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Disk Utility Does Not Recognize My iFixit Replaced 160GB Hard Drive

My G4 suddenly decided its hard drive was unrecogizable. I figured it had died the death, went to ifixit for a new one and got busy. Today was replacement day and I thought everything had gone well. But neither the computer nor the Disk Utility on my MacOSX install disk can locate the replacement for formatting, or any other, purposes. One "answer" is that new replacement hard drive from ifixit is also dead, but that is something I admit is a bit hard to get my head around. If I connect my storage hard drive to the computer and select one of my backup hard drives the G4 computer does not seem to know the difference; i.e. if runs well. It just does not seem interested in any of the hard drives INSTALLED in it. Any thoughts?

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All three of these responses sure seem reasonable to me. After I've verified that the ata controller is working I'll attempt to remove and replace the cable that everyone seems to think COULD be at the bottom of the problem. Awesome input from an awesome iFixit forum! And I do intend to leave a comment if I've been able to successfully resolve this problem. Thank you all!

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Let's see, after my laptop stopped acknowledging that it HAD a hard drive, so far I have replaced a working hard drive, replaced the laptop's hard drive cable connecting it to the logic board and still I am no closer to having a laptop that works the way it should. Actually, it was a used unit and always did have a "life" of its own. The fact that, using an external hard drive as the Startup Disk, allows it to function more or less "normally" in probably as good as this laptop will ever have it. At this point I'm considering permanently removing the laptop's hard drive and HD cable, just ending the charade for now and seeing what, if any, options exist in the future. Gotta know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em.

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Simply replace the cable that connect the HD to the logic board. Remove the cable and google the number written on it and you'll find the right cable online.

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lemerise: In the light of day, your answer is looking pretty GREAT! After I make sure the CD.DVD drive is operating as Josh suggested, and assuming I can locate this cable, it sounds doable. Thank you very much for this input, which will hopefully remove this computer from the "doorstop"/E-waste" category and return it to being a useful tool!

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At the end of the day, in my case this turned out to be the wishful-thinking solution. The cable in question was easy enough to identify, easy enough to purchase (as a USED item ONLY) and, after everything else I'd been through, certainly easy enough to install. Unfortunately the final result was unsuccessful. It could be the USED cable was "toast," or the new hard drive I'd ordered and installed when I thought laptop's hard drive had gone south arrived in a defective state (how likely was that?), but after all this effort all these replace parts accomplished was the same lack of recognition of any hard drive installed in this computer. Ouch... So I'll operate it for a while with an external hard drive, if that will work, and see whether any other Great Ideas come to mind. At this point in time I am still operating under the assumption that the core "basics" of the unit are operational and, for some mysterious reason, there is a brand new "disconnect" between the guts and any hard drive I install.

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Sorry that the repair did not work. We usually have known working spare parts to troubleshoot this kind of problem and that was not the case for you so it's hard to give a diagnosis but we can now presume that your IDE controller or the logic board HD socket is the culprit. Maybe you could check on ebay until you find a working logic board at a reasonable price and from a reputable seller that offers a refund if the board is not fully working. Another solution would be to use the optical drive IDE controller to connect an internal HD. The sata adapter assy exist for the macbook line but I don't know if there's one IDE for the powerbook line. All it would take is a special cable that could connect the internal HD to the optical drive socket. Anyone knows if this adapter exist ?

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Your ata controller or cable could be faulty. There are enclosures to connect internal hard drives externally through usb: one of these may be able to verify whether the drive is dead or your computer's connection to it is the issue.

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Derek:

Good answer! The drive I just pulled out of the G4 is now connected to another computer through a "Universal Drive Adapter" and working perfectly. Sounds like my computer's connection to the hard drive has bought-the-farm. Now I'll be trying to find out whether ifixit has a "fix" for that problem that I can attempt to fix. Now that I'm this far into the matter, another "clue" that something was going was that starting up this G4 was always a bit of an "adventure." I has bought it (well) used on eBay and when I pressed the start button it was always a question of whether it would start normally or require a re-boot. But if it started normally, and when it was running correctly, it was as good as any decent old computer could be expected to be. The goal now will be to make it work and be more reliable. Thank you for your input.

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Does the optical drive work when you boot from an external drive? If the CD/DVD drive still works, then it could just be a cable issue. If it doesn't work then it's definitely the ATA controller.

In that case, you'd have to replace the logic board. Logic boards aren't cheap and would probably cost you as much as the eBay purchase price. I've seen some repair centers that can fix component-level issues like that, but that's beyond my knowledge.

Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

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Josh:

Thank you for the input. I'll take a shot at your potential diagnosis tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the CD/DVD drive still work. Any idea how I find out how to fix the "cable issue?" This seems beyond iFixit, so probably beyond me. Would an Apple repair shop be able to cope with a "cable issue" if I provided them with a description of all the stuff that IS STILL WORKING" I'm hard core, but this one is close to my limit. Thank you for any additional thoughts you may have.

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Michael Russo will be eternally grateful.
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