Repairing a Time Capsule

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by tombiscuit, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. tombiscuit macrumors member

    tombiscuit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I've bought an old 500GB Time Capsule on eBay with a hope of repairing it. The seller admits the PSU has gone (literally -- it's no longer present), so I'm hoping it might be as simple as swapping in a new PSU -- which I believe is a common problem.

    I'll also upgrade the disk to 2TB.

    Has anybody much experience of this kind of thing? For example I have an Apple TV that I don't use. Is it possible to swap-in the PSU from that?
     
  2. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #2
    I doubt very much that an AppleTV PSU has the grunt to drive a time machine with a 2TB HDD in it...

    Quite frankly, I wouldn't be going cheap on a backup device if you value your personal data...
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Here are some options, including third party external power supplies.
     
  4. tombiscuit thread starter macrumors member

    tombiscuit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Thanks! As it happens I bought a reconditioned/repaired PSU from an eBay seller. It's warranted for 90 days. I put it in, replaced the stock 500GB drive with a 2TB model, and it's working as new. I'm even using it as a printer server.

    When there's a fault as commonplace as a power supply destructing, and when the aforementioned PSU is essentially modular (as is the disk), repairing and upgrading makes a whole lot of sense. As for whether it'll fail or not, well, I reckon it's as likely to do that as it ever was - and I know I can just lift out the hard disk and access the sparse bundle if it does.

    Interestingly, by inspecting the old disk inside the machine it appears the previous owner got around 3-4 years out of it before it went kaput. Inspecting the old PSU shows blown capacitors.
     
  5. tombiscuit thread starter macrumors member

    tombiscuit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    I thought I'd add a little to this in case anybody's searching for it in future. Just a reminder that the Time Capsule I bought was a first generation "flat" model, and not one of the vertical column-style models being sold right now (mid-2015).

    My Time Capsule gets hot. This is a known problem and as mentioned above is the chief cause of PSU failure.

    Spin down of the hard disk would help but it doesn't appear to be happening in the traditional sense. The disk I used is a Western Digital RE4-GP model, which apparently is an server-grade version of the "Green" WD disk.

    The drive apparently contains "green" electronics that amongst other things spins down slightly when the drive isn't in use. I've heard the drive make a spin down-like noise (like a tiny drill slowing down!), yet I'm still able to feel the drive vibrating as if spinning. Weird. I'm hoping to dig out my watt meter to see if the power usage changes across time. (Note that early versions of the firmware of this disk spun down TOO MUCH, although I guessed that's been fixed in more recent releases.)

    The Time Capsule offers no control over spin down via the AirPort Utility on a Mac/iOS, and WD don't offer any firmware control either (and in any case I don't think the spin down setting would stick across power cycles anyway).

    So, the whole thing's hot 24 hours a day. I live in the UK where ambient temperatures are (cough cough) never that high but in places like Australia or Florida this can be a huge problem.

    My solution has been to

    (a) remove the silicone mat on the bottom of the Time Capsule. Apparently this is designed to dissipate heat but it's main job is to protect users from the metal plate beneath which, because the PSU is contained within the device, could be electrically live (it almost certainly won't be, ever, but safety regulations are there for a reason I guess). On the bottom I've stuck some rubber feet, as found on many other electrical deices. There are lots of small holes in the metal plate but some people have augmented this by drilling their own larger holes. Argh, too much trouble for me. On the bottom I've stuck some rubber feet, as found on many other electrical devices.

    (b) plug it into to a basic timer switch so that the Time Capsule is powered down between the hours of 12am-7am, when the family is sleeping. I'm a little worried that the Time Capsule is being abruptly powered down at this time, but then again there doesn't appear to be any way to shut it down cleanly via software (again, the AirPort Utility is pretty cr*p). Time Capsule drives are formatted with Mac OS Extended Journalling FS, just like most Macs, and I know that this means recovery from unexpected power downs is pretty good.

    In fact, I've put the timer on the socket for the entire desktop's computing equipment so that everything is powered down during that time. I'm a little concerned about the MacBook Pro cycling the battery during this period but Apple claim this is a very healthy thing, and in fact keeping the magsafe attached at all times is bad.
     

Share This Page