More success with combo updater re-installation We continue to receive success stories from users who have re-applied the Mac OS X 10.3.3 combination updater to resolve specific issues - most notably the inability to recognize external devices.
MacFixIt reader J writes "Thanks for the 10.3.3 Combo re-install tip. It fixed my EZ-Quest 48x CD-RW drive that seemingly went dead after my initial 10.3.3 upgrade on my G4 500 Sawtooth (1.25 GB RAM)."
Still more on FireWire problems Continuing our coverage of problems booting from and mounting FireWire drives after updating to Mac OS X 10.3.3, we have now received reports that disconnecting the iSight camera allows better operation of other devices in some scenarios:
MacFixIt reader Steve Weller writes "Interestingly if I unplug iSight, then things are much more reliable, but the boot problem persists. iSight works fine after I plug it back in. My iSight has been upgraded to the latest firmware, and iChat is 2.1. All disk integrity checks have been OK. I have not lost any data or suffered any corruption. PRAM reset had no effect on the problems.
"The drives are WiebeTech 180G capable of S800, but connected to the iMac at S400 and daisy-chained. My disks are self-powered."
We previously noted problems with the iSight interfering with the operation of other FireWire devices. One of the devices most susceptible to this problem is the iPod. For some users, when the iSight is connected and capturing video, their iPod disappears from the Desktop and from the iTunes playlist, while the iPod status screen cycles from the Apple logo to a "Do not Disconnect" message over and over.
Also, more users who have experienced FireWire problems after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3.3 are running Apple's Hardware Test CD, providing some valuable information about the issue.
Gregory Walker writes "I ran the extended test on the Apple Hardware Test (v1.0) CD, and it came back with no problems found. However, under the hardware profile tab, it did say that there were no firewire devices present, even though I had both my LaCie d2 HD and CD-RW hooked up and running at the time.
"/Utilities/System Profiler shows that there is a firewire bus at 400 Mbps, but does not say anything else about it. Again, both devices connected and running.
"Another interesting tidbit - both of the drives (which have their own external power sources) turn on when the computer is turned on or woken from sleep, and turn off when the computer is turned off or put to sleep."
We've also received reports of limited success with the previously published workaround of exchanging the IOFireWireFamily.kext to the old version 1.7.0 ( from 10.3.1 ) solved the problem. Now with IOFireWireFamily.kext 1.7.0 (Sept 2003) its all OK."
You can find the IOFireWireFamily.kext file on your original Mac OS X 10.3 installation CD (with the help of a tool like Pacifist), or by searching for the file (both visible and invisible items) on a system running Mac OS X 10.3.1 or Mac OS X 10.3.2.
One reader writes "I tried downgrading to the 1.7.0 version of IOFirewireFamily.kext from OS 10.3 and rebooted. After that, bus power on the firewire port works! The other symptoms remain; System Profiler doesn't see the Firewire 400 bus, AHT reports an error and no disk will mount. I've since re-upgraded to the 10.3.3 .kext, and bus power is fine; I can charge my iPod, but the problems remain."
The best and most complete solution so far (as previously reported) seems to be using a separate FireWire bridge - either a PCMCIA or PCI card. One reader writes:
"I was just reading your page on the no FireWire problem and tried all that was there. I am having the same problem as Dean Takemori. I just tried an old Newer Tech FireWire -to-Go card and bingo - my external FireWire drive mounted on the Desktop. My internal firewire port also powers any firewire drive attached to it but they never try to mount. All disk utilities never see them and Apple System Profiler say's "No information found" on my firewire bus. I also just ran the Apple Hardware test CD. It say's that I have no hardware problems. I have a Titanium PowerBook G4 667 with a gig of ram. At least I now have a way to get data off my firewire drives."
FireWire connection and kernel panics during Software UpdateIn a separate but possibly related issue, a number of readers have reported kernel panics when attempting to connect external FireWire devices while Apple's Software Update mechanism is running:
Brian Jojade writes "I have been able to repeatably cause a kernel panic on several different machines when connecting firewire devices to a system during the software update process. My situation has been on 3 machines running MacOS Server 10.3.2. One Dual 1.25 G4, a single 1.8 G5, and a Dual 1.8 G5. The devices that I was connecting were an external firewire drive, a tape drive, and an iPod (1st gen). Software update had been run from either the software system preference, or through server admin. The install had completed, but the system had not yet been restarted. In each case, the firewire device was plugged in, but didn't respond. About 60 seconds later, kernel panic, restart required."