Time Capsule Died

My beloved time capsule died, after about two years of service and tiresome file transfer, hundreds of printed pages and zillions of bytes transmitted over the wireless access point. It saved my *** eh files on many occasion and now it’s gone.

At least that was my first impression. Some googling showed i was not alone in my grief. In fact timecapsuledead.org had over 2500 cases of similar problems.

Anyway, i was determined to get at least the data out of the shiny designer doorstop i now was the proud owner of. When reading up on how to open this shiny breadbox i stumbled upon some great pages that showed how to repair the device. Since i found the pages vague at best, i’ll try to rephrase them for the common good, but will take no credit nor responsibility for the solution (which is very good btw.)

Step 1. Get a new power supply

Oh i didn’t tell you why the time capsule died. Apple makes great stuff but was a little too optimistic about temperature household. Given the fact that the device had little room to “breath” did not help either. What kills the time capsules is temperature, and it kills the capacitors in the power supply to be exact. So you will need a new one.

Try to get a CISCO 1700 series router especially the 1710 go cheap on eBay You only need the power supply but a complete router goes for under 40 euros like this one. While a power supply only (Article Code 34-0874-01) is less easy to get your hands on. I got a complete router for 15 Euro, did no even got around selling the ISDN and SHDSL modules (go for a lot more than than the complete router cost).

Got the supply ? good!

Step 2. Sesame open

Just google for it. Appefritter has a good guide which i shamelessly copied. Or check out YouTube.

1. Set something down on your work surface to protect Time Capsule’s casing from scratches — a towel or even an antistatic bag should suffice.

2. Disconnect all of the cables from your Time Capsule and lay it upside-down, with the ports facing you.

3. The screws that we need to remove are hidden underneath the rubber base of the Time Capsule. The base is held on with a simple layer of strong, but removable, adhesive. Getting the adhesive warm helps soften its grip, so use a hair dryer or heat gun to gently warm the rubber base. Don’t get it too hot, just get it reasonably warm. I got my heat gun at Home Depot for $30 in the paint section. No matter what, do not use a chemical adhesive remover (like Goo Gone), as the metal plate underneath is perforated and it’ll end up dripping inside.

Figure 3. Use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the rubber base and soften the adhesive securing it.

4. Pry up a corner of the rubber base and start to slowly peel it away from the metal plate underneath. Don’t pull too hard or too fast, or let the adhesive get too cool, or else the rubber base can tear (trust me on this). If necessary, reheat the area where the base and bottom plate are still stuck together as you peel the base off.

5. If you applied enough heat when peeling the base off, most of the adhesive will have stayed on the base itself and can be reused — it’s pretty sticky stuff. Set the base aside for reinstallation later.

Figure 4. Time Capsule with rubber base removed.

6. Use a #0 Philips screwdriver to remove the screws circled here. This is the only size screwdriver, and only other tool, you will need for this project. (My #0 screwdriver is a Craftsman model 41649.)

Figure 5. The screws to remove so the Time Capsule can be opened.

7. Carefully pick the metal base plate up and hinge it to your right. Be careful — the fan is still attached to the bottom plate, and the cable connecting it to the Time Capsule is short. You’ll end up with your Time Capsule splayed open like this:

Figure 6. Time Capsule with base removed.

Step 3. Fire in the hole

The next step is to remove the power supply and desolder the cables. First remove the power supply and disk.


There, that should save you about a day of tinkling in your right arm. You can either avoid them or short circuit them. Remember what goes where, here’s the diagram since Apple must love Henry Ford, all wires are black.

12V = 1 wires
5V = 4 wires
Ground = 5 wires

Cut off the cable of your CISCO power supply and feed it through the original hole for the power cable. Now strip the wires bare and solder them to your connectors.

2x black = Ground
1x Red = 5V
1x Orange = 12V
1x Green = -12V (snip off)
1x white = ROF (On-oFF control line). Solder to one of the black wires.

Now put the box back together, and you are back in business. As a bonus your device runs a lot cooler with this power supply and it is also now external so the heat can actually go somewhere. It’s less elegant, but my time capsule is hidden away with a printer in a dark place, humming in peace, serving my MacPro, MacBook and Cube without a word of complain. (or a blinking led for that matter)

Posted in Apple, Uncategorized

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