FOUR flashing folders in two weeks... What now?!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KUguardgrl13, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. KUguardgrl13, Sep 23, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013

    KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #1
    My local Apple Store has been pretty awesome. I've had a history of bad hard drive cables and corrupted hard drives with my mid-2009 MBP over the last two years. In May they replaced my hard drive and the cable at no charge. I went back almost two weeks ago with the flashing folder, and the genius reseated(?) the cable, again at no cost.

    On Friday I got the flashing folder again, but I was somehow able to get the cable to make a connection (opened it up, pressed on connectors, and it magically started up).

    Thought I was all clear for the time being, but it happened again today. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. The laptop has been either asleep and didn't wake up or froze on the login screen (hard restart, flashing folder) or it was shutdown. The only common thread was it being in my backpack and not being connected to power. I'm also getting battery warnings, so could that have anything to do with it? Logic board, maybe?

    I'm convinced something is wrong with this cable rather than it just coming loose every time, so I'm having the Genius Bar look it over again in about an hour. I'm not expecting another freebie repair (although that'd be nice considering the number of startup failures in a short time). I definitely don't expect to be handed a replacement. I don't even want to buy one until after the refresh.

    So what do you do when the Geniuses have already pulled strings for you, but the problem still occurs? Would paying for a repair make any difference?
     
  2. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    this time around ask them to look at whatever is the cause and to give you a permanent solution, if they ask you to pay then go ahead with it. If not and they do it free then :D
    Ask them to check if anything maybe causing the cable to get loose like swollen batteries or excessive heat.
     
  3. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #3
    Ran a bunch of diagnostics where it passed, and then it magically started up again. Genius said I need to shut down occasionally and not hard restart it so much :p (when it won't start what the hell are you supposed to do?). He reinstalled OS X and sent me out the door.

    Hopefully it works for at least a few more weeks!
     
  4. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816

    Astroboy907

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    #4
    Genius isn't much of a genius. Unless he has some really high level diagnostics or something.

    I hate to send you back to the store, but obviously your drive cable has a break in it. Moving or reseating the cable makes full contact again, but it's a ticking time bomb. It will fail again. I'd go in and ask for a new cable. Tell them you are having issues with it, and have had issues with it in the past. Try to push that it's a cable problem, not a hard drive problem, or a restarting problem. Restarting shouldn't make any difference really. I think the hard drive cable was in a "good" position, where it was not shorting, so the diagnostics went fine. But based on your previous cable problems, this one is more than likely just a time bomb.
    I run my Macbook Pro more than a month at a time without restarting. Only reason I restart is for updates or the occasional time my wifi goes out and won't reconnect.
     
  5. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #5
    I'm now convinced there are three types of geniuses: the ones who know Macs and iDevices, the ones that know iDevices and think they know Macs, and the ones that don't know jack about either. The guy today replaced two or three iPhones while I was waiting for tests to finish.

    I'll give it a few days and see if I'm up to negotiating with them. Perhaps I can try to request the guy I worked with in May who seemed to know his stuff pretty well.

    I'd even try replacing the cable myself if I can find a decent one for a good price and trust ifixit to guide me through it. Might have a friend who knows PCs supervise. I have a feeling though that there's some other reason for why I have to replace that cable so often. With that and a battery going bad I need it to work just long enough to get a replacement next month or whenever the refresh comes out. Then if it's still functioning it will sit on my desk at home.

    Thanks for the advice! Hopefully next time (if there is one) goes better.
     
  6. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    my macbook probably gets a restart maybe once or twice a month to instal updates but it has not caused any issues as yet.
     
  7. kappaknight macrumors 68000

    kappaknight

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    #7
    If you have replaced the cable multiple times, and have it documented, it's probably not the cable(s). The seat on the logic board may be bad... maybe replace the logic board?
     
  8. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #8
    Flashing folder again after getting a fresh install of OS X yesterday :mad:

    I've suspected the logic board for a while, but my AppleCare ran out over a year ago, so I've been skating by on sympathy and possibly some hidden policy about multiple repairs. Until recently I didn't have a lot of documentation with Apple because I was going to an authorized service provider that closed a few months ago (they were closer to where I live). So I'm guessing I'd have to pay for a logic board replacement, and those aren't cheap!

