Stupid FW-1884 stability trick


Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2012
Gear owned

I'm running Windows 7, 64-bit.

Every time my system reboots, I lose the connection to the FW-1884. Usually, the firewire light is off and the LEDs for Clock and Stop are blinking, usually 7 then 4 times, endlessly.

For the several years that this has happened, I have had to power cycle at least once and often up to five or more times to get it to work again. Often, on power up, all the LEDs will be on, so I wait ten seconds and power cycle again. [Aside: this can't be good for the unit.]

Sure, this is annoying, but once it does get into sync, it stays there until I reboot again or Windows Update reboots for me.


If I switch the firewire cable from one of the two ports in the back to the other port before power cycling, I am far more likely to have the FW-1884 sync on the first power up.

[It doesn't matter which side of the two I use, only that I switched from the one it was in before.]

What is that about?
Mat, you're not "hot swapping" are you?
"What is that about?" I don't know!
I always power the FW down when I'm done working with it.
I always power the PC, BEFORE powering up the FW.
We have discussed in the past that you power up all your "gear" before the PC.
That's how it worked in DOS and early Windows.
I've had better luck with the FW the other way 'round.
Wish I had a "better" answer...

Hi Tom. I'm half hot swapping. The power is off for the FW-1884, but on from the computer.

This has become a regular process to follow upon each reboot.

This really is the strangest thing, but it continues to work and I'm not arguing. I have cut down on 90% on getting a BSOD.

And hey, when it doesn't work I get either all lights on, or a repeating LED that blinks 7 times then 4. Does anyone know what that code means?
Other than the fact that the FW1884 that I just got on e-bay needs to be warmed up for 30 minutes before it talks Firewire correctly, here is another chapter of

All Hands On Deck!

There's another stupid trick when dealing with this mystery machine. If you go through a 6 pin to 4 [pin 1394 (firewire) adapter and then back to a 6 pin, you have eliminated the power pin. Firewire specs call for the bus to carry a power source, but it's often the case that several devices on the firewire bus are providing auxiliary power on these pins, one provides 12 volts, another 30 volts and it's an accident waiting to happen.

The signal lines pass through intact on 4 pins, and if you aren't bus-powering anyway, with just 4 pins data passes but there is no high voltage to accidentally fry your chips. Say, if you insert the connector crooked or force it in upside down (which much to the chagrin of the people who spec'ed the connector, is not all that hard to do).

If it works with your cable and Firewire port, it's one less thing to go catastrophic. As long as your adapters aren't purchased at the dollar store. BUT it doesn't work on all setups. No idea why, my FW1082 would work, my new FW1884 gets grumpy and fails the connection at times if it's only got 4 pins. It's a bit different design all around. So, try it, I can't promise it will work for you, but it's not frying anything.

In addition, I think I've had far less trouble all around since I cabled the FW1082 this way. Turning off the Tascam had usually crashed the Windows 7 machine. I think the voltage surge kicked the whole PCI card off the grid and the machine (obviously) crashed. With the 4 pin bypass, problems don't blow the ship out of the water so easily. I've even hot swapped without excess guilt, and no soot on my face.
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Ordered a 4/4pin cable and adapters today to see if this solves the FW-1884 causing Win 10 to crash on power up.

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