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Pismo cannot find HD

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've been having a bizarre problem which has basically hosed my Pismo.

1. Started getting random kernel panics, corrupted files, etc. with increasing regularity. Tried reformatting and reinstalling a few times, eventually decided that HD had gone bad and purchased a new one (an IBM Travelstar).

2. Removed old drive.

3. Installed new drive, booted from OS 9.1 CD. Drive Setup is unable to see the new drive. I tried rebooting about 15 times, trying a couple of different system CDs, the OS X CD, etc.

4. Finally on one reboot the disk came up. I zero-formatted it and partitioned into three sections, and rebooted.

5. OS 9.1 is back to being unable to see the internal hard drive. Rebooted a few more times. Tried zapping the PRAM a couple times. Nothing worked.

6. I thought perhaps the new hard drive was bad, so I removed it and installed it into an old 1400. 1400 sees the drive on the first try, and each subsequent reboot.

7. Tried reinstalling old "bad" drive; Pismo can't see that either. Tried old "bad drive" in 1400; could see it.

I was tempted to think I simply got a bad Travelstar until I tried it in the 1400 and it worked. Now I'm worried that perhaps the hard drive ribbon cable is damaged or something like that. It'll boot just fine from a CD, so I know there's nothing seriously wrong there. However, when I reboot it, there come after a few seconds some clicking sounds from the hard drive, and I hear it spin up a bit. Then there's simply silence, and the whole flashing-system-folder bit.

Since it does start clicking a bit, my guess is that the ribbon cable isn't completely torn or disconnected or something like that at its other end (beneath the daughtercard). But I'm baffled as to why it would be able to "look" but not "see", if you take my meaning.

Any advice anyone can render would be appreciated. I have an RMA on the hard drive valid for about another ten days, if it does end up being a good idea to send it back. Failing that, I might just have to buy a FireWire expansion bay and boot from that, if I can no longer have an internal HD. :-/
This is not 38, this is old 97!
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This is not 38, this is old 97!
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post #2 of 8
Well, you could always open it up and take a peek for yourself to determine if the ribbon cable is having a problem. It might have just become partially disconnected at the one end too...

Aside from that, it sounds like your hard drive is fine, so it must be the Pismo. If software cannot fix it, it could be a very expensive repair. Might be time to upgrade? Maybe you can still strike a deal with Apple and have them try to figure out what is causing the problem. Do you have a local Apple Service Center?

-Ender
If you find yourself sided with the majority, it is time to change your thinking.

-Mark Twain
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If you find yourself sided with the majority, it is time to change your thinking.

-Mark Twain
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Ender:
<strong>Well, you could always open it up and take a peek for yourself to determine if the ribbon cable is having a problem. It might have just become partially disconnected at the one end too...

Aside from that, it sounds like your hard drive is fine, so it must be the Pismo. If software cannot fix it, it could be a very expensive repair. Might be time to upgrade? Maybe you can still strike a deal with Apple and have them try to figure out what is causing the problem. Do you have a local Apple Service Center?

-Ender</strong><hr></blockquote>


Well, I went to the, er, real Genius Bar and got advised that if I'm lucky it's the ribbon cable, and if I'm unlucky something's fried on the motherboard. I'm going to take it down tomorrow and have them ship it to Texas to get looked at.

Maybe if I'm lucky they'll fix the broken space bar too.
<img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />

Don't really feel like upgrading since I bought the thing about 16 months ago. If the repair's less than about $500 it'll be worth it just to have it done that way.
This is not 38, this is old 97!
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This is not 38, this is old 97!
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post #4 of 8
I've had that problem on both my Pismo and Dual USB iBook. Both times it happened after installing OS X. It doesn't happen as often now, but for months it would have a flashing system folder 90% of the time.
post #5 of 8
[quote]Originally posted by MacAgent:
<strong>I've had that problem on both my Pismo and Dual USB iBook. Both times it happened after installing OS X. It doesn't happen as often now, but for months it would have a flashing system folder 90% of the time.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I've had a similar problem with my beige G3 after I tried to load OSX on it. It wouldn't see any of my harddrives until I reset the PRAM. I never got OSX to install on the box..
post #6 of 8
Resetting the PRAM doesn't do anything for me. I just have to keep trying and eventually it works. Every time I take it to my Apple reseller, he keeps it for two weeks and never sees the problem.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
All right, here's a first-class happy ending for you:

Packed up my Pismo and took it down to the Apple Store to get the service request processed and have it crated up for shipment. Guy at the Genius bar runs the paperwork, estimates an $819 repair.

Genius Bar tech #2 wanders past, inquires about the problem. In about two minutes flat, he has the thing completely dismantled, and determined that the lower ribbon cable connector (under the daughtercard) had been working itself loose. He reseated it, and voila, it works perfectly.

As an encore, he replaced my space bar for free (it had broken, see complaints elsewhere in this forum) and even rotated my RAM (swapped little chip in lower slot to upper slot, for ease of later replacement).

I am absolutely delighted. The repairs were completely free, and I was spared a huge bill and the inconvenience of having my Pismo sent away.

Permit me to recommend the Apple Store in Columbus.
This is not 38, this is old 97!
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This is not 38, this is old 97!
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post #8 of 8
CCG4, I just recalled last night that that fixed my Pismo as well. I dismantled it one night and tightened it, never had the problem again. What confuses me is that it never happened before I put OS X onto it. And now my iBook is doing it after installing OS X...

I guess OS X can disconnect cables...world's most advanced operating system indeed.
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