USB to FireWire Adapter: Do They Exist & Are They Reliable?

In summary: FireWire connectors come in 4- and 6-pin versions (the 6-pin provides power, while the 4-pin does not). Your laptop may (oddly enough) have a 4-pin connector, meaning you will need to use a 4-pin cable. What symbol or lettering is above the port?There is a small connector on the hard drive that you would need to use a 4-pin cable to connect to the laptop.
  • #1
Simfish
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So I just bought a Lacie external hard drive. Problem is - my laptop doesn't have firewire - and my external hard drive only has a firewire port. So do good USB/firewire adapters exist? I searched on the Internet for some - but there don't seem to be many of them. Does the adapter allow a firewire software to be connected to a laptop with only USB ports?

Thanks!

For some reason, many of the adapters have ratings of 1 or 2 stars. It could be selection bias in that people are likely to submit negative reviews of products that they can't get to work - but the fact that so many products have so few stars worries me...
 
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  • #2
Simfishy said:
So I just bought a Lacie external hard drive. Problem is - my laptop doesn't have firewire - and my external hard drive only has a firewire port. So do good USB/firewire adapters exist? I searched on the Internet for some - but there don't seem to be many of them. Does the adapter allow a firewire software to be connected to a laptop with only USB ports?

Thanks!
There is no such thing as a USB/Firewire adapter as the interfaces are not compatible.
I suggest you exchange it for a USB2 external hard drive and preferably one that also has an eSata connection.

Alternatively, you can buy a PCMCIA or express card with a firewire interface for your laptop.
 
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  • #3
Firewire and USB are two different [bus] communication technologies. You can't simply switch a firewire device into a usb port. As a matter of fact, I don't believe that there exist any such adapter (remember two different technologies).
Maybe you can get some sort of hub (dual firewire/usb hub).

Edit: Got beaten to it :)
 
  • #4
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  • #5
Simfishy said:
PCMCIA cards are a type of memory card
No they are not.
Practically all laptops either have a PCMCIA card interface or a new express interface (the new laptops).

What's the make and model of your laptop?

Here is a list of http://computers.pricegrabber.com/usb-firewire-devices/p/405/popup1[
 
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  • #6
But doesn't the Wikipedia article say that PCMCIA cards are a type of memory card format? (PCMCIA, secure digital, memory stick, and compact flash are all categorized as such).

hmm - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_memory_cards doesn't list PCMCIA - it only lists the others, even though the above-mentioned Wikipedia article does. (of course I can't always trust Wikipedia - but it generally seems accurate for computer-related info)

Laptop is a Gateway MT6451 notebook.

hmm - the website lists "Digital Media Manager™
4-in-1 Digital Media Manager™ (Memory Stick®,
Memory Stick Pro®, MultiMediaCard™, Secure Digital™) " under Digital Media Manager - though my box lists them as memory card readers. Further down the website mentions "Expansion Slot
PCMCIA - Type I or Type II " - though my computer box doesn't list PCMCIA...
 
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  • #7
Hm, I just looked at the computer diagram - it has a PC Card slot and a memory card reader. So I'd need a firewire to PC card slot interface. So a Firewire cardbus adapter should fit in the slot of PC Card Types I and II almost all the time -right?
 
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  • #8
Hold on Simfishy, it seems your laptop already has a firewire (IEEE 1394) port!

http://www.gateway.com/retail/mt6451.php
 
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  • #9
Hmm - my firewire thingie is too big to fit into that port...

EDIT: 6-pin connector - laptop only has 4-pin port.
 
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  • #10
FireWire connectors come in 4- and 6-pin versions (the 6-pin provides power, while the 4-pin does not). Your laptop may (oddly enough) have a 4-pin connector, meaning you will need to use a 4-pin cable. What symbol or lettering is above the port?

- Warren
 
  • #11
Simfishy said:
Hmm - my firewire thingie is too big to fit into that port...
They actually come in two formats.
All you need is a little connector to convert to the small format. For a few bucks you should be up and running. :smile:

Warren beat me to it.
 
  • #12
Okay I see. So I'd need a cable that is 4-pin on one side, and 6-pin on another, right?
 
  • #13
If your hard drive has a 6-pin connector, you'll need a cable with a 6-pin connector on one end. If your laptop has a 4-pin connector, then you'll need a cable with a 4-pin connector on the other end. You can buy 6-6 cables, 4-4 cables, and 4-6 cables. As MeJennifer said, you can also buy little adapters, but you might find a cable with the correct connector to be more stable.

- Warren
 
  • #14
Okay - thanks for all of the help! :)

umm... what's the difference between a male and a female cable?
 
  • #15
Male connectors go... inside female connectors. No explanation is necessary, I hope, for what this means.

Virtually all connectors on computers and peripherals are female. Thus, you almost always need a male-to-male cable. You should be able to just look at the connectors on your devices and choose the appropriate cable.

- Warren
 
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Related to USB to FireWire Adapter: Do They Exist & Are They Reliable?

What is a USB to FireWire adapter?

A USB to FireWire adapter is a device that allows you to connect a FireWire device to a computer that only has USB ports. It acts as a bridge between the two types of ports, converting the signals so that they can communicate with each other.

Do USB to FireWire adapters exist?

Yes, USB to FireWire adapters do exist. They are commonly used by individuals who have devices with FireWire ports but do not have a computer with a FireWire port. They can also be used to connect older FireWire devices to newer computers with only USB ports.

Are USB to FireWire adapters reliable?

The reliability of USB to FireWire adapters can vary depending on the quality of the adapter and the devices being connected. In general, they are considered to be reliable, but there may be compatibility issues or limitations in terms of data transfer speeds. It is recommended to research and purchase a reputable adapter to ensure reliability.

What devices can be connected using a USB to FireWire adapter?

A USB to FireWire adapter can be used to connect a variety of devices, including external hard drives, digital cameras, video cameras, and audio interfaces. As long as the device has a FireWire port, it can be connected to a computer using a USB to FireWire adapter.

Are USB to FireWire adapters bi-directional?

Yes, USB to FireWire adapters are bi-directional, meaning they can be used to connect a FireWire device to a computer with USB ports or to connect a USB device to a computer with FireWire ports. However, the adapter may have limitations in terms of data transfer speeds depending on the direction of the connection.

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