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Tech Tip Of The Day: FireWire Power Issues

If my hard drive LED is illuminated, why isn't the disc on?

Provided by Sweetwater.

Q: I started recording a number of year ago in Pro Tools and have been working part-time in a local studio.

I’ve had a lot of success learning recording and mixing techniques, but it seems that sometimes I still get tripped up by sill computer issues.

So, I’ve got a question for you.

I recently plugged in a FireWire hard drive to the computer using its data cable and even though its status LED lit up, the drive wouldn’t mount in the operating system.

Am I somehow doing something wrong?

A: You’re certainly not the first person who has experienced a condition where your FireWire drive appears to have power, yet it seemingly doesn’t.

If the LED on the drive is illuminated yet the unit won’t work, you should check your power carefully.

In some cases the power or drive activity LED of FireWire drives will light up when connected to an active FireWire bus even if the drive is not turned on.

This is because some power is supplied on a FireWire bus for certain devices that can use it, and if your device is wired just right some of that power may get passed on to the indicators even though the dedicated power supply is not activated or even present.

This condition will not cause any harm to any equipment, but could be frustrating and misleading when trying to troubleshoot why you’re drive isn’t recognized by the computer.

As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know your thoughts on FireWire power. Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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