FireBoard Blue™ 1394a PCI adapter


FireBoard Blue™ 1394a PCI adapter

Fireboard-Blue™ is a fast and reliable digital interface card for all external FireWire-enabled devices. Now, Digital Cameras, Hard Drives, CD/DVD drives and Digital Camcorders can be connected to Fireboard-Blue™ in a snap.

Fireboard-Blue™ is a 3-port, single chip, OHCI-compliant 1394/FireWire® host adapter for PC systems that provides plug ‘n’ play connectivity for FireWire® devices and peripherals.

OS Supported :

  • Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 32/64 bit, Windows Server 2008/2012.
  • Mac OS X 10.4.x or later.
  • Linux

Part numbers:

  • Fireboard-Blue bulk: 1203
  • Retail Kit with 2m 1394a 6pin to 6pin cable: 1205
  • Fireboard-Blue with built-in FireAPI™/Fire-i API™ SDK license: 1705


The included metallic bracket of Fireboard-Blue can be changed to a low profile size corresponding to 2U height.


  • Texas Instruments TSB43AB23, integrated 1394 PHY/Link Controller.
  • 3 FireWire-400 ports with latch connector support.
  • OHCI compliant/Compatible with any FireWire device or peripheral.
  • 400Mbps – up to 50MB/sec data rates.
  • Internal big IDE power connector for additional power.
  • Supports repeater functionality.
  • Supports 100, 200 and 400 Mbps throughput.
  • Due to its 4 isochronous transmit/receive contexts the Fireboard Blue™ host adapter has the exceptional feature to simultaneously control and display up to 4 FireWire digital cameras.
  • Operating Temperature: 0~65′ C, Storage Temperature: -20 ~ 100′ C.
  • Humidity Operating : 0 ~ 80% RH, Non-condensing.

External Hard Drive

You can connect a multiple array of external FireWire devices such as CD-R/W or DVD drives easily. Just plug-in any SBP2 FireWire External Hard Drive to the installed Fireboard-Blue™ adapter and immediately add storage to your PC.
Fireboard-Blue has been thoroughly tested to operate seamlessly with a big range of External FireWire Hard Drives as well as any third party external storage devices.

Digital Cameras

Fireboard-Blue can connect up to 4 Digital Cameras in a peer-to-peer topology. Using Unibrain’s Fire-i™ Software you can connect up to 4 Fire-i™ cameras and simultaneously control and display all of them, thus providing the perfect monitoring home/office solution.

Digital Video

Simply connect any DV Camcorder to your PC via Unibrain Fireboard-Blue PCI Host Adapter. Capture, produce and share your digital video, with any digital video application from your PC.

IEEE-1394 PCI OHCI single chip Host Adapter Board

Unibrain’s FireBoard Blue™ Host Adapter brings high-performance IEEE-1394 technology to PCI systems. Based on the Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 device, an integrated 1394a-2000 OHCI PHY/link-layer controller, provides high performance serial connectivity. The TSB43AB23 is capable of transferring data between the 33-MHz PCI bus and the 1394 bus at 100Mbits/sec, 200Mbits/sec, and 400Mbits/sec. FireBoard Blue™ provides three 1394 ports that have separate cable bias (TPBIAS) and PCI bus master bursting, capable of transferring a cache line of data at 132Mbytes/sec after connection to the memory controller. Because PCI latency can be large, deep FIFOs are provided to buffer the 1394 data.


Integrated Physical Layer

  • Supports provisions of IEEE 1394-1995 Standard for High Performance Serial Bus and the P1394a Supplement 4.0
  • Fully interoperable with IEEE Std 1394-1995 devices
  • Three IEEE Std 1394a-2000 fully compliant cable ports at 100M bits/s, 200M bits/s, and 400M bits/s
  • Low-cost 24.576-MHz crystal provides transmit and receive data at 100M bits/s, 200M bits/s and 400M bits/s
  • Cable power presence monitoring
  • Separate cable bias (TPBIAS) for each port
  • Programmable node power class information for system power management
  • Fully Compliant P1394a 4.0 PHY register map

Link Layer and PCI Interface
Embedded 1394 Link Core

  • On-chip isochronous and asynchronous receive and transmit FIFOs
  • 4 isochronous transmit / receive contexts OHCI Compliant Programming Interface.
  • Compliant with 1394 OHCI Specifications v1.0 and v1.1.
  • Descriptor based isochronous and asynchronous DMA channels for receive / transmit packets 32-Bit Power-Managed PCI Bus Interface.
  • Compliant with PCI specification v2.2.
  • High-performance bus mastering support.
  • Compliant with PCI Bus Power Management Specification v1.1.

