Both internal HDs fail after SATA unplug

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by troelsim, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. troelsim, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    troelsim macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014

    It turned out one HD was dead, the other didn't work because the SATA cable was broken. I replaced the SATA cable, and it works.

    My late 2011 MacBook Pro stopped responding yesterday when I woke it up from sleep after getting off the plane.
    It has two hard disks - one 120 GB SSD disk which Mavericks runs from and a normal 1TB hard disk mounted in the optical drive bay, containing my homedir and all my files.

    I powered it off, rebooted, and it would not recognize my SSD disk - however I have a Lion install on the 1TB disk which i use for development, so it booted off the other disk. The SSD disk did not show up in Disk Utility nor using diskutil from the command line.
    This led me to believe that the SSD disk had failed. "No big deal" I thought, "I will buy a new SSD disk when i get my paycheck".

    However, this morning, the computer would not boot at all. I booted it off a USB stick with DiskWarrior, which didn't detect any hard drives.

    So, I opened up the MacBook to see if there was something obviously wrong, and there was;
    the optical bay adapter had broken where it is screwed to the chassis, raising it about 4 mm, enough to push both SATA cables out of their sockets on the logic board.

    I reconnected both drives and started the computer, thinking it would work.
    Nothing. Still no drives recognized either from the boot options or from Disk Warrior.
    Also, the 1TB conventional hard drive makes a subtle noise for a few seconds when i power on the machine, sort of like a robot guinea pig (wuii, wuii, wuii, wuii, ...)

    Powering on with either drive disconnected also doesn't work.

    So, here are my questions:
    • Can hotplugging the internal drives of a macbook damage either the drives or the SATA controller?
    • Can the SATA cables break from a slight amount of twisting and turning caused by a loose drive? And can I buy replacements?

    My plan is to get hold of an external USB SATA enclosure and see if the drives are dead. Any other suggestions for diagnostics?

    I hope you can help!
  2. 0r30 macrumors 6502


    Aug 12, 2010
    From my experience I once had 2 HD's in a 2010 MacBook Pro 13". Which both Hd's started acting funny and I was getting no boot logo or anything on my laptop. I was fortunate to still have it under warranty so I placed all the original components back into place with the HD still not being read and come to find out it was the cable that went from the board to the HD which broke.

    Visibly the cable looked fine as I was always careful when changing HDs on it. The apple store genius told me the cables can crap out very easily.

  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes... not only do those cables die from being wiggled around they often die completely on their own without anybody ever even opening the Macbook. Fairly common problem and diagnosing with an external enclosure like you mentioned is the correct way to go about it.

    You can order replacement cables online for a few bucks. iFixit usually has these.
  4. troelsim thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2014
    Thanks for your help, I got it working again by buying a replacement sata cable!

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