AEG18LII-VV String Specifications

My kids are both left-handed and they each have a sweet Ibanez guitar, AEG18LII-VV. My son broke a string recently and when I attempted to look up string specifications at, nothing appeared and these are pretty new guitars.

After calling Ibanez, the helpful rep said that specifications for this guitar are not listed their website, because it was manufactured as a proprietary model; however, he said specs for the AEG18L and -19L are similar. He said the guitar could use a string kit that ranges from 12-53 or 12-54, with the individual gauges being:

12, 16, 24, 32, 42, and 53

He said kits may be marketed under the following makes:

D’Addario – acoustic light – EJ16
Elixir – light

And I went with a set of the D’Addario strings this time around.

VG6250T76NV and Flexible Anode Replacement

I should have replaced our American Hot Water Heater VG6250T76NV’s magnesium anode years ago – COVID continues to give me a chance to catch up. Note: I’m assuming this water heater shipped with a magnesium anode, not an aluminum anode.

I measured the distance above my hot water heater and while my installation may allow clearance to fit an OEM 32-inch anode, it seems it will be very tight and may not fit. After watching an excerpt from This Old House, I learned about a collapsible or flexible anode that has been developed, so I’ll go that route so I don’t have to try and move plumbing out of the way.

If I had selected the non-flexible OEM part number, sold by a local supplier, Dey Appliance, they recommended this part calling for a 32-inch length anode with 3/4″ NPT, and 0.84-inch diameter. Ultimately, I selected an ApplianPar flexible magnesium anode, mostly because its close to meeting the specifications and is readily available – yes, its a bit narrower, but I’m fine to replace the anode more often from now on – shame on me for waiting this long.I’ll update this post after I install it tomorrow, assuming I can get the old one out, which worries me a bit. Which reminds me, I need to pick up a 1 1/16 inch socket!

** Update 10-2-2020 **
Dad loaned me his 1 1/16 socket (thanks Grandpa Don!) paired with his Campbell Hausfeld impact wrench. I used this combo in lieu of my Makita LXDT04 impact driver, which produces less than 1,000 kg/cm to the Campbell Hausfeld’s ~3,000 kg/cm, hello!

The old anode (far left in picture, below) backed out in less than a minute and with it came a load of scale from 10 years of build up, see photo below. Notice that the top of the old anode bent a little bit on its way out as very little magnesium remained, which made removing it even easier. Because of it bending on the way out and my previous measurements, I think it was the right call to go with a flexible anode for the replacement. Trying to get the flexible anode to screw in is a little challenging, but it seemed to snug up with only a turn or two. I was a little concerned about that, but after turning the water back on there are no leaks at the anode’s hex fitting.

After seeing the amount of scale on the old anode, I’m beginning to think I might need to reconsider softening my water. Saint Paul water is reportedly 5-6 grains of hardness, which MPCA classifies as “moderately hard”. The anode’s scale build up makes me question the condition of the copper pipe I installed to replace the galvanized cast iron piping shortly after we moved in 20 years ago. I’m guessing there will be more on this in a future post.

While researching this, I may need to take Merles up on their offer for a free lead test.

WTB ST i40 rims and Knard 29×3 – tubeless

This post is about taking my son’s Knard 29×3 27 tpi tires tubeless on WTB ST i40 rims.

I’m a fan of using kapton/kapten tape for going tubeless, but my only roll at home was 50mm and the i40 rims are 40mm and WTB recommends going 5mm wider. I wanted to set my son’s tires up this week while it was still warm out and didn’t want to wait for cheap bastard kapton eBay tape to arrive, so I procured Whisky Parts Co. tape locally thanks Now Bikes & Fitness.

