Fire-i digital camera
When I try to use my Fire-i™ Digital Camera on Mac OS X Jaguar or later I get a “camera in use” message.
Make sure you are only using the native Mac OS drivers for the camera and not the IOXpert drivers that come on the CD.
The Fire-i™ camera does not work with the new Apple iChat™ AV. What can I do?
Please uninstall any third party drivers and use the native Apple OS X (10.2.5 or later) firewire camera drivers.
I have purchased a Fire-i™ Digital Camera recently for my Mac and I keep getting a pop-up message that the driver will expire in 30min unless I purchase it. Do I have to purchase the drivers?
No, you do not need to purchase any extra drivers as the Fire-i camera is natively supported under OS X.
In case you want to use alternative firewire camera drivers, please visit IOXperts web site.
I have a PowerBook G3 with built-in FireWire and the capture window displays green noise at the bottom of the window. The rest of the window has diagonal black lines. What can I do?
At this time there is an incompatibility between all Texas Instruments based web cams (including the Fire-i™ Digital Camera) and the built-in FireWire port on a PowerBook G3 (Pismo) laptops made before June/July of 2000. PowerBook G3 (Pismo) laptops made after July of 2000 used a different chip, which corrected this issue. The only workaround is to use a FireWire CardBus card, to attach the Fire-i™ Digital Camera to it, and to provide separate DC power to the camera (see #12).
I cannot get iMovie™ to capture video through my Fire-i™ Digital Camera. What can I do?
The iMovie™ software only supports a limited DV format that is available from DV camcorders. iMovie™ does not support the video formats that are available from the (YUV 4:1:1, YUV 4:2:2, YUV 4:4:4, and RGB 24-bit formats). Software that support the Fire-i™ Digital Camera are: btv™ & btv™ Pro, QuickTime Broadcaster 6™, etc.
Can I use the Fire-i™ Digital Camera for video-conferencing?
Yes, Fire-i™ Digital Camera is compatible with most of video conferencing applications, like Netmeeting™, Yahoo Messenger™, Windows Messenger™, MSN Messenger™, CuWorld™, ICUII™, while a full version of the ISPQ™ application is included with every Fire-i™ digital camera.
Does the Fire-i™ Digital camera have a built-in microphone?
Not at this time. However, it does operate and record with any audio input that is available on your system, including microphone input.
How can I uninstall the IOXperts drivers of the Fire-i™ Digital Camera from my Mac OS X system
To remove the IOXperts drivers from your system, you must do the following:
- Disconnect the camera and log-off
- Log-on as root (or su). Please make sure you know the root password (or that you have enabled the root account from the Mac OS X boot CD-ROM) before you proceed
- Go to
/Library/Application Support folder and delete the IOXperts” folder
- Go to
/Library/Components/and delete the “
IOXperts Unibrain Fire.Component” driver
- Finally, go to
/Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Supportfolder and delete the “
USERNAMEis the user account under which you’ve made the drivers installation)
- Restart your Mac.
How do I attach the tripod to the camera?
The pictures below illustrate a demonstration of inserting the tripod adapter:
I get a blurred image from the camera. How do I get a clear image?
The camera has manual focus. You should adjust the focus appropriately, by turning the silver-colored focus ring around the lens to the left/right until you get a clear image.
I am running OS X and I get an error “Could not initialize the video hardware” when running an application (like iVisit™) that accesses my Fire-i™ Digital Camera.
This is often caused by software that runs in “Classic Mode” meaning that it starts up OS 9 while still running OS X. (iVisit for the moment, does not have a native X version available).
If you run a program and it starts up Classic Mode it will not be able to access our camera. You need to download an updated version of the software you are using that will run natively in OS X. Currently the only video conferencing software that runs natively in OS X is ISPQ™, which is included with each Fire-i™ Digital Camera
What is the maximum distance that I can have my Fire-i™ Digital Camera connected from the PC/Mac?
The longest available cable currently is 10m (33 feet). You can prolong this distance with other cables by using repeaters (such as the FireRepeater 400™)
The maximum recommended total distance is 72 m (240 feet). In case your camera is not displaying properly at that distance it means most probably that there is not enough power to feed all the devices, or that you have to compensate the power drop in the cables. You can solve this by applying one or several of following solutions:
- connect a DC adapter to the camera itself, or to the closest camera in the chain that has a DC in connector
- connect a DC adapter the closest repeater in the chain
- connect the internal 4 pin POWER terminal of the closest host adapter card directly to the power supply of its computer
Does the Fire-i™ Digital Camera support Linux?
We do not include Linux drivers for the Fire-i™ Digital Camera. However, you can find generic drivers for 1394 digital cameras in the latest Linux Kernels. For more information, please visit the Linux-1394 web site: http://ieee1394.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Main_Page.
