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I have the same problem. The battery is charged, but the camcorder will only work while plugged in. It worked for a while on the 1st day, Christmas, then it would only turn on while plugged into the charger and would stay on after charger was disconnected. Today it will only stay on if plugged into charger.
Simply remove the tape from the camcorder, and it should stay on. If you have a tape in the camera, the auto-shutoff is activated assuming you wish to record to the tape, regardless of the firewire connection to your PC.