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Time Capsule power failures continue to affect owners

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Wed October 7, 2009

Issues persist after months of complaints

Apple's Time Capsule network drives are still suffering from power failures, complaints on official support forums indicate. The failures are allegedly occurring without warning, and are thought to be attributable to faulty power supplies, though some owners have suggested problems with chips or connectors. Most at risk are older drives, as a number of the dead units are said to have been bought in early 2008. Apple last refreshed its Time Capsule line in July.

The errors are an unusually serious issue due to many drives containing critical backup data. Genius technicians are accused of compounding the issue, offering to repair drives for as much as $499, without an option to have the data transferred to another Capsule or hard drive. It may in fact be cheaper for the technically savvy to buy a new Capsule, and replace its drive with the older one.

Choosing to repair may also require manually wiping personal information, or trusting Apple to properly destroy an old drive. Despite promises, workers could in theory keep a unit to steal sensitive content. Apple has not so far commented on Time Capsule problems or offered an explanation.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My TC ran quite hot...

    ...and was quite audible so I replaced the original 500 with a 1.5TB caviar green - now silent (the quietest CG drive) & running cooler than body temp I am puzzled why 'server' grade was chosen especially now that failures are being reported... I might also suggest buying drives in identical pairs (a backup backup) so that if failure happens at least a replacement circuit board is available to try & recover the data - recovery services are rather pricey @ $500 & up! So far so good...

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    My brother's TM died out of the blue. I think Apple got a bad batch of power supplies. It happens, but Apple needs to fix the problem now.

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    me too

    I am the owner of a time Capsule bought at the same time and that died without warning a few days ago. The only (possible) warning I got was that the hard drive occasionally sounded slightly different in the week previous. Nothing awful, just a slightly different tone on the read/writes. I was just thinking I might get around to backing up the backup when it failed without warning. I was actually looking at it when it happened, and the light just blinked out and that was it. No drama, no sounds, no warnings. Just poof.

    The worst part is the Apple secrecy though. The first thing one does is go to the web site and check it out and you have to dig around like crazy to even find a mention of this as a possible problem. Nothing on their site indicates anyone has had any major problems with Time Capsule, but when you dig, you find that thousands and thousands of people have had the same problem as you, but that Apple is just ignoring it.

    I'm a big Apple booster, but when it comes to social issues and customer service, their secrecy just works 100% *against* them. I don't know why someone in PR doesn't see that and force a change.

  1. TheAppleFreak

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I've owned two

    Since April 2008, I've owned two Time Capsules, both of them 1 TB. The first one served it's line of duty for two or three months before dying. My parents took it to the Genius Bar while I was in school, and they diagnosed it as a blown power supply. They gave me a new one, but they didn't bother to swap the drives.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    server grade

    ....running cooler than body temp I am puzzled why 'server' grade was chosen especially now that failures are being reported..

    Server grade was chosen because they're supposed to be better than regular off-the-shelf drives and be able to stand being on 24/7 and all that c***.

    Although it's probably just all marketing hogwash so they can charge more for the same drive...

  1. jbwith84

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No Worries

    Well if my Time Capsule's power supply does go out at some point, at least I can reset assured that the 3 year AppleCare warranty I purchased with my computer will cover my Time Capsule for another 1 and a half years.

    If I do end up having to replace the unit it really won't matter anyway since the data is only a backup of what's on my computer now. If I thought the data in the backups was so important I'd take the time to backup my backup data.

    S*** Happens.

  1. oceanwest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    couldn't resist...

  1. MacDiva525

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Time Capsule - RIP

    My 500GB Time Capsule, purchased in March 2008, died this morning (11/20/09).

  1. connolly

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nicely done, Apple

    My 20 month old Time Capsule (500gb) died unexpectedly last Saturday... just like as described above. At Noon on Monday, I had a 15 minute call with the Apple support team and at 10a the NEXT DAY, a reconditioned Time Capsule was at my doorstep... no charge.

    Sure, I had to go through the hassle, I lost my old backups and it never should have died in the first place... but the fast turn around on this was astounding.

    I think my serial number fell within a specific range that qualified for replacement. If you have a dead TC, it's worth the call to see what they'll do for you.

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