I cannot get my Fire-i™ Digital Camera to work through an otherwise functioning FireWire CardBus card in my notebook (PC or Mac).
The Fire-i™ Digital Camera is generally powered from the FireWire bus. Because the CardBus slot does not supply power to the FireWire bus, an external source for power must be used. The Fire-i™ camera has a special jack input that can accept any 8 – 30V DC adapter
What are the power requirements of my Fire-i™ Digital Camera?
Nominal power requirement of Fire-i™ Digital Camera is 0.9 Watt during operation. In usual power supply conditions of the FireWire bus, this corresponds to a maximum operating current of 85 mA
What DC Adapter is suitable for my Fire-i™ Digital Camera?
You need a DC adapter with stable regulated output voltage, minimum requirements 8 to 30V DC, 100 mA. But as it will power not only the camera, but the full 1394 connection and any other device you may add on it, we strongly recommend to select a model of at least 12VDC, 1 A or best 15VDC, 1.5A. To match camera DC input connector, adapter jack plug must have following dimensions and polarity:
Do I have to install the IOXperts drivers in Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)?
No. Fire-i™ digital camera is natively supported in Mac OS X 10.2. This means that Mac OS X 10.2 has built-in drivers that work with Fire-i™ Digital Camera and you do not need to install the IOXperts driver provided with the Fire-i™ Digital Camera.
You can use right away any application that supports IIDC 1.04 compliant 1394 digital cameras, like btv™ & btv™ Pro, ISPQ™ and QuickTime 6™.
Can I use my Fire-i™ Camera with Yahoo! Messenger™, ver. 7.0?
Of course you can use your new camera with Yahoo Messenger™ 7.0.
- If you are running OS 9 or OS X up to ver. 10.1.5 you can use the IOXperts driver that ships with your camera
- If you are running OS X 10.2 you can use either the IOXperts driver or the built in driver of the OS
On Mac OS X 10.2.x (Jaguar™) my Fire-i™ Digital Camera does not work with Yahoo Messenger.
In some cases we have found that Yahoo® Messenger Video Broadcast will not work under the current Account that is logged onto the Jaguar™ system. The current fix is to create a new Account: In System Preferences click on Accounts then click on the New User button.
While I try to install the IOXperts drivers for OS X, I receive the following error message: “Error creating folder 1008:9, Acess denied error” and “You do not have enough access privileges for this installation” What can I do?
The problem is because of some changes that Apple has introduced in OS X regarding access permissions for system critical files, like drivers. To resolve this problem, do the following:
- First of all make sure you have administrative rights
- Open a Terminal window and type the following command: sudo chmod 775 /Library/Components
- You can now proceed with the installation of the drivers.
Alternatively, you can download the latest version of the IOXperts drivers (1.06 or later) which resolves this problem:
I am using Melcam surveillance software and as soon as I enable “security” and use the motion alarm feature, at the instant that motion is sufficient to set off the alarm, Windows will report an “Access violation” in a memory address, and the application freezes.
To avoid this problem, go to “
Log Recording” and uncheck the option to “
Save as motion JPEG” (provided you have enabled the option “
Save captured images to hard drive“).
Does Fire-i™ Camera support AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)?
While AIM does not have an integrated video-conferencing application, it “calls” Windows NetMeeting which is fully compatible with the Fire-i™ camera.
I have trouble operating my firewire camera under Windows 7.
Using our Fire-i software instllation that is based on Microsoft’s driver stack you may not be able to get the desired frame rate, supported by the camera. This is because the native Microsoft 1394 driver in Windows 7 suffers from some known performance and stability issues.
Reverting to the ‘legacy’ 1394 driver may resolve those problems. In this link you will find instructions on how to enable this legacy driver in your system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4JfbDW6AtI.
Alternatively, you can replace Microsoft’s 1394 drivers with our 1394 driver stack for greater stability and performance. For using our 1394 driver stack you should download and install ubCorePRO™ available on our download site.
Are Unibrain’s Fire-i™ drivers compatible with DirectShow?
Yes. But DirectShow does not support the control of all official IIDC 1394 camera functions. For those functions, Unibrain has therefore provided proprietary replacement interfaces. A detailed explanation is provided in the following downloadable document .
What is the best recommended application programming method for the developer of an imaging application?
Unibrain Fire-iAPI™ provides a C++ class (FiCamera) that abstracts most of DirectShow programming and offers an easy access to Fire-i™ drivers. Its use will avoid the user all the intricacies of COM and DirectShow interface programming.
How can I best handle multiple cameras with Unibrain’s Fire-i™ application ?
Depending on your 1394 networking configuration and on your system resources, Unibrain’s Fire-i™ application and corresponding Fire-iAPI™ can handle multiple cameras for control, display and picture recording.
