2019-12-07

Getting your dishwasher to last longer

I love my dishwasher and I want it to last forever. 
 
Here is my non-obvious advice for getting a dishwasher to live a long life:

Leave the door ajar at least a little, especially after a run.

Yes, it looks perhaps a little sloppy to leave the door open a little, but it allows the air inside the dishwasher to dry out.  This greatly slows down the formation of rust within the racks and other internal components.   It also slows or stops any mold growth.

Use a rinse agent

This helps keep your dishwasher dry after a run. 


Use good detergent

I like the pods.  They prevent me from using too much detergent.  Detergent is caustic.  Using too much isn't a great idea.

Make sure your filters and wash arms are free of debris

Hopefully you have a dishwasher that doesn't have a clog-able filter.  If not, clean it.  Also, look for and remove any debris in the washer arm holes.

FINALLY

If your dishwasher is no longer cleaning like new, then YOU are doing something wrong.  After all, a dishwasher is merely a garden sprinkler in a box.  THERE IS ALMOST NOTHING TO PREVENT GOOD CLEANING.

Unless it has a serious expensive component failure, you can keep it working.

2019-10-31

Weird iPhone Problems

Here is a summary of weird iPhone problems I've personally seen, and suspected cause:

iPhone 4S Unreliable WiFi (WiFi function not available)
Diagnosis: logic board fault. Potentially requires logic board re-work or replacement.
Thoughts: Perhaps caused by a drop. 

iPhone 5 Volume Buttons Don't Function
Diagnosis: logic board fault (and not the buttons or its cable). Potentially requires logic board re-work or replacement.
Thoughts: misbehaving aftermarket charger put out high voltage, damaging logic board.

iPhone 6 GPS doesn't work well (or at all).
Diagnosis: GPS antenna needs reseating and/or replacement.  I recently fixed this by merely reseating the antenna assembly.
Thoughts: Perhaps caused by a drop, or just random.

iPhone 6S cell service gives no signal.
Diagnosis: cell circuitry dead on logic board. Potentially requires logic board re-work or replacement.
Thoughts: Perhaps damaged by hard drop.

iPhone 7 bad audio circuit.
Diagnosis: logic board fault. Potentially requires logic board re-work or replacement.
Thoughts: Perhaps caused by a drop. 

iPhone 8 cell service fully broken, seems non-existent
Diagnosis: cell circuitry dead on logic board. Potentially requires logic board re-work or replacement.
Thoughts: Perhaps damaged by hard drop.

Other issues I've seen:
1. Smashed display glass (all models)
2. Abused/Ruined TouchID button (iPhone 6)
3. Bent / Distorted Housing (iPhone 5S)
4. Linted-filled Lightning Port (all Lightning models)
5. Weak battery (any older or misused device)
6. Bad home button (iPhone 4)
7. Smashed back (iPhone 4,4S,8)
8. Bad knock-off charger cables (all models)

Phone models I have worked on:
iPhone 3G,3GS,4,4S,5,5C,5S,6,6S,7,8

Phone models I have never worked on:
Original,SE,X,XS,11,11Pro, any "Plus" model, any "Max" model.

From an iPhone 6S to the new iPhone 11

I bought a new iPhone 11!  This is my first new iPhone since the iPhone 6 way back in 2014.   I didn't keep the iPhone 6 for 5 years, but only because I was able to upgrade to an "in-the-family" used iPhone 6S last year.

I was going to keep my iPhone 6S for another year, but a confluence of events led me to buy a new iPhone 11: (1) I was at the Apple store, and (2) a relative needed a good used, inexpensive iPhone, and my 6S seemed to fit that need best.

Anyhow, now I'm in the modern era.  Here are my thoughts:

Surprising Likes:
Face ID.  It's cool and fast.  It's far better than I expected.
Cameras.  The 11's cameras are a big step up from the 6S.
Battery life.  Obviously a new, bigger battery performs better than an old, smaller battery.
Wireless charging.  This is nice for my night table.

Indifferent:
I haven't missed the headphone port.
Performance is likely fantastic, but as a normal person, my 6S seemed great too.

Dislikes:
Hefty.  New, bigger phones are heavier... and bigger (obviously).
No home button.  I am still getting used to no home button.  I feel like an old man.

That's it so far, hopefully I'll keep this in service until 2024.  Stay tuned!

2019-09-28

Fake Lightning Cables and their Charging Speed

Some Lightning-style cables seem to take longer to charge up my devices.  Is it true?  Yes!

I buy a lot of aftermarket products (read: cheap knockoff junk), and after a few months I noticed that one of my knockoff iPhone and iPad Lightning cables was really slow at charging.

I decided to measure the power delivered over a various collection of Lightning cables, and I can say with near certainty that some knock-off cables result in slow charging.

Measuring Lightning Cable Performance

I took my 2018 iPad, along with its genuine Apple 12 watt charger and a USB power meter.  I plugged my nearly depleted iPad into this system with various lightning-style cables.  The following table shows what I found after numerous samples.  All numbers are estimated given a few samples.


Lightning Cable Performance with Apple 12 watt charger

Genuine cable, delivered with an iPad from Apple...: 2.05 Amps
Genuine cable, delivered with an iPad from Apple...: 2.10 Amps
Genuine cable, delivered with an iPhone from Apple.: 2.06 Amps
MFI-Approved aftermarket cable, bought via Amazon..: 1.81 Amps
MFI-Approved aftermarket cable, bought via Amazon..: 1.82 Amps
eBay knockoff cable (10 for $10 type), looks legit.: 1.00 Amps
eBay knockoff cable (10 for $10 type), looks legit.: 1.10 Amps
eBay knockoff cable (10 for $10 type), looks legit.: 0.96 Amps
Mystery cable, 12ft long and hefty, from friend....: 0.89 Amps

Conclusion

Clearly, from the numbers above, there is a lot of charge speed variability based on the cable.  I conclude that if I want faster charging speeds, an official Apple Lightning Cable, or a Lightning cable that's MFI certified, like this Amazon one, is the best bet.

