Aspire iDea 500

paulroberts

Novice Member
What's the latest thoughts on upgrading the twin tuners? It would be nice to view and record HD content but my Yuan tuners won't pick up the HD channels (not surprising as they pre-date HD).

Would be nice if there is a drop-in replacement, but have a feeling there's more chance of finding a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow!
 

mcmorj

Standard Member
I agree that it is unlikely that you will find direct replacement internal (HD) Tuners but there are a number of USB based alternatives that should present cheap avenues to pursue.
 

mcmorj

Standard Member
Happy New Year all - I have my Acer iDEA 500 with 3GB RAM and a 2.13 processor running Windows 10 32 - but cannot get ethernet to work (and haven't been able to for a while). All the lights seem to be on but no one is home. The port acquires an DHCP address but reports it is a public network and not a private one like the wireless. It also says unidentified network and all the things I have tried have not worked. I have located what the Intel site says is the correct driver for the ethernet hardware but it gets to a point installing where it says "a driver is already installed and this software cannot uninstall". Any thoughts welcome....!
 

mcmorj

Standard Member
A little update on the inboard ethernet port. It is an Intel PRO/1000 PL and having swapped in an old XP boot disk, the ethernet port works fine under XP. Once I revert to WIN10 however, it's back to failing. I am certain the driver loaded is the correct one. What I believe is the problem here (and it's something I have seen with other older machines) is there is some basic issue with the BIOS. Without a BIOS fix, I think it's likely that this port is never going to work. I have gotten round this by using a cheap USB to ethernet converter, which works fine even under WIN10. I would be interested to hear if anyone else upgraded to Windows 10 and if you had better luck than me?! The latest issue is that HDMI does not seem to offer 1080i/p with a maximum of 1600 x 1050...... :eek: but the DVI port does.
 

mcmorj

Standard Member
A little update on the inboard ethernet port. It is an Intel PRO/1000 PL and having swapped in an old XP boot disk, the ethernet port works fine under XP. Once I revert to WIN10 however, it's back to failing. I am certain the driver loaded is the correct one. What I believe is the problem here (and it's something I have seen with other older machines) is there is some basic issue with the BIOS. Without a BIOS fix, I think it's likely that this port is never going to work. I have gotten round this by using a cheap USB to ethernet converter, which works fine even under WIN10. I would be interested to hear if anyone else upgraded to Windows 10 and if you had better luck than me?! The latest issue is that HDMI does not seem to offer 1080i/p with a maximum of 1600 x 1050...... :eek: but the DVI port does.
12FEB20 - update, have got the idea working 1080p on HDMI but my TV clips a small part of the outer screen so you lose half of the taskbar at the bottom. I also had to go into the sound settings and set the sound to "digital out" to get sound running through the DVI port.
 

JohnAddison

Active Member
Checking in - still got two 510's going strong. Good work Acer :)

12FEB20 - update, have got the idea working 1080p on HDMI but my TV clips a small part of the outer screen so you lose half of the taskbar at the bottom. I also had to go into the sound settings and set the sound to "digital out" to get sound running through the DVI port.
It's been a while since I last tried using my 500 but I remember on my Samsung TV at the time I had to enable "Just Scan" under picture mode to get rid of the overscan issue.

Happy New Year all - I have my Acer iDEA 500 with 3GB RAM and a 2.13 processor running Windows 10 32 - but cannot get ethernet to work (and haven't been able to for a while). All the lights seem to be on but no one is home. The port acquires an DHCP address but reports it is a public network and not a private one like the wireless. It also says unidentified network and all the things I have tried have not worked. I have located what the Intel site says is the correct driver for the ethernet hardware but it gets to a point installing where it says "a driver is already installed and this software cannot uninstall". Any thoughts welcome....!
I don't have a 500 up and running at the moment but on my Windows 10 510's (same onboard network as 500) I just let them use the included driver and it works perfectly. I'm still on Windows 10 1903 at the moment, I'm skipping 1909 and will move to 2004 once its hits RTM.

What's the latest thoughts on upgrading the twin tuners? It would be nice to view and record HD content but my Yuan tuners won't pick up the HD channels (not surprising as they pre-date HD).

Would be nice if there is a drop-in replacement, but have a feeling there's more chance of finding a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow!
USB tuners will likely be the way to go, I've had good results with usb DVB-S2 tuners. You could go to some extremes to make it all internal but the costs will go up.
 

JohnAddison

Active Member
I think I may have asked before but has anyone had any luck tracking down new 50mm PWM fans? The fans are showing signs of age but the only 50mm PWM fans I've been able to find from the usual places end up being used/refurb/salvage parts. If I can't track some down soon I will probably try to replace the heatsinks with lowprofile 1u units similar to this:


This is probably not going to be too hard for the CPU as I think the spacing on the standard heatsink mounts are the same as LGA775. Mounting one of these on the MXM card would need a mod but its not impossible. It might not be the worst idea on the CPU side of things anyway, with a cooling upgrade a small boost to 2.5 or 2.66GHz might be possible without excessive fan noise.
 
