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Jul 192012

A month or so ago with some trepidation I purchased an Apple Time Capsule.  I’ve not looked back!

I was going to purchase the device from Amazon, but in the UK Apple/Amazon aren’t the stockists on the web site, it’s just third party people.  THey were charging a fair bit more than the Apple Store, and, I could never really work out whether they were selling the latest generation or not.  I was then looking on Apple’s UK Store, but to be honest I didn’t like the idea of paying a small fortune for the shipping.. and such long lead times for the shipping too.

In the end I opted to ask my girlfriend if she wouldn’t mind picking up a £249 2Tb device from the Apple Store in the Oracle in Reading.

I purchased the Time Capsule for three reasons :-

  1. The BT Home Hub v3 that I have got didn’t like the Bonjour protocol used for streaming by Apple.  This is discussed in many of the BT forums, but after WEEKS of discussing with BT Support I eventually gave up.
  2. Every 2-3 days my HP ePrinter would lose it’s network connection.  Related to point 1 perhaps?
  3. I wanted some more network storage accessible to all the devices in my home.

The Time Capsule does all that.  The only thing that I’m not 100% sure on is that it appears to me that the WiFi signal strength isn’t quite as good as the Home Hub.  In the same location, it seems that the Home Hub has better range.

The only down side I have found so far with the Time Capsule is that it is not really a NAS.  The disks power down ‘after a few minutes’ of inactivity.  I haven’t found anywhere that lists the official number of minutes, but it seems to be about 5 minutes.  Plenty of people were asking for a firmware update where this could be configured, but even a few years after the first posts describing and asking for this, there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of that particular tunnel.  I searched for solutions, and there were a few helpful hints, but nothing concrete.

So in the end, I went for the following…

I downloaded touch.exe, and put in the Windows folder on a machine which is ‘always on’.

I downloaded soon.exe, and put it in the Windows folder too.

I wrote a little batch job called touchtc.bat

@echo off
touch \\tc\time1\me.txt
soon 120 cmd /c c:\temp\touchtc.bat

I then created the me.txt file on the Time Capsule.  Away it goes, so far .. so good.  The disks stay alive.

What the above script does is every 2 minutes it updates the date/time on the file me.txt on the root of the Time Capsule.  This stops the Time Capsule putting the disk to sleep.

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  7 Responses to “My Lovely Time Capsule”

  1. Out of interest, what’s the need to keep the disk spinning continuously?! The thing isn’t a NAS, it’s for routine backups…you have me intrigued as to what you’re using it for now…

    • Well, I don’t want it to be some sort of heavy weight NAS. I don’t need that… but.. for example… I record a screencast on my PC, and store it on the Time Capsule, I grab it from the Time Capsule and edit it in iMovie on my Mac… by the time I come to export it back as the finished file, with intro’s etc, the Time Capsule disks have gone back to sleep again. So it’s annoying.

      And.. same happens when I’m doing blog posts. I take a screenshot or five… start writing the blog post, popping a screenshot in now and again, when I come to add one in after 5 minutes or so, it takes much longer, since I have to wait for the disks to spin up. So it’s annoying.

      Almost all the forum posts suggest that the spinning up, and down, and up, and down, of the disks is MORE harmful than having the disk running more or less all the time. That is discussed in other general non-Time Capsule forums too. [I could modify my ‘scheduled task’ to only run during day time hours for example, to give the disks some quiet time]

      • So… any clue how to do the same basic thing if there are only Macs attached to the TC? I may eventually look into a true NAS if I can’t resolve this. Been fighting with it for 2 years now.

        • Hi Steve,

          No I am afraid I don’t know 🙁 If I get chance I’ll take a little look though later this week.


  2. Nope – can’t work it out 🙁 Silly OSX 😉

  3. May I ask how did you set it up… I would like to use my time capsule as the main wifi router. How did you set it up to bypass home hub 3 (i do not have infinity)?. Tks!

    • Hi, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I’ve changed things around a little bit since I wrote the post – moved house and so on. If I remember correctly what I did was plug the time capsule in via ethernet to the Homehub.. and configured wireless on the time capsule. I turned off wireless on the Homehub.

      Hope that helps,

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