Assuming this was at aan Apple genius bar, were they using your charger, was the battery installed though bad, and is it possible to give them a call, explain the history and ask what they did because you can't get it to work at all? As eww said, sometimes the machines want the battery in even if bad, which may be what you are seeing.
I would take a shot at calling the store and see if they can help over the phone. Or worst case, stop there again and say show me in detail what you do.
The official SMC reset
is to remove the battery and AC power cord and hold the power button for 5 seconds. Of course, then they say to reconnect the battery and AC power before restarting. In your case, if the battery is really causing boot problems, you may be SOL until you get a new battery. You may also have a bad or drained PRAM battery inside.
I'd try several combinations of disconnecting all power overnight, leaving the AC power connected for a day or 2 (in hopes of charging the PRAM battery), and/or resetting the SMC controller again.
Be aware that if you do run without a battery, processor speed is limited:
I came here since I was looking for a solution too. What I did is remove the battery and the plug, press the start button and while presseing plugged the charger, released the start button and press again and it started!
But when started the fan was on max speed and took very long time to boot!!
my MBP is very old by the way.
I have the same issue with my 2008 MBP! I have search around on the Internet and it seems to have happened to a lot of 2007-2008 MBP users.
Mine is completely dead and is not responding to a normal start up. If I use the offical SMC reset as per the link in this thread the computer makes does the normal sound when it starts (not the osx start sound). The screen remains black and fans are spinning - but no boot up what so ever.
Please respond to this thread if you have the same issue with your MBP 2008.
I have a MBP 2008. I went through 2 batteries that swelled beyond use, and I am left with only a power cord, exactly as described by all users above. I plugged it in using an 85W cord (not the original, but same as original) and waited. I probably tried pressing the power button a few times (tapped it and also held it for 5-10 seconds), but it did not turn on. As I was reading this thread on a separate computer, it turned on by itself.
So while I do not know the what the exact fix was, plugging it in and being somewhat patient (all in about 15 minutes) seemed to be the best thing. Also, I haven't turned this thing on in at least a year, so I was really glad to get it back on for one last backup as it has a few years of photos I wanted to move onto my new laptop. Hope this helps, and thanks to all contributors above! I wanted to leave this note so that it remains relevant through mid 2015.
I was able to fix it a little
I had the same problem.
Completely dead MacBook Pro 15" 2008
held power key for 5 seconds
continued holding while putting power cable back in
released power button
pressed power button
Fan comes on at high speed, black screen, no response to input
Did the steps above again, but immediately zapped the PRAM (option-cmd-P-R) after the last step
Startup chimes sounded (once)
Same result except now the screen was gray instead of black
Ran through the steps again, again zapping the PRAM until I heard the chimes twice
It now is on the login screen - so it seems to have worked.
The battery icon shows an X, and though the power cable is plugged in, the cable's light is not on.
Shut down and waited 2 hours. Power cable still plugged in. Battery still out.
Pressed the power button. Computer came on and back to the login screen. Logged in.
Seems normal, except the fan is still going strong. The power cable light is still out.
Shut down and reinstalled the battery. Cable still connected.
Pressed the power button. No change from before. Computer came on. Power cable light still off. Battery X'ed out - as if it was not installed.
I probably need a new battery.