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mcmorj

Standard Member
Checking in - still got two 510's going strong. Good work Acer :)



It's been a while since I last tried using my 500 but I remember on my Samsung TV at the time I had to enable "Just Scan" under picture mode to get rid of the overscan issue.



I don't have a 500 up and running at the moment but on my Windows 10 510's (same onboard network as 500) I just let them use the included driver and it works perfectly. I'm still on Windows 10 1903 at the moment, I'm skipping 1909 and will move to 2004 once its hits RTM.



USB tuners will likely be the way to go, I've had good results with usb DVB-S2 tuners. You could go to some extremes to make it all internal but the costs will go up.
Thanks for the feedback John, I am running my 500 with the last published 510 BIOS as that was the only way to get it to recognise the 2.33 ghz CPU. As far as WIN10 is concerned, the ethernet device is "working properly" and it's all ready to go - but I cannot get it connected to a network. I had almost exactly the same issue with a HP Microserver and was only able to get the port finally working with a BIOS Update. I don't know what the BIOS does to stop it working at the network level! I would be interested to hear what happens on that 500 you have if you get around to booting it into windows 10.
 

jmackin2

Standard Member
My 510 is still going strong (several capacitor replacements and a lot of upgrades later) but with Win7 ending I wondered if there's a low-profile motherboard that could keep the case but replace everything else - obviously don't need most of the ports any more, so happy to lose a lot of the legacy connectors. Problem is the case is a weird shape, any advice welcome!
 

JohnAddison

Active Member
Thanks for the feedback John, I am running my 500 with the last published 510 BIOS as that was the only way to get it to recognise the 2.33 ghz CPU. As far as WIN10 is concerned, the ethernet device is "working properly" and it's all ready to go - but I cannot get it connected to a network. I had almost exactly the same issue with a HP Microserver and was only able to get the port finally working with a BIOS Update. I don't know what the BIOS does to stop it working at the network level! I would be interested to hear what happens on that 500 you have if you get around to booting it into windows 10.
Sorry about the delay in responding. I have been able to test on one of my 500's and it is working, this machine is also on the latest 510 BIOS but with a 2.0GHz CPU (T7200). Can you check if the NIC still has a MAC address?

My 510 is still going strong (several capacitor replacements and a lot of upgrades later) but with Win7 ending I wondered if there's a low-profile motherboard that could keep the case but replace everything else - obviously don't need most of the ports any more, so happy to lose a lot of the legacy connectors. Problem is the case is a weird shape, any advice welcome!
An ITX board of some variety would do but you are going to be modding the case a lot. The VFD/buttons on the front of the case are salvageable and I think the card reader could be saved, they are just USB devices on a custom connector.
 

mcmorj

Standard Member
Hello John, I would just like to clarify that you have a working 500 with 510 Bios running windows 10 (not XP or Vista or 7) and that the internal gigabit ethernet port is working.....
 

JohnAddison

Active Member
Hello John, I would just like to clarify that you have a working 500 with 510 Bios running windows 10 (not XP or Vista or 7) and that the internal gigabit ethernet port is working.....
It is running Windows 10 but it's still on 1511, I will try to put the latest build on it at some point in the next week or so. The only network test I did was copying around 10GB of media from my NAS to local drive but it did so at the expected speed and without interruption.

Somewhere I think I have an old piece of Intel software that runs from DOS that might be able to run some more extensive tests. I've had a few machines with Intel network chipsets that have lost the assigned MAC over the years and this same software will allow you to rewrite the MAC, I don't think this has happened in your case though if its still working on versions below Windows 10. If I can find it I will put a bootable ISO image up for it.
 

mcmorj

Standard Member
It is running Windows 10 but it's still on 1511, I will try to put the latest build on it at some point in the next week or so. The only network test I did was copying around 10GB of media from my NAS to local drive but it did so at the expected speed and without interruption.

Somewhere I think I have an old piece of Intel software that runs from DOS that might be able to run some more extensive tests. I've had a few machines with Intel network chipsets that have lost the assigned MAC over the years and this same software will allow you to rewrite the MAC, I don't think this has happened in your case though if its still working on versions below Windows 10. If I can find it I will put a bootable ISO image up for it.
Many thanks John!
I agree that it's very unlikely to be a MAC address problem but I will look into it. I also have old DOS software for network cards (even token ring). If you have something more recent then that would be great. It is encouraging that your 500 appears to almost exactly resemble mine, apart from the CPU. Though I recall that even on the original 1.66 CPU, not only did I struggle to get the gigabit port working on any version of windows 10, I also tried and failed to get the port working under Windows 7 too.
 

zhir

Novice Member
Hello! I´m new here.
I always wanted an Acer back in its day, but I thought it was way overpriced and (more importantly) not really upgradable.
After so many years, I finally took the plunge and bought an Acer510 for £60 in its original packaging. What a beautiful piece of kit! I was stunned when I took it out of the box because of how sturdy and sleek it is in person. It looks like it belongs to more civilized times...

