MacBook Air A1237 - OS X Won't install or recognize hard drive.

osiKIT

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2020
3
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MacBook Air A1237 - OS X Won't install or recognize hard drive.
I purchased a preowned MacBook Air A1237, SERIAL NUMBER - W88121PVY51, where its hard drive was removed. I ordered a replacement hard drive "Toshiba MK8025GAL". But when I tried to install OSX Snow Leopard the Install utility can not detect the installed hard drive.


I placed this hard drive inside the notebook carefully and checked all connections and made sure all ribbons are correctly placed.

I was also careful in my research and found this hard drive on ebay by comparing its own Toshiba model number with Apple's model number 661-4493, which is suitable for the very first early 2008 range of MacBook Air according to this merchant.


Can some one tell me if I ordered the wrong Hard drive? Is it possible I need a "SATA ZIF hard drive" instead? In disk utility it also does not display the Toshiba MK8025GAL hard drive as a source. Is there something special I can do perhaps in terminal?


Here are the exact specifications for my MacBook Air. I know these details matter.


MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.6 13" (Original) - SERIAL NUMBER - W88121PVY51


Intro. January 15, 2008* Disc. October 14, 2008

Order MB003LL/A Model A1237 (EMC 2142*)

Family MacBook Air - Original ID MacBookAir1,1

RAM 2 GB VRAM 144 MB

Storage 80 GB HDD Optical None*

1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo (P7500)


Thanks
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,809
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That sounds like a correct drive.
No, you need that PATA drive. You won't get a SATA drive to work, without an adapter of some kind.

You might have a defective drive, or the ribbon cable that attaches between the drive and the logic board could be defective, too. (Try a different ribbon cable!)
 

osiKIT

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2020
3
0
That sounds like a correct drive.
No, you need that PATA drive. You won't get a SATA drive to work, without an adapter of some kind.

You might have a defective drive, or the ribbon cable that attaches between the drive and the logic board could be defective, too. (Try a different ribbon cable!)
Do you know the model number to find the correct ribbon? is it on the ribbon??
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
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Maybe there was a reason the hard drive was removed from your "new" MBAir!

Looking at Apple's service manual - the correct Apple part number for the hard drive flex cable is 922-8320.
Here's one from iFixit.com - https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Mac/MacBook-Air-Original-Hard-Drive-Cable/IF188-047?o=1
also, from Powerbookmedic.com - http://www.powerbookmedic.com/parts/922-8320/Hard-Drive-Flex-Cable.html
I don't buy from eBay, but here's a link to listing there, as well - cable

I hope that a replacement cable gets the drive to work... (If that doesn't work, then it's probably the logic board.)
 

osiKIT

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2020
3
0
Maybe there was a reason the hard drive was removed from your "new" MBAir!

Looking at Apple's service manual - the correct Apple part number for the hard drive flex cable is 922-8320.
Here's one from iFixit.com - https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Mac/MacBook-Air-Original-Hard-Drive-Cable/IF188-047?o=1
also, from Powerbookmedic.com - http://www.powerbookmedic.com/parts/922-8320/Hard-Drive-Flex-Cable.html
I don't buy from eBay, but here's a link to listing there, as well - cable

I hope that a replacement cable gets the drive to work... (If that doesn't work, then it's probably the logic board.)

Is there anyway to find out the right part number for the hard drive based on my units serial number of W88121PVY51? How can I determine if Toshiba MK8025GAL is correct. It seems like this A1237 model changed a bit in the year it was built so basing it on the serial number would be best course for me.

The hard drive was removed because it was donated to a store and the shop parts out all their donations. Even the power cords, which is smart in the short term for sales but long term a pain for anyone who wants a complete rig.

The computer cost me $25 so its just an experiment and a fun challenge. I'd like to get it up and running so I can see if I like Mac. Maybe I'll jump ship from PC! It does seem like it operates fine running from the optical drive and even from a USB image that I created. I have even booted Ubuntu from a USB. How could the logic board be bad if that were the case?


Thanks for the tip on the cable
 
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DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
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The Toshiba MK8025GAL appears to be a correct device to use in your MBAir.

Your A1237 (Original MacBook Air) is unique, the only one that used that 1.8-inch ATA drive.
Sold new from Jan to Oct of 2008, the model that replaced yours had an SATA drive - still 1.8-inch, but won't work in your older MBAir.
That "new" model, which replaced your A1237, was now model A1304.
So, the A1237 was only sold new for 10 months in 2008.

The only Mac that can use that tiny hard drive is that A1237 MBAir that you have. I think it is the same drive that was used in the iPod Classic, sold during that same time period, IIRC.
(Makes almost no sense to part out that tiny hard drive, which only matches up with your same MBAir, no other Macs used that tiny device --- but, whatever :D )

Just something to think about: The tiny hard drive is a 4200 rpm, not a speed demon by any measure. You only have 2GB of RAM. You are also limited to a really old Mac OS 10.7.5 (Lion), which is the newest version you can run. It's maybe not a good choice for a system to "see if you like Mac".

Finally, the hard drive does not use USB. It does not use SATA, but uses an ATA connection. If the hard drive is not recognized, even after the drive ribbon cable is replaced, then it's possible that the ATA drive controller is dead. You could still install and boot a system through USB (USB 2.0, so also relatively slow), but that would mean that you would always have an external USB hanging off the side.
(I hope the cable takes care of the drive... )
Another CHOICE for you would be an SSD, if you can locate one of those. (Apple part number for THAT drive would be 661-4581) At least that SSD could make the MBAir function a bit faster than the 4200rpm tiny-drive. Maybe you can find one of those for a reasonable price (not here)
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
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Did you partition the new hard drive using Disk Utility ?
Good question! What DOES appear in the list on the left, in Disk Utility?
Be sure to try an NVRAM reset the next time you boot it up.
Reboot, while holding Option-Command-P-R. You should hear the boot chime sound.
Keep holding the same 4 keys until you hear the boot chime two more times, then release the keys. Continue on with booting to your installer disk.
When you can open the Disk Utility, what DOES appear in the list on the left?
If you can see the Toshiba device, give that a try now. Be sure to try Erasing, with Mac OS Extended (journaled), and the format type is GUID. If you can successfully format that this time, I would suggest your next step is to shut down (completely power OFF), then boot back to your installer disk. (This does a full hardware stop, so booting back up reinitializes the hardware. If the hard drive STILL appears OK, you should be good to go ahead with the OS X install.