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8TB Time Capsule Upgrade

rahim.mando

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 5, 2015
5
8
Mississauga, ON, Canada
I would like to report that I have successfully upgraded my 2TB AirPort Time Capsule (2013 Edition) to 8TB.

I used the newly released Seagate 8TB Archive hard drive (ST8000AS0002).

The hardest part was opening the Time Capsule itself. After that, the hard drive rubber support must be cut to accommodate the fatter HDD. The entire process took me about 2 hours.
 

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MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,557
419
Atlanta
Great idea! As long as the newer/larger drives fit and the boxes can deliver the power and handle the heat.....go for it!!!!
 

Glenn.eu

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2012
58
2
Did the same thing, i did mess up the cable of the little led light and almost the fancable! The connectors are very tight and the cables came out of the small connectors... I was able to pry those little cables from the fan back in, i lost the led light but that ain't so bad.
At least it is still working and it is now 8TB :)
 

fmlouder

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2015
1
0
but the biggest question is useing this drive safe? as far as i can tell seagate designed this drive to be archive only as in fill it up and store it hence the cold data storage i read on other forums that people will not recommend useing this drive in drobos, well either way since this post was originally made back in march any updates is the drive still working im guessing the max transfer speed to the drive is about 30 mbps? was it worth it? think it be safe to use the drive as a plex media server drive inside the tc while useing a mac mini to host it which is my plan if i opted to go with this
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,557
419
Atlanta
think it be safe to use the drive as a plex media server drive inside the tc while useing a mac mini to host it which is my plan if i opted to go with this

TC is not a NAS or a data server constant read/write. It was designed for Time Machine to use the drive for backups. If you need a NAS or server, get one.
 

rahim.mando

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 5, 2015
5
8
Mississauga, ON, Canada
but the biggest question is useing this drive safe? as far as i can tell seagate designed this drive to be archive only as in fill it up and store it hence the cold data storage i read on other forums that people will not recommend useing this drive in drobos, well either way since this post was originally made back in march any updates is the drive still working im guessing the max transfer speed to the drive is about 30 mbps? was it worth it? think it be safe to use the drive as a plex media server drive inside the tc while useing a mac mini to host it which is my plan if i opted to go with this

So far no issues at all.
Transfer speed is almost as fast as USB 2.0 which is around 30MB/s if you have a good Wi-Fi connection.
The only issue if you are planning to stream videos from the Time Capsule is that it always makes the drive sleep as soon as it can, which means that if you paused the video for around 30sec and then played it back, the HDD goes to sleep. So you have to wait until the HDD wakes up to resume; and from my experience this 8TB drive takes a little bit longer to wake up compared to the 2TB. 2TB around 20sec to wake up, 8TB around 30sec more or less.
 

Rusty33

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2011
273
53
Australia
TC is not a NAS or a data server constant read/write. It was designed for Time Machine to use the drive for backups. If you need a NAS or server, get one.
Just curious - what is logic here? Don't Time Capsules just use a standard 3.5 inch HD? Why wouldn't they be capable of such activity? Is it a heat issue?
 
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regtor

macrumors newbie
Feb 26, 2012
13
3
I'm interested in this thread as I'm thinking of finally moving up to the latest gen TC. I have a 1st gen TC that is still working just fine. I've upgraded twice, and it now has a Seagate 6TB drive in it - works great. (see my post on this upgrade here https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...for-time-capsule.1059249/page-7#post-20523047)

Rahim, can you provide more detail of what you had to cut to fit the 8TB drive? I'm thinking of picking up a new or refurb latest gen TC and putting in my existing 6TB in it, and I think it's also slightly larger than a standard 3.5 inch drive.
 

rahim.mando

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 5, 2015
5
8
Mississauga, ON, Canada
I'm interested in this thread as I'm thinking of finally moving up to the latest gen TC. I have a 1st gen TC that is still working just fine. I've upgraded twice, and it now has a Seagate 6TB drive in it - works great. (see my post on this upgrade here https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...for-time-capsule.1059249/page-7#post-20523047)

Rahim, can you provide more detail of what you had to cut to fit the 8TB drive? I'm thinking of picking up a new or refurb latest gen TC and putting in my existing 6TB in it, and I think it's also slightly larger than a standard 3.5 inch drive.

