Acer Aspire ZG5 problems
#64 Henry, Wednesday, 02 June 2010 8:36 AM (Category: Hardware)
(Tags: acer aspire netbook)

So I've got this little Acer Aspire ZG5 netbook and it's really nice. Good size screen, screen looks good, keyboard is almost good enough to touch type on. But it's only got 8 gig for the flash drive. That's a bit squeezy. I can't install everything I want, and still get reference books on.

So I do some deals and end up with a second one of these ZG5s and this one has the 160 gig hard drive. Except the battery is dead. Okay, eBay has batteries and I get one shipped for about $18. It works. The ZG5 works, I install Slackware on it and it all works nicely and there's plenty of room on it. But running the hard disk takes a toll on the battery. Battery life is not so good.

There are a couple of minor problems with the netbooks. I can't get the webcam or microphone working. And the trackpad does bizarre things. I don't really care about the webcam and mike, but the trackpad irritates me so much that I stick a little USB mouse on it when I use it so I don't have to use the trackpad.

So I continue to use the non-hard disk ZG5 at lunch time for the battery life. And then one day at lunch, the ZG5 just switches off in the middle of everything. All power went off. I turn it on, it lasts about 12 seconds through the boot process and then switches off again. I try it with the other battery, I try it on wall power, same thing. So it's not a battery issue.

I do research and find that this is a common problem. There are lots of suggestions for fixing it. Remove the battery, remove wall power, hold the on/off switch in for about 30 seconds then do this and do that. None of it works. There is a suggestion that the thermal sensor on the motherboard has gone bad and needs to be reset by putting the ZG5 in a sealed bag and putting it in the freezer for a while. I tried that. I tried all the suggestions. Nothing works. Maybe the fan has stopped working, maybe this, maybe that.

End result - I have one ZG5 with hard disk that works great, except for battery life, and I have another ZG5 without hard disk that will run for a maximum of 12 seconds before switching off. I suspect that the bad ZG5 will never get better and I am going to just have it sitting around as spare parts for the working one.

I also have the expectation that the working ZG5 will soon stop working with some fault or other. When it goes, I will not replace it with another netbook. I'll go back to my Mac laptops, and I'll start looking at iPads. It's nice to get cheap little devices that do the basic things, but I've reached a point where I no longer care about cheap devices, I want a device that will work reliably for long periods of time. Netbooks don't do it for me any more.