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Acer PC Hardware Issues


Acer LogoAcros CD ROM Drives
BIOS IssuesClock Problems
Conflicts on HDD ControllersDIMM Issues
Display ProblemsMachine Locking or Crashing
Machine Locks After Memory CountModem Problems
Modems on P200mmx MachinesMMX - No Sound
No CDROM in Win 95No Sound in DOS
Slow StartupV34 Voice Surfer Modem
Windows 3.11 & S23A Sound Card 

No CDROM in Windows 95

If you find that the CD-ROM drive is no longer being detected in Windows, before assuming the drive is faulty,

Use REGEDIT, and in the section HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/Vxd/IO
Change the value of NoIDE from 01 to 00. Save changes and reboot the machine.

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Modem Problems

Some of the earlier Acer machines have a 'standard' 14400 modem attached internally to COM4. This can be a problem with some ISP's, in Particular, AOL who advise you to use COM2. To change the Com port on these 'earlier' modems, you must change the Dip switch settings on the rear of the machine.

To use Com 2 move the switches 2 and 4 to ON ( down ).

You will first have to disable serial 2 in the BIOS, so that you can use Com 2. [CTRL-ALT-ESC ] to enter BIOS, then go into SECURITY, highlight serial2, and select DISABLE (use left and right keys).

Remove COM2 in WIN95, and add it again yourself. Note also that 95 will list a duff COM port in Device Manager - leave it alone. (95 has detected the disabled serial port - but hasn't allocated any resources).

Add the modem (standard 14400) and you should now be ok.

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Slow Startup

Basic configuration in BIOS, Auto Configuration Mode and Fast Boot Mode both enabled, fixed disk settings were greyed out and set to auto and so untouchable.

Disabled the two settings fixed disk settings then became available, left 0 at Auto and changed 1 to none, 2 to CD and 3 to none. Machine booted fine.

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MMX No Sound

There is an error in the setup instructions for the ACER MMX machines. It tells you to plug the speakers into the SPK socket. But for glorious sound, the speakers need to be plugged into the AUDIO OUT socket.

There is also a slight problem with approximately 70 of the early MMX machines. The soundcard output level is set by jumpers to either line level or speaker level. The MMX machines come with powered speakers and therefore the output should be set to line level. Some early machines were set to speaker level and this can cause some sound problems. Possible symptoms include:

Buzzing from speakers
Very Sensitive volume control
Otherwise the sound works perfectly in Windows and DOS

The fix is to move JP1 and JP2 on the soundcard from pins 1 and 2 (speaker) to pins 2 and 3 (line).

You can check which way the soundcard is setup as follows: If the you can get sound with the speakers turned off at the power then the output is set to speaker level (wrong).No sound (or very low volume) with speaker power off then the output is set to line level (right)

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Conflicts on HDD Controllers

To cure the problem of conflicts on the HDD controllers in Device Manager on both ACER ACROS and ACER ASPIRE machines, shut the machine down and Restart in MSDOS Mode. Then run the Windows setup program from the C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CABS directory and this should clear it.

If the machine crashes during the setup, rebooting the machine should let you carry on with no problem.

When the setup has finished you'll probably have to go into Display Properties and change the graphics card back to the correct one. You will also find that there is no speaker on the taskbar, which can be cured by going into Add/Remove Programs / Windows Setup and installing the Volume Control (in Multimedia). Then in Control Panel go into Multimedia and put the tick back in the box for Display Speaker on Taskbar.

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No Sound in DOS Mode

The Acer Magic S23 and S23A sound cards both use a driver called CS4232C.EXE. This command has a number of switches available which alter the behaviour of the card, these are listed below.

N.B. The command can be a device in CONFIG.SYS or executed from AUTOEXEC.BAT

Options are:

  • /O Override Plug N Play (in config.sys only)
  • /V Verbose Mode
  • /N No Firmware Download
  • /F Force Firmware Download
  • /W Plug N Play Operating System Boot
  • /R Resource Adjust
  • /S XXDisable if OEM ID is not XX
  • /T No RYT support
  • /X Load resources using resource.bin
  • /H or /? Help (as executable only)

The majority of these options are for manufacturing use. The options for normal use are listed below with a brief description of when to use them.

/W The default setting - sets card for Plug and play operating system. If installing P&P hardware using this option will minimise the probability of a conflict occurring.

/O Overrides Plug and Play settings by allocating specific resources so the card can be used by a non P&P operating system (i.e. MS-DOS mode of Windows 95). On systems where Acer supply games software it is setup

In the Autoexec.bat, make sure the line SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T4 is present as well.

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Display Problems

This mainly affects the Acer Aspire machines that came with Cirrus Logic graphic cards.

Sometimes when switching from Win95 to DOS mode or back, the screen may shift to the left or right. This is due to the display adapter being incorrectly set up for DOS mode.

Add the following line to the file AUTOEXEC.BAT -
C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\CLMODE T640=60 T800=72 T1024=60 T1280=87

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Modems on Acer P200mmx Machines

After reinstalling from the Recovery CD several times the modem on the Acer P200mmx appeared to be dead. This can be fixed by changing the configuration to "Basic Configuration 0005", then setting the IRQ to 10. The modem worked fine after that.

