May 03, 2007

Curious George: Firewire -> USB Help me geekmonkey, you're my only hop. I have a USB port (notebook) and a Firewire device. That's it. I need a Firewire-to-USB adapter. PCMCIA is not an option. Don't need a hub. Ack!

I searched the world over and thought I'd found true love. But it's just a hub and *pfttth* it was gone. Does anyone know of a Firewire-to-USB standalone adapter thingy? Does such a thing exist or am I fuX0r3d in the geekic sense?

  • How about a pcmcia/cardbus card? There are lots of those available.
  • Hubs are actually your only option, as far as I know; you just have to find the right one. This article explains more.
  • ha, missed the 'pcmcia is not an option'
  • Hmm - thanks for the link InfraMonkey. I have a hub with both kinds of ports but the Firewire device didn't seem to be happy with it. Perhaps it requires more clicky clicky. Although this part was confusing: This type of device has two ports in a single hub, which may be either external or internal; one for Firewire and one for USB - allowing either type of device to function. The combination hub is actually two separate ports combined into a single form factor for convenience; there is no conversion between Firewire and USB taking place when you use one of these hubs. If there's no conversion, then how is the firewire data "coming out" of the USB port that plugs into the computer? (I assumed that it wasn't, and that the Firewire part of it was just expanding one port into 3. Which isn't what I need, obv.)
  • I think you're right: it's simply two separate hubs in one case. That article is really poorly written. I don't think the adapter you're looking for exists, petebest. What are you trying to hook up? If it's video there may be some options as there are a whole bunch of usb analogue video converters out there. That would be an ugly hack, bit it would work.
  • Unfortunately it's audio, but the amount of audio inputs is the catch. I have a single-channel USB . . thing. The firewire one has eight channels. D'oh. Stupid techn00bery.
  • This order: friend's PC with firewire port --> Gmail to yourself. No hub needed.
  • Would something like this be helpful.
  • I've thought about that one - and the "14 in one" one also, But I don't think they're firewire plugs. It shows up on a search for firewire, but I don't see that type of . . err . . hole. On one. Given that there should be many types of adapters if it was possible, I think I may just be SOL on this.
  • Yeah, that article was poorly written... 'swhat I get for rushing posts when I should be leaving for work. At any rate, Firewire and USB are pretty drastically different technologies. Out of curiosity, why is PCMCIA out of the question?
  • > I don't think the adapter you're looking for exists, petebest. It would too complicated and expensive to produce for too small a market. You need some sort of intermediary machine, pete.
  • IIRC, my (early-generation) iPod came with a cord that had a USB connector at one end and a firewire connector on the other. It's not an adapter, and I'd have to go digging for it, but would that work for your purposes?
  • Out of curiosity, why is PCMCIA out of the question? The slaptop manufacturer wanted to save $ and provide a cleaner design, so I got 3 USB ports instead. Overall it'd be fine by me except for this one Firewire device I've got. (early-generation) iPod came with a cord that had a USB connector at one end and a firewire connector on the other I saw that one too Mickey, and thanks for mentioning it - I think the firewire connector is different though, and I don't know if it'd work considering I need the full-bandwidth for cramming 8 channels of high quality audio into the laptop at amazing speeds. I'm getting the feeling the USB adapter part would bottle up the "signal". Thanks roryk, I know someone could make the point that Firewire is an Apple thing and blah-blah-blah-Apple-sux_LOLsuX0rz but I'm still chagrined that it's 2007 and I have one computer thing that won't talk to the other computer thing. I thought that's what the early 90's were for! To work that stuff out!
  • My old iPod's firewire connector is a 6-pin. Does your device need the 4-pin connector? (see pictures here.)
  • The third generation ipods supported both usb and firewire, so the cable isn't doing any conversion since it simply connects to the appropriate pins on the dock connector. After the fifth generation ipod they no longer supports firewire, probably as a cost-cutting measure. Bit of a pain for people with older macs that lack usb2 ports. You can get power injectors if you've a laptop that only supports 4-pin firewire. I've got one that came with a 2.5" hard drive case, though I can't say I've ever needed to use it.
  • Mine's a 6-pin fwiw. But, I usually don't get a new computer without some ridiculous rationalization. Just such as this. MuwahAHahAHaaaaa! Eeeexcellent . .
  • petebest, if you want to trade cable for a future favor to be named later, email's in my profile. Happy to help.
  • Sounds like a good rationalization to me!
  • Well, you might be able to pull off one of these hooked to one of these... I don't think that will magically circumvent the bandwidth differences between firewire and USB, so you'll still get bottlenecking. It might be best to try and find a USB analogue of the firewire device, if possible.
  • After the fifth generation ipod they no longer supports firewire, probably as a cost-cutting measure. Does this mean that firewire's going bye-bye? My understanding is it's actually faster than USB 2.0. Is it like betamax all over again?
  • Middleclasstool, that was the fear but since firewire is the digital video standard, it seems highly unlikely that apple will be leaving it off their machines. If anything it's getting more common in the PC world as well. I understand that USB has lower license costs and since most macs have had usb 2 for many years now I guess apple felt that the cost savings outweighed the compatibility advantages. It sucks, because you used to be able to boot a mac off of an ipod!
  • My understanding is it's actually faster than USB 2.0 I looked this up once upon a time and came to the understanding that speed-wise they were about the same but Firewire allows for control signals to be sent as well which made it more useful. Thanks for the shout Mickey - I think I'm going to take as a given that the thing I need doesn't exist as such and grumble my way to a new desktop. Mmmmmm dual core . .
  • > My understanding is (Firewire)'s actually faster than USB 2.0 It's a little bit faster, or it's a little bit faster on average, yes. In general, it's a better standard for data transfer, but it's more expensive to produce and is tied to royalty fees. Apple shot itself in the foot (yet again) over this one.
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