Released June 2012, Model A1278. Intel processor with Turbo Boost, Up to 512 MB DDR5 Video RAM

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Hard Drive SATA cable failing related to the battery brackets?

I have had 2 MacBook Pro Unibody laptops, an early 2011, and currently a mid 2012 which I purchased in Sept 2015. Both have had the main hard drive cable fail. The 2011 waited about 2 years before it went and the 2012 went in just over a year.

I bought a replacement cable from iFixit and installed it. It lasted a few weeks and died also. I contacted iFixit and found out that somehow the battery being loose affects the integrity of the cable, yet from what I can tell, there is no way for the battery to come even close to the cable.

I spent several hours researching and browsing the web and forums to see what this might have to do with it. I found nothing!!

The most I could find was that Apple quietly updated the cable. But, that hasnt helped at all. I did read that their might be sharp edges that are cutting the insulation on the cable. I heard that the putting extra insulation around the cable might help.

Does anyone have any insight as to why this cable fails, why the battery might be involved, and what can be done to prevent this from getting worse?

Thanks all in Advance

Edit: The 2011 has been fixed and sold. it was actually that machine that introduced me to the world of failed SATA cables.

Edit 2: This is what my computer looks like inside. I do not see the metal tab that @danj is talking about. I would agree that the optical drive is probably more of an issue than the battery. I did insulate the edges around the step yesterday when I installed the warranty cable too.

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Apple will replace the cable on the 2012 13" for free. Best to go to an ASP for this rather than an Apple outlet as Apple pays them to do the repair. The battery has nothing to do with it. Look at the cable where it comes over the last step. The bottom hit it and damages it. When you take the 2012 in for the free replacement, ask to buy another one and put it in your 2011. Put some kind of pads on either side of the cable so the bottom will not hit it.

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I talked to Apple about it and got the runaround due to being a couple weeks out of warranty. Finally got them to agree to replace the cable, took it to my local AARC, who refused to replace the cable, even though I replicated the issue with several drives. He claimed that he could not justify replacing the cable since his "Apple Authorized" hard drive worked fine for his tests.

The 2011 is gone. I sold it a couple years ago.

I was wondering about the battery bracket issue as that was something iFixit customer service said was related to the cable issue when I called in for a replacement cable

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I never heard anything about a battery bracket. I have no idea of what they are referencing. Just who did you talk to? iFixit sells parts, that doesn't mean they know anything about actually repairing Macs. They leave that to the professionals. BTW The free cable Apple is replacing with is part number 604-07597. It does not have the flaw of the original ones. So if you have to buy one from them, it is not worth the grief.

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Ill be sure to check that out!!

I heard about the battery brackets being an issue from iFixit customer service. They said that they had seen a direct correlation between battery brackets breaking and the cables failing... still sounds odd to me though..

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Any idea of who you talked to or what a battery bracket is on this model?

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@mayer - I think they maybe talking about the mid plane black plastic clips (2) the cover snaps into (on the 15" models), they also act as a spacer so when the lid depresses it damages the cable if the clip is missing or damaged. Here's an image where you can see it: Clip is just above the Red marked screw. On the 13" models I've also started adding a piece of foam tape to the cover where the drives metal bar hits as well as on the battery near the logic board connection point to help lessen the impact.

I've raped all of my junkers now for the clip and for now I'm moving the good clip to the HD side if its damaged. I'm hoping I can get someone with a 3D printer to make a replacement one (better of course) so far no luck ;-{

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@dchargerfan - Mike, You appear not to be using the primary HD bay which was the cable we've been speaking about.

In addition the tab I was speaking about is the right across the battery pull in your image, and if you scan up you'll find the HD mount bracket which is the location the cable gets damaged (HD not optical) and is the location point I pad the lid (not the clip).

But you have another issue here which you may have missed. If you review the OWC Data Doubler notes at the bottom you'll see this:

  • "MacBook Pro 13" models: Apple does not support the use of 6Gb/s drives in the optical bay. While we have observed a high rate of success using SATA 3.0 6Gb/s drives in Apple 13" bays where 6Gb/s link is present, some systems may not operate properly with this setup. For guaranteed reliability/compatibility, we suggest 6Gb/s drives be used in the main drive bay only, and 3Gb/s hard drives or SSDs be used in the optical bay when a two-drive configuration is desired. We cannot guarantee proper or successful 6Gb/s drive operation in the Apple MacBook Pro 13" optical bay."

