Well what do you know, the supplier has dropped me. May try sorting this later but in the mean time my local wizzard [good friend too] turned up with a broken hp switchmode power supply, as it turns out that this uses the same Power_minDIN plug.
Model DSA-0301-05 E
Input: AC 100-240V/ 47Hz/63Hz
Output: DC=5V & 4.0A
It has a bad way of labeling in my opinion, showing pin connection and voltage:
PIN 1, 4 : +5V
PIN 2, 3 : NC
What it means is that +5V is on pin 4 and pin 1 is "5v return" ie power is connected to pin 4 as plus and pin 1 as minus, hmmm one could be tempted to thin Pin 1 and 4 was plus and return the shield!.
We did a fair bit of investigation with an ohm meter, before actually connecting power and worked out that the plug had a red and black wire with screen connected, and it this case pin was read [+5V] and that was opposite to what the acer needed, so the black ire had to be connected to the plus on the lab supply and red to the minus not the most comfortable situation.
Tturning on the power and adjusting this to 19 V DC and then connecting the Aspire 1700 we found it was drawing about 3 A varying a bit with what buttons were pressed.
Only the power button came on and a clicking sound like the floppy heads closing. Nthing else was noticed. No LCD action, at all. Connecting an external CRT showed no sign of life either, pointing towards the graphics card not doing anything.
Starting to look like the scrap pile.
By the way we also removed the battery while trying, but same result. I have been trying to find the pin connections for the battery, no luck either.