Currently Being ModeratedJul 28, 2012 10:05 PM (in response to Jeff Stasko)
I just wanted to chime in to say that the Firewire 800 connectors are terrible! Touch the laptop - or the drive - and you now lose your work, or, in the worst case, hose your drive (fortunately that has never happened to me).
Bottom line: once the drive is connected consider the lap-top and drive totally unmoveable.
I have a late 2007 15" MPB and the FW800 connections have been flakey since the beginning. Two years into my ownership I also got a new MB because my graphics chip died due to a known defect - and the new motherboard's socket worked no better.
At first I thought I had bad cables, and early on bought replacements only to find they functioned the same - and ditto for the really nice ones I recently got (with two g-drives).
I was always bothered that the male connector's housing flange seems to end up flush with the laptop case after inserting - which always makes me wonder if is fully seated. There should be a slight air gap, but there isn't and that's the fault of Apple.
Now, in preparing this comment I paid more attention as I attached the cable first to my MBP and then the G-drives. The G-Drive connections are definitely better and the cable housing doesn't end up flush against either of my drive housings.
Still, it is not just the MPB that has issues. These connectors have just a few millimeters of grab. Even if I secure the connector on the laptop side with tape I sometimes get a disconnect on the G-Drive side just by bumping the drive.
I have never had these problems with USB 2.0 connectors. I never get disconnects; the connection is not flakey. The grab region, I would guess, is at least twice that of the FW 800 - probably over 7 mm.
The FW 400 connector is somewhat in-between, in my experience. I have to be a little more careful than with a USB connection, but it doesn't give me the heebie-jeebies, unlike the FW 800.
Consequently I am waiting a little longer for Thunderbolt to take hold before I buy my next Mac laptop.
Victor Applegate II
Currently Being ModeratedJul 28, 2012 10:13 PM (in response to Victor_Applegate_II)
I don't know but it seems as if this might just be a problem with a select few units: I have a late 2011 MBP and all my external drives are FW800. I can grab my machine from the table with my drives connected, wiggle my MBP around in my lap, etc., and I have never had a drive unexpectedly disconnect. Ever.
If I were having problems, and still under warranty, I would simply insist that the problem be fixed - politely but firmly. It's simply not acceptable that a drive would disconnect with limited movement.
Currently Being ModeratedAug 6, 2012 10:32 AM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
I am entirely new to this Mac user post. However, I have had a similar Firewire 800 connection problem with my MacBook Pro 5,4 2009 computer. It appears to be a manufacturing problem in a small number of machines. Unfortunately not enough for Apple to consider worthy of attention or correction. All cables are loose in the MacBook inclding the 800 to 400 Firewire adapter that I purchased. I find this particularly annoying as the Firewire 800 is the only fast connection that this older machine has available being from the pre USB3 and Thunderbolt era. Yet it is an extremely reliable workhourse that functions as a desktop while my MacBook Air gets to do all the exciting travel. Nonetheless a fix, even if outside the box, led me to look for possible solutions.
My own solution has been to apply small strips of adhesive tape to the Firewire 800 plugins carefully placed inside the plugin and folded on to the outside. This usually takes three strips for the MacBook side, which is ALWAYS the loosest with every cable that I have so far used, and two on the external device Firewire port. But as tape has various thicknesses one or two may be enough. Be careful placing the tape inside the connector so as not to cover or damage the actual metallic connector pins within the plugs. Do not put any tape within the MacBook's own Firewire port as this is unecessary.
My connection has improved significantly with this small addition and I no longer have to worry about slight movements of my MacBook or external Elephant device. Moreover this has increased the reliablity and functionality of the Firewire 800 port with minimal effort and cost. Now I will be able to get a few more years out of my MacBook Pro.
Currently Being ModeratedOct 25, 2012 6:05 PM (in response to macbook prouser)
This is just an update on my previously posted Firewire 800 makeshift solution. Even with the added tape there is still too much play in the connection. This is partly due to the connector and also because the connection socket seems too shallow. The shallow connection issue also applies to the external Elephant Firewire enclosure and cable. I am surprised more people have not noticed this. Perhaps they have not really used the Firewire connection as much or never use their computer and peripherals in bed or on uneven surfaces where either they or the computer might move an inch or two. Or perhaps these disconnections have been associated with other issues and overlooked. Nonetheless with a little care I can still use the Firewire 800 but I no longer rely on the connection and related peripherals preferring the tried and true USB 2 ports instead. Whether this is bad design or not is difficult to demonstrate based on the dozen or so complaints that I have tracked. With millions of these computers sold this is an insignificant percentage unless of course it is your computer. In summary the computer is still completely functional with the USB 2 ports and now that the Firewire ports have been discontinued the problem will be limited to legacy machines. Thus time will eventually solve this problem.
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 23, 2013 1:02 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
My 15" i5 Macbookpro 2011 has the same problem. I probably should have addressed it while it was under warranty but I was always too busy. I've tried 4 different cables and all have been loose in the Firewire 800 port. I'm a DJ and the machine shakes around a bit on the stand as I'm DJing, plus with all the cables and other DJs cables in the booth, it has come loose several times and caused my computer to freeze up mid song since it no longer sees my external hardrive. Soooo frustrating!!! And with only 2 USB ports it's frustrating since I'm using those for Serato and a light already. Might try the tape idea, or maybe a toothpick (so ghetto!). Any other advice or do I just need to sacrifice my light and use the USB port? I'd prefer not to since the Firewire is faster...
So irritated that Mac made such a crucial design mistake.
Currently Being ModeratedFeb 24, 2013 1:04 AM (in response to DJSlave1)
Hello. I'm a DJ too and it's without doubt a better idea to have your tunes on your internal drive rather than introducing the added risk of an external connection when using an external drive. If you have the room of course. I use a laptop which is a music only computer for gigs, the same laptop that has the FireWire port issue.
If you can't use the internal dive then USB is without doubt the way to go, no connection worries and plenty fast enough for serato/traktor.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 29, 2013 9:06 AM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
Hi Yep me too. I have a fire wire sound card as my two usb are aslo being used for Music Keyboard and Ilok Dongle. And its awful, the slightest move and lost soundcard - reboot. Infuriating, some cables better than others but not perfect - a rubbish design unfortunately. Going to have to ditch and go back to USB :-(
Currently Being ModeratedApr 13, 2013 6:11 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
Same problem here!
I have tried every Firewire 800 cable in the house (& there re many!), but the problem persists:
the lightest touch will dismount the attached harddrive, resulting in the infamous error message.
And on the newer MacBook Pro (early 2012) you no longer have the option to work with an adapter - no more Firewire 400 outlet here/
Hopefully this discussion will eventually gather some speed and Apple might recognize the flaw ...
Currently Being ModeratedApr 13, 2013 8:39 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
I will say that I have used FW800 drives fairly heavily on my old Late 2007 MacBook Pro, and my current Late 2011 MacBook Pro. In my experience, if you are plugging/unplugging your cables with any frequency, the cables only last about 6 months before you start having disconnect issues. I have used "cheap" cables, and "expensive" cables, and they both seem to run into the same problem, although the cable build quality seems to have a relationship to the duration a cable is "usable" for me. Once a drive starts to have disconnect issues, I replace the cable with a new one, and the drive is rock solid again. I have been doing this for about 5 years now, so if it were the port, a new cable shouldn't eliminate the problem, but it does for me, reliably.
Based on my experience, there may be a design issue, but if there is, it would be in the FW-800 cable/connector, and that would be more of an IEEE design issue, than an Apple issue, since the FW-800 port is a standard IEEE (1394B?) interface.
Currently Being ModeratedSep 15, 2013 5:57 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
I realize this post is just resurrecting a zombie thread, but my experience is the same as the OP's, and many others: FireWire 800 ports are a startlingly bad design. They're loose, easily disrupted, and by far the majority of FW800 cables add to the problem by being very stiff with long plugs. I'm amazed this port design was ever adopted. The closest I've been able to find to a flexible FW800 cable is the white one made by Belkin.
Currently Being ModeratedSep 23, 2013 6:13 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
No, no, you are not alone. I'm having MacBook Pro mid 2009 and exatly the same problem. It's the loose FireWire 800 port causing this disconnecting issue. I had been thinking to open the machine and look if there are any loose srew, but looks like there's nothing I can do for it.
Thank you for the tape tip and I might also look after this Belkin cable.
Currently Being ModeratedOct 11, 2013 1:00 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
I know this is a MBP forum but I wanted to add my iMac experience to this thread as well.
I'm a sound designer for theater and purchased a 2011 imac for sound & video playback. I can confirm that the dodgy FW800 connection is present there too.
Last night I had a failure in my sound card (MOTU Traveler). I use a FW800 to 400 cable to connect the interface. Since I don't move the iMac that much I haven't had this problem until now.
I went in today to trouble shoot the system and see where the dropout happened. I was still not sure if it was on the computer side or the mixer side. But after extensive testing I discovered this flimsy FW800 issue. When I move the cable, even slightly on the computer the audio interface is lost. The FW400 connection on the audio interface is rock solid.
Another note. I use a 2007 MBP in my studio with FW800 drives. The FW800 connection on my old laptop seems much more stable.
I'm going to bring some of my old FW800 cables down to the theater and see if they fit the iMac any better than the newer 800/400 one I'm using now.
I'll let you know if there's anything worth mentioning.
Maybe apple is hobbling FW800 just enough to put people off on the format. That way when they finally abandon it there will be slightly less complaining about it's demise.
I hope that the FW ports on these new Thunderbolt hubs are more reliable. That's probably where things are headed. Next generation of Macs probably won't have firewire at all.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 1, 2013 3:44 PM (in response to Christopher Davis2)
Feels better knowing I'm not alone on this topic.
I've really wasted time with this port as it has slowly gotten worse and worse for me becoming less and less reliable. I'm not sure what to do as this was an expensive drive, and I guess it's not usable anymore... or at least at the speeds I need it for.