5 Replies Latest reply: Dec 29, 2013 11:32 AM by LaPastenague
HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

My Time Capsule, connected by Ethernet, seems to perform backups normally.

However it is constantly rebooting. Several times a day now. (and of course I am then loosing internet access)


Is there an hardware failure and should I change it ?

Or is it software-related and could be fixed ?

Could it be remotely caused by Apple or my ISP, or whatever external connexion ?


Thanks for your answers

Time Capsule, 1rst Generation 500 Go
  • LaPastenague Level 8 (48,899 points)

    A first Gen TC is way way overdue for replacement. The power supply is shot.. many died at 18-24 months.

  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Actually, this model was already exchanged when 15 monthes old, and the replaced one is now approaching 4 years. So I suspect that it is hardware-related, but I would like a way to confirm it.


    And by the way I don't consider it normal to replace a backup element after 4 years. I don't remember having seen advertised that it would last this time. :-)

    A contrario, my DSL box is 12 years old and still running fine  :-) 

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (48,899 points)

    So I suspect that it is hardware-related, but I would like a way to confirm it.


    And by the way I don't consider it normal to replace a backup element after 4 years. I don't remember having seen advertised that it would last this time. :-)

    A contrario, my DSL box is 12 years old and still running fine  :-) 

    Open the TC and replace the power supply.


    Or repair it.. https://sites.google.com/site/lapastenague/a-deconstruction-of-routers-and-modem s/apple-time-capsule-repair


    You can order a replace power supply from ebay.. Apple never supplied them to their repairers.. they were and are considered a sealed unit. No repairs are done.. they will be refurbished in cheap labour country.


    We can debate endlessly how long things should last. So this bit is my take on it. I don't disagree with you.. but it is a matter of cost.


    Apple makes things run too hot. The first and second gen TC died of heat exhaustion. Later ones are better, using a better power supply and lower consumption green drive and processor designed for better efficiency.


    But contra your understanding of how long things should last.. the later TC are fitted with the cheapest domestic green drives available.. the simple fact is, if you are trusting a backup for your data.. you should be replacing those drives every 3 years. And you should use server standard drives.. not the cheapest ones available.


    Your Gen 1 had the only true server drive Apple ever used.. the ES Seagate.. but even those are starting to die.


    An ADSL modem without a mechanical hard disk can last a very long time.. or they used to. modern adsl modems would mostly be dead in 2-3years.. because they are built for $50 not $500 which you would have paid for a modem 12years old. Maybe more.


    Hard disks are just not up to lifespans of 12years.. and even 4 years is stretching things.


    I have a friend who does data recovery.. when I ask about the most reliable drives.. he says go right back to around 300GB drives.. he has never had so much work since they introduced NAS systems with multiple TB drives.. their failure rates are very high. I have had it happen myself. Whole sets of seagate drives dead in one year.. ask apple about seagate in the imac's.. they had to do an extended replacement under warranty.. then they used a seagate in the new TC.. the cheapest one on the market.

  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Thank you for your answer, infos and the link.


    Regarding on programmed obsolescence, I tend to believe that there is a implicit contract between the buyer and the vendor, on how long the product should last.


    As it is not formalized, even explicited, there is room for disagreement on the "terms", and in consequence , for dissatisfaction.


    Apple used to build machines (computers) that would last easily 4-5 years, and obsolescence would come because mostly of needed software upgrades. You paid for what you had for, and if you needed more, you had to pay more. Fair. I have a 23" screen which is 8 years old and still very good. I still have Apple computers that come from the 90's and can boot and perform as they were when i bought them.


    With the smartphones, they began to see it differently and began to manufacture things that have a much shorter lifespan. The contract was still in a way respected, as people expected to keep their phones for 2/3 years. (I won't bragg here about the 1rst iPad who was nearly unusable after 18 monthes and pushed OS upgrades)


    My take is that they have applied to the Time Capsule a phliosophy of the smartphones, and they broke the implicit contract.

    Backup is in the realm of computers.

    You expect your backup to last as long as your computer. And when you build a software solution for backup (Time Machine) you don't force an hourly backup if your hardware can't cope with it for the required time.

    Especially, backup implies reliability, so they are all the more in red zone.

    Mixing backup, storage, router, firewall, wifi functionalities as they did with the TC is not an excuse in my opinion.


    Having said that, and coming back to my own issue, you seem pretty knowledgeable about this subject and convinced that this is the warning of a announced power unit failure. Right ?


    Now I will read your site and decide what I will do, as of course the 500 GB drive in it is a little too small for my usage now, and would have preferred to go for a 2 TB :-)

  • LaPastenague Level 8 (48,899 points)

    this is the warning of a announced power unit failure. Right ?


    In my experience the Gen1 and 2 board is a very reliable design.. they of course do have occasional units that go bad but overall it is very solid.


    The power supply is the weak point. You did very well out of the replacement unit btw.. many people have the second one die just as fast. They did not, after all, fix the problem.. which was overheating. And that was a design decision, as much as anything. The fan cooling circuit is all sitting there doing nothing because someone.. did not like fan noise.


    Your continual reboot fault is unusual.. I will say that. They usually die and stay dead. But yours might have got a delta brand supply instead of flextronics.. Apple had two power supplies floating around.. in early ones about 10% got delta.. it is a far superior supply.. and it can fail in a number of odd ways. The Delta is used for 90% of the later Gen3 and Gen4 which is what helped their reliability improve.


    As with most things these days the only proof of the fault is to replace it.. this can be expensive unless you have DIY skills. I have suggested on the website a number of different repair methods. The cheapest of these is to rethink the whole approach. Power the TC board from a 5v supply. You need only 2A although most supplies sold these days are so overrated you will do better with 3A. Then buy a USB shell for the hard disk with its own power supply and plug that in.. or even use a long sata cable. If you can prove the issue is the power supply then replacement by external 12v supply and internal converter is a bit of work but can produce a reliable unit.


    If you figure out it is going to cost $100 to fix.. and you can buy a 2TB Gen4 TC on ebay here for around the $150-180 which is good buying. It is cooler running, has faster wire speeds to the hard disk, by 50% and much better wireless. As long as you treat it as a backup and don't store files.. it is fine. If you want reliable you certainly need a second backup disk. WD Green have a nasty tendency to suddenly lose format. And the occasional Gen4 just stops working..  a fault I have yet to track down .. it has to happen on my bench .. !!


    The latest Gen5 is a completely new design.. and I think is still needing a hardware revision and several firmware updates. It is no faster on hard disk access and is in fact slower WAN to LAN throughput. The change of chipset means that Apple is writing firmware again from scratch since they use NetBSD which means most of the Linux drivers broadcom supply has to be re-written.