Some bad points after only 2 days : VFD is very dim (because of its age?), fans are noisy, and the front USB ports are impossible to see when the unit is on the floor.

I read the upgrading guide, and now I have to prepare some basic upgrades.
A few questions:
- I guess the best move would be to take the PSU to a specialised shop and get all capacitors replaced before they blow up. How much could that cost? Would that be technically better than getting a (supposedly) new PSU on ebay? I cannot deal with electric issues myself, so I would rather need something safe in the long run with zero electric knowledge/maintenance.
- Will the Acer Radeon HD2400 (M74) work? The guide only mentions the HD2600 (M76).

Thanks!
 

zhir

Novice Member
Hello! It´s me again.
I know I am 15 years late to this specific party, but I think I can report some interesting findings here.

I replaced the CPU with a T7400 and I discovered that Intel chips from that era were insanely over-volted, which caused overheating. Luckily, there is a perfect free tool "RMCLOCK" that solves that problem. Using it, my T7400 inside the Idea 510 went from 70C to 60C under maximum workload by massively reducing max multiplier voltage from 1.2v to 1.05v. This RMCLOCK tool is so good and vital, that it should really come as standard with any Idea 500/510. You simply cannot seriously run that system without it. I´m surprised it was not heavily mentioned in this thread as part of the upgrade guides, because it makes it so much cooler and quieter.

I also replaced the DVD drive with the recommended UJ-225S bluray. The installation went well, except that it did not read my home-made UDF multisession BD-Roms... That was really a bad surprise, since I mostly needed the drive for that kind of disc format. Then I discovered that in fact there was a firmware update "UpDate_UJ225_Q113.exe" issued for that drive that enables full BD-R compatibility. Unfortunately, the official firmware upgrade tool did not recognise my OEM version of the drive because it is not Sony-branded. Following old instructions from a web forum, it took me almost all day to successfully hack the firmware tool, using a Microsoft debugger and manipulating bytes in memory while the tool was running. Long story short, I do have successfully upgraded the Idea 510 with a bluray drive, but it was nowhere as easy as just screwing it in. Full instructions here : *HP HDX 9000 DRAGON Owners Lounge, Part 2*
 
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JohnAddison

Active Member
Hello! I´m new here.
I always wanted an Acer back in its day, but I thought it was way overpriced and (more importantly) not really upgradable.
After so many years, I finally took the plunge and bought an Acer510 for £60 in its original packaging. What a beautiful piece of kit! I was stunned when I took it out of the box because of how sturdy and sleek it is in person. It looks like it belongs to more civilized times...
Yep, for me they were they standard for a HTPC to meet. I worked for a company that sometimes acted as an Acer reseller in the education market, I would occasionally bug our Acer rep when he visited for news about a true successor to the iDea series but apparently they were not popular enough.... I'm sure the price never helped but they were worth it imho.

Some bad points after only 2 days : VFD is very dim (because of its age?), fans are noisy, and the front USB ports are impossible to see when the unit is on the floor.
The VFD can be easily replaced if you are lucky enough to find one but I'm not aware of anything that could be done to restore an old one.

I read the upgrading guide, and now I have to prepare some basic upgrades.
A few questions:
- I guess the best move would be to take the PSU to a specialised shop and get all capacitors replaced before they blow up. How much could that cost? Would that be technically better than getting a (supposedly) new PSU on ebay? I cannot deal with electric issues myself, so I would rather need something safe in the long run with zero electric knowledge/maintenance.
The PSU capacitors can be easily replaced, I've done it once and its relatively straight forward. If you have a local place that still repairs TV's etc. they should be able to do the capacitors for you, it's a sorry state of affairs but most IT shops will look at you funny if you ask for a job that involves soldering. A set of capacitors would probably be less than £5 but the labour cost is likely to be more than a few new PSU's. My advice is to grab one of these - NEW PSU ACER IDEA 500 522 510 520 520BD POWER SUPPLY FSP120-40GLS | eBay I picked up one more spare last year and it was pristine.

- Will the Acer Radeon HD2400 (M74) work? The guide only mentions the HD2600 (M76).
An Acer HD2400 should work but I've never tested it personally. Compatible and working MXM cards are becoming as rare as rocking horse sh*t.
 
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JohnAddison

Active Member
Hello! It´s me again.
I know I am 15 years late to this specific party, but I think I can report some interesting findings here.

