My laptop's IEEE-1394 port or PCMCIA card doesn’t supply power to my camera

Last Revision Date: 7/27/2015

This article explains how to power our cameras that are connected into an IEEE-1394 interface on a laptop, notebook or other portable computer.

Some FireWire ports on laptops or expansion cards (PCMCIA,ExpressCard) are built for use with a 4-pin FireWire cable, which will not work with our cameras which require a 6-pin or 8-pin connector (the additional pins provide power). Some FireWire accessory manufacturers sell cables that have one 4-pin end and one 6-pin end. However, the cameras still require power to be provided. Please consult your camera's Technical Reference or Getting Started manual (available from our Downloads section) for specific power and voltage requirements by camera model. 

In this case, we suggest trying one of the following:

    1. Use an externally powered FireWire hub or repeater to power the bus. Connecting the camera and the laptop to the hub will power the camera, via the hub’s external power supply. This is also an alternative for any 6-pin PCMCIA cards that do not provide power directly from the laptop.
    2. Use a different FireWire PCMCIA/ExpressCard card that provides full FireWire bus power through an optional external AC power supply, such as that found at IOGEAR or LaCie. NOTE: We have not tested any IEEE-1394 products from IOGEAR.
    3. Use a FireWire cable that is designed to hook into an external power supply, such as those manufactured by Newnex. NOTE: Some camera models may require more power than the cable is able to supply. An externally powered 1394 hub/PCMCIA card is generally the most reliable method for powering our cameras.
    4. Power the camera via the GPIO (if available).  We sell GPIO cables and provide the part numbers of the connector if users wish to build their own cables.

While some battery solutions have been implemented, whereby a portable battery is used to power the hub, caution is advised when creating any makeshift devices. We also discourage users from attaching or soldering any such devices directly to the camera.

Power Requirements

To determine the specific power requirements in watts (W) for a given camera, refer to the camera's Technical Reference or Getting Started manual. As a general rule, the maximum power output of a device such as a FireWire hub is dictated by its power supply, specifically power (W) = voltage (V) * current (A), or W = V * A. For example, the maximum power output of a 12V 1A power supply would be 12W (although some power supplies may limit the power output further).