    I've been planning on getting a replacement after the refresh anyway, but I was hoping that this one could just sit on my desk. Looks like that may not even happen.
     
  9. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816

    Astroboy907

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    #9
    You could always run off a USB drive. Slower, but it would work.

    If you could, posting pictures of the cable port might help figure it out. But as your last cable fixed it until now, and the cable has not been replaced these 4 times, only reseated, I think it's the cable.
    My LVDS (display) cable had a problem like this. Sometimes it would not break for days and other times the slightest bump would make my screen go out. I'd say if the cable is replaced, and it dies it again its the logic board.
    If you're up to it, replacing the HDD cable would take about 5 minutes with a Phillips screwdriver. It's not a hard thing to repair just the cable.
     
  10. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #10
    Unfortunately I think it may be the logic board. This cable was installed in May, and I had several before that I burn through starting about two years ago. I'm not sure if it's the hd cable connector specifically. I have this issue where it often won't respond when I try to wake it up except for holding down the power button. More and more it results in the flashing folder when I try to start it back up again.

    USB could be a possible solution. Or is it it possible to boot from FireWire? I never use that port. I've been planning on getting a replacement machine anyway and having this one be a desktop replacement for media storage. It's hard to let go of a 500gb hard drive that's 4 months old. And my MBP has been my "baby" for four years.

    I think I'll start with going back to Apple (sigh...) and really asking them to look it over and give me an estimate of repairs. I thought they did a full diagnostic when I let them have it for a week in May, but they just installed a new hard drive and cable. Obviously something else is going on.
     
  11. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816

    Astroboy907

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    #11
    FireWire should work fine, and it should be faster than USB actually.
    You can get an external enclosure for your drive and be able to connect via FireWire or USB depending on the enclosure. Just google 2.5" hard drive enclosure. They run about $25. That way you can take out the internal drive and boot straight from it.
    I think your model is FireWire 400 too, not the newer FW 800, so be careful about that as well.
    Also, if the cable was bad or the logic board is having issues then you may have some corruption on your hard drive. I'd suggest doing a full wipe or a repair permissions after moving it. Make sure not to delete your data though!
     
  12. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #12
    The genius wiped it and (I think?) repaired permissions when I was in yesterday. Thankfully I backed up Sunday night and then again when it was working last night.

    How worth it is it to keep trying to use it after I get a replacement? I can certainly learn to live with a smaller SSD since I have two external drives. I'm almost wondering if it would be better to sell it for cheap parts. I have a friend with the same model who needs a screen at least (possibly also a logic board, but I probably can't help with that; he dropped his and it won't turn on at all). I saw another one on my local craigslist advertised for $200. I can probably get by until the refresh borrowing my boyfriend's extra Lenovo.
     
  13. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #13

    Here's an attempt at a photo of the hd cable where it connects to the logic board. I tried to press on it last night to reseat it to no avail. Seems it's actually failed this time.

    My boyfriend is convinced I should go back and request to speak to a manager rather than a genius. I'm not sure where that will get me. They've been kind enough to not charge me for these "repairs," but obviously it's not enough anymore to keep my MBP working for any length of time.
     

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  14. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816

    Astroboy907

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    #14
    Depends on what you are using it for. If you can live with slightly slower speeds and an external HDD plugged in 24/7 it is perfectly usable. You will not get SSD speeds over firewire though, most likely. However, if it's too slow for you IMO I would sell it. The screen and body alone are worth at least $200, with a completely dead logic board, but seeing as how yours boots I'd say its worth lots more.

    Maybe take it to the geniuses (geniusi? :D) and see if they have a replacement cable in the store. Maybe you can get them to try a different cable before they replace it? It's certainly not hard to swap. I doubt they can tell 100% if it's a logic board issue or not. I guess you've had the issue a number of times before, so perhaps it is the logic board... Would be sad if it was. At this point it probably won't hurt to try a new cable.

    If you are ok with it, I'd recommend taking the cable off the connector and cleaning both contacts with isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip (gently, of course). Then let it dry a while and try booting. It's a longer shot, but perhaps you have some corrosion on the connector.
     