While the Samsung SSD is a great SSD it won't work in the optical bay. You see, it is not a FIXED SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive which is what you require here. Auto speed sense technology used by the HD & SSD makers can't match up with the systems SATA speed as the controller chip in this series is in-between SATA II & SATA III.

You'll need to find a FIXED SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) SSD to go into the optical bay. In addition I should point out the optical bay does not have HD crash guard protection (only the HD bay does) so if you are thinking on putting in a HD here you'll need to be careful! As moving the system while the disk is still spinning can crash it.

Update (12/06/2016)

MacBook Pro 13" "Mid 2009" "Early 2010" "Early 2011" "Late 2011" and "Mid 2012"

  • Model ID / Info: Learn how to find your Mac's Model ID
  • MacBookPro5,5 | 2.26GHz, 2.53GHz
  • MacBookPro7,1 | 2.4GHz, 2.66GHz
  • MacBookPro8,1 | 2.3GHz, 2.7GHz (See special notes for details)
  • MacBookPro8,1 | 2.4GHz, 2.8GHz (See special notes for details)
  • MacBookPro9,2 | 2.5GHz, 2.9GHz

As you can see the MacBookPro9,2 is listed as having issues with SATA III devices in the optical drive bay.

Yes, I paste the foam on the lid just across the black HD frame to protect the HD cable. That bracket is the most for the drive not the cable it just sneaks between it and the optical drive (your OWC adapter now). Review this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2012 Hard Drive Replacement jump to Step 5 for reference.

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Ok, I'm starting to see what you mean. I believe you are referring to the edge where the sata ribbon cable steps up and is screwed into the top cover under the bracket that secures the main drive in place? and you pad the case there, or do you put the foam between the battery and the bottom cover/lid?

Also, the compatibility notes from which you pulled the quote specifically refer to the 2011 models (8,1; 8,2; 8,3), and I can verify this as I did have this installed and was only able to negotiate a SATA 2 3gbps link speed. My current machine is a 2012 model (9,2) and has been functioning perfectly with the Samsung 850 EVO in the Data Doubler, and this has been the only way I can reliably use my MacBook for months. I will not be installing a spinning drive ever as I enjoy my longer battery life and increased durability from not having a spinning disk, and oh its so much quieter too!

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Per Other World Computing Support:

Department: Macsales.com Customer Service and Sales (24/7)

Full Name: Michael Gipson

Operator: Joe M

10:58:56 Your Question: Is the OWC Data Doubler for MacBooks compatible with a Sata 3 interface in the 2012 MacBook ID 9.2? Im hearing that it is not, but based on your website, it is. Only the 2011 models have issues with the link speed correct?

10:58:56 Please wait and one of our operators will be with you shortly.

10:59:08 Joe M: Thank you for contacting us. One moment please, while I look into your question.

10:59:08 You are now chatting with Joe M (Technical Customer Service Representative) - Macsales.com Customer Service and Sales (24/7)

10:59:59 Joe M: Hello Michael, there would be no issues with the Data Doubler and the MacBookPro9,2.

11:00:35 Joe M: Only the 8,* series (2011 models) have issues with the link speed.

Just messaged them. I think you may want to peruse their site again. Check the special notes ;)

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And you're putting the foam on the top of the bracket between the bracket and the bottom cover correct?

Mine already has several foam pieces along that edge.

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The placement of the foam is on the inside surface of the bottom cover when the HD bracket meets up with it. You should see some rubbing on the cover where the bracket has been hitting to help in its placement.

We'll as far as using a SATA III drive in the optical career we gave up doing it as it was not reliable. I have about 20 frames sitting in a drawer ;-}

The text on the web site is correct (see for your self its very clear) I don't know why the tech you spoke to said otherwise.

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Mike Gipson will be eternally grateful.
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