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, and if the boss takes my suggestion we'll get more than one.


InsultComicDog said...

Thanks James, I only needed to keep my father-in-law's 2001 vintage 933c up for a couple of hours while transferring info to his new computer. I plugged one of those Belkin transfer cables into the USB port - that top one of the three - and when I came back around to the front, I realized that old machine was off and wouldn't come back on again. Sure enough, I had bent back one of those pins and shorted out the computer. After reading this post I realized what I needed to do. That sounds ridiculously obvious, but not being a tech myself, I never realized that bending these pins and shorting out the machine was even possible until I stumbled upon your old blog post.

Thanks again!

James said...

Glad I could help! I regret not writing more post like this when I worked in the repair shop. Lots of tidbits that pertain only to a specific model or two have been long forgotten.