Eley reached the final in Turin four years ago, finishing fifth, and following Great Britain's failure to reach the curling medal shake-up, is now considered the best remaining hope of a place on the podium before these Games conclude on Sunday.
"I was disappointed with the start but I put it right in the end and all that matters is that I'm through to the next round," he said.
"I believe I've got a good enough start, I just didn't show it but I've still got it in the locker.
"It's something I've been working on. Otherwise, I was really pleased with my skating as it was a really patient race.
"I've definitely learnt from the last Olympic Games, so I'm going to go back and refocus, have a day off tomorrow and get pumped up for Friday.
"I've said all along I'm here to win a medal and that's what I'm aiming to do."
Team-mate Paul Worth crashed out in his opening heat - coming up against reigning Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno, while Elise Christie admitted she has let the occasion get to her after failing to progress beyond the women's 1000m heats.
Christie, 18, believes the distractions of her Olympic debut have hit her performances on the track, after arriving in Canada confident of her outside medal chances, following a silver at the recent European Championships.
"I think all of us in the British team, except two, are experiencing their first Olympics," she said.
"There has been a lot of emotion and you try to keep yourself calm but it is hard because it is the Olympics and I have struggled with that.
"I think what affected me the most was a lack of experience and the whole aura of being at the Games.
"It is so different and you don't know why it is."
In the men's 500m, it was Canada's Francois-Louis Tremblay who set the pace with a new Olympic record of 41.397 while in the women's 1000m the USA's Katherine Reutter followed suit, clocking 1:30.508.