Mid 2009 Model A1278 / 2.26 or 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo processor EMC 2326

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Hard-drive not recognised. Drive and cable good. Logic board failure?

I recently got the flashing on-screen grey question mark problem with my device failing to boot up. I booted up from the Snow Leopard DVD and found that my hard-drive was not appearing in Disk Utility. I transferred the hard-drive to my wife's 2012 MacBook Pro, which could read the drive without any problem, but my 2009 MacBook Pro could not read hers. I also tried switching the hard-drive cables between the Macs and found that the 2012 MacBook Pro could read the the hard-drives using the cable from my 2009 MacBook Pro. (I would have checked the 2012 cable on my 2009 MacBook Pro too, but the cable's too short.)

It seems to me that my hard-drive and the hard-drive cable are both fine. Does this mean that the logic board is wrecked, or is there something else I should check?

Many thanks


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I agree with your assesment -Logic board - maybe just the connector for the ribbon cable. A small electronics shop may be able to determine if it's a cold (cracked) solder joint and repair it. I would not advise attempting to solder a logic board unless you have a lot of experience.

The DIY fix would be a complete logic board replacement. . . that's an advanced DIY project. Study the guide before you begin.

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Thanks for the advice, Machead. Looks like the logic board is kaput and it would be £400 for a replacement. Doesn't seem worth it considering it would be going in a laptop that's over four years old, and considering that my wife isn't exactly a power user. Time to become a one-mac household.

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Part out this machine - take that $ and get a "new used" Mac.


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For what it's worth, I own a 13 inch mid 2009 (version 5.5 for Apple Hardware Test), that did not boot anymore, but the harddisk did show, after numerous checks with fsck_hfs (Apple's version on 10.9.2): same result hardware faillure.

I then installed the harddrive in a SATA to USB converter, attached it to Ubuntu Linux 12.04, used the linux implementation of hfs (hfs+ is not a 'real' filesystem' is some sort of 'container' of which a lot remains very mysterious). After numerous attempts (extra hurdles: NO WRITE error, ownership, ...) I was able to mount the filesystem without any problem.

I then cloned the whole disk (not only the partition with OS X on it), but also the 'hidden' recovery folder and EFI etc... to a brand new Toshiba (without Apple logo). Guess what: It was broken (hardware faillure) :-) Does not make any sense at all but anyway.

Then I repeated all steps, booted from a 10.9.2 external USB drive with OSX on it, ran DiskWarrior (google that) from there, important thing here is patience. I can take up to 10 minutes before the 'broken' disk is accessible. DiskWarrior fixed my invalid CHS, B-Node, etc etc etc, after which I did a double verify and check permissions.

Then I did all of the above (without the cloning) on the original disk and all is working again as well.

I can't make anything out of it, it took ages (literally I don't know +100 hours in total?) but I was to stubborn to pay for yet another 'designed to break' issue. And in this case there wasn't even one single piece of hardware that was broken.

While doing this, I discovered some very interesting material on the 'hidden' recovery partition which is used nowadays (internet recovery), two iso files that allowed me to do really crazy things when used with the correct hardware (Apple external DVD drive) on non Apple equipment.

I'm doing further analysis of the cloned drives (I kept one of them) but with having +25 years experience in ICT, this is one of the most 'strange' things I have ever seen (as a whole)

Don't take every error message for granted, that my conclusion. Read on HFS, educate yourself, all the info is on the internet, somewhere :-)

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Andy will be eternally grateful.
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