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Early 2011 model, A1278 / 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz i7 processor.

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No hard drive detected after reading every post in here

Macbook Pro being refurbed, everything is filthy on this unit. I bought it auction, like a lot of my refurbs. This one has me stumped and may have me reaching for solder. I did take solvent electronic cleaner and a toothbrush to the board, last night and cleaned all the contacts with alcohol. So, I’m pretty convinced it’s not a contact issue. The drive is spinning, so it’s not a power issue. Convinced it’s data not being transferred for some reason.

I’ve tried 3 cables, 3 hard drives (all known working), the masking tape trick, the insulating trick. Still no hard drive detected. Reset the NVRAM and SMC (never really sure if I’m actually doing this, no way to tell) by removing battery, holding down the power key, and by the SCOP method. Shift, Control, Option, Power with unit off and unpowered, and with unit connected to power. Still no hard drive.

I’m assuming it’s the controller on the motherboard? Or the cap? I ordered a kit to mod the superdrive into a hard drive. I just like to move these, and enjoy learning as I go.

Any suggestions you don’t see, I’m wide open to. Is there a Linux command to reset the SMC? I always wondered that?

Oh, by the way, I bought your tweezer kit, the best set I’ve ever owned!

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So, I decide to try the brand new cable that I had tried before with no luck. Before I connected it, I lowered my magnifier light down into the board connector. Lightly went over each line of connectors. Maybe light corrosion? Lightly used a toothbrush to clean connectors, plugged the new cable back in, accept this time, it felt more like a snap then a subtle push. It was connected before, but never really snapped. Put the drive in with the unit on it's side. Put el cap boot disk in, the disk shows up. I changed the date in terminal, so el cap would go. Just a worn corroded connector? I checked it so many times. Just goes to show, never give up and listen to these guys!! Thanks

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No Linux or Windows commands. All you have are the Startup commands which work across all OS’s as they are all based within the EFI (BIOS) Mac startup key combinations

I think you’ll need to test the system using an external MacOS bootable drive. Do you have access to a second Mac to use to create it?

I would recommend you setup a bootable Sierra drive. Download this OS installer How to upgrade to macOS Sierra Jump down to Step 4, click on the Blue Download macOS Sierra URL link to get the needed file. The reason you want this one than what you may already have has to to to an expired certificate issue Apple created If you've got an old macOS install image, it will probably stop working today

Using your other Mac format a USB thumb drive with GUID Journaled file system, then launch the installer to prep the drive with the OS, When done, copy over the installer onto it so you have it when you use it to boot up your system.

Reference the “Mac startup key combinations” for the commands. Here we’ll use the Option (⌥) key to gain access to the Startup Manager so we can select the external drive.

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I have been booting to a usb, high sierra usb drive. It boots fine. Run disk utility, no internal disk. Tried recovery mode, too. No disk shows up to install. It's the original toshiba plate drive that shipped with it. Probably why it ended up at auction. Tried single user, no help. Tried D mode, to run diagnostics, nowhere to run it from. I do have a 2015 mbp. I checked all 3 hd's I've tried to get to work and they show up fine in external mode on the 2015. So, to me, not cable, not drive power, it's not passing data. I haven't had this issue, before. I insulated the cable with electrical tape, cleaned the board connector. I don't see any physical or liquid damage to the board. I've loaded dozens of refurbs with this jump drive. So, I'm pretty sure it's not the image. Just stuck here.

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You're saying Sierra, not High Sierra. I did try my El Cap boot usb installer, too. Same results, no HD.

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I'm going to follow your directions, and give it a try. I just made this bootable installer last week, and it's worked perfectly. I'll let you know, Dan, if it works using your directions. Thanks. Be back later to report. But, you'd think the drive would show in a recovery mode? That's the part that makes me think it's the connector on the board or the controller? Does it need a bios update? Clean caches?

Trying to think of everything that's blocking this healthy drive from showing.

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If Dans method doesn’t show results I would be reaching for a multimeter. I have found this is usually a cable issue but if you are sure it is not.

Try with SMC bypass.

1. Disconnect power

2. Disconnect battery

3. While power is still disconnected, press and hold the power button for about 20 seconds and then while pressing and holding the power button still, connect the power cable to the MBP.

The mac should power on with fans at full.

Make sure you didn’t knock any resistors or caps from the four data lines that go into the connector while cleaning the board. It would be a good idea to check if (PP5V_S3_IR_R) is at the connector also.

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I've done that when units don't power on, let me try it, nothing to lose. Forgot about that method. Everything tested out good on board. First thing I do after cleaning a dust filled chassis with my compressor, then solvent. I'll report back.

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