Time Capsule died, Apple won't help....

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by C0W80Y, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. C0W80Y macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Over the weekend my time capsule powered off. When I tried to restart it, it went to a solid amber light for 15-30 seconds, and then died.

    I unplugged it for half an hour, same problem, unplugged it overnight, same problem.

    Soft reset won't work, hard reset won't work. Can't access it with ethernet.

    Tried factory reset many times, solid amber light starts to blink, then when I release reset button (having held it for various amount of time) it goes solid amber, for a split second it sounds like it might start, then dies. No light. D E A D.

    So, I've researched it online, and it seems a little different to the heat / power issue. I call Apple support, and the first tech just tries to order me a new one. My serial number 819 however prevents this. So a senior advisor comes on to tell me it can't be replaced. He get's cut off....

    So I call back, and the tech reads the notes and basically tells me there is nothing that can be done, and is quite blasé about the whole thing. He offers me no advice and makes no attempt to diagnose the problem, just tells me it's done and I need to buy a new one as I don't have applecare.

    I point out (nicely) it's only two years old, I expected more, it's supposed to be server grade, etc.

    He replies "It's only a hard drive" which I found very interesting. ONLY A HARD DRIVE? So why did I pay $340 for it? He also tells me I should have backed up my back ups. So how many "server grade" back ups do I need to make? I need to buy 5 time capsules to back up my macbook incase 4 of them just give up suddenly? He also says that it's an electronic device and electronic devices fail. Just like that. May as well have just said "Tough luck, buddy!"

    Later he tries to retract that statement and puts me through to another senior advisor. Predictably she tells me the same thing. No offer of repair or attempts to diagnose problem, just it's finished. She was as nice as she could be about it, but that's the conclusion. Eventually after I explained I was disappointed with this attitude, she said maybe I could take it to the genius bar to have the information taken off and moved to a new TC.

    So basically, my new drive will be costing me in the region of $700 (given that my original $340 TC is only good for the trash).

    My current thinking is I shall try and retrieve the data myself, use one of my other much, much cheaper external HD's that have been running flawlessly for years as a back up, and wait to see if Apple start to issue replacements for my serial number.

    Ultimately I don't want a free replacement TC, I'd rather mine worked. I was expecting a better service, at least an attempt to make me feel like this was out of the ordinary, or they were concerned about me buying more Apple products in the future.... I was also expecting a server grade HD to last more than two years.....

    Anyway, stepping off my soap box..... If anyone has any suggestions how I can get this going, or what the cause might be please before I try and retrieve the data myself.

  2. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Well, apparently the serial number range is outside the ones that had problems. Sounds similar to the death mine met (and resulted in free replacement).

    One thing is to try calling again.

    The next thing is to buy something else. You could get a AEBS and a hard drive of your choice, and then set it up for TM backup use that way.

    Another option is to open up the case of the TC and pull the harddrive out and put it in an enclosure, and then hook that up to your new AEBS.

    The only problem with the last option is that if Apple later decides this TC also should be recalled they'll probably not replace it because you opened the case.
  3. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I don't have anything more to say than thankfully it is only your backup drive, so you still have all of that data on your main systems and starting a new backup will not lose you much...only the ability to go back a couple of months.

    Hard drives do indeed fail and I am sorry that you lost your backups. I start getting antsy at around 18 months and start looking to replace my backup drives at that point in their lifespan.
  4. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    It's not usually the hard drives that fail in the Time Capsule, in most cases it's down to the power supply.

  5. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Oh, I agree. I know all about the power supply issues. I just say that personally, for ANY hard drive I have ever owned...even internal ones...I start to get antsy about them around 18 months into their life.
  6. C0W80Y thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Ah, but Apple were marketing this as "SERVER GRADE" ;)
  7. C0W80Y thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Yeah I was thinking about Airport Extreme. Currently I'm just using time machine with a USB to the external HD, which ins't a big inconvenience, really.... So I'm going to carefully open the time capsule and put that drive in an enclosure, and maybe, or maybe not, connect it to AE.

    It did occur to me that if I bought an AE, that might give me applecare to cover the time capsule. ;)

    I'll try Apple again later in the week, otherwise I'll store it and wait for the recall. :apple:
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Anyway, stepping off my soap box..... If anyone has any suggestions how I can get this going, or what the cause might be please before I try and retrieve the data myself."

    Sure, I'll offer suggestions.

    The first one is, after an experience like this with the Time Capsule, would you consider buying ANOTHER ONE?

    Old saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME."

    Don't waste your money on another Time Capsule.

    Having said that, it may be a problem with the TC power supply, or it could be a "dead drive" itself.

    Since they won't fix it, the only way you're going to be able to ascertain what the problem is, is to pry the thing open and find out for yourself.

    Take the internal drive out.

