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#54885 - 06/13/20 11:35 AM is my Apple Time Capsule dying?
iBozz Offline


Registered: 08/07/09
Loc: NW UK
I have an Apple Time Capsule running firmware v7.8.1. I have automatic updates switched on and that's the latest that it has installed although there is, i believe, a v7.9.1 out there. i am assuming that my TC version won't accept the latest firmware.

On to the problem.

For the past couple of days or so, although 2 iMacs (Catalina and Snow Leopard) and one iPad pro and iPhone SE 2020 can all see the TC's network and work with it - it connects to the web and I can print wirelessly via it. When I am able to enter Time Machine all my backups are there.

However, Time Machine and Airport Utility keep losing sight of it even when I can still use it as a wifi access point. Time Machine says the back up device isn't configured and Airport Utility cannot see it at all.

The only solution is to turn the Time Capsule off and on again. It then reappears and stays "visible' for between minutes and hours and then disappears again.

The green light on the front of the Time Capsule remains a steady green and my Airport Utility > Preferences > Monitor Airport base stations for problems is ticked, as are the two sub-options of Only monitor Airport base stations that I have configured and Monitor Airport base stations over the internet using Bonjour.

To be frank, i'm not fully sure what these last two do, but the description says that if an error is detected then Airport Utility will open automatically as a warning.

it never has.

Is my Time capsule failing? Is there something that I can do to stop the amazing partial disappearance trick? Am I being [more] stupid [than usual] and overlooking the bleeding obvious?

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



Edited by iBozz (06/13/20 11:35 AM)
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#54886 - 06/13/20 12:46 PM Re: is my Apple Time Capsule dying? [Re: iBozz]
MacManiac Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
In response to your final question, with modifiers, I would respond with a question for you to follow and decide for yourself.....

How full is the disk within your TimeCapsule?

Let us know what you find.....

Noting that the wireless access point of your TimeCapsule appears to be fully functional, and further noting that the installed firmware is updated to the latest useable version that your hardware supports, I would think that any TimeMachine issues with backing up are more than likely related to the condition of the disk.
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#54888 - 06/13/20 01:45 PM Re: is my Apple Time Capsule dying? [Re: iBozz]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: iBozz
I have an Apple Time Capsule running firmware v7.8.1. I have automatic updates switched on and that's the latest that it has installed although there is, i believe, a v7.9.1 out there. i am assuming that my TC version won't accept the latest firmware.

You have not indicated if your Time Capsule is first, second, third, or fourth generation model, but the latest firmware version is 7.9.1 (although I doubt the is the source of your problem).

Originally Posted By: iBozz
However, Time Machine and Airport Utility keep losing sight of it even when I can still use it as a wifi access point. Time Machine says the back up device isn't configured and Airport Utility cannot see it at all.
  • Is this true on both of your iMacs?
  • When it is in a "down" mode can you see the Time Capsule using Airport Utility on your iPad?
  • When you say "I can still use it as a wifi access point" am I correct in assuming you mean you still have a connection to the internet as well as your local area network?
Originally Posted By: iBozz
The green light on the front of the Time Capsule remains a steady green and my Airport Utility > Preferences > Monitor Airport base stations for problems is ticked, as are the two sub-options of Only monitor Airport base stations that I have configured and Monitor Airport base stations over the internet using Bonjour.

The green light indicates the Time Capsule has power and is connected to the internet,

Originally Posted By: iBazz
To be frank, i'm not fully sure what these last two do, but the description says that if an error is detected then Airport Utility will open automatically as a warning.

it never has.

..and as far as I know it never will, however if you launch Airport Utility, it will display an error banner on the Time Capsule icon in the Airport Utility display. (By-the-way, you can switch the second option off.)

Originally Posted By: iBazz
Is my Time capsule failing? Is there something that I can do to stop the amazing partial disappearance trick? Am I being [more] stupid [than usual] and overlooking the bleeding obvious?

  1. I don't know if you time Capsule is failing or not. 👋
  2. IIRC from a few years back it is my understanding that the most common Time Capsule failure is losing its ability to create a WiFi network. Obviously this is not the case here. 👍
  3. The first and second generation Time Capsules were based on the draft 802.11n specification and although the differences were generally minor it does occur to me that might create issues with the latest MacOS/iPadOS updates. That is not something you have control over or can change. 👎
  4. There is a wildcard in the deck — environmental change. I am not referring to the too rapid meting of the polar ice caps rather to the possibility of local interference on your WiFi band that may be blocking the WiFi channel. Utilities like WiFi Explorer Lite will scan the signals in your environment and show all of the active WiFi signals, their channel assignments and signal strengths. Using something like that as a guide, you might try changing channel assignments or switching your computer from the 2.4GHz to the 5GHz band or vice-versa and see if that solves the issue. 🤞
  5. …or it just may be your Time Capsule is getting wonky and may have to be replaced. 🤬
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#54893 - 06/13/20 07:08 PM Re: is my Apple Time Capsule dying? [Re: joemikeb]
MacManiac Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
I can throw a little more info into the mix.....

