FireWire not hot-pluggable after all?

Yikes! How2 stalwart Andy writes to alert me to something I really didn’t know – it’s possible to blow up FireWire ports with a Sony Z1 camera. He writes:

I have just killed my four (apple) computers and my three cameras in ten minutes by pulling out the firewire cable when camera and computer were both on. I thought that was the point of firewire- that it was hot pluggable.

Yow. There’s a discussion thread here, including Andy’s full story. And there’s more at the Apple discussion board.

Like Andy, I thought FireWire was hot-pluggable by design. What really confuses me here is that the port on the Z1 is Sony’s i.Link 4-pin miniature socket, rather than a full 6-pin FireWire design. The extra two pins are what carry power, so on the face of it, I can’t see where the juice is coming from to blow the controller board. I have had some slightly alarming discharges from standard 6-pin sockets on my drive chain, but this is clearly something else again.


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