Configuration Serial EEPROM
Low Power Dissipation Circuitry
External power (+12V) connector

Operating Voltage

12V DC – CAUTION: additional power supply voltage on the Firewire bus should be equal to 12V

PCB Design

The FireBoard Blue™ card is a four-layer printed circuit PCI board. Two of the layers provide the signal interconnections (signal layers) while the remaining two layers provide the required power and ground interconnections (plane layers).

Performance Networking

The FireBoard Blue™ card has excellent performance as a network card used with Unibrain’s FireNet™ application.

Extensive tests have been performed using workstation PCs equipped with Pentium4 at 1,7GHz, with 256MB SDRAM, ASUS P4B 266-C motherboard and Western Digital 40GB HDs. TCP/IP protocol was used for the network interconnection of the PCs.

All the benchmarks were conducted in a Windows 2000 environment.

Two kinds of tests were performed :

  1. The first group of tests consisted of various real-time file copies between two computers. These tests demonstrated the real-life performance that a user can expect from the FireBoard Blue™ and FireNet™
  2. The other group of tests used network benchmark utilities (netio), which measure true network throughput without using the HDD

The results were as follows :

  1. Data transfer of real time copying of big files :
    • Read : (reading a big file from an other PC) : 20M bytes/sec
    • Write : (writing a big file to an other PC) : 21,5M bytes/sec
  2. netio: Two PCs in a point-to-point connection while netio[1] benchmark run in both machines. Netio networking benchmark for various file packet sizes:
[1] Netio can be obtained for free from:
Network Throughput
1k 27600 k
2k 30300 k
4k 32700 k
8k 34600 k
16k 40400 k
32k 41200 k

Digital Imaging

The FireBoard Blue™ has optimum performance when used to control and display IEEE-1394 digital cameras. Due to its four (4) isochronous transmit / receive contexts, provides the exceptional feature to control and display simultaneously up to four (4) IEEE-1394 digital cameras.

Extensive tests have been performed using one workstation PC equipped with Pentium 4 at 1,7GHz, with 256MB SDRAM, ASUS P4B 266-C motherboard and Western Digital 40GB HDs. All the configurations were conducted in the Windows 2000 environment using Unibrain’s Fire-i™ application. Moreover no external power was needed for the cameras or the FireBoard Blue™ cards.

  • Four (4) IEEE-1394 digital cameras (Unibrain’s consumer Fire-i™ cameras) connected to a PC equipped with the FireBoard Blue™. Three cameras started at YUV configuration 4:2:2, with resolution 320×240 at 30 frames per second (fps) and the forth camera started at the same resolution but with 3,75 fps. All cameras displayed simultaneously.
  • Four (4) IEEE-1394 digital cameras (Unibrain’s industrial Fire-i-400 cameras) connected to a PC equipped with the FireBoard Blue™. Three cameras started at YUV configuration 4:2:2, with resolution 320×240 at 30 frames per second (fps) and the forth camera started at the same resolution but with 3,75 fps. All cameras displayed simultaneously.
  • In one PC equipped with four (4) FireBoard Blue™ cards we connect four (4) cameras per card giving a total of 16 cameras per PC (4 industrial cameras Fire-i-400 and 12 consumer cameras Fire-i). All cameras started at YUV configuration 4:4:4, with resolution 160×120 at 30 frames per second (fps) and all cameras displayed simultaneously.

EMI, EMC testing

FireBoard Blue™ OHCI has successfully passed the EN 55022 (Emissions Environment) and EN 55024 (Immunity Environment) EMI test procedures. Subsequently, this product is fully CE compliant and assigned with the CE mark. Moreover the board is FCC compliant.

R : Required, T : Tested

R T Test Description Standard
X X Conducted emissions EN 55022
X X Radiated emissions EN 55022
X X Electrostatic discharges EN 61000-4-2
X X Radiated E.M. fields EN 61000-4-3
X X Fast transient burst (EFT) EN 61000-4-4