My First Cruise

This is me- heading out of pier 90, on an eight-day Carnival cruise to the Caribbean.

On the upper deck with shipmates. Enjoyed watching the ship sail down the Hudson.

Approaching the Verrazano bridge. I missed the shot from directly beneath. We cleared the bridge from what looked like 6 ft.
My Son is in charge of the cabin.
At dinner with the entire group. My wife isn’t impressed with the water.
My son is happy.

The Sitdown dinner is nice. They prefer the buffet.

Wife says, “Finally, the food is coming”.


Deck party – wobble- wobble…

Get in there- Yeah, Yeah..

Big Sis got moves too
Get on down Ty.
Sleeping quarters

First stop

First stop, Dominican Republic

We got this!

Island hopping in style.
Ready to explore
My niece and daughter left us to do their own excursion


Not your typical city bus

Gang activity? Lol
Public Housing
Life in the mountain

Our tour guide, Eduardo, informative and hospitable

ok, whos asking all those questions?

Nephew picking mangos
That boy stays masked up.

Wife and i reppin – Amber Cove.
Sis still acts like she did when she was five. LOL.


Lido deck

Grand Turk

Margaritaville Pool
Happy Wife.

Beautiful views

Jerk Chicken was slammin
Wild Donkeys
Back to ship

That deck life


Private beach – no ships allowed.

Shuttling back

Wife learns to Dougie.
Formal night
Love is…
Corn Hole Tournament…..came close, but no trophy
White Night
Coast guard – Fight night

Back to work.

Fear of Riding the Subway

For those of you who are not from NYC and are watching subway crime surge, I am sure you are saying to yourself, “How do they live in that city”.

On April 15, a gunman tried to annihilate a subway car full of passengers. On May 24th, Daniel Enrique was shot dead while riding the Q train. At 4:30 Pm ,On June 6, a woman was pushed to the tracks. And countless other slashings, muggings and attacks have taken place.

For New Yorkers riding the Subway is not an option. Most don’t have the luxury to telework. Most can’t afford to drive to work. And calling the daily Uber is just not realistic.

The Irony

June 7th, 6:30 am – the tranquility of the F train.

It’s moments like this that only New Yorkers can appreciate.

Please Don’t Steal My Catalytic Converter

It has happened again. 7:45 am, I am at work and I receive the following text from my Wife;

Hi love, something suspicious just happened outside the house by my car. Can you see that far out with the camera?

I call her right away, she further explains, in front of the house, a car pulls up next to hers, she hears a drilling noise.

She didn’t have to say anymore. I already knew what had happened. Yes, this is not the first time that the catalytic converters we’re stolen from one of our cars. In a matter of minutes thieves have gotten our EPA certified green house gas limiter.

Typical catalytic thief tool

How does this web work. Some sources say street thieves are getting anywhere from $25 to $300 per cat from scrap yards. The scrap yard sells to a recycler. The recyclers extracts and separate the precious metals.

Catalytics contain Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium, which are rare and in high demand. With the price of Rhodium selling for $22,000 per ounce.

NYC has an automotive jem nicknamed the Iron Triangle. It is a conglomerate of not too nice looking body, glass and muffler repair shops . It is in Willets point, Queens, across the street from Citi Field. Drive slow, the streets are poorly maintained. Within seconds of approaching, someone in the street will solicite you to their shop.

Take your choice anyone of the muffler repair shops will weld in a new universal catalytic converter for whatever the days haggle is. I got my new one installed for $170.

I hope you won’t have to visit this place. But if you have to, it’s a third world jem for a first world problem.

How to break an HDTV

When my 55-inch LED tv went black, I brought it to the basement with the intention that one day I will give it a shot and try to fix it. A year later, I finally got around to it. This article is about that experience.

Before my tv totally stopped working, I would be able to smack the back of it, then the picture would reappear, It would work for hours or even days. Then out of nowhere, it would lose the picture. I figured, there was a loose connection somewhere. I removed the back cover to inspect, nothing obvious.

With the help of YOUTUBE sites bigdog and shopjimmy, I was guided towards what the possible problem might be.


I learned that my backlights (LEDs) are the probable cause.

Without a backlight, the image produced by the tv would not be visible. To verify, take a flashlight and put it against the screen, you should be able to see an image. Another sign that your LEDs are malfunctioning, After powering the tv on, the backlights will flash on then back off. These are signs that you have backlight LED problems.


An LED tv uses strips of LEDS to produce light. The number of LEDs for each TV varies by size. My 55-inch tv has 5 rows of 9 LEDs (see circuit below). Each strip needs 38volts to activate. The circuit that powers the LED strips is integrated within the main power supply board.

Every LED strip is a series circuit. Hence if one LED in that strip is open then the entire strip will not light. If one strip goes out, that will result in the current increasing for the other strips. To prevent damage, your tv shuts down the entire backlight circuit.

Test voltage

Before disassembling, check voltage at the connector. To identify which cable is for the LEDs follow the black cable that routes into the chassis. Also, read the connector labels, My connector reads +Vled and -Vled.

When my circuit is working properly, all +Vled should read 38volts. With 38v at the connector, the LED strip should be illuminated. If it is not, proceed to disassemble the tv to gain access to the LED strips.

If an LED strip is bad, you will measure 38volts when powered on, then the voltage will gradually decrease.

Remove the screen

To access the backlights, you have to separate the front screen from the chassis. Refer to shop jimmy and bigdog, they have lots of videos and tutorials on this topic.


Now that you have your tv separated, your LED strips are exposed.

