Airport Extreme with USB HDD become time Cap?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MrMister111, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. MrMister111, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012

    MrMister111 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Ok was in Apple shop and seen a Time Capsule. Thought it would be nice to have auto backups and get rid of a USB HDD off my desk.

    Currently I have an airport extreme, so can I add my USB HDD and use it like that as a time capsule?

    Also will it not only backup my iMac, but also my iPad?

    Can files be accessed over the internet from it as well? eg if I'm away from home can I get access to files from afar?

    Cheers
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    According to Apple, no. From: Mac 101: Time Machine
    However, many have reported that it works.
     
  3. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #3
    Yes!

    I have a USB HDD connected to an Airport Extreme that I've used as a modified Time Capsule for two years now.

    Works great.

    We back up via ethernet or WiFi.
     
  4. MrMister111, Aug 10, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012

    MrMister111 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Thanks for that, seems a lot are using a USB disk connected to an Airport extreme to use as a Time Capsule.

    So why is it not supported by Apple? Obviously to sell Time Capsules, but why else?

    Can I ask if you've had any problems with it then tdhurst please? Will it also backup my iPad?

    Is it okay to leave the USB drive running all he time, switched on? I normally switch off my USB HDD when not using it, his way I'd have to leave it switched on. My airport extreme is up in my loft so not really accessible, and I'd have put my USB HDD up there to
     
  5. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #5
    Answers

    I have no idea why it's not supported by Apple. To set it up, I mounted it as a network disk (command k from the finder, then browse, then select your AE, then select disk) and did the initial backup via ethernet because WiFi takes FOREVER at first.

    Oh, the HDD has two partitions. One for my wife's MBP, one for my MBA.

    I back up my iPhone (the process for an iPad shouldn't be any different) to iCloud, but if you back up to your computer, anything on your computer should be covered by Time Machine/Capsule anyway.

    I've never turned the HDD i'm using as a Time Capsule off, except to move it.

    Oh, I don't have Time Machine on, though. The hourly backups annoyed me, so I manually back up every few days, sometimes daily.

    So far I've restored two different laptops and my wife just restored a folder she accidentally deleted.

    My only complaint would be the speed of the WiFi backups and that entering Time Machine being a little sluggish (also because of my WiFi connection), but we're talking a few minutes on the former and seconds on the latter, so I'm not overly concerned.

    Every few months I mount the disk and run a check on it, but I know its longevity has increased because I don't spin it up every hour.

    Oh, it's a one TB drive, partitioned down the middle.

    Anything else?
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors G3

    T5BRICK

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    I'm using Time Machine with this setup, and yeah, the initial backup was very slow. I did a little experiment and plugged my MacBook Pro in using gigabit ethernet and found it wasn't much faster. I think the biggest issue with this setup is the HDD transfer speeds are limited.
     
  7. MrMister111 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Thanks for your reply.

    I think I will try this thanks. I run TM manually as also bugged me every hour. I think there is a program called TM scheduler that you can choose the backup time.

    How do you check your disk is ok? Just using disk utility?

    I will run the 1st backup over ethernet as you say. It will be nice to just leg it do it automatically, I'm hoping as yours does that the USB is ok left on all the time and it spins down when not needed.

    Oh by the way I'm currently using Lion, might upgrade to ML not sure, does it work on those? Mine is an older iMac from 2007 C2D 2GHz, 4Gb RAM
     
  8. tdhurst, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012

    tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #8
    Answers

    I've had this set up on work on Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion.

    I used the TM scheduler for a while but it annoyed me, so I just do it manually now.

    The USB HDD definitely spins down when it's not in use, because whenever I start backing up I hear it click on, start spinning and then it does its thing.

    Yes, I use Disk Utility to check it.

    The model of Apple computer you're backing up shouldn't make a difference.

    PS...friend of mine does the same thing using an iMac and his laptop. No difference.
     
  9. MrMister111 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Great thanks for the info, nice to know it works on all Mac OS to.

    What was up with TM scheduler though? Thought all it did was just alter the backup frequency?

    There's some 2nd hand TC going for about £110 for 1st gen 1Tb, not sure, although if this works I have what I need I suppose. Read through the TM 101, and it starts doesn't work with an airdisk, wonder why Apple are allowing this, I'm sure if they really didn't want it to work they would somehow disable it?

    Cheers
     
  10. MrMister111 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Decided to go with a time capsule. Bought a 3rd gen 1Tb for £120.

    Just deciding on online backup or manual offsite to a usb disk also now....
     
  11. rayjay86 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #11

    Can I ask what brand of hard drive you're using?

    I recently bought a refurbished 2011 AEBS from Apple's online AU store and with our 1TB samsung hard drive plugged into it, it crashes CONSTANTLY. Any time you try and move files (or copy, like a TM backup would) the whole network goes down.

    I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the router that is plugged into it? ADSL router supplied by a local ISP in Adelaide, AU. I'm not super techy so I don't know if that can affect it.

    Anyways, we've got Plex in the house and that seems to work fine with streaming, but god forbid I try and stream and someone tries to skype. BOOM! Today my flatmate was skyping and the system went down three times in 2 hours. We have to powercycle to get it back again. I've disconnected the HDD now and just before I started typing this it crashed again!
     
  12. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #12
    Sure

    Western Digital Green. The 1tb version of this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...ords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-NA-_-NA

    I always buy my 3.5" cases and hard drives separately. Slightly pricier, but I've had less issues and they're cheaper to replace.
     
  13. tekilla macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    #13
    Useful to know that whilst unsupported, this does work.
    I'm about to buy a new MBA and wanted wireless backups for the other 3 Macs in the house. I don't want to buy a TC as in my opinion, they're at least £80 over priced.

    Shame the Express can't do this, but I'll be going for an Extreme with a 1TB Passport drive connected.
     
  14. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #14
  15. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #15

Share This Page