View Full Version : FireWire problems

Matt Drabick
08-03-2004, 07:14 AM
I am writing this from memory at home. May make a few mistakes. . . .

I built a Windows XP Pro dual P4 XEON 2.8GHz system for a university . . . includes VT3, SX-8, RS-8 and genlock card. DirectX 9 (don't remember if B or C, etc), 2GB of RAM, five 36GB SCSI drives as a RAID-o array, VT[3] software 4909. Also installed Ulead DVD Workshop 2, Serious Magic Ultra, Sony Sound Forge, TMPGenc 2.5, system has Pioneer DVR-107 DVD burner. Mobo is SuperMicro X5DA8. Except for the third party ULead, Serious Magic and Sony software, this is a very standard system for me that I have built many times before without any problems.

System has a FireWire card in the 32-bit PCI slot next to the AGP slot (video card is a dual Nvidia FX5200). Toaster is in the other 32-bit PCI slot. Have an external Lacie 250GB Firewire drive connected to the FireWire card, properly formatted and working with the VT3.

System works fine with analog video. . . can capture video to the SCSI array, live switch using composite, Y/C and YUV inputs, etc. All of the VT[3] software modules open and close and work properly. Built up a editing project VTEdit, plays back fine. Can play two DDRs at the switcher with no stuttering.

The problem starts when I connect a DV VCR or camcorder. With everything connected and powered up, the PC loads Windows and arrives at the desktop with no problems. Windows at the desktop finds new DV device and I tell it to take no action. When I launch VT3, as the Toaster software is loading, a gray Windows-type window pops up, very plain looking, and has a path that says Microsoft DV camera or camcorder (I think, doing this from memory). I can't type anything in the path. Usually two of these windows open. If I close them quickly VT[3] will finish loading and Toaster will work ok most of the time. If I don't quickly close these windows thenVT[3] becomes unresponsive and I have to use Task Manager to shut down the Toaster.

If I close the windows quickly enough, VT[3] will usually run okay and will see the DV input as a source at the switcher. Once or twice the Toaster acted a bit flaky or unstable. One time when I shut down VT3 and relaunched, the video output from the Toaster was in black and white. Shut down and restarted and output was in color again.

Also noticed that the Toaster had problems writing to the external Lacie FireWire drive (it was trying to write video cache files to the drive before I changed the path to the SCSI array) saying there was a write delay error. But Toaster will read from the external FireWire drive and playback video clips via a DDR at the switcher just fine.

I don't want to deliver the system to my customer in this condition, even though it works just fine if you don't connect a DV camcorder or VCR. System works well and is stable when I don't connect a DV VCR or camcorder.

Disconnecting the external Lacie Firewire drive makes no difference. I have tried a different FireWire card . . . no difference. I put the Toaster in the first 64-bit slot and the Firewire in the next 32-bit slot, so there is a gap between the AGP slot and FireWire card, no difference. I tried connecting both a DV camcorder and a VCR, no difference.

Basically, there seems to be a problem with the Toaster and FireWire cards talking to each other?

Short of telling my customer not to use a DV camera or VCR with the Toaster, I need suggestions on what to try next. I was scheduled to deliver the system on Thursday. I would like to make that delivery on time.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Matt Drabick,
DigiTek Systems
Raleigh, NC