I provided some pictures in the first post that shows part of the process. Hope it helps.
Basically, you just need to keep cutting parts of the rubber until the drive can fit.
From what I know, the Seagate 6TB and the 8TB I used have the same design (6 platter drive). So they should look the same.
Hopefully in the future, the process won't require rubber cutting when HDD companies release 5 or 4 platter 8TB HDDs. But by then, maybe they would have a 12TB or even 15TB options available as 6 platter drives.
 

ricosuave

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2007
385
13
In front of my mac
Excellent upgrade. Is cutting the bracket necessary? Could you just wedge a packaging shape that comes with the drive shipping? Especially since you are not moving the TC back and forth? How many platters is the stock drive? What is the highest HD on the market with the same number of platters as the stock drive? Too many questions, I know.
 

rahim.mando

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 5, 2015
5
8
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Excellent upgrade. Is cutting the bracket necessary? Could you just wedge a packaging shape that comes with the drive shipping? Especially since you are not moving the TC back and forth? How many platters is the stock drive? What is the highest HD on the market with the same number of platters as the stock drive? Too many questions, I know.

Yes, cutting is necessary.
Maybe, but it's highly unlikely.
The 2TB stock drive is a 3 platter model.
I believe the highest with 3 platters is a 3TB (I'm not sure). But I think you could put a 4TB or 5TB with 4 platter without needing to cut the rubber support.
The issue comes when using the new 6 platter designs that just came out recently. Which comes in 6TB and 8TB models from Seagate. They look different than the normal drives; that's why you need to cut the rubber to accommodate their different shape.
:)
 

regtor

macrumors newbie
Feb 26, 2012
13
3
I'm interested in this thread as I'm thinking of finally moving up to the latest gen TC. I have a 1st gen TC that is still working just fine. I've upgraded twice, and it now has a Seagate 6TB drive in it - works great. (see my post on this upgrade here https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...for-time-capsule.1059249/page-7#post-20523047)
Success! I was able to take the 6TB Seagate from my 1st Gen TC and put it in the latest TC (2013 version) with no loss of data. I set up the new TC and the disk worked right away with no data loss and no issues with the Time Machine sparsebundles for the various macs on my network. Very pleased with the result. Now, does anyone want to buy my 1st gen TC, modded for easy access to the hard drive and for increased air flow for cooling, and with a brand new 2TB Seagate Barracuda from the new Time Capsule that I just modded?

A few notes on the install in the new TC:

- The cables are very delicate and must be handled with care. The two smaller cables with the square connectors pop out perpendicular to the board. I used a long pin to pop them out. The larger connector (rectangular is different - it slides up parallel to the board; lifting one side then the other with the pointy end of a spudger.

- I had to cut a lot from the rubber pad on the top (under the metal clamp), and the two rubber mounts deep inside. Taking out the two inner rubber mounts and then putting them back in is a bit fussy but I had a very long tweezers that came in very handy. The 6TB drive's plastic case is essentially fully "squared" out and you need to cut the "custom" mold of the rubber mounts to essentially square them out.

- Even after modding the rubber mounts and installing them I had to really squeeze the top rubber pad down in order to get the clamp back on (with the Torx screws). Not a big deal, but you do have to press down. Make sure you push the rubber edges down where it meets the white plastic case, push it down below the plastic nubs that hold down the bottom cover.
 
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pforkes

macrumors newbie
Nov 12, 2017
1
0
Las Vegas, NV
The 3TB hard drive in my Time capsule has just 'died'. How is your upgrade doing after two years? If it is still OK, then I will follow in your steps.
 

petterihiisila

macrumors regular
Nov 7, 2010
222
122
Finland
Here's my report: I did a 6 TB drive upgrade today, and re-lubricated the fan. The old unit was getting noisy and overheated due to accumulated dust. Lots of tiny clips and connectors to detach, but it is quite easy to re-open, once you've done it once. Just don't pull from the wires, there's a correct way to remove everything without force.

The unit now works quietly again, with much more space. I used a WD 6T Red drive, as it was readily available off the shelf in the local store and was reasonably priced.

There was some damage though, some of it semi-intentional. It's an old unit and it's my own, and I didn't really care about keeping it pristine, as long as it does its One Job: backups.
  • The status LED assembly was so flimsy and useless that I just ripped it off and threw away. Won't miss it.
  • Turns out the Reset button "connector" actually isn't a connector: it's supposed to be detached from the white cover and not from the logic board. Anyway, I ended up ripping the logic board attachment off while insisting to treat it as a connector, so there goes the Reset function. But hey, they say "no UI is the best UI" and that's what I got. The only external input and output: Gone :)
  • I intentionally didn't re-attach the bottom screws, because now the unit is faster to pull apart the next time, when the fan needs to be replaced. I bought a replacement fan already from eBay, it will probably be needed in a year's time.
  • The bottom rubber parts had to be adjusted slightly to fit nicely around the new fully rectangular HDD shape.
  • The top rubber part didn't fit properly due to the fatter drive, so that's now gone too.
These "modifications" didn't increase the 2014 original noise levels or affect the backup operation. The new drive and lubricated fan are much quieter than what I had yesterday. I can still reset and check the status with Airport Utility.

