UPDATE: This article is no longer relevant. An improved firmware has been released that works around the change Apple made to the firewire protocol. With firmware 5.2.2 or later Phase One P40+ and Phase One P65+ backs do not need to be off when plugging in. See our blog entry on this Phase One firmware release.

In order to connect a Phase One digital back to tether you must, naturally:

  • Turn the back on
  • Launch Capture One
  • Plug the FW cable into the computer
  • Plug the FW cable into the back

For most of Phase One’s history of digital backs it did not matter what order you did this in. However, when using the Phase One P40+ and P65+ with a MacBookPro or Mac Pro using a FW800 port (note that the most recent models only have FW800 ports) the order is very important. To connect the back to the computer quickly/easily/consistently you should:

  • Start with the back turned off
  • THEN Plug in the FW cable to the computer and mac
  • THEN Turn the back on

It doesn’t matter which end of the firewire cable (mac or back) is plugged in first, nor does it matter if Capture One is launched before or after you turn the back on. All that matters it he back is off when you plug in the firewire cable, and turned on only once the cable is connected.

FW800 disconnect/reconnect

As discussed in our Ideal Tethered Setup article the physical design of the FW800 port makes it very easy for the port to “walk out” (aka jiggle loose) as you walk around with the digital back. When the cable “walks out” the back will lose it’s connection and this can be frustrating. What can be worse however is if the cable “walks out” and then walks back in (i.e. wiggles loose, but then wiggles it’s way back to being connected) very quickly. When this happens the computer won’t know the back has been disconnected (the computer needs around 3 seconds to notice the back is gone) but the back will notice it’s been disconnected – when the back goes to reconnect the computer won’t know it was ever gone and the software/back can get very confused. The solution to this annoyance is to simply adhere or secure the FW800 cable to the port to ensure it does not have room to “walk out”.

FW Voltage

See our Ideal Tethered Setup article for information about running the back off of it’s own battery power rather than the power of the firewire channel when using one of the newer generations of Apple Laptops in which the voltage through the FireWire channel is too irregular for a digital back.

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