Word upfront

If you came here to find out what probably isn't the best shop to buy a Firewire-cable, I have to disappoint you. I won't mention the name of the company because everything (eventually) was taken care of like it should after sending a request to get my money-back.
Unfortunately, there is consequential damage, but the camera that got damaged is written out so that just is some bad luck.

A Firewire add-on card...

I bought a Firewire add-on card for my PC, a Dell Optiplex 990 in Slim Form Factor. Though Firewire is a rather old standard, I really needed it if I wanted to connect my videocamera to my computer.
Besides the add-on card, I bought a cable at the same German company.

Everything was delivered within a week and I started to install everything in the small Dell machine, which was a real party. You don't need any tools at all to get going.

After mounting the card, I booted my machine. Windows found it without troubles and I connected the Firewire cable.
The battery of the camera was drained, so I connected that to the mains power supply.

An intense smell...

Uitgebrand Firewire kaartje na aansluiten foutief bedrade kabel I turned the camera on and I connected the Firewire cable to the camera. Within a second, the typical smell of a semiconductor going up in smoke reached my nose.

I inhaled deeply above the camera, but I couldn't find a distinct smelly spot over there. When I got close to my PC, the smell became much stronger and by means of a great yank, I pulled the Firewire cable.

Without doubt I pulled the mains-plug from my PC in the same manner, as the smell was clearly originating from that place.

I removed the PC from it's support and removed the Firewire-card. I did not have to search for the problem for long...

Firewire kaartje na aansluiten foutief bedrade kabel What grabbed my attention was this interesting spot of the burned component.
The two PCB-traces you see, is one of two pairs of data-lines available per 9-pins Firewire connector. The remaining pins of these connecters carry power for connected equipment.

The burned component is a termination-circuit that decouples the datalines. The fact that this component went up in flames, proved that there had been a massive current through this device, through the datalines.

The only thing I could think of was a faulty-wired cable, as the camera had always worked flawless connected to a different computer.

I hoped that the remaining connector was still working, but the massive short had also reached the power-supply of the card. Just placing the card in the computer got some components to heat up to about 70 degrees, so the card was destroyed.

Finding the cause: measuring the cable

With a big document concerning 'The Firewire standard' found on the internet at hand, I grabbed the 9-pin to 4-pin Firewire cable and a multimeter with 2 very fine testpins.
I noted down the connections I found by continuity-testing the whole cable and what I found made me very sad.

De 9-pin naar 4-pin bedrading volgens standaard en volgens de verkeerd bedrade connector, na uitmeting met de multimeter Two data-pins of the 4-pin plug had been connected to the power-supply pins of the 9-pin connector.

If I had bought this cable in China for a dollar or something, I could have blamed myself, but this cable was bought at a German electronics-distributor with a good reputation.

Although it was cheap with 3,50 Euro, I did not pick it on price alone. It was one of the few 9-to-4 pin cables I could find.

I contacted the seller after my findings. I also sent a copy of the image on the right. The card and the cable were sent back by request without any additional cost. It has taken 6 months and multiple emails to the company to really get my money back.

Damage beyond the card

Fortunately, my computer survived this adventure.
Unfortunately, the Firewire-interface in the videocamera didn't live to see another day. I can plug it in and wait all I want, but the computer just doesn't see the camera. If I plug my brothers' camera in, it works flawless.