For those who need help with going tubeless, read a guide like this one. I pulled off the Krampus’ front wheel and removed the tire and factory tube, an Innova 29″ x 2.5″ – 3″ with a presta valve weighing in at 14.2 ounces:

I wanted to buy some solid strip rim tape, but WTB has been out of stock, so I’m stripping width off the existing rim strip and taping over that:

Which saved another 2.6 ounces (tape roll was tared):

There will be no more than 0.6 ounces of tape per wheel:

Don’t believe me? Here’s the tape roll weighed after taping both wheels:

and 0.3 ounces/wheel for a Stans No Tubes presta valve:

We taped the rim with one pass and overlapped at the valve.

I decided to skip trying to inflate the tire with the tube and thought of this approach instead: place the tire back on the rim and manually pushed one side of the tire bead into its seated position against the inner rim wall. The loose side of the tire was left hanging downward toward the opposite inner rim while the wheel laid over a 5-gallon pail – ready for air. The air compressor was set to 120 psi to get a nice burst of air connected to the presta valve body with a used scrap of 3/16-inch diameter polyethylene tubing. After a blast of air we heard two snaps/pops – the tire is fully seated!

At this point, a large amount of air stills leaks out around the rim and tire beads – now it’s time for sealant! Pull off the polyethylene tubing from the presta valve body and fill with sealant. I used 3 ounces of leftover homemade sealant from about a month ago, still in liquid form, squeezed in with a left over Orange bottle and tubing. Blow up the tire a couple times without the presta valve insert to make sure the tire is still seated and to spray the sealant around. Reinsert the valve core and continue a few blasts with the air compressor until you think you can keep it inflated long enough to start riding it. Mine looked like this:

I found that riding the tire around is when the sealant really spreads around to help hold air, but if you can’t do it safely, just spin it or bounce it next to the air compressor.

At this point I left it for the night and had to reinflate in the next couple days, several times.

I forgot to note, my homemade sealant (3 parts windshield washer fluid and 1 part molder builder) is too latex-skimpy – others recommend 3 parts windshield washer fluid to 1.5 parts mold builder, which I will try next time.

A day later Liam left for Levi’s, riding the now-tubeless Krampus and was blown away how light they felt. I tried it myself while trying to get the sealant spread around the inside of the tires. I thought wheelies felt much easier than they use to, but I may have just been giddy to have air staying inside of them.

Last thing, we used 2.5 ounces of sealant, which may need to increase as a lot blew out one side of the rim.

Let’s run the numbers:

14.2 ounces + 2.6 ounces = 16.6 ounces lost from shedding tube and rim strip

0.6 ounces + 0.3 ounces + 2.5 ounces = 3.4 ounces gained from adding tape, presta valve, and sealant.

This means the front wheel lost 13.2 ounces. The back wheel was built the same way, so Liam’s Krampus lost over 1.5 pounds of rotational mass from this conversion.

** Update 10-7-2020 **
Both tires drop about 3 psi per hour, which requires daily inflation. Surely this can be fixed, so I pulled the front wheel off and brought it inside to run it under water. I found bubbles emerging from a few discrete points from the non-disk tire sidewall. I laid the wheel on its side, disk-side up, to make sure the sealant could get to these sidewall areas.

** 10-8-2020 **
The next morning the tire was still inflated with the leak rate dropping to 1.5 psi per hour – progress! Today, the wheel will lay sideways disk-side down to see if the opposite side of the tire needs more of a sealant bath.

I still think future batches of home-brew sealant need more latex, but its also possible I didn’t add enough latex to the tires during their initial inflation with sealant. I’ve used a dipstick since then and I can see liquid sealant remains in the tire’s annular space.

** 10-11-2020 **
I remixed the sealant and boosted the ratio to 3 parts windshield washer fluid and >2 parts mold builder. I can tell the sealant looks more viscous now. I checked each tire with the dipstick and they appeared to be dry or nearly dry, so I added 3 ounces of the revised sealant to each tire. After first doing this, sealant was still coming out of the tire sidewalls in >10 discrete points. I’ll give it a bit and see how it sets up.

Mazda 3 and Headlight Levelizer Rod

My lovely bride’s 2010 Mazda 3 Grand Touring edition was in the shop last week getting a control arm repaired by the trusty team at Park Service. They noticed the headlight levelizer rod was broken and the only way to replace it is to order the entire headlight sensor assembly from Mazda for about $400.

