1st Gen Time Capsule HD Upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by rworne, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. rworne macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Holy crap, it *CAN* be done. Picked up a 3TB Western Digital "MyBook Essential" external HD on sale at Fry's ($129), popped out the drive and installed it in my 1st gen Time Capsule. I bought this thing on release day, and it surprisingly still works fine.

    Powered up the TC and told it to erase the disk. It's backing up now. :D

    Attached Files:

  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
  3. rworne, Jul 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011

    rworne thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    I'm keeping an eye on it. I've got a different drive than the WD in that thread. I've got several hours to go before the backup finishes.


    FWIW, I stopped the backup after an hour and it spun down. Going to let it finish now and see if it still behaves.
  4. rworne thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    It's a success!

    Two iMacs backed up and the drive still spins up and down properly. Even after 4 hours of continuous activity, the drive runs way cooler than the original 1TB Seagate it originally shipped with. It used to be hot to the touch on the external case, now it's only slightly warm after running for hours.
  5. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    rworne, thanks for posting this! It's going to tempt me to re-upgrade my 1st-gen Time Capsule (although I really don't need to yet)...

    Let us know if any issues show up. Do you know the model number of the drive itself? Is it available as a bare drive?

  6. rworne thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    I'd need to open up the TC again to get the data, but the drive was harvested from a 3TB Mybook Essential. I'll find out the model and firmware rev (if it's listed on the drive). Somewhere on the 'net I read that these drives were supposed to be the same as what Apple ships in their TC, so I rolled the dice and gave it a shot.

    I forced a backup after my last post and heard it spin up and unpark the heads. The only noise I hear when the TC is idle is the fan running. There's three iMacs backing up to it, so something is hitting it every 20 minutes on average. It's a very busy TC.
  7. rworne thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Came home today and the TC was running and slightly warm (10 minutes after the last backup). It was well behaved until sometime this afternoon, where it now spins down (if it spins down) and immediately spins back up again and stays spun up.

    I even shut off all the backup processes on all the macs, and cold-started the TC. Now it doesn't spin down at all. Very strange since a cold start should really reset everything. The only difference is the drive has about a gig of data on it.

    While this is a nasty predicament, the TC still is running cooler than it did with the original drive-where it hardly ever spun down anyway. Before it was HOT to the touch, stupid hot and hot all the time. Now it is just warm. I guess I'll leave it be and watch it and see what happens.
  8. colmaclean macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Keep us updated.

    I'm currently toying with either

    a) upgrading my 1st gen 1TB to 3TB (still a grey area)
    b) buying a new 2TB model (the markup for the 3TB is crazy) and running both TC's on my network
  9. rworne thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Well, it's been running for a while and here are my results:

    WD drive worked fine for 24 hours - spun up and down as necessary. At around 30 hours, the drive would no longer spin down - this is coincidentally about the same time the three Macs finished doing their backups.

    Power cycling the TC would not cure this issue - the drive just spins up. If all the backup processes are halted beforehand, 3 minutes later the drive would spin down and immediately spin back up again - and remain spun up from then on.

    With the three macs on the network, the TC only got about 20 minutes rest (at most) between one of them backing something up. The 1TB original drive (I thought it was a Seagate, it turns out to be a Hitachi) was noisy and hot. It did spin up and down, several time an hour.

    The new drive, while spinning constantly, generates a lot less heat than its predecessor. TC went from really hot to just warm. So the net result is the drive spins all the time but runs a lot cooler. I can live with this, I suppose the components in the TC will appreciate this in the long run too - it somehow dodged the 18-month death curse a lot of them suffered.

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