Replacing the PSU in an Acer Aspire iDea 500/510 media centre PC

[NOTE: This post was updated on 21/02/2011 to remove unnecessary steps – see comments below for more info].

These Acer HTPC’s are notorious for their unreliable power supplies. I replaced mine recently and took photo’s of the procedure. Sorry if some of these are a bit blurred, I used my phone.

First, remove the three screws from the back:


The case just slides off rearwards:



Remove the three screws at the rear holding the PSU in place:


Unplug the PSU molex connector from the motherboard:



Unplug the fan connector from the motherboard:



You will need to cut a cable tie to free the connector:


To remove the power connector from the hard drive, unscrew the 4 screws that secure the hard drive to the chassis (sorry no pic of this). Then you should be able to wiggle the hard drive out far enough to be able to unplug the power connector:



Now that all the connectors have been unplugged, pull the cables out from the cable clip:



Remove the two screws holding the PSU and cable clip bulkhead:



Finally, the PSU can be removed:


Time to get the new PSU out:


New on the left, old on the right, slightly different part numbers, probably because the new will also fit the 510 model and has an extra connector that is not used on the 500:


Follow the reverse of the procedure above to fit the new PSU.

When you rescrew the hard drive back in, you may find some of the screw holes hard to get at and unless you have a magnetised screwdriver you will find it very difficult to get the screws back in. I used a tiny blob of blu-tak on the end of my screwdriver to hold the screw to it so I could guide it to it’s hole and screw it in.

Finally, there is a spare connector that is not used on the 500 model, just tuck it away somewhere safe:


Put everything back to together and with a bit of luck it will all work! 🙂

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21 Responses to Replacing the PSU in an Acer Aspire iDea 500/510 media centre PC

  1. Brian says:

    AR! I see 2 empty bottles of Tangle Foot. Is that stage 1 that you fogot to mention?

  2. Mike says:

    Many thanks for posting this guide. I have just replaced the PSU is a friends Acer (albeit the 510 model) and this guide gave me the confidence to do it. No special screwdrivers were needed. I ordered the new PSU from: found this link on the very helpful AV Forum. http://www.avforums.comThanks Paul!!!

  3. Benke says:

    Tack för bilderna ska allt försöka göra ngt liknande ,
    Jag undrar om man måste köpa delen från England finns det ingen återförsäljare i swerige

    Swedish to English translation (courtesy Google)
    Thanks for the pictures should all try to do something similar, I wonder if you have to buy part of England there is no dealer in Sweden-Benke

  4. Gerard says:

    this is really great, I appreciate the effort gone into this as it really helped me out a lot.

    However, is it necessary to remove the whole front facia just to get to the hdd plug?

    I was able to remove the plug by simply jimmying it out from the hdd or even through removing the hdd. this may be a simpler solution.

    thanks again

  5. Eddy says:

    Great guide; thanks!

    I just replaced the PSU in my Idea 500, and can concur with Gerard above — you don’t need to remove the DVD drive or front panel to get at the hard drive power connector.

    Instead, just remove the four screws holding in the hard drive itself, then carefully rotate the hard drive until it is vertical, with the power connector at the bottom. You now have enough room to unplug the power connector, and connect the one from the new PSU. Much quicker & easier.

  6. Calibrator says:

    Thanks for supplying enough material for people to easily swap PSUs!
    I agree with Gerard, though, that one doesn’t need to remove the front to remove the PSU.

    In fact I had the exact same problem with my iDea 500 last year but because of the relatively high price of a new power supply I tried to repair it first. Which actually was possible as it suffered from the same problem as many motherbords: Blown capacitors. One can easily recognize them by their arched metal tops.
    Examples here:

    Needless to say that one needs fitting spare parts, some soldering experience and a bit of recklessness to repair a switching power supply. 😉

    BTW, I found this page because I wanted to research how big a harddisk the iDea 500 could handle. As I found no confirmation I decided to go ahead and try it and cloned the partitions of a 1 TB drive I had upgraded to earlier onto a 2 TB drive (Samsung HD203WI). I can document here that this works and that the BIOS of the iDea 500 does support this drive!
    Note that presumably not every 2 TB drive works as some work with 4K-sectors and not 512 byte ones like the older drives!

  7. Gabriel says:

    This is awesome, thanks for the write up.

    The PSU’s used to be £52, now it’s £72 !!

    Are there any alternative products out there?



  8. Thanks for all the comments guys, I have just replaced a PSU on an Acer iDea 510 and confirm you are correct, all you need to do is remove the hard disk and then you can detach the power cable from it without having to remove the DVD drive or front fascia. I think I was a bit too keen to take it all apart! 🙂

    I had a slight problem putting the screws back in nearest the front as I didn’t have a magnetised screwdriver and couldn’t get a finger in there, so the screw would drop and float around under the drive. In the end I used a tiny bit of blu-tack to keep the screw on the screwdriver as I located it in the hole and screwed it in.

    PS. It’s £78 now!

  9. I have updated this post now to remove the unnecessary steps. I have also managed to fix a blown PSU by replacing 3 of the 1000uF capacitors that had bulging tops.