I asked Park Service to focus on the control arm and to leave the broken levelizer rod on the seat of the car for me to look at. After getting it home, I found the headlight levelizer rod is composed of a few parts, including the THK S3-1 aluminum rod/link and bolts that can pivot with seals stamped THK F6BLV. I thought about using Blue Demon equivalent welding material to fix the part, shown below, but one of the pivot points also had a torn rubber seal that probably allowed salt to get in and corrode the joint – not worth fixing. Having the intact part allowed me to measure the bolt spacing with my digital calipers, about 57 mm.

I hit the web and found similar parts made by Cusco comprised of adjustable THK parts. Based on Cusco’s chart, below, it appears our Mazda needs the “super short” model, part number 00B 628 C, thanks TH Motorsports.

** Update 4-10-2020 **
Part arrived from TH Motorsports via UPS Ground. I was rotating the tires today so I through the part on. Really easy to get on, especially when you’re rotating the tires. Headlights seem to be leveling again – woohoo!

Surly Gen 1 ICT and Tubeless

My daughter loves her Ice Cream Truck, but she tires out on longer rides. Her brother rode it for a year and a half before growing out of it and rode it with tubes, but I knew tubeless was an option to drop rotational weight.

In 2012, the ICT came stock with Rolling Darryl rims and Nate tires. While both are officially clinchers, many have tried and succeeded going tubeless. I wanted to put my own spin on ghetto tubeless, using off-brand tape and homemade sealant.

For the tape, I bought 50mm wide by 36 yards of a kapton tape, which is maybe what Fratelli tape is. From sealant advice of others, I used one part Mold Builder mixed with 3 parts water (by weight). While that worked just fine for me, I plan to swap the water for blue windshield washer fluid next time.

For each successful tubeless build, I removed a tube (11.4 ounces) and added kapten tape (1.3 ounces), a presta valve (0.1 ounces), and sealant (2 ounces) for a savings of 8 ounces per tire. If I ever have to pull of the kapton tape and do it again, I’ll trim the rim tape a bit narrower (this will pull another 3 ounces of weight from the build and make a better seal with the rim.

My first attempt with the front wheel failed miserably. A tape seam near the presta valve appeared to fail allowing sealant to bubble out around the presta valve and nearby rim spoke holes.

My second attempt with the front wheel is still holding up, albeit with a slow leak that I suspect originates with the valve itself. Once again, I left the Surly PVC rim tape (60mm) on the rim and covered it with a tight layer of kapton tape down the middle and then a wrap on each side; 3 total passes of tape around the rim, each pass starting before and ending after the weld joint. I poked a hole with a round file and cleaned the valve hole out. I then blew the tire up with a tube to 30 psi and let it sit a couple hours to fully seat the tire. After that I loosened the bead on one side of the tire, gently removed the tube, inserted the tubeless presta valve, rotated the tire label to the valve, and filled with 2 ounces of sealant. I then placed the loose portion of the tire back in the rim and laid the loose side facing the ground while sitting on top of a 5 gallon pail. Gravity was my friend, pulling the loose bead toward the rim for the air compressor to inflate the tire.

Both tires inflated quickly. The front tire seems to have a slow leak between the rim and tire bead that I’ve been able to fix most of, but can’t quite find the last part. I fix it by inflating the tire and pushing on the sidewall of the tire until sealant hisses out. I may need to dunk the tire in a tub to figure out where the last couple leaks are, but it holds pressure for about 6 hours before going flat. The rear tire has been holding pressure throughout the night.

I’m pumped with the kapton tape and cheap sealant approach and inspired to toss it in my son’s Krampus with 27tpi Knards. I perused this guy’s approach and will probably combine it with mine.

** Update 10-4-2020 **

I’m nearly certain there’s a valve leak on the front wheel. It deflates once a day and when reinflating I’ve noticed that the valve is stuck and I have to press it with my finger to unstick it so the pump can inflate it. Surely the sealant is trying to patch the valve’s leak! More on this later.

