The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Archive for July, 2008

Gateway FPD2185W – Just Plain Dead

Posted by Deliverator on 17th July 2008

As mentioned earlier, my Gateway FPD2185W stopped turning on due to the oft reported faulty capacitors issue. I was able to acquire replacement capacitors at Vetco, removed the old ones and used some solder-wick and a de-soldering bulb to remove the old excess solder. I soldered the replacement capacitors in place, reassembled the screen, hooked up the cables and gave it a go. The unit powered up and briefly flashed the gateway logo on the screen, but failed to get any further. I tried pressing the side control buttons, without effect. Only the power button yielded any change. I disassembled the unit, reseated all cables and tried again. Same result. I partially disassembled the unit again and applied power with the panel disconnected. I used a multimeter to check all the voltage lines going from the power supply PCB to the control board. The manufacturer thoughtfully labeled all the output lines with their desired voltages. The multimeter read all the voltages to be correct, so as best as I can tell, the power supply board is working properly now that the capacitors have been replaced. My running theory is that prior to failing outright, the power supply board with its lovely bulging capacitors fried something on the logic board. I am tempted to try and find a otherwise dead monitor of the same make and do some mixing and matching parts, but have already wasted too much of my valuable time already. I certainly won’t waste my money on future purchases from Gateway.

If someone needs a Samsung 21″ panel – model LTM210M2 in the near future, please contact me. The panel itself appears to be in perfect working order just the power supply/logic board may be at fault.

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SmartFTP – No Longer Free

Posted by Deliverator on 14th July 2008

I’ve been a long time user of SmartFTP, in part because it is one of the few fully featured ftp clients which is free for personal use. The software has an auto-update check built in and frequently recommends upgrading to the latest version. As per usual, I did the recommended upgrade, but after installing the upgrade was greated with a notice that SmartFTP is now strictly commercial and is now disabled until I purchase a license key. I don’t mind that they’ve decided to make there software commercial, I do mind the backhanded way they attempted to force end-users hand. By making no prominent up front mention of the change in license terms prior to upgrade, and then disabling the software after, they effectively lock the user out of their saved list of sites and passwords. To be frank, I view this as near extortion and I make a point of not doing business with companies that attempt to artificially lock in users, rather than competing honestly in the marketplace based on the merits of a product.

It is possible to downgrade back to an old version by restoring from backup, although you may have to disable some shell extension .dll’s to be able to overwrite all the new files with old. Nirsoft, as usual, is an excellent resource for finding arcane utilities for such purposes.

UPDATE – It appears that older versions of Smartftp include an expiration date, which my copy has now passed. Such date checks are often easy to defeat by messing with the system clock and the like, but I think it is time I found some new software instead….

Posted in General | 3 Comments »

Gateway FPD2185W 21″ LCD – Dead by Design

Posted by Deliverator on 14th July 2008

Well, my Gateway FPD2185W 21″ LCD mentioned here earlier, finally gave up the ghost. The blue power light comes on when I plug it in, but the display stays blank and the Gateway logo does not come up on the screen and the controls seem totally unresponsive. For a while, I was able to work around the issue by unplugging the DVI and power cable, leaving the monitor disconnected for several hours and then plugging it back in. This would sometimes work and once on, the unit would stay responsive until powered down again. These last couple weeks, this trick has yielded increasingly diminishing returns and it has gotten bad enough that I haven’t been able to “reinitialize” it for several days.

I disassembled the display tonight and found eight 470 uF 25V Samxon GF series capacitors which had bulged on the power supply board. These 8 capacitors are boxed in on 3 sides by a bunch of large block heatsinks and a transformer. This obviously creates a great deal of heat in this localized area of the board and there is next to no ventilation. The blown capacitor issue mentioned in numerous comments is likely not solely the fault of the Samxon capacitors, but more likely due to poor board layout/ventilation considerations. There can be a lot of finger pointing on this one, but the buck has to stop somewhere, and ultimately that means Gateway. Gateway has created a real lemon here and has been less than forthcoming in responding to the issue. I am going to try and source replacement capacitors locally, and if I can’t, order some via an online parts supplier such as Digikey. If replacing the capacitors manages to resurrect the monitor, I will likely do a little dremel work on the back of the case and wire in a small cooling fan to prevent the issue from rearing up in the future.

For numerous other reports on this issue and the steps that people have taken to address it, see:

Good luck!

For reference, I’ve included a picture of the bulging capacitors on my board.

Gateway FPD2185W - Bulging Capacitors

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