Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Invisible drives in High Sierra

History. MacBook Pro acquired with fault, flashing folder on boot up - will only boot from original 500MB hard drive in external caddy via USB. When connected to internal SATA cable HDD is not detected by OS.

Action. Purchase logic board to SATA HDD cable twice - neither of which made any difference. Purchase SATA 3 120GB SSD, install as primary drive - not detected. Clone new SSD into boot disk put in USB caddy - OS detects external SSD and boots up. Replace DVD drive on MBP with caddy - install original 500 GB HDD as secondary drive and SSD in primary drive - neither are detected by OS. Run ADS from OS (logic board diagnosis) result was no problems found.

Overview. Not faulty SATA ribbon cable. Not faulty HDD or SSD. Logic board appears to be working (flashing folder detected and ADS diagnosis).

Any thoughts?

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Did you format the drives GUID, MacOSX ?

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Many thanks for your assistance. I'm almost certain I did correctly formatted the SSD and HDD. If not I wouldn't think they would work as external boot disks. My next course of action is to retrace my steps to ensure I haven't missed anything. If not, the only option after this is to replace the logic board from a donor machine. Again, thanks for your advice.

Eric

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Fact that you see the flashing folder does not imply that the hard disk I/O is working, it shows up anyways.

It seems all testing you've done hints only to a fault in the logic board unfortunately, no other explanation left that I can think of.

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Thanks for your comment. The answer, I suspect is to replace the logic board, although I am puzzled why this didn't show up in ADS. I will wait until I find a suitable machine to part out and swap the logic board. Thanks again for your help.

Eric

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@emf555 Logic board can be repaired too, since it's still an expensive logic board it would be a cheaper alternative than a full replacement.

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What does Disk Utility show you when you boot up under an external drive with either the HDD or SSD connected in the HD bay?

If it doesn’t show up then I would inspect the logic board HD SATA connector. If it does then you may have been lucky to get two bad cables or you may have damaged them in the process of installing them.

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Thanks for your comment. Internal disks are notionally seen in disk utility, for example as disk 0 but no info is given and the actions are greyed out. The second SATA cable I installed was brand new with the sticking tape attached. I bought one with the bracket attached as I thought this was a potential weak spot. When I get chance I will check with a multi-meter. I am going to go through the process of repair again in case I missed something. If not I will wait until I find a cheap machine with a broken display and swap the logic board. Again, thanks fot your advice.

Eric

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Lets try one more thing here before we throw the towel in:

You stated you cloned your drives. Lets try the better method as I've also encountered issues using cloning software. Using your booting drive, download if you don't have it the MacOS OS installer from the App Store or go to this site to get the release you want. I would recommend sticking with Sierra as the highest version. If you go with High Sierra the OS installer will upgrade the file system to APFS which you really don't want at this time (Apple still as some issues with it on SATA drives). This time delete your current partition on your replacement drive and run the OS installer it will walk you through setting up the drive and install the OS. At the end it will give you the option to migrate (a.k.a a method of cloning) or you can run Migration Assistant later, it will allow you to move your user accounts, apps & data from your old drive over. As this is an Apple tool it won't mess you up!

I would still try replacing the cable once more! If you have any issues during the proper OS install as that would be the only thing left. I had a run of bad cables about a year ago so its possible you got stung.

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Eric Fagan will be eternally grateful.
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