HDR-HC9 (2008). HDR-HC5, HDR-HC7 (2007). HDR-HC3 (2006). HDR-HC1 / HVR-A1 (2005).
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It's possible HDVSplit just doesn't work with avi/SD files. When your program doesn't see the cam, the problem is usually one of the two things you have already guessed -- either your firewire port is blown at one end or the other, or you have a settings mismatch. The first problem you have already fixed, and the way to prevent it from happening again is to always make sure everything is powered off completely when you plug or unplug everything. For the second problem, you always need to make sure that your capture/edit program is set to the same file type as your cam, i.e, everything is set to HDV, or everything is set to DV. This is the most common reason people can't capture and the program doesn't see the cam.