Time Capsule problems solved?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Mandy89, May 4, 2012.

  1. Mandy89 macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2012
    Hello apple community,
    I´m a new member of apple family and now I would like to buy a Time Capsule to enlarge my little collection of apple products. But on timecapsule.org and in apple support forum I read about the “sudden death” problems. That´s why I´m not sure if it would be a good idea to spend so much money for a time capsule. Therefore I would like to ask you which experiences you made over the past years and how long you could enjoy the performance of your time capsules.
  2. HazyCloud macrumors 68030


    Jun 30, 2010
    I bought the 2 TB one last year and haven't had a single problem with it since. Besides my 4S, I think it was my best purchase last year. Having it automatically backup my Mac is worth the price of admission alone.
  3. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    I bought my 500GB Time Capsule in the spring of 2008, and it has never failed or caused a problem over these last 4 years. My 1st-gen TC is even in the "problem" serial-number range published by Apple a long time ago, but it's been fine.

    (For more space, I replaced the original 500GB internal drive with a 2TB "green" drive in October of 2010.)

    It backs up an iMac and a MacBook Pro, and the automatic nature (especially for the portable computer) is really great. Very pleased with it!
  4. Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    Thanks for the thread.

    I'm looking at getting a TC with my next iMac and reading some of the bad reports and reviews from customers does have me worried, but I'd like to know even with the failures when is that in over all % terms.

    Also being a backup it's not like it's your main HDD failing and what are the chances of the computer and backup dieing together? Besides I'm considering doing a weekly 2nd backup to a separate HDD.

    With any luck Apple might upgrade the TC in the next few weeks along with the iMac.
  5. Macman45, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

    Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I've had my 3TB for almost a year now with no problems at all....it was backing up 3 Macs, but now takes care of my MBP and MBA, with my iMac backing up to my new Pegasus R4. From my experiences at least, I can recommend them.

    It may be that a bad batch of hard drives were to blame for the reports of failure, but several buddies have TC's too, and they have had no problems either..The wifi side of things is also rock solid, and I now use it for my networking needs operating it on 5 and 2.4 GHZ bands with solid reliable performance too.

    I use an AEBS to extend my network around the house. Overall, it's a reliable and solid device.
  6. cmChimera macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    How is the wireless on time capsule compared to the Airport Extreme? I've been looking around for new HDD and router options and can't seem to beat the price of a Time capsule. Also, I plan to set it up to where I can access it remotely. Has anyone done this and have any advice?
  7. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    From my understanding, the TC is an AE with an internal HD. There shouldn't be any difference from the wireless perspective.
  8. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    For awhile in 2009 and 2010 I read nearly every "Time Capsule" post here, and read all about the TC failures here and elsewhere, because I own one of the first-gen TCs. I don't have any links anymore and can't offer any solid evidence, but I'll offer you my conclusions, for what they're worth:

    TC failures were unusually common among the 1st-generation TCs. Many would work fine for 12 - 20 months. Then they would fail to power up. No lights would come on. Others never had a problem (mine included).

    The most technical, credible, consistent reports have convinced me that the common problem was a failed power supply, not a failure of the hard drive itself (the data was still there, uncorrupted). Specifically, the problem was the failure of specific "low-quality" or defective capacitors in the internal power supply of the TC. The capacitors would bulge or even open up.

    Some people replaced the capacitors. Some people connected up an external power supply, bypassing the internal PS. Both methods could work.

    Many people were able to get their data off of the hard drives by removing them and using a SATA dock or spare SATA connector on a computer.

    Apple published a range of serial numbers of "problem" units, and offered to replace the units if/when they failed, for (I think) a period of three years after purchase date. Apple also offered to transfer your data to the replacement unit if you were willing to send the unit away.

    Many, many people blamed the problem on excessive heat build-up inside the unit, and I conclude that heat may well have caused the bad capacitors to fail. However, many, many people claim that the design is still fatally flawed -- by poor fan and cooling design, or just by having the PS internal at all -- and that such "heat build-up" problems are inevitable. This I disagree with because...

    Apple hasn't changed the overall design since it was introduced in 2008. One would think it would have been pretty easy for Apple to change the fans, unit size, or power supply location if any of them were causing a massive failure rate, and Apple did not make such changes. (I think Apple did make some relatively minor changes in the internal layout, though, and obviously has changed the drives used.)

    More importantly, 2nd-gen TCs and later appear not to be failing with the same frequency or a common problem. The few posts I read about newer TC failing were unconvincing due to lack of details or obviously different failure mode (like a simple hard drive failure). There didn't seem to be a solid pattern with the later gens, even well after the infamous "18-month" age.

    Anyway, those are just my conclusions. But, when worrying about a TC failure keep in mind:

    You should never lose any data, because any data on the TC should also exist somewhere else, and as Lancer pointed out, the chance of both locations failing at the same time is small enough that nearly all consumers can ignore it. If you use your TC to back up your Macs, the data it holds is only a copy; or, if you put other files on the TC (a whole 'nother topic), common sense says you need to back those files up somewhere else (another drive, "the cloud", etc). In any case you shouldn't lose data if a TC "dies", although I know some posters here have complained bitterly that they "lost their data".

    As I said, historically it was the TC enclosure that failed, not the drive. The data was still recoverable fairly easily. That's a hassle, but any enclosure can fail for numerous reasons, and they do.

    Of course, no one wants to buy a device which is likely to fail. I think the biggest risk is the money you spend on it -- you don't want to lose that investment or pay a bunch more for repairs or replacement. My claim is that a new TC is no more likely to fail than a typical external drive or other electronic device.

    I apologize for my wordiness and I hope this didn't sound too "preachy". I guess I'll take the risk and post it anyway... :)
  9. NTurner42 macrumors regular


    Dec 25, 2010
    I'm looking into buying one of these and just wondering if a new model will be coming soon? I'd hate to fork over the cash and a bigger drive and better signal model to release. And also, can the HDD be replace in these if they were to fail?
  10. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    Yes. I have direct knowledge of only the 1st-gen TC, but I think they're all pretty much the same construction. I upgraded the HD in mine from 500GB to 2TB and found it quite easy. (I'm pretty good with tools but have no computer or electronic repair experience.) I followed instructions I found here: http://www.applefritter.com/node/23907

    The only somewhat tricky part is getting the rubber pad off the bottom of the unit so you can get to the screws. The pad is glued on, but using a hairdryer as suggested in the article does a great job of loosening the glue and allowing you to be carefully peel it off. Pad and glue are reusable, and you can't tell mine's ever been opened.
  11. jloflin macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2013
    Reply to Brian 33, time capsule problem

    My time capsule 802.11, purchased about two years +, had all the symptoms of problems with time capsules I now read. There was the lost, can't detect, time capsules, etc. off and on, which did clear up, when my son found an alternate route to connecting with the time capsule, and all was well. Until now, where it was working fine at night, but the next morning I woke up and the lite was no longer on, as in NO LIGHT at all.

    From all the tech people at Apple I spoke with, my unit is dead. I can retrieve the hard drive, because likely it is not affected. However, the unit is no longer working, and they pretty much said, it is not repairable.

    I think you are taking a pretty big risk to invest $100+ into a wi-fi system with a Hard drive, when the two together is more likely to have problems, then the two separately.
    I am going to use a passport, or some other external memory, and go back to buying a $25 wireless modem. I think those people who own time capsules that are from 2010 and back are sitting on a time bomb of break down. I would highly recommend you switch systems now when its easy, than when it breaks down and you have to recover instead of transfer.

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