I replaced the CPU with a T7400 and I discovered that Intel chips from that era were insanely over-volted, which caused overheating. Luckily, there is a perfect free tool "RMCLOCK" that solves that problem. Using it, my T7400 inside the Idea 510 went from 70C to 60C under maximum workload by massively reducing max multiplier voltage from 1.2v to 1.05v. This RMCLOCK tool is so good and vital, that it should really come as standard with any Idea 500/510. You simply cannot seriously run that system without it. I´m surprised it was not heavily mentioned in this thread as part of the upgrade guides, because it makes it so much cooler and quieter.
Thanks for the tip, I will check out RMCLOCK. I used ThrottleStop in the past I think, I was using it to overclock a T7600G in a 510 and I think I got it to around 2.6GHz or 2.7GHz without needing a voltage increase. There was no need for the overclock in day to day use (only ran it for an hour or so) so I will be sure to try out the undervolt. The load temperatures can get high, I'm not sure if any of the iDea models shipped with a T7600 from the factory but they were designed with those in mind. It would be nice to keep the fans a little calmer though.
 
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JohnAddison

Active Member
I also replaced the DVD drive with the recommended UJ-225S bluray. The installation went well, except that it did not read my home-made UDF multisession BD-Roms... That was really a bad surprise, since I mostly needed the drive for that kind of disc format. Then I discovered that in fact there was a firmware update "UpDate_UJ225_Q113.exe" issued for that drive that enables full BD-R compatibility. Unfortunately, the official firmware upgrade tool did not recognise my OEM version of the drive because it is not Sony-branded. Following old instructions from a web forum, it took me almost all day to successfully hack the firmware tool, using a Microsoft debugger and manipulating bytes in memory while the tool was running. Long story short, I do have successfully upgraded the Idea 510 with a bluray drive, but it was nowhere as easy as just screwing it in. Full instructions here : *HP HDX 9000 DRAGON Owners Lounge, Part 2*
This is a pain - I'd forgotten about this, I went through the same procedure with what I think was an ex-Dell model of the UJ-225 that came with Q110. My second purchase of a UJ-225 was thankfully ex-Sony with Q111 so that was a little more user friendly to upgrade. As far as I could tell at the time, Dell never issued an equivalent Q113 update.

Attached the Sony update if anyone else is looking for it.
 

Attachments

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JohnAddison

Active Member
Many thanks John!
I agree that it's very unlikely to be a MAC address problem but I will look into it. I also have old DOS software for network cards (even token ring). If you have something more recent then that would be great. It is encouraging that your 500 appears to almost exactly resemble mine, apart from the CPU. Though I recall that even on the original 1.66 CPU, not only did I struggle to get the gigabit port working on any version of windows 10, I also tried and failed to get the port working under Windows 7 too.
Sorry for not getting back to you on this, despite the lockdown I've had a busy few months at home, I will hopefully fire up a 500 again soon.
 
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zhir

Novice Member
BTW, outside the hardware side, I am also working on a completely new VFD driver for this machine!
Unlike the existing options, this one supports WMC, Mediaportal, and XBMC out of the box.
Fully configurable, with all the nice Idea VFD icons appearing on demand (like REC and MUSIC).
So stay tuned for the first betas of my own driver! :)
 

JohnAddison

Active Member
BTW, outside the hardware side, I am also working on a completely new VFD driver for this machine!
Unlike the existing options, this one supports WMC, Mediaportal, and XBMC out of the box.
Fully configurable, with all the nice Idea VFD icons appearing on demand (like REC and MUSIC).
So stay tuned for the first betas of my own driver! :)
Nice, the VFD on mine is a glorified clock these days. I did briefly use AIDA64 when they added support for the iDea VFD and used it to display temperatures but that was years ago.
 
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zhir

Novice Member
Hello.

As promised, here is the first beta of my VFD driver for the Acer Idea.
Use it at your own risks.

This driver can display media info from the following apps: WMediacenter, Mediaportal, Kodi.
- To work with Kodi, you have to activate the option Settings/Services/Control/Allow remote control via HTTP.
- To work with Mediaportal, you have to install the MPEXTENDED plugin.
- You may also need to install the latest "vc_redist.x86.exe" from Microsoft´s official web site.

I am open to suggestions, to make the most out of the tiny VFD display.
 

Attachments

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JohnAddison

Active Member
Hello.

As promised, here is the first beta of my VFD driver for the Acer Idea.
Use it at your own risks.

This driver can display media info from the following apps: WMC, Mediaportal, Kodi.
- To work with Kodi, you have to activate the option Settings/Services/Control/Allow remote control via HTTP.
- To work with Mediaportal, you have to install the MPEXTENDED plugin.
- You may also need to install the latest "vc_redist.x86.exe" from Microsoft´s official web site.

I am open to suggestions, to make the most out of the tiny VFD display.
I will give this a try on Friday with MediaPortal :) Thanks!
 

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