HomeKit, Apple TV 4K, and Receive Errors

Since May, our Apple TV 4K running tvOS 13.4.6 (as of this morning) was having problems continuing to function as our HomeKit hub; others have reported issues with past versions of iOS. It seemed to work fine though earlier version of tvOS and seemed to start exhibiting HomeKit connectivity issues back in May 2020 when I upgraded from an SMC 100Base-T ethernet switch to a Cisco WS-C2960S-24TS-S gigabit switch. After upgrading switches, my family and I noticed using Home app outside of our home’s wifi was no longer working with HomeKit or it would take two attempts to get it to do something. With the Cisco managed switch, I was able to see half a million “Total Receive Errors”:



I stumbled upon Richard_W‘s post and tried two things to fix the situation:

1. Upgraded to beta of tvOS 14 and rebooted.

(the problem persisted, only now a red warning bubble appeared in front of Settings->HomeKit)

2. Reset the Apple TV 4K (Settings->System->Reset) and set it up from scratch.

After completing Step 2, I reconnected the Apple TV 4K to iCloud and HomeKit. After 30 minutes with the Apple TV 4K sleeping, so far it seems to have resumed its Home Hub duties without spamming the Cisco switch with error messages while it sleeps – woohoo!

For the record, since completing the reset, the Apple TV 4K’s “Total Receive Errors” are holding steady at 495,436. I’ll continue to post updates here if the problem returns.

KitchenAid KSCS25FJSS01 Door Cam Kit

We noticed the right side door of our KitchenAid KSCS25FJSS01 wasn’t closing as well as it use to, it seemed the door would always get stuck open whenever someone pushed it shut.

I reviewed the KitchenAid parts guide and it shows 2182179 (Door Closer, Upper Cam) for the refrigerator door and 2208137 (Hinge & Cam Assy) for the cabinet, each on the lower/bottom side of the door hinge. Our freezer door works fine, so I didn’t bother with parts for that.

Part 2208137 seems to be expensive, not in-stock, and includes the metal bracket, which isn’t worn and fully intact on our fridge, so I figured there must be a cheaper way.

Instead, I decided to roll the dice on part number 4318165, which doesn’t appear in the KitchenAid parts list. This part is a set of plastic cams where most of the hinge-wear occurs. Watching this video shows the cams are easy enough to replace.

After the door cam kit arrived, I took the door off of our fridge and found the existing door cams are riveted to the steel bracket! My trusty Dremel and cut-off blade ripped through the rivet and existing door cam and I used an 8mm screw and nut to replace the rivet.

After getting the door back on, the fridge door is fixed. Better yet, the door cam kit comes with two sets of cams and since our freezer door cams don’t require replacement at this time, I’ve got an extra set of cams I can use on our heavy door after it wears out again. Note, next time the replacement will be much easier now that the rivet is history.

** Update 9-20-2020 **
The door was starting to slip again and I thought the cam bolt had loosened and it might need some thread-lock, but I was wrong. When I pulled the door off and inspected everything, the cam bolts were still snug, but I realized from last month I had been unable to get the hexagonal cam shaft out of the refrigerator, because the hexagonal shaft broke off inside. Because the old hexagonal shaft remained, I was unable to insert a new cam with the the hexagonal shaft in the lower right corner of the refrigerator door and instead used another bottom cam flipped upside down to replace the lower corner upper cam. Since the new upper cam wasn’t connected to the hexagonal shaft, it would pivot and shift when opening the refrigerator door.

Quick fix. Pulled the door back off and used a No. 5 screw extractor (9/16 – 3/4 inches, M14-M18) to removed the old hexagonal cam shaft. After the screw extractor was fully seated, I was able to rock the drill (off) in a circular motion while pulling away from the refrigerator door and out the old hexagonal shaft popped.

