I woke up early this morning only to find my Apple Time Capsule had up and died sometime between Midnight and 5:00am. I had been expecting that moment to arrive, but I, of course, hoped I would somehow be exempt from the inevitability of misbegotten electronic parts.
I had come to realize, since October 2009, that my Time Capsule had an embedded expiration date of 18 months or so and, as I discovered this morning, my Time Capsule lasted just about that long. The power light was off. The Time Capsule was cold and dead.
The early Apple Time Capsules have a power supply problem. There’s a website dedicated to memorializing fallen Time Capsules, but it closed down after processing 2,500 dead devices:
On Monday 15 February 2010, we reached 2500 failed Time Capsule registrations and we decided to close the Memorial Register for new submissions. We know for sure that many more Time Capsules will die in the next months (or years maybe) but we’ve decided not to spend anymore of our time cataloging this disaster.
The Time Capsule Memorial Register was brought to life on October 10, 2009 by Pim van Bochoven from the Netherlands after he found out that his failed Time Capsule was only one of many, and Apple told everyone in his situation that they were out of warranty, so out of luck. The massive failure started around September 2009 (about 18 months after the first Time Capsules were sold). The Register was meant as a humorous protest against Apple’s unwillingness to offer a solution to the ever growing number of people who ended up with a “shiny white doorstop”.
I called AppleCare this morning and a support tech named Ted told me he’s cross-ship me a replacement because I’d preciously purchased an AppleCare contract for my unibody MacBook. He told me I’d be getting a refurbished Time Capsule with a better power supply but, he urged, that was a “good thing” — because it meant everything would be hand-tested and not assembly line manufactured.
I asked Ted if that meant I would be getting someone else’s backup drive content, or if my content would be accessible to others in the refurbished swap-and-ship chain — Time Capsules have a hard drive for automatic and transparent Time Machine backups as well as serving as a network hub for USB devices and your cable modem and external network drives — and Ted assured me all hard drives are “wiped seven times” to clear out any previous personal data and, if the drive is dead, it goes into an “industrial shredder.”
Ted said the replacement should arrive by Tuesday.
Ted also told me the new generation Time Capsules have a much better power supply and employ a “Simultaneous Dual Band” mode that means they can connect separate WiFi devices at the fastest possible native speed: An older WiFi device will not slow down newer WiFi devices on the same network.
We are a 100% Mac shack and the Apple Time Capsule is the heart and mind of our daily computing. I’m already feeling queasy without its reassuring green light glowing back at me indicating all is well in our virtual online world. We are now without network printing and access to our network drives is unavailable and we have no WiFi.
I’m currently hardwired directly into our cable modem on a single machine — Tuesday cannot come soon enough — and we are eager to get back to the unwittingly easy protection our Apple Time Capsule provided us from the drudgery of everyday computing.