drive blowing, which has happened to me twice.


    A real shame, I now use a 400-800 converter at any point I can.

  • 10. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    MacCamMan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Christopher Davis2 you are not alone, believe you me!

    Since 2 months I've got a brand new Lacie Rugged drive and I use the brand new firewire cable that came along with it. It falls out every time, completely annoying!

    I too have a 2009 Macbook Pro, but before now never used the firewire 800 port, so clearly it's a bad design problem.

    I've found some tips suggesting to use a cabel with a metal fitting, perhaps that will do the trick?

  • 11. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Christopher Davis2 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thank you for the input - at least there are a few others out there who have noticed this. I have been using a USB cable with my drive because the hassle is too much.


    I had looked in to a cable with metal fitting but could not find anything. Will look again.


    This is really just baffling though. It's not only a weak design, but a significant step backward from the previous design (FW 400, which was snug like a USB).


    I would love to sit down with whomever managed this at Apple and show them the difference and say "What the...?" and see what they say.

  • 12. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Interestng Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I completely agree that the Firewire 800 design is fundamentally flawed and non-robust.  I've experienced exactly the same problem.  I Googled "Firewire 800 poor" to see if others have had similar experiences and found this blog.  It appears that the port design on the laptop and hard drive are identical, as is the firewire cable end connectors.  Thus, it is a challenge to determine which port leads to problem.  I was able to determine, however, that the port on my HD was at fault by using an 800 to 400 cable.  When connecting to my HD 400 port, I don't experience the hangups if I move the table or bump the computer.  No problems with USB and Firewire 400; only Firewire 800.

  • 13. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    Jeff Stasko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am also having this problem. Bad design. I am extremely disappointed. Have been looking for a metal ring firewire, but have yet to find one. I have purchased Macs since the late 80's and this is the first time I have had problems with a port. Can someone at Apple give me a solution?

  • 14. Re: Firewire 800 port design: BAD
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Jeff: This is a user-to-user forum. Apple isn't here and won't reply.

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