1 Copper

PCMCIA / Firewire 1394 not working


I've had this precision M6400 for a little over 2½ years now. I use it mainly as an audio/music workstation. As I've been using USB interfaces, I haven't really been using the firewire port. 

Now that I need firewire, it just doesn't work properly. I have yet to try a firewire product that works without glitches. The last three I can think of that didn't work was a Mackie Onyx 1640i professional audio interface, a Presonus FireStudio and a Lacie d2 HD. All of which work flawlessly on other PC's and MAC's. The Lacie it just refuses to recognize, while the mackie works, but distorts the audio, makes a lot of pops and just stops working after a while. 

I thought (and still thinks), that it's the Ricoh chip that's not compatible with pro audio-interfaces. I definitely know that's the case with the Presonus as it uses a DICE interface... As a result, I bought a PCMCIA VIA Firewire Cardbus. When I insert this while the computer is turned on, Windows freezes - when pulled out the screen goes black. If I insert while powered off, Windows freezes while booting ( at roughly the same time the optical drive starts up). The PCMCIA card works without problems in a Lenovo laptop.

I use windows 7 64bit and made a windows xp 32 bit partition, but the problem remains.

I tried running the Dell diagnostics, but after the first memorytests it freezes with a diskerror...

Thanks in advance,

Rune Werner, Denmark

0 Kudos
1 Reply
7 Plutonium

Re: PCMCIA / Firewire 1394 not working

5V PCMCIA is no longer supported.

I would suggest a RATOC cardbus card with 12v power supply.  Cardbus DOES NOT Supply 12v needed by 6 pin firewire interfaces.

They will be hard to find in general due to ALL cardbus makers discontinuing products.

W3 Document XP SP2 FireWire Performance Fix
Performance of 1394 devices may decrease after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2
Microsoft document and download for fixing possible performance decreases after SP2 installs
W3 Document Using Ratoc Devices in The Windows Vista
Compatibility chart, driver data, and information for Ratoc products and the Windows Vista

CBFW3 User's Guide Rev.1.0 - RATOC Systems

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
This User's Guide describes how to install, use, and troubleshoot the RATOC CBFW3. IEEE1394(FireWire) CardBus PC Card for Windows and Macintosh users.

RATOC Systems International,Inc : FireWire CardBus PC Card for ...

  • Adds tow External FireWire ports.
  • IEEE1394.a and OHCI1.0 compliant.
  • Full backward compatibility to IEEEE1394-1995 device.
  • Fully compatible with Apple MacOS8.6/9.x FireWire Drivers.
  • Fully compatible with Apple MacOSX FireWire drivers(CBFW2 Rev.2).
    * RATOC original MacOSX drivers are required for CBFW2 Rev.1.
    Learn more at Software Download page.
  • 100,200 and 400 Mbps data rate is automatically supported at each FireWire port.
  • Class 1(15W) cable power is available at FireWire port with optional power adapter(CBFW-CPA, sold separately).
  • Fully compliant with PC Card Standard 7.0.
  • 32-bit Bus-mastering data transfer and 33MHz operation.

Compatible FireWire Device, Application software list

DV camcorder SONY, Canon, Panasonic, JVC NTSC/PAL model
Professional Digital still camera Nikon : D1, Kodak : DCS420,460,8650, Canon : 2000,6000,
NTSC/PAL to DV converter SONY : DVMC-DA1, Canopus : ADVC-100
FireWire Storage devices -HDD RATOC, VST, Lacie, QPS,Maxtor, Western Digital and more.
-MO Fujitsu, Yano and more
FireWire Scanner, Film Scanner Nikon, Minolta, EPSON
FireWire to UltraSCSI converter RATOC : FR1SX. >>product page of the FR1SX
Application software Apple : iMovie, iTunes, Diskburner, Final Cut Pro
Adobe : Premiere6.0
Digital Origin : EditDV, MotoDV, PhotoDV

Host interface
- PC Card Standard 7.0 / CardBus spec. compliant.
32bit data bus, bus master DMA transfer capability.
PC Card TypeII: 85.6mm(L) x 54mm(W) x 5.0mm(H)
FireWire Link Layer


OHCI1.0 compliant.
Isochronous DMA 4 channel
Asynchronous DMA 2 channel
Physical DMA support.
PHY Layer
- 1394.1995 compatible.
- 100,200 or 400 Mbps operation. Automatic detect and negotiation.
- Two 400Mbps port (6P FireWire connector x2)
- Provide Cable Power to Bus powered FireWire device through cable with optional power adopter(+12VDC/1.5A. 15W class1)
Electrical Characteristics
- Operational Voltage: 3.3V/DC +/- 0.3V.
- Low Power consumption.
237mA idle,
290mA Standby.
325mA Full isochronous receive.

Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues

I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.

The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating
Contact USA Technical Support

Get Support on Twitter @DellCaresPro

0 Kudos