Aligning the hard drive is easier, if you attach it before pushing the contents back to the box. But then it's hard to align the Ethernet connectors to their holes, as it's a tight package. So it's better to put the contents in first, align the Ethernet connectors, and then fish and push the rubber parts to their correct locations before finally pushing the new drive into its place.

I found that keeping the unit upside down (Apple logo up) increases ventilation, and the holes no longer suck dust from the corner it's standing on. Heat rises up and cool air falls down, as physics would want it. This makes the ventilation stay cleaner for a longer time, delaying the need for another fan lubrication, clean-up or replacement.

Overall, not a flawless project, but the new "personalized" model is happily and quietly doing its job again. No warnings from diagnostics, and the fan is stable between 1700-1800 RPM.
 

regtor

macrumors newbie
Feb 26, 2012
13
3
The 3TB hard drive in my Time capsule has just 'died'. How is your upgrade doing after two years? If it is still OK, then I will follow in your steps.

Sorry for the late response. Two plus years after and still going strong. Once or twice I get a “time capsule needs to repair the disk” especially after a power outage but restarting the TC takes care of it and returns to green led status light.
 

regtor

macrumors newbie
Feb 26, 2012
13
3
Wanted to give back to the community and update this thread. I just put in a 12TB WD Gold in my 2013 Time Capsule and all is well. Much easier the second time around as I had already cut the top and bottom rubber bumpers to fit my 2014-vintage Seagate 6TB drive (which used to be in my 1st gen TC). Interestingly, the WD 12TB drive fit better than the Seagate because it is not as filled out at the corners (the Seagate case is completely filled in, a smooth-sided rectangular cube, but the WD has some air space in the corners).

The hardware swap did not take long at all but copying over 3TB in a couple of sparsebundles that I wanted to move to the new drive took over 16 hours. You need to put the new blank drive in the TC and then use Airport Utility to format it for the TC, then copy the sparsebundles over from the old drive in an enclosure. I used a USB 3 enclosure connected to my MBP and the TC connected via ethernet.
 

Significant1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2014
924
320
I upgraded my 2TB to 4TB 2,5" and I really enjoy the reduced noise and much shorter spin-up time. Should have done long ago.
 

DanSilov

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2016
108
149
Resurrecting this old thread, as I need help with my recent TC upgrade.

I have the last TC, that was already upgraded to 6TB. This time I wanted to install 14TB Hitachi, and something went wrong, so I’m trying to figure out what.
  • I wasn’t careful enough with the smallest connector, and it came off the board. Hi he green/orange light on the front is now gone, but I suppose it’s not a big deal.
  • New drive fit quite nicely, all connected.
  • The first problem I see is that TC is quite slow to start. I plug in the cable, and it takes about 5-8 seconds for the fan to kick in and the drive to start spinning.
  • TC itself works well enough, wireless, Airport Utility all functional. The drive is detected and formatted to 14TB.
  • However, whenever I try to initiate the backup, it just hangs on connecting, and nothing happens.
  • Then if I try to restart the TC from the Airport Utility menu, it goes into restart, but never comes back online unless I detach and reattach the power cable.
Anyone has any ideas what can this be related to? My only thought at this moment is that there’s not enough power for the new drive, but I saw online that plenty people install 12-14TB drives without any issues.

Any help appreciated.
 

malcbo

macrumors member
Oct 27, 2012
55
8
Switzerland
Hi!
I would try rebooting the TC and formatting once more the HDD.
When I upgraded my TC to 8TB drive, I also had issues like yours and it did solve it (been running fine and backuping 4 computers for over a month with no issues)
 

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,677
827
Sounds very much either like a bad filesystem on the drive, or a bad drive itself.
 

DanSilov

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2016
108
149
I would try rebooting the TC and formatting once more the HDD.
Well, it seems it needed some reboots/reformats. I've tried to format it a couple more times, and suddenly it works as expected. I now have 9 Macs backing up to it just fine. So, I can confirm two things: 1) TC works fine without the status led and 2) TC works just fine with 14TB drives.
 
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