With the old hexagonal cam shaft fully removed, a new upper cam with hexagonal shaft could inserted – woohoo! After putting the door back on and tightening up the bolts, the door is working better than ever. I also noticed that the upper cam’s hexagonal shaft seems to help boost the door up a millimeter or two, so its now perfectly flush with the freezer door to the left – hell, yes! For anyone reading this or operating a refrigerator as old as ours, I strongly recommend you do the repair – very satisfying and a cheap fi

I still haven’t bothered with the freezer door’s cams. The kit comes with cams for both doors, so I’ll save the extra cams for when we wear out the main door cams again, the cams are the same, but its obvious the main door carries much more weight.

iPhone 7 Screen Replacements

Liam’s black iPhone 7 has suffered a broken screen a couple times this year, so we’ve had the pleasure of trying a few different replacement screens that we installed ourselves. For his first replacement, we tried this one sold by Miardo:

The initial shipment of this screen was so bad we sent it back to Amazon and requested a replacement – the screen was ridiculously, as Liam says, “laggy” in response to any touches. The replacement to the replacement improved on the lag in touches and being an improvement over the first shipment, Liam decided to keep it. It lasted 6 months before he got flipped by a buddy and the phone shot from his pocket on to sidewalk, requiring us to look for another screen replacement.

For the next screen replacement, we decided to shake things up and try a different listing on Amazon. This time we tried bought from the seller Koofix and picked up this model:

Good news is, the tap responsive is wonderful and Liam loves it! He says the touch responsiveness is back to feeling like an OEM screen, so I’d consider this a win.

And hopefully this one also lasts longer than the last one.

DeDRM, Calibre, and macOS Catalina

I found that Alf’s standalone DeDRM app is not supported with Catalina, so my previous advice no longer works. For Catalina users, the solution is to use his latest guide that more or less involves:

1. Download and install Calibre.
2. Download Alf’s current DeDRM (choose the .zip option) and save the .zip somewhere you won’t delete it.
3. Open Calibre and install the DeDRM plugin using these instructions:

Open Calibre’s Preferences dialog. In the bottom row of icons under “Advanced”, click on the “Plugins” button. Next, click on the button, “Load plugin from file”. Navigate to the unzipped DeDRM_tools folder, find the file “”. Click to select the file and select “Open”. Click “Yes” in the “Are you sure?” dialog box. Click the “OK” button in the “Success” dialog box.

4. The plugin automatically works whenever you use Calibre to directly import a book with DRM.

At the time of these instructions, the current version is DeDRM 6.8.0.

macOS Server and port 8080

I’m stubbornly keeping macOS Server on my Mac mini running High Sierra, as I love it’s GUI for controlling server components. I understand macOS Server wasn’t a profit leader for Apple, but it was such an elegant solution for some of us! Darn it, my mini will probably get hacked for its server components being out of date before someone pries my fingers off macOS Server.

Anyway, today I noticed I was suddenly having conflicts trying to launch Homebridge on port 8080 after installing a security patch on High Sierra. It appears the security patch messes with macOS Server’s web server settings. Fortunately, mighty Wayne Dixon encountered this issue on Mojave and published a fix. Thanks, Wayne! I changed mine from 8080 to 8081.

For now I’m back in business and reading Wayne’s solution might have tempted me to try Mojave if this mini was compatible and it won’t be unless I also try DOSDude1’s app to load Mojave… Hmmm, I’ll think about it…

Also, I briefly thought someone had hacked my server for their own use of port 8080, but this advice quickly helped me track down what it was with these commands:

sudo lsof -i :80 # checks port 8080

Then I saw something similar to:

COMMAND PID USER FD TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME acwebseca 312 root 36u IPv4 0x34ae935da20560c1 0t0 TCP> (ESTABLISHED)

Which showed a service using the PID and we probe that further:

ps -ef 312

To see:

UID PID PPID C STIME TTY TIME CMD 0 312 58 0 9:32PM ?? 0:02.70 /opt/cisco/anyconnect/bin/acwebsecagent -console

Mine showed an Apache2 folder that I led me to Wayne’s fix above.