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Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Dead Time Capsule

I purchased a 1TB Apple Time Capsule sometime in May of 2008. My old router was becoming increasingly unreliable (kept dropping connections, needed to reboot it often), and I liked the idea of being able to conveniently do wireless backups in the Time Capsule's built-in hard drive. It was a great product. Rarely ever had to reboot it. It was pretty easy to set up and use. And being able to access the files in the Time Capsule hard drive from any of the Macs at home was pretty convenient. How I wish I could still say that I am enjoying the benefits of using this product, but I can't. Because a couple of days ago, my Time Capsule just died on me. I came home one night and found that I couldn't connect to the internet because my computer couldn't detect the home wireless network. I checked out my Time Capsule to find that the power light wasn't on. I tried switching outlets to no avail. It was simply dead. A $499 dollar product that I've had for only around 17 months just died.

12 months. Great...

So, fine, I'll just send it to the service center and pay for the parts and repairs. I assumed it was just the power supply that needed to be fixed so I was hopeful that it wouldn't cost me a fortune. But then, when I sent it for repairs, the engineer tells me that Apple does not allow authorized service centers to fix broken Time Capsule power supplies. They will simply replace it, but only IF it's still within some kind of warranty coverage. How great is that? You have a really expensive machine that's broken and is not even 2 years old. They won't replace it if the warranty has expired. But they won't fix it either. So what you have now is just a really expensive paperweight. I asked the engineer if there really wasn't anything else that could be done, and I was told that they would see what they could do and get back to me.

So in the meantime, I did a little web search on broken Time Capsule power supplies. And to my surprise, I found that numerous other people were having the same problem. Within around 17 or so months of purchasing their Time Capsules, it simply just died abruptly. A topic in the Apple discussion board was filled with replies by people and their dead Time Capsule stories. I even found a website dedicated to dead Time Capsules (http://timecapsuledead.org/) where users can register the death of their wifi router and backup device. Last time I checked, it had 626 entries. Hopefully this site and the issue at hand gets more exposure, and hopefully Apple will respond to this situation accordingly.

And as for my situation, I was fortunately able to find an article on the web that informed me that currently active Mac AppleCare agreements actually also cover Time Capsules (as well as certain other peripherals) that are used with a Mac computer under the AppleCare warranty. I was able to phone the Apple hotline and was told that I could receive a replacement since I have an active AppleCare agreement for my MacBook Pro. So as of now, according to the last customer service agent I spoke with, I should be getting a replacement. And if I do get that replacement, I just hope I won't be experiencing the same thing after another 17 months.
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