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FireWire Ports: Specifications

Learn more about the specifications for FireWire ports used in some Apple products.

Please review your user guide and specifications to learn how many and which type of FireWire ports are available on your Apple computer.

Data transfer speed
100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, and 800 Mbps (on some models only)

Power
Input voltage range: 8 to 33 V
Input power: approximately 0.3 W
Output voltage range: 12 V to 30 V (varies by product)
Output power: minimum of 7 W per port

Input power is for repeater functionality and only on MacBook Pro computers.

Output power is always available if the Apple computer is connected to AC power or is running (even on battery). Output power can be used to power FireWire hubs and devices such as disk drives and audio break-out boxes that operate within the limits of the computer’s FireWire port.

Apple computers with multiple ports pass externally-provided power between the ports.

Power safety
FireWire on Apple computers includes self-resetting overcurrent and fault protection circuits. If your device cannot be powered from FireWire or unexpectedly shuts down, it may be due to a device fault or a faulty cable. If this occurs, disconnect the device immediately.

Repeater function
The built-in repeater functionality on Apple computers with two or more ports allows FireWire data to pass between external devices through the computer. This repeater functionality is available even when the computer is in sleep mode or turned off, provided that it is connected to AC power. On a portable computer running on battery, in sleep mode, or powered off, the repeater functionality is provided if at least one FireWire device supplies power to the computer via the FireWire cable.

FireWire Cables
You can purchase FireWire cables at many electronics stores. Depending on the manufacturer, they may be called IEEE 1394 cables or another brand-specific name.

Cables come in many lengths and with various plug options. Standard lengths are 70 cm (2 feet), 2 m (6.5 feet), and 4.5 m (15 feet). The maximum supported cable length is 4.5 meters (15 feet). Cables come with 4-pin, 6-pin, and 9-pin plugs. Cables with 6-pin or 9-pin connectors carry power and data from one device to another. Four-pin cables carry data only.

Mac computers with FireWire ports may provide 6- or 9-pin ports. 6-pin ports support 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, and 400 Mbps speeds (referred to as s100, s200 and s400 respectively). 9-pin ports also support the 800 Mbps speed (referred to as s800). This speed is used only when the cable has a 9-pin plug at each end.

Last Modified: May 31, 2012
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  • Last Modified: May 31, 2012
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