As you may know I just get my new Sony PMW-EX1 camcorder last week. This camcorder use solid state SxS memory cards. I got it with 2x 8Gb cards. 16Gb is around 55 mins of recording.

Then the question is : how and where to store all that data ?

The SxS card is an expresscard card, so it can fit in the MacBook Pro slot. But the internal drive is slow and limited (160Gb for me). I was in need of something faster. Moreover, I was in need of something reliable.

I finaly found a small box for a 3.5″ drive, having e-Sata, Firewie 400, Firewire 800 and USB 2.

hdbox1hdbox-back2

They got it at macway for 69€. Add a 500Gb drive (hitachi 500Gb, 16Mo, 7200 speed) for 80€ and you got the perfect solution. For the storage.

For the reliable it’s something else… you need at last two of those. And that’s what I did.

The bad surprise is when you plug both at the same time… you get a firewire error as both controlers have the same ID. Issue the « dmesg » command in a terminal as root, or « sudo dmesg » and enter your password.

 » FireWire Error: Device with identical unique ID: 0030e000 eeadbabe cannot be used. »

It seems this is due that the Oxford 924 chipset which drives the enclosure create a unique ID based on the hard drive pluggid in the box. As I have exactly the same drive in each box, I got the error. Maybe having one Hitachi and one Segate should have done the trick, but this is not good for Mirror RAID, especialy when it is software (Os X) based.

I don’t have time to tell the whole story, but I finaly got the tool I need : a firmware update/tuning for the Oxford 924 chip which is inside the box. The solution is to change the « vendors » settings on the Oxford chipset so it will calculate a different ID.

I got it from http://www.datoptic.com/support.html

I just download the latest firmware (which I didn’t use) at http://www.datoptic.com/Download/FW924_V1_02.zip

Then I get the software package for OsX for Mac Intel or for G5

Just untar the package. You will get 3 apps and a bunch of firmware. As my running firmware on the drive was 1.0.2 (latest ?) I had no need to change it. Only to change the « name » of the firewire ID.

Start the « uploadergui.jar » file (java based). You will get a warning this software is not for end-users. You wouldn’t have to use it if they hardware wasn’t so stupid. Say OK.

oxford1

I did the change while only one drive was plugged in the USB port. What you see now if my working config plugged in firewire800.

This is what you get with only one drive plugged :

oxford2

Click on the « modify configuration » button. You’ll get this window :

oxford3

I did change 2 things :

- the manufacturer Name, which is « DMI » by default. I set it to « DMIA »

- the Chip ID Lo, which is « ADBABE » by default. I set it to « ADBAAE »

Just click « uplad changes », wait a few seconds, unmount the drive (you may get an error, but it’s just a warning). If you can’t unmount, just unplug and stop the drive.

Of course, you will do this ONLY on one drive. The other must stay different :)

Plug it back and you’ll see the name changed. You will also notice the change in disk utility or in the « about this mac » from the apple menu, at the firewire section.

Shame that nothing exists about this problem anywhere, nor in the Oxford website (which is a shit) nor on the reseller’s website.

You got it now. Just send me an email if the linked files are not availlable. I’ll try to keep them somewhere.