Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Gateway Essential 933C
This Gateway has been in the shop before, so have many like it. Two big problems with this particular series, Power Supplies and USB ports. Which is really a bummer considering it doesn't have any PS/2 ports and can only use USB input devices.
Last time it was here because one of the three rear USB ports broke. The three rear ports are stacked on top of one another, and it's always the top port that breaks. I'm not sure if it has something to do with the top port, or just coincidence. The plastic piece inside the USB port that holds the four pins in place is usually the culprit. Some times the port just won't work anymore, other times the pins get bend and short out the computer so that it can't even turn on. In any case, the cheapest way I've found to fix the USB problem is to cut the pins off and put electrical tape over the port. These computers are worth what it would cost to replace the motherboard or solder new USB ports in place.
The power supply is also a problem, as is the case today. The computer still comes on, but gets exceptionally hot. No surprise to see it's the fan. I know if I really wanted to I could take this small power supply apart and replace it with any old 80mm case fan, but that requires dismantling the "not so cleverly" designed power supply. If it was simply a job that required me to take the case off, unscrew the fan, put a new one in place, and rig some wiring, then it might be worthwhile. The small power supply is designed so that I would have to remove the case and the circuit board that converts AC to DC power to get to the fan. No thanks, this customer can get a new power supply.
Unfortunately ordering a new power supply for this model is a pain. There aren't many left and sellers are hard to find. It seems that every time we order this particular power supply it's from a different vendor. Today I found it at http://www.alancomputech.com/6500527.html, and if the boss takes my suggestion we'll get more than one.