I own a Focusrite Saffire LE, which I use as my main sound card both for my home studio and playing gigs. I've been fairly happy with it and haven't really had any problems (although I had hoped owning a sound card with balanced outputs would have made for a hum/buzz free sound when playing on a large rig, but no…).
However, with a gig coming up I realised that I couldn't find the external power adaptor that came with the sound card. This was definitely a problem as the laptop only has 4-pin Firewire, which doesn't supply power unlike my desktop (probably why I keep misplacing the fecking power adaptor).
After quite a bit of searching around the house I just could not find it anywhere. The search was made more difficult by the number of other power adaptors that we have lying around the place and the fact that unlike pretty much any other piece of equipment I've ever owned, there is no mention of what voltage or wattage is required to power the Focusrite Saffire. Although at least it does state that it is "DC IN"
I searched on the Focusrite website to absolutely no avail. The best I could find was the following information:
Either via FIREWIRE or external PSU (included)
Brilliant. Thanks a lot Focusrite. I dug out the box that the unit came in. Nothing there either. The manual has little more to offer, and the back of the unit doesn't even display the usual polarity information.
I did a lot more searching round the web and the only mention I could find of voltage required was on remixmag, who stated:
The unit ships with a 6-foot FireWire cable and a 12V wall-wart power adapter for computers without FireWire bus power.
So I decided that this was good enough for me and I plugged in a variable power adaptor. It outputs between 3V and 12V DC with variable polarity. It seemed to work so I installed the drivers and plugged in everything. However unfortunately the connection kept being dropped and various channels on SaffireControl LE were going a bit bananas. So clearly that wasn't the right thing to be doing. I checked the polarity and it definitely needs to be the tip which is positive, not the sleeve. Looks like my problem might be something to do with the fact that my variable adaptor produced 300mA?!
Having had trouble with the variable power adaptor I tried using the power adaptor from my old M-Audio Firewire Audiophile. Joy! Success – it all worked perfectly.
I would like to take this opportunity to report the power requirements of the Focusrite Saffire LE, in case anyone else loses their power supply and needs help!
Focusrite Saffire LE – Power Supply Requirements (European Mains)
Input: 230V – 50Hz
Output: 12V – 1A
Polarity: Tip = Positive; Sleeve = Negative
The Focusrite site now states the power requirements as follows: 12v DC, 0.7A, centre pin positive.
However, having found the original power supply that came with my unit it does state: Output 12V – 1A, so I assume the unit can take a little extra or something.
I have sent an email to Focusrite asking them to respond to this.
17:04 // 10th July 2007: I have received a response from Mick on the Focusrite Support team stating that they have updated their specifications on the Saffire LE specifications page, and in addition they have added an article to the knowledge base on their website. Mick was apologetic for the delay in replying to my query and was very courteous. Good to see action being taken quickly and hopefully this will save anyone else hassle if they lose their power supply!