However, for standard overnight charging, or with use with a 1 Amp charger, one can even be successful with some of the knockoff cables.

One Final Note

It's important to note that for the health of the battery, charge speed is not constant.  The charge management hardware inside all devices with rechargeable lithium batteries varies the charging rate based on battery temperature, battery condition, the current battery charge, device load, and other variables.  To repeat this experiment, I strongly suggest that you use a single device with a specific amount of reported charge in order to reduce the variables that impact measurement.


2019-09-14

Making your own Best "Cold Brew" style coffee - the 10-Step Process to Coffee Bliss

I've been developing my own perfect "cold brew" coffee at home since 2015.  Since then I've developed techniques to improve the flavor and simplify the process.

Here's my current recipe:

Ingredients Needed:
  • Dark-Roast Coffee Beans
  • Water  
  • Optional: Sugar syrup
Equipment Needed:
  • Coffee maker, such as Mr. Coffee
  • Coffee Bean Grinder, such as this model by Bunt
  • A clean bottle or pitcher, with cap
  • Quality Coffee Filters
Process:
  1. Fill coffee maker with water
  2. Put a new, quality paper filter into brew basket
  3. Grind beans very finely
  4. Put finely-ground beans into filter
  5. Turn on machine to start brewing process
  6. Turn off coffee maker immediately after brewing.  DO NOT DELAY!
  7. Put used grounds and filter into compost bin
  8. Let brewed coffee slowly cool to room temperature (roughly 4 hours)
  9. Pour contents of brewing carafe into a bottle
  10. Put bottle in refrigerator overnight.
Enjoy black, or with your favorite additives.  Note that sugar syrups are more effective in this brew, in comparison to granulated sugars.  This is due to the measurably lower sugar solubility within cold coffee.

2019-08-15

Airport Extreme Power Adapter Specs

Here is some info about the specs of the Airport Extreme Power Adapter that I looked into, in order to find a replacement compatible adapter.

This is what I measured for my A1202 adapter that came with my Extreme 4th Gen.
 Output:
  • 12 Volts DC
  • 1.8 Amps (per label)
  • Center pin is positive.  Barrel ring is negative.
  • Outside Diameter of barrel ring is 5.5 mm
  • Diameter of center pin is roughly 2.5 mm
  • Length of barrel ring including plastic tip is roughly 10 mm
(Just for reference, input is labelled as 100V - 240V AC, 50 - 60 Hz, 1.0 Amp)

Given all that, I think I might get this power adapter on Amazon, as it seems to meet all the specs.

2019-08-05

Repairing a melted LG refrigerator digital control light panel

The control panel and light dome at the top of my LG refrigerator melted and started to detach.  It looked awful.  Evidently the light bulbs put out too much heat and the digital panel softened enough that it started to detach from the top of the LG fridge.

A Repaired LG Control Panel

It was VERY ugly.

So here is my easy and inexpensive 15-minute repair for under $20.  That's far less than a $325 service call!  Now with a replacement plastic part it looks great and works great.

This procedure will work for many LG models even if the control panel itself looks pretty different, as my procedure does not replace the electronic module or its associated control panel label - it only replaces the damaged plastic housing. 

Stuff Required:

  1. A good mid-sized phillips head screwdriver
  2. A very sharp knife, like a pen knife or box cutter
  3. The replacement LG control panel trim piece, about $15 on Amazon
  4. Two 3-Watt LED bulbs that put out much less heat - minimizing a chance for re-occurrence

Repair Instructions


1. Turn off the LG refrigerator.  I simply unplugged it.

2. Remove any light dome from the control panel.  Remove the bulbs.

The Digital Control Panel / Light Dome falling off the ceiling of my LG Fridge

3. Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the two screws holding the roof panel in place (see photo).  Note that the panel is still attached to the refrigerator due to wires.

Two screws hold the control panel to the roof of the LG Fridge

4. Using the release tab, unclip the digital panel wire from the control panel.  Similarly, unclip the lightbulb wire from the top of the fridge.

5. Withdraw the entire control/light panel onto a clean work surface like a kitchen counter.

6. Release the metal lightbulb fixture from the melted plastic panel by releasing the snaps.

7. Snap the metal bulb fixture into the new plastic panel (again, this is the panel housing I bought)

8. Now we remove the label, which is held in place by a light adhesive.  Using a thin knife to get underneath, carefully lift and peel off the control panel label from the melted plastic housing.  This label will be re-applied to the new housing, so it is best not to damage it or get its adhesive dirty.  Carefully set it aside in a clean, dust-free place.

9. Using a phillips head screwdriver, remove the three screws holding the digital control module into old housing.  Then unsnap the the digital control assembly from the old housing.

 
Ready to remove the electronics from the melted plastic housing
Now ready to install the digital control module!

10. Attach the electronic control assembly into the new housing with the three screws.

11. Re-apply control panel label onto the new housing.


The Remains: the ugly melted old housing.  Yes, it looked this bad!

12. Re-attach control panel to the top of the fridge by reversing steps 5, 4 and 3.

13. Install new low-wattage LED bulbs, to minimize chance of a future meltdown

The final result!  I only have one LED bulb installed here, but added the second one soon after.


That's it!  Now my fridge looks great and the control panel is no longer in the way.  Yay!!!




Getting your dishwasher to last longer

I love my dishwasher and I want it to last forever.    Here is my non-obvious advice for getting a dishwasher to live a long life: Leave...