I have 2 early generation TimeCapsules in my home network infrastructure, Gen 2 I believe (the ones that were configured like a MacMini in size and shape)....they both are at 7.8.1 which I believe is as high as their hardware will accept.
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#55067 - 06/29/20 03:14 AM Re: is my Apple Time Capsule dying? [Re: MacManiac]
iBozz Offline


Registered: 08/07/09
Loc: NW UK
Firstly, I must apologise most sincerely for not responding to these helpful answers more speedily. I became sidetracked on matters domestic but I am now back and, I hope, forgiven for my rudeness.

Before I answer the various points and questions, I shall explain that I managed a work-round which, until a few days ago, resumed the normal and regular back-ups. which gave me an idea which I shall float before i go further.

I have, at home, three networks. One is the Time Capsule wifi (TC), one is a my original, pre-Time Capsule, network via a NetGear N300 router (NG) and one via a FON router. The TC and FON are cabled into the Netgear and, for the purposes of this discussion, the FON router is irrelevant.

When my failure occurred, I was connected to the TC so, after a while, i decided to join the NG network and the connection remained stable until a few days ago when that failed to back up.

I felt the TC and it was hot and it occurred to me that the failures on both the TC and NG networks had occurred during, for the UK, unusually hot weather. The routers are all in a cupboard under the stairs so the ambient temperature may well have been significantly higher than usual.

I have now raised the TC off the shelf and stood it on legs to allow a good 1” of space underneath it to help it cool and it is now merely warm to the touch.

Could overheating have been the cause? I’m sure that in other parts of the world the Time Capsule has to operate in much higher average temperatures than here, but we have had unusually hot weather until this last weekend.



In case that is a red herring, I shall now belatedly answer the points raised:

MacManiac:

The Time capsule is showing 136GB of 1.9TB available.

joemikeb:

The Capsule is 4th generation 802.11n and the latest Firmware version for this model, according to Airport Utility, is 7.8.1 which is installed.

I haven’t, I confess, tried to “see” it with the older iMac as once the workaround worked I became distracted.

When it was down, I could not see the TC via Airport Utility on the iPad.

Yes, I could still use it as a network.

Green light - thanks.

NG is on Channel 6 and TC is on Channel 100, with signal strengths of around 90% each. There are four other networks on 6 all of which are below 50%, and none on 100.


Again, apologies for my inexcusable tardiness.
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#55073 - 06/29/20 10:09 AM Re: is my Apple Time Capsule dying? [Re: iBozz]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: iBozz
Could overheating have been the cause? I’m sure that in other parts of the world the Time Capsule has to operate in much higher average temperatures than here, but we have had unusually hot weather until this last weekend.

Overheating can cause problems. For many years the common consensus was heat is the most likely cause of failure for hard disk drives. That has been thrown into question by Google Lab's testing, but there are other things in a Time Capsule than HDDs that could be subject to failure from overheating. Good air circulation is a great idea in my mind.
Originally Posted By: iBozz

MacManiac:

The Time capsule is showing 136GB of 1.9TB available.

joemikeb:

The Capsule is 4th generation 802.11n and the latest Firmware version for this model, according to Airport Utility, is 7.8.1 which is installed.

I haven’t, I confess, tried to “see” it with the older iMac as once the workaround worked I became distracted.

When it was down, I could not see the TC via Airport Utility on the iPad.

Yes, I could still use it as a network.

Green light - thanks.

NG is on Channel 6 and TC is on Channel 100, with signal strengths of around 90% each. There are four other networks on 6 all of which are below 50%, and none on 100.
I don't see any apparent network conflicts or issues, but network issues can be transient.

However, with only 136GB (7.1%) free space on the Time Capsule drive it is perilously close to the recommended maximum. It won't be long until data starts dropping off the backend of the backup data set if it isn't happening already. That leaves you with two options
  1. allow data to continue to drop off the backend of your backup data sets.
  2. Erase your Time Capsule drive and start over from scratch.
Personally I have chosen the erase option on multiple occasions and never regretted it. While I have recovered files and even restored my entire system from Time Machine backups, I have never found it necessary to go back more than a month or so, most often only an hour or two or maybe overnight, and have not missed the older data sets. I erased a three year old backup set just last week because my 3TB RAID array went into overflow.
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