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Incompatibility With DIMMS

Field reports show that there are DIMMs available on the market which may cause a voltage regulator to burn out. This is due to a conflict with Intel specification.

According to the Intel and JEDEC specification pin 62 and pin 146 of the DIMM module/socket should be NC (no connection). But in the JEDEC SDRAM II specification these two pins are Vref, that means motherboards must provide a voltage level to the DIMM module for reference. In Acer products pin 62 and pin 146 of the DIMM sockets are designed as connected to ground. Almost all DIMMs available, including all of Acer QVL, are NC for both pins, so there is no problem using these DIMMs. Unfortunately, some DIMM modules did not fully follow the Intel and JEDEC specification, connecting both pins to 3.3V. This will cause a short circuit on the Motherboard and the voltage regulator will burn out.

So far boards known to be affected areV58LA, and V65X which are connected to ground, since it is in the inner layer of PCB, there's no way to cut the trace.

1. If you source DIMMs locally i.e. not from Acer, before you power on the system you need to check pin 62 - pin 6 (Vcc) and pin 146 - pin 6(Vcc) of the DIMM module to see if they are connected or not. If connected, please do not use the module.

2. All of Acer products will be checked and PC board layout modified, DIMM socket pin62 and pin146 will change to no connection to avoid burn out problem while using this kind of conflicting DIMM specification.

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V34 Voice Surfer

The V34 Voice Surfer modem can be used as a Fax/Modem with standard Windows95 drivers, but to use the Answerphone function of this device, you must install third party software.

According to Dataflex who claim that the software packages listed below will work with this modem.

  • Cheyenne BitWare (must be PC-Tel version)
  • SuperVoice (must be PC-Tel version)
  • Intel SynchroConnect
  • Microsoft Phone

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Windows for Workgroups and S23A-3D Sound Card

On machines with the S23A-3D sound cards running Windows For Workgroups if you select the Music Centre and attempt to use the CD player you may get the following error message

"MCI Driver Problem"

"Sorry, your Windows MCI CD audio driver MCICDA.DRV is not properly installed. Please consult your Windows user's guide to add it, and restart Windows"

This is because the CD-Audio driver is not loaded. For already preloaded hard disks you can either:

A) Edit the c:\windows\system.ini using notepad and find the [MCI] section. Add, if not already there, the following line to this section :

CDAudio=mcicda.drv

or

B) Reinstall the CD audio driver as follows

  • Open the CONTROL PANEL
  • Open drivers
  • Choose Add
  • Choose MCI CD audio
  • Select CURRENT in next screen

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Clock not Keeping the Correct Time

Check the BIOS in the Power Saving Configuration section. Be sure the last line, System Suspend Timer, is set to OFF. When ON, the computer will halt the clock whenever it goes into its 'power down' mode. The clock will then pick back up when the computer returns to full power, but it will not automatically correct itself.

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Stopping the Acer Logo Appearing

On some current Acer systems, when you boot the system up, instead of seeing POST information, you see an Acer logo screen until you get into Windows 95. If you would rather see the POST information, you will need to get into BIOS with CTRL+ALT+ESC. Go to the Basic System Configuration section and press the Page Down key to go to the second page of that section. Set the Quiet Boot line to DISABLED and the Configuration Table line to ENABLED. Save the CMOS information and let the system self-reboot. Now when you boot the system, you should see normal POST information.

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BIOS Issues

Unable to Access BIOS

Use CTRL-ALT-ESC to access the BIOS setup, the machine seems not to respond, putting a small key in the top left of the screen. It's actually Acer's way of asking for a password, on older Win 95 machines, this is ACERUK, but on newer machines (ie MMX, PII) it is ACERNWE.

If you get the password wrong three times though, it will lock you out of the BIOS altogether. Check the Acer motherboards section of this site to find the correct jumpers/switches to clear this.

No "Advanced" Section in BIOS

On some of the Acer Acros PII machines, in the BIOS there is no "Advanced" section (contains among other things the port settings) listed on the first screen. To access this you need to press the F8 key at the Main Menu.

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Acros CDROM Drives

On a lot of the Acros machines the CDROM drive must be set as a Secondary Slave, if set to a Secondary Master, the drive won't work.

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Pentium II Machine Locking After Memory Count

If you find that the machine occasionally halts after counting the memory,

  • Enter BIOS Setup utility.
  • Press F4/F8 (to access hidden options).
  • Choose Advanced Configuration option then Chipset settings.
  • Ensure than 'Hardware Monitor' is set to [Enabled] and 'Turn on spread spectrum' is set to [Disabled].
  • Exit out of that section and choose 'Save CMOS Settings and Exit' from the 'Exit Setup' section.

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Machine Locking or Crashing

Strange one this, Acros P166 MMX, locking up briefly while booting and then freezing after about five minutes of use. It then seems to sort itself out and carry on as normal after a few seconds. This would cause games to crash or to be disconnected from the internet.

The only solution so far is to disable the power management completely in the BIOS, which seems to sort it out.

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