    Then, spend about $20 and get one of these:
    (various items shown, they all work the same way. Pick one that you like.)

    When you receive the USB/SATA dock, connect it to your Mac, put the TC drive into it, power everything up, and see what happens.

    Get back to us after that.....
  9. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Applecare goes with your Macs. When I first had trouble with my TC, before the replacement was official/public, they looked up my Macs and had decided it was covered by AppleCare for my MBP, even though I bought the TC when I only had the iMac and an iBook G4.

    Your failure sounds very much like mine.

  10. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I agree with the prior advice to pull the hard drive out and connect it via external enclosure or SATA-to-USB converter to see if you can get your data off of it.

    If your data was a backup, then you don't really need it. You just need to immediately start backing up your computer onto something else.

    Standard warranty is 1 year. If your Time Capsule is 2 years old I'm not sure what you are expecting.

    "Server-grade" is not a guarantee of infallibility nor a promise of special support. It just means the hard drive used is rated at a certain MTBF or higher.
  11. C0W80Y thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Yeah I'm going to take it apart at the weekend and put the HD in an enclosure. And yes, I don't really need the data, but....

    I really think Apple should at least be interested that it's failed.....

    There was no attempt at a diagnosis, no interest in trying to repair it. Ultimately, this cost $340 and is a more expensive option than many others available. Apple obviously use the term "server grade" to imply that it should be long lasting, and all your back ups are safe.

    The attitude that "it's broken, tough" is very poor. At the very least there should be an attempt at a solution on their part. I didn't want a new or refurbished replacement necessarily, but to offer no solution to the problem at all is not acceptable.
  12. C0W80Y thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Yeah my macbook and TC are both out of applecare. Ironically I'm waiting for the new iPad to be launched and have my eye on a 27" iMac this summer.... ;)
  13. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    The two recent Apple devices I have been less than thrilled by are the TC and the ATV1, both for the same reason, the internal PSU and HDD causes overheating. Much as I'd like a 2010 Mac mini, I wouldn't get one without AppleCare because of that design change.

    My refurb TC and the one I have torn apart sit idle, just because I can't trust it anymore.

  14. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    A tip here don't throw out your TC yet, I was in the group that had the problem with TC with serial numbers 807....814.
    For a long time Apple denied any fault, a person I know got tired of waiting and threw his TC away. In July 2010 Apple begin to replace TC which had start up problems, he of course could not be helped as he had disposed of his.
  15. C0W80Y thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Ok, so interestingly I know have the thing working again.

    I removed the rubber base using a hairdryer, surprisingly quick and easy, peeled off with no tearing or creasing whatsoever after a few minutes.

    I then removed the drive with a view to putting it in an enclosure. Out of curiosity I replaced the drive and reconnected everything to see if I could find the problem with the case open.

    I plugged the power in, and it starts, goes to flashing amber light.

    Go to airport utility, found straight away, restore last settings, working.....

    No idea how it could have just been a loose connection, or whatever the problem was, but happy it's working. :D

    Still not happy with apple's attitude. If they'd have offered the slightest interest in diagnosis or repair, I would have a working timecapsule AND be a satisfied customer! :rolleyes:

    So I'll move everything to my nice big WD external drive and keep going with two backups for now.
  16. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Most likely like the rest of us your PSU is about to give up the ghost, but is working for now due to the phase of the moon.

    One of the DIY repair sites said something to the effect of "why make it modular if you aren't going to fix it?"

  17. ulbador macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2010
    I get annoyed when the first thing people do is crack this stuff open and try to fix it themselves. Oftentimes, even if the thing is out of warranty, Apple will fix or replace it, usually because of an unadmitted problem like this. A friend of mine got both his three year old MBP and two year old Time Capsule replaced just by calling up and being kind.
  18. benhollberg macrumors 68020


    Mar 8, 2010
    I'm not trying to be a dick here but it sounds like the thing is out of warranty. I wouldn't expect any company to replace it.
  19. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    I'm not really sure what you expected from Apple. Obviously they can't diagnose problems such as you have described over the 'phone. Do you have a local Apple Authorised Service Provider? If you do, that's the place to go. There they can put the gear through diagnostic tests and quote you for a repair (which will have a 90day Apple Warranty).

    Don't forget, all electronic equipment can unexpectedly fail at any time - regardless of its age.
  20. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    FWIW I asked the local Apple Store and called a local Apple Authorised Service Provider when my TC failed to see if they would be able to remove the HDD from my TC, wipe it and give it to Apple under the warranty and they refused, claiming that Apple would only take it as is for replacement.

    I care less about the hardware than I do about my data, which is why I wanted simple backup. No?

  21. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    If you really don't care about the hardware, then why pay a premium for a Time Capsule instead of just getting standard Firewire or USB external drive?

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