Here is how to proceed…
- Check for 1394 bandwidth availability
- For every camera, you can compute the percentage of isochronous 1394 bandwidth it requires on the bus, and add until an absolute maximum of 100%, using the following downloadable document
- check for the maximum number of receive DMA channels of your 1394 interface. One channel is needed by camera
- Should you run out of bandwidth or DMA channels, you can add another 1394 interface to your system. It will create a new 1394 bus. The Fire-i™ application will handle transparently all connected cameras, even spread on different busses
- If you have other uses of FireWire, like for networking (FireNet™) or SBP2 (external FireWire Hard Disks), DO NOT CONNECT on the same interface board as used for cameras
- Check that your PCI bus will never overload, considering your other system loads. Consider 40 Mbytes/s additional load per 1394 interface used for cameras, taken out of the total of 133 Mbytes/s (typical 33MHz 32 bits PCI)
- If you display the camera pictures, avoid PCI-type Graphic Display Adapters, you will double the PCI load
- If you record live picture on an archive resource, these should best not be interfaced through the PCI bus. This applies also for FireWire networking or FireWire external hard disks. If you do anyway, you must confirm that the PCI bus can accept the additional bandwidth of the streaming data transfer
- Reduce the processor load. Some easy rules improve significantly the system behavior, allowing you to handle more cameras
- Best display the live preview in default format on screen. Fire-i™ viewer windows allows you any resizing including full screen mode, but at the cost of processor computation
- Use overlay. At least one (and for some GDA, 2) camera can be displayed in overlay. Availability of overlay depends on your Graphic Adapter, and on its setting for resolution and refresh rate. 60 Hz refresh rate usually helps for overlay capability
- Optimize you Display Color Depth. You can reduce the load by appropriate selection between 16 bits and 32 bits color display
- If you need a live display only for monitoring purposes, Fire-i™ application offer an option to replace the camera icon by a miniature live picture
- If you record live picture, be aware that selecting a picture compressor may significantly load your processor. You gain on Hard Disk space, but you loose on performance
- For live recording, optimize your Hard Disk access
- Use the Fire-i™ option to preallocate the recording space. This will create a continuous unfragmented zone on the Hard Disk and avoid loosing any frames
- In case of multiple recordings, best use (if possible) multiple hard disks
- Check for 1394 bandwidth availability
Where can I find a driver for Linux?
You can find generic drivers for 1394 digital cameras in the latest Linux Kernels. For more information, please visit the Linux-1394 web site: http://ieee1394.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Main_Page
Where can I find a list with all supported cameras for Linux?
A complete official camera list can be found at
Is it possible to extend the maximum exposure of Fire-i digital camera / Fire-i board camera, beyond the 33 msec?
Fire-I Board cameras and Fire-I digital cameras support by default, and due to hardware limitation – a maximum exposure of 33 msec and a minimum of 292usecs.
If you are interested in astronomy and want to use the cameras for this kind of purpose, a bigger maximum exposure value is required.
The following web page describes the way to do this through hardware tweaking of the camera:
I have noticed that 1st bit in each frame captured from Fire-i board camera in Y-mono is always zero. Is this a software or hardware problem?
This is a hardware issue, actually a bug of the TI TSB15LV01 chipset, on which the Fire-i board cameras are based.
What happens is that Bit 1 is always zero (dead bit).
Texas Instruments is aware of this issue, but they are not planning to fix it since this chipset is intended for low cost cameras and even with 128 shades of grey, instead of 256, the image is shown properly and the camera can be used perfectly for machine inspection, image analysis etc.
I cannot use an IIDC camera with 3rd party applications on Windows XP while I am able to operate the camera normally through your Fire-i Application.
This is most probably caused by a recent update released by Microsoft; specifically update KB975560, released on 9th Feb 2010.
This update is known to cause problems on various DirectShow applications.
Our advice is to just uninstall it temporarily until Microsoft comes up with a new fix.
This problem occurs only on Windows XP SP2/SP3; not on Vista/Windows 7 operating systems.
When I start an industrial or board Pro Fire-i Camera on a Mac, I get a grey image.
Mac drivers do not read the settings the camera already has and consider these as default values, but they decide somehow on their own way a set of settings as default and they apply these settings to the camera that for the most, will result to grey image. Using IIDC cameras on windows, our application and for the most any IIDC camera application will leave the camera set to its default set of settings that already has and will not modify them.
So, you should simply set the camera to its actual default settings, and use these settings as a starting point. The parameters that should be set to their default value for Unibrain industrial cameras and Fire-i board Pro VGA/XGA, are the following:
1394a cameras 1394b cameras (except Fire-i 980) Fire-i 980 Shutter 1270 1270 1605 Gain 0 0 0 Black Level (Brightness) 490 512 512 Sharpness 550 10 10 Gamma 10 2 2