Open wide – say Argh !

A request to look at a media center PC recently lead me to wonder how badly suppliers can behave when it comes to supplying replacement parts and doing warranty work. The item in question was an Acer Aspire 500 and the problem was a faulty power supply.

Replacing a power supply is normally a mundane but simple affair – identifying the part can be the hardest bit to start with. Once you know what you need – the next stage is locating a supplier and most time the manufacturer of the equipment is the logical choice.

The problem that the client found was that after reading the forums and making a few enquiries that the supplier was slow at responding to requests and that the costs and delays of getting this simple repair carried out were out of kilter with what you would expect to pay.

So what do you do ?

Well here are the steps you need to follow to return your Aspire 500 to working order. You should only be doing this if you are sure your power supply is faulty and your unit is out of Warranty !!!!! Get a competent friend to fit it if you don’t know one end of a connector from another – a beer at the end is adequate compensation !!

As always no warranty of any sort is implied or given – you do this at your own risk.

1) Locate a supplier who can source the part – in this case an FSP120-40GLS Part number 9PA1200300. I used Hamiltone or contact them at 38a Station Road, Portslade, Sussex BN41 1AG, England, Phone: +44 (0)1273 701648, Fax:-+44 (0)1273 421424. Ask for Roy and tell him Sentinel sent you …. 🙂

2) Sit back and wait – 3 weeks – due to the supply logistics – but worth the wait.

3) on a clear desk – place the Acer Aspire 500 unplugged with the back towards you. Use an antistatic strap earthed if you can to prevent damage. Unscrew the three screws securing the case. Remove the case. Unscrew the three screws holding the power supply to the chassis. These are located around the 13 amp socket on the back of the unit.

Locate the two screws holding the power supply to the based of the case. One is at the top right corner of the power supply and the other is further to the right on the cable management bracket where you will see the power supply leads caught in a plastic fixing. Once the screws are released you should be able to ease the power supply away from the case.

However to completely remove it you will need to release the cables from the plastic fixing. This is achieved by removing the cdrom/dvd drive by disconnecting its interface cable – and removing the three screws (two on the right and one on the left holding the drive to the case)

Note you may need to release the plastic front cover of the unit to get at the drive – don’t do it if you don’t have to – its fiddly enough to get re-aligned.

Once you have removed the dvd drive by sliding it back and up – you will see the power cable to the internal harddrive – release that. Also release the power connector on the main motherboard and finally the 4 pin power supply which I believe feeds the clock on the front of the Acer (which was still working I would add) and the power supply can be completely removed.

Fitting the new unit is simply the reverse. Place the power supply into its place. Attach the harddisk power supply – the motherboard power supply and the 4 pin display power connector. Make sure you put the cables into the cable management plastic fixture to prevent them touching any hot components – screw the cable managment bar bar in place – make sure the screw holes at the back of the power supply line up – screw it back in place.

Replace the cover and get ready to test. Once I plugged in the unit – I could hear the drive spinning up and an number of assorted “mechanical” whirrings confirming power to the board and the devices.

Now enjoy your media centre – and think – I fixed this – no thanks to poor quality service from the supplier !!

As Pauline would say – “Poor!!!”