There is an invaluable tool available called a LED backlight tester. It allows you to quickly apply voltage to the connector, individual strips or individual LED. It generates the proper voltage to test those components. There are various models available , usually less than $40. I used it to test each strip and narrow down to which one was defective.

With the LEDs illuminated, I pressed and shook the connector. What I found was a loose connection, between two strips. To fix it, I unscrewed and removed the strip from the base, then connected it back, making sure the connection was tight before securing hardware.

See schematic of LED strip in failed state.


Back to the title of the article. “How to break a Television“. Separating and removing the layers of the TV takes, time, patience, and a few special tools. While separating the liquid crystal layer, I cracked it. The professionals use a special suction cup to lift the liquid crystal screen from the stack. I did not buy one, I cut corners and tried to slide the screen, instead of lifting it. No good – CRACK! I fixed the original problem, then created another. Lesson learned.

The moral of my story, troubleshooting and repairing this common TV failure is doable, just take your time, look at a few videos and purchase a few inexpensive tools.

Fix Washing Machine Noise

Sooner or later your washing machine will fail. So either you she’ll out another $700 to replace it or read this blog and spend $50 to replace bearings.

So my washing machine was making a horribly loud noise for several months. I knew there was a problem, but heck, it still cleaned my clothes, so I ignored it.

Problems that are ignored always get worse. So this blog is how to replace my bearings which were the cause of my washing machine noise.

This is my washing machine. The model number is Kenmore 402.49032011. Don’t get too weirded out. Most front loaders irregardless of the brand are build the same. Not identical, but very similar. So changing the bearings will be a similar process no matter what model you have.

This is it. You have to remove the tub from the unit. No if and or buts. If you have no mechanical intelligence I probably would stop reading this and Google a technician.

These are the steps:

– Remove covers

-look at your tub, remove hoses and electrical connectors that prevent it from being removed from unit. Take pics, if needed of every hose clamp and electrical connector.

Next step is to remove the bottom struts. Don’t worry your tub won’t drop. Be sure to leave one end connected to tub. Just remove end connected to cabinet.

Ok. This next step is important. Be sure your tub is free from all hoses, connectors and struts. Your tub should be held by two springs. You will probably need a hand for this. As you lift the weight off of the tub, have someone detach the spring from the cabinet. Now the tub can be removed from the cabinet.

Now that the tub is removed locate the bolts that are around the circumference of the tub. Remove all of them.

Separate the upper half from the lower half. Locate the bearings. They are probably visibly destroyed, maybe the balls are exposed.

Remove seal, with hammer and punch, remove the bearings. Be sure to remove both of them. Clean up dirt and grim as needed.

Critical step…After you order new bearings, they need to be properly installed. Never ever ever hit them on the inner race. They should be hit in on the outer race or find some sort of plate to hit the entire bearing in.

So you have done it. You installed the bearings. To reassemble, just perform the disassembly steps in reverse. Hopefully this blog set you in the right mindset. Of course you should look at YouTube videos of others who have performed the job. I just want to give you the confidence, so you know anyone can do this. Cheers……

Digispark Attiny85

Yes this is another Arduino chip. Smaller form factor, less processor speed, less I/O pins. But yes this is an Arduino chip.

The Digispark Attiny85 is a Attiny85 chip with all the supporting components. No need to connect to Arduino to program, everything along with USB interface is included in this small compact form factor.

Although the same Arduino IDE is used to program this chip, the settings and upload process is different. See for a complete list of proper settings and setup.


Being small, powerful, compatible and cheap, do not hesitate to use this in your next IOT protect.

How Electric Scooter HUB Motors work

Electric scooters have become very popular, it is a convent way to commute and get around in congested urban areas. The driving force behind the electric scooter is the Hub motor. The hub motor is exactly that, a motor in a hub of a wheel. Hub motors can be placed in the front and/or rear of the scooter.

Outrunner Motor

The type of motor that is used in this hub is called a Brushless DC outrunner motor. Outrunner means the outer part (wheel) rotates, opposed to inrunners, which have a rotating inner part. The part that moves is called the rotor and the part that is stationary is called the stator. In Brushless motors, DC voltage is applied to coils without the aid of brushes. Brushes have long been used as a method to provide power to the rotor.


In a nutshell, the hub motor has two types of magnets, permanent and electromagnet. The electromagnet functions like a permanent magnet, with the added feature that it can be switched on and off electronically. The coils are switched on and off in a sequential manner causing the adjacent permanent magnets to attract or repel, resulting in rotor (wheel) rotation.

The electronic switching is generated by the scooter’s controller.


Wheel (rotor) with magnets
electromagnet (phase coils)
coil with reed switches to detect movement

See wheel rotation

Displaying text on LCD

It is quick and easy to connect a liquid crystal display to the Arduino to display text. This setup uses the I2C communication protocol, allowing user to connect two data wires instead of eight. Within your program, make sure you include a Liquid crystal library as well as an I2C library.

See my code:

//Compatible with the Arduino IDE 1.0
//Library version:1.1
#include <Wire.h> 
#include <LiquidCrystal_I2C.h>

LiquidCrystal_I2C lcd(0x27,20,4);  // set the LCD address to 0x27 for a 16 chars and 2 line display

void setup()
  lcd.init();                      // initialize the lcd 
  // Print a message to the LCD.
  lcd.print("2022 is a good year");
  lcd.print("to code");
  lcd.print("in the snow");
  lcd.print("Powered by s.b.smith");

void loop()

For more info: