8 Replies Latest reply: Sep 3, 2006 5:07 AM by Bill Gallagher
Gerald Vandiver Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Has anyone tried using the iSight with a USB to Firewire adapter? Such as the ones sold on ebay? Will this work or fry the cam?

iMac G4, Mac OS X (10.4.7)
  • Bill Gallagher Level 4 Level 4 (1,905 points)
    Hello Gerald Vandiver,

    I use to say that "You cannot buy a USB to FireWire cable (or FW to USB), but now I've seen everything, and will have to change my mantra.

    Ok, you can buy the thing. I don't belive it will work.

    In order to convert the signal, you would need a circuit in the cable to do that. While possible, it would be a flaky setup as a lot would depend on the software that would need to come with the cable/circuit. Both technology use completely different protocol standard which can't be applied universly w/out extensive software instruction set.

    So, yes such a thing is possible (from FW to USB2). Not the standard USB1.1. That I know won't work.

    In addition you need to power the iSight, at 25 volts DC, and it would be nearly impossible to do that in the setup shown on eBay.

    That said, let us all know when you purchase the item off off eBay and what you ended up with.

    Respectfully,
    Bill Gallagher
  • DP Harris Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    i used a firewire isight with my mac mini for online confrencing , but i had to use the firewire for a cctv system i had installed in my building.

    being the owner of an electronics company i set out to make a firewire to usb converter
    unfortunately my cctv system had a higher bandwith so had to use the firewire.

    after about 6 hours design i got down to building the circuit. it was hugely expensive to build, cost me about $500 and looking back i guess it would have been easier to buy a firewire hub.

    it consisted of a surface mount electronics board with an Ali usb 2.0 and a TI firewire chip attached through another controller.
    this other controller is used for PCI ports in motherboards so essentially it was a pci usb card and a pci firewire card in a pc connected in a clever way.

    along with other components the final unit was about the same size as the average mobile phone.

    MAC recognises it as a usb hub and my isight plugs into the firewire port on it.

    i have since used the same design to make an IDE to SATA controller and a usb to bluetooth device (if you want your usb keyboard to run on bluetooth)

    certainly because these are one offs they will be far too expensive for most people, and i feel the demand is not high enough for us to produce these is large quantities.

    so to answer your question yes you can convert usb to firewire and vice versa, and it is impossible to be done with just a cable, and it would probably be cheaper to buy a pc with more than 1 firewire port
  • Gerald Vandiver Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    OK, I received the adapter from ebay, and it is just a small block with a male USB connector on one side and a male 6 pin firewire on the other. Exactly as advertised.

    Not wanting to test it on my iSight, I tried it with a spare external LaCie Firewire drive. It didn't work (not too surprisingly). But it did seem to fry the Firewire 400 port on the drive, so now I can only use the USB 2.0, and Firewire 800 ports. Like I said, it was a spare external drive, so no big deal, just glad it wasn't my iSight.

    Unfortunately, this rules out using this cam on the laptop I currently own, it has no firewire ports or pcmcia slots, just USB. I have yet to find a pcmcia external card reader for USB 2.0 to test with a Firewire adapter card. Oh, well.
  • DP Harris Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    you can get usb mac compatible webcams on ebay.

    not as good as the i sight, but its better than nothing for you
  • Bill Gallagher Level 4 Level 4 (1,905 points)
    Hello Again Gerald Vandiver,

    Very nice of you to post back & share the confirmation that the USB to FW plug did not work. Perhaps others will save the time and money and not bother with it now.

    Sorry to hear about the port, but you might try an unpowered shut-down first (just unplug the computer for 15-30min, w/out any external FW devices connected to see if the FW circuit can be reset. If that does not work, Apple prices have come down since you bought your iMac G4 and perhaps you might consider upgrading? If it's a factor, there is the "SALE" tag on the Apple Store website with factory reconditioned Mac's at very good price. I've purchased from there w/the extended warranty and it's worked out fine.

    Again, it is great that you posted back to share the final outcome and wish every thread would give the same courtesy.

    Respectfully,
    Bill Gallagher
  • Gerald Vandiver Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Actually, I'll stick with my iSight for use with my Mac(s).;) I was just trying to see if I could use it with my wife's Windows laptop. Got her a Logitech cam, it works, and is better than frying my iSight.
  • Gerald Vandiver Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Luckily, it was the port on the external drive that fried, not the one on my iMac. I still like my G4 iMac for it's "style", but should Apple bump the speed on the base MacMini, I might be tempted.
  • Bill Gallagher Level 4 Level 4 (1,905 points)
    Hello Gerald Vandiver,

    It appears your wish may be granted.

    "Apple's Intel-based Mac mini is scheduled for a speed bump revision in the near future. The update will eliminate the only Core Solo-based product from Apple's line-up, moving the 1.66GHz Core Duo model to the low-end and positioning a new 1.83GHz Core Duo Mac mini at the top."

    If you want the source, email me. This forum is not intended for rumor & speculation but since this might assist Apple in the sale of another Mac, thought I may be sort-of justified in bending the rules a bit. And if you feel like it, mark this post as solved to clear it from the group.

    Respectfully,
    Bill Gallagher