7 Replies Latest reply: May 9, 2012 4:54 AM by LaPastenague
pgreen1940 Level 1 (0 points)

Has the chronic Time Capsule power supply failure after about 18 months use been fixed in the new Time Capsules being sold today?  I had a 500GB Time Capsule I recently had to scrap because of this.

Time Capsule
  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,050 points)

    The new ones are better..

    But IMHO, a lot of modern soho type electronic equipment is designed for a lifespan of 3years. Expect replacement at that interval and do not be surprised if it breaks down not long after that.


    Nevertheless the design is flawed and the power supply can still overheat without fan coming on..


    I was encouraged to read this review sometime ago.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4577/airport-extreme-5th-gen-and-time-capsule-4th- gen-review-faster-wifi-/4


    Where they found the fan turning on and cooling the TC properly as it should have since Gen1 on day1. The whole fan, cooling and temperature circuit is all built in there but never turns on until melt down of the core is imminent.


    Someone else tested a Gen4 and found quite the reverse.. the fan still refused to start even with a heat gun on the sensor.. until it reached meltdown. So I am not sure. I have not yet been able to afford a Gen4 to purchase and none have yet come in for repair. (good sign). But I am getting a number of Gen3 with shorted boards. The Gen4 has identical board.. simply changed the wireless.. so IMO the problem will happen across both models but it could be caused by a particular power supply.. even if the power supply continues to work.


    Your Gen1 could be repaired BTW with a fairly simple replacement of the power supply.. it is not inevitable that a broken down one needs to go to the scrap heap.

  • pgreen1940 Level 1 (0 points)

    I followed some power supply repair suggestions I found on a web site and replaced 3 capacitors. Your name (LaPastenague) looks familiar so it may have been your web site.  Anyway, that did not help.  The TC runs for about a minute then powers down as before.  Is there a source where I can buy another power supply?

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,050 points)

    If the internal power supply was repaired it could be a different fault, although that is extremely rare. Let me suggest you disconnect the hard disk and try again.. if the fault still happens the board could be faulty.. extremely rare on Gen1 or Gen2. But if it runs ok then disk could be faulty.. again rare but not unknown.

    Or your repair may have issues.


    There is no source for internal power supplies.

    I do recommend the Cisco external power supply.. they are solid well made supplies.. and at about $20 from ebay you will have no issues getting one..


    http://sites.google.com/site/lapastenague/a-deconstruction-of-routers-and-modems /apple-time-capsule-repair/cisco-adp-30rb-4pin-molex


    If you want a kit talk to repairer in your area.

    http://sites.google.com/site/lapastenague/a-deconstruction-of-routers-and-modems /apple-time-capsule-repairers


    Post is just too expensive to send these things around the world.. so get from local person.. or get them to fix it for you.

  • pgreen1940 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your help and suggestions.


    I tried it with the disk removed, but had the same result.  Since I replaced the capacitors and then had the same failure signature, I'm guessing my repair did not introduce a new fault.  But I realize I could have made a bad repair.


    If I bought a new TC and then added the fan modifiction, do you think it would extend the life of the TC?  Sounds like what is also needed is a different heat sensor that would start the fan at a lower temperature.

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,050 points)

    It is always possible there is another fault.. to shut down after a minute.. if you are relating that correctly.. is unusual.. I would power the board from 5v 2A supply.. that will quickly show if the issue is your power supply or not.


    The TC is definitely in need of more cooling but I would hate to suggest doing a major modification until it runs out of warranty. It is possible to improve the existing cooling with a bit of smarts.. a laptop (or netbook size) cooler to which you can seal the TC.. this is the tricky bit.. you need to allow a space underneath though.. perhaps 10mm.. and seal just the edge of the TC so it allows the cooler to draw air through the TC. That will work without modifying it. But you will need to make up a proper spacer and gasket.


    I see pictures of various fans mounted on the top.. they are next to useless. Cooling the outside plastic will achieve only the tiniest improvement in heat transfer due to the thick plastic (insulating) top.. if it was made out of metal maybe it would do something.



    Sounds like what is also needed is a different heat sensor that would start the fan at a lower temperature.

    It is not the sensor that is the issue. The TC includes a proper fan controller. It is simply set too high.. and so it doesn't turn on.

    If you want to break into the TC.. you can solder in a console.. and use serial to USB adapter.. these are very cheap.. the soldering in is tricky.


    See the bottom of this page.

    http://sites.google.com/site/lapastenague/a-deconstruction-of-routers-and-modems /apple-time-capsule-repair/new-issue-with-a1355-gen-3-tc


    The envstat.. will show temp.


    This command will turn on the fan.

    i2cctl w 0x18 0x00 11010100


  • On-field Spectator Level 1 (10 points)

    While I'm going to try to get my TC power supply fixed as suggested, thinking about a replacement  - Why should I be spending >$500 on something that will only last 3 years. The Apple products look good and set up easy, but that's not worth much when it seems destined to fail in relatively short order. Should I be looking at 'cheap charlie' Netgear stuff?

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (47,050 points)

    The two companies with the best reputation in the NAS field are Synology and QNAP.. either of those have full TM extensions and should have no issues with backup.. so that takes care 1/2 the task of the TC.. the other task is a wireless router.. a Netgear WNDR3800 is a pretty neat box for that. I recommend people do not use a router for a NAS.. the mostly do not have the processor or memory to handle it.. the TC is unusual in having a much higher power processor and far more memory than standard router.. although it is only in the bottom rung NAS.