  10. Ian Macdonald says:

    I found that very interesting but unrealistic for me to try. I beleive i have a PSU problem from what i have read. Does anyone live in or around Lincoln how could help

  11. Mike (again) says:

    Now the PSU has gone on my machine! Thanks again for keeping this post up, and not deleting it. My Acer is pretty old now, but is still going fine … except that it won’t start up now!

  12. Calibrator says:

    Hi Mike & all!

    My iDea 500 also has now given up its ghost. After more than nine years of service it also doesn’t start up any more. My guess is that either the power supply – which needed replacement of five capacitors twice – dosn’t react to the startup signal or the mainboard doesn’t transmit it. I don’t know and I frankly don’t care much, as I need a different machine now anyway.

    Rest in peace. 😉

  13. My Acer 510 is still going strong, I had to replace the capacitors a few years back and its been rock solid ever since, I’ve upgraded the HDD and WiFi card to get more capacity and wireless speeds and don’t plan to replace it until Microsoft stop providing guide updates.

    • Calibrator says:

      Speaking about updates: Microsoft indeed stopped providing EPG data at the end of August for me (I’m from Germany)…

    • Calibrator says:

      A few more details:

      I used the DVB-T tuners and I got the regular EPG updates (daily, lasting 10 days) and it worked really well until the last few days (within the 10 day period).
      Apparently it only began complaining after the 25. August (the planned ending date) as it couldn’t download new updates anymore.
      Of course, being Microsoft and all that, it didn’t say at any one point that there was an ending date and how to resolve the problem.
      There also was no way to set a new ending date (not even for money) and believe me, I searched the web for hours.
      Apparently they simply wanted to end the service and thus the purpose of my machine.
      As far as I’m concerned this is planned obsolescence and nothing else.

      You can check your (individual) planned ending date by looking into the settings menu (EPG data), too. I hope you are alright…

      Not having the EPG I then went on for about three weeks with manual programming, which still worked but it was of course quite cumbersome and I needed either the internet or a TV magazine again…

      So when my iDea finally died I tried a few days to revive it, measured voltages as best as I could and came to the above conclusion that it was basically dead. I pondered a few days if I continue experimenting by replacing the small Acer power supply with a different one but ultimately decided against it. Having no EPG and being unable to run a third-party media center I didn’t want to invest any money in it.

      It’s a bit aggravating as I’m in the process of moving right now (which is costly as I needed new furniture) and therefore often not at home – so I can’t record stuff when I’m away. I’m not demanding much: All I would need would be two, three recordings a week (mostly documentaries).

      On the other hand I watch much less TV (older recordings, placed on my laptop) right now anyway so the damage isn’t as severe as I initially thought and I can wait until I have settled in the new home (which has HD digital cable TV so I need different tuners anyway).
      Then I’ll start building a completely custom media center PC, using as few Microsoft software and services as necessary…

      • I’m using the DVB-T tuners too and still seem to be getting EPG updates, I just checked and can see the next 7 days so guessing these are OTA rather than coming from Microsoft.

    • Calibrator says:

      Did you check the ending date of the EPG data (provided you actually use this)?
      I’d show you where you could find it but as the machine is defective…

      • I think I found it, it says “Guide End Date: 13/11/2015 07:00:00” then there’s a message saying “TV Listings provided by Broadcasting Dataservices Ltd. (c) 2015 Microsoft”

        So does this mean I am still getting guide updates from Microsoft via the internet rather than OTA? I’m getting confused now!

    • Calibrator says:

      That’s what I thought…

      I assume you won’t get *anything* after that date unless you find a solution/hack for it.

      The problem – to me – seems to be that the Microsoft Media Center doesn’t collect over-the-air EPG data and stores it in a database. This is what “dumb” DVB-T boxes do but the Media Center can’t.

      I assume that this is a design decision, though:

      They rather decided to make a contract with you (their “customer”) to provide you with the EPG data from a subcontractor or daughter company (depending on the country I guess).
      In return they collect usage data – what programs you watch, how long etc.

      Also, don’t forget that in the US the support for DVB-T isn’t needed at all. At least back then in 2005.
      My guess is that it was added quickly back then to support the European market.

      Advantage: Complete and comfortable buffering of EPG data, they know exactly what you know (as they know which channels you get and what programs run on them).
      Disadvantage: The data may lag a bit behind and depends on the region. I always had some minor discrepancies here and there.

      If you “opt out” (= don’t enable the TV program listings – I don’t know what it is called outside Germany but here it is called “TV Programm”) then the standard XP Media Center Edition doesn’t list anything – AFAIK.

      By the way:
      From what I remember, DVB-T started in Germany in 2004 and will continue to 2016/2017 when they switch over to DVB-T2.
      And, yes, “our” DVB-T2 is different from, say, the UK-version, and of course incompatible with standard DVB-T so one needs a new settop box or tuner…
      In other words: The usual German way to stimulate the economy.

  14. By the way, the reason why so many people suffered from PSU failures could have been due to “capacitor plague”, hopefully we are past that period now…

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