  15. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #15
    does the screw mount of the battery seem broken to me? the one besides the warning cable?
    if u zoom in it looks as if some ics or something have been taken of the solders can someone confirm this?
     
  16. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #16
    The screw mount is indeed broken. I noticed that when I opened it up last week. Could that be a sign of swelling? My trackpad is fine, but I do have the service battery warning. I'd show a screenshot of coconut battery, but I can't boot the machine right now :p

    What is ics? Is that something I should be worried about?
     
  17. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    ics would be like fuses i cant be sure if anything was there or not unless i see a pic of a similar board. If its missing it can possibly cause problems, fixable if you can source them and find a good soldering person.

    The mount being broken might not be a sign of swelling but could be a sign that someone might have over tightened a screw or maybe dropped your battery while removing it out for diagnosing.
     
  18. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #18
    I'm in college, so portability is a must for my main machine which will hopefully be a haswell rMBP soon. If it's worth the trouble this one would become a secondary desktop machine for file storage and "acquiring" media. USB or firewire may not be fast enough for transferring files to external drives though.

    I posted it on my local craigslist for $200 or best offer. We'll see what happens. I don't plan on letting go of it until I have a replacement in my hands. I also have a friend with the higher sped'd model from the same year that could probably use some parts to repair his. It won't even turn on while mine at least does that.

    I also contacted the authorized service provider that did repairs for me in 2012 to get records from them. They closed the store here but still have other locations. My boyfriend thinks I can use those to talk to the manager at my local Apple Store to either figure out the real issue and whether it's worth fixing or get a replacement (doubtful, but bf is hoping if I get one he can have it lol). Either way I will still get a replacement. It's past time anyway.
     
  19. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816

    Astroboy907

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    #19
    I think it sell pretty quick at $200. Heck, I'd take it off your hands :)
    Good plan though, waiting for a replacement. Seeing how some people are going off about haswell MBP's coming next year, it would be pretty bad to sell it and be stuck with nothing. I'm holding out on my Late 2008 model for a couple more years (Skylake I think), it's starting to show it's age though...

    Again, talk to apple, see what they can do. It's definitely worth taking it in to see if they can help!

    Edit: did you try cleaning the connectors with alcohol? This might bring it back to life if you have some corrosion or debris in the connections
     
  20. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #20
    I'll give it a shot! Hopefully that works, and I can sell a working machine, hehe.

    I've also advertised it with the original 2gb RAM instead of the 8gb I installed. I think I'll put the 8gb in my parents' 17" 2010 MBP. I'm pretty sure they bought the base model with 4gb, and they'll want to use it for a while.
     
  21. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    i guess selling it would be a better option just use your guys lenovo for a while and then get a new one.
     
  22. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #22
    Got my parents convinced it's time for a new one, just need them to understand I can wait a little bit until haswell ;). It may be Christmas before I get it anyway (hopefully it's just getting my present a little early! Three months is a long time with midterms and finals in between!). We'll see how long I can survive with the Lenovo. He bought it this summer with win 7 and had a hybrid drive installed but it still seems slower than my Mac :/. Could just be the slow internet at my apartment though.
     
  23. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #23
    Cleaned the connector, and no luck. I followed the ifixit guide for how to replace the cable, disconnected the cable at both ends and the battery. I put everything back in reverse order and still got the flashing folder. I'm guessing the cable is probably fried. Hopefully it wasn't the rubbing alcohol or the process of disconnecting!
     
  24. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    good to hear:D i have a lenovo given by my university, the only time i ever used it was when my retina had to go for service, not only did the display feel weird but i had a hard time, like clicking on the left side to close, waiting for apps to start(it has a normal hard drive)
     
  25. KUguardgrl13 thread starter macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #25
    What gets me is the trackpad. It's TERRIBLE in comparison to Mac. I've never really used a nub mouse. The viewing angle on the display is also awkward, but that's my opinion on most PC laptops.

    Apparently Apple has spoiled me! I considered going back to Windows with all the issues I've been having, but apparently I'm having a hard time with business grade. Consumer grade would be torture!
     

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