NO water in brine tank Fleck 5600 Econominder


  #1  
Old 12-13-06, 01:06 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Unhappy NO water in brine tank Fleck 5600 Econominder

OK... I thought I fixed things once, but in the last month or so something new is going on... And I apologize in advance for the length of my explanation...

Fleck 5600 Econominder (resin tank in salt container); Water hardness 28 grains; iron 2ppm; 2 people

I recently replaced the piston assembly and o-ring when the unit malfunctioned and I discovered that the piston was corroded (read the manual troubleshooting). Things "seemed" to work fine after that for a while...

#1... The timing mechanism appears to be working fine... it cycles when the dial is turned just to the point where the regeneration starts (and time says 2 am). However, it is NOT metering the water usage, meaning the white dot on the timer wheel that should move along as water is used does not move... Like there's no water running through the system... but water does move through while regenerating because it flows out into the drain at the appropriate times.

Now for #2... My husband is the one that fills the tank with salt and he made the observation quite a while ago that the salt wasn't going down and he hadn't added any in quite a while. Then he started complaining that the water seemed not soft. So being Mrs. Fixit I started looking for the source of the problem. I took the valve mechanism apart and cleaned where I thought (or read in the manual) there could be debris or other possible reasons.

About this time, while running a manual regeneration, I noticed THAT THE TANK WAS NOT FILLED WITH WATER and the unit was not regenerating at all due to #1. I asked my husband "didn't there used to be water standing in the brine tank?" (sounds pretty lame, I know, but before the piston broke I'd never bothered with the softener and still don't know exactly how it works). Yes, there was water... now there's not. So I started looking at the manual and trying to find a reason why the tank is not filling up. I discovered the float mechanism had fallen to the bottom of the tube. A heavy wire that pokes into a little rubber washer in a brass fitting and wraps around the top of the float, had come loose and when I figured out how it worked, I pushed it back in and reconnected the float and brass fittings (possible problem??). The manual does not detail the all-in-one setup of my unit so maybe I screwed something up...

I've read the few posts here about other Fleck units and wonder if I have "broken teeth", if I'm missing part #38 BLFC button, or maybe my resin is fouled or needs replacing. ;') I'm hoping it's something that maybe someone here can help me with... I'm really at my wits end.

Plus, with all that I've read here and other places, I now know that I need to clean this thing out, but how is that done when the resin tank in inside the salt reservoir? This may end up being more than I can handle on my own and I'll be forced to get a professional in here to take care of things once and for all.

Thanks in advance for any help offered, and I apologize again for the length of this post.

SBerg

P.s. Since we moved into this house about 3+ years ago, until these problems the unit was regenerating every 3rd or 4th day. Is this a bit excessive for only two people at 28 grain hardness? Also, what is the hardness adjustment typically made for 2ppm iron content? Thanks...
 

Last edited by sbergstc; 12-13-06 at 01:20 AM.
  #2  
Old 12-13-06, 07:01 AM
J
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 747
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
With 2ppm iron someone should have been usinging iron out or the equivalent on a regular basis. The brine tank has been neglected also. Cleaning the brine tank out once a year is a good idea. If you use cheap, dirty salt then every 6 months may be necessary.

With 28g hardness and 2 ppm of iron regenerating every 4 days is not a bad idea, but without knowing the softening capacity of the softener it's hard to advise you.

You're about to find out why all-in-one cabinet water softeners arer a pain in the a$$. Cleaning out the brine tank is more complicated, time consuming, and difficult than a conventional design.

If you were "missing teeth" then the wheels wouldn't advance at all.

"Not monitoring the water usage" sounds like a turbine (water wheel) or cable problem.

Without knowing what the original problem was and not knowing that you disassembled and reassembled the control valve correctly it sounds like you've gone as far as you can with the knowledge that you have.

If you have a local water treatment pro who is familiar with the Fleck I'd give them a call and check prices for a service call. You're probably looking at more expense than a minimum call to repair the control valve and disassemble the cabinet to thoroughly clean out the brine area. If the resin is iron fouled then that's gonna cost an additional $100, give or take, for new resin plus more labor charges. At that point the entire softener has been worked on and you still have the pain in the butt cabinet design. You could remove the resin tank from the cabinet and add a standard stand alone brine tank with Fleck 2310 safety float/brine pickup, but by the time you do that you could buy a new softener and start from scratch with a better softener.

You might consider replacing that softener with a new one that is a conventional design. You can get a more convenient to use valve, Fleck 5600SE micropocessor controlled) for under $500 delivered.

A properly sized Fleck softener should last at least 10-15 years with routine maintenance. with 2ppm of iron the maintenance gets more important.

Go to: http://ohiopurewaterco.com/shop/customer/home.php?cat=179 for more info.

You have to "cut & paste" as HTML is turned off on this forum.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 12-13-06 at 07:42 AM.
  #3  
Old 12-13-06, 05:58 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Hey justalurker...

So, if the cable, meter assembly, or impeller is bad, would this account for the empty tank? Sounds like it would account for the white dot wheel not moving as it should. I've taken it apart again... I can't get the impeller to turn the cable as it fits too loosely by hand, but when I turn the cable I can see the little toothed wheel inside the meter assembly moving, but the gold fitting at the end of the cable doesn't seem to be moving. Seems like the cable inside the black rubber is moving; is this how it is supposed to work? When I put one end in timer and turn the cable, it moves the wheel (with the white dot) freely. I can get the four pieces (meter assem head, impeller, o-ring, and cable) for around $100.

I'm looking for that Super Iron Out... matter of fact I tried Walmart today because I was there... Going to try Lowe's or HD this weekend. I'm sure one of them will have it. Is it a liquid that's added to the water?

We have not been using Morton green bag as I wasn't aware of the iron until just recently. Something I forgot to ask the previous owner... We'll also be picking that up as well... Which is of course a moot point if I can't get this damn thing to work.

Anyway, where would I look to find a "pro" to come in and take a look or if we go that route, install a new one... unless we could install it ourselves... What do you think?

And thanks very much for your quick response, it's good to talk to someone that knows about these things... For the most part I'm good at taking things apart, replacing broken parts, and putting them back together the same way, and it usually works great... but with this I'm in way over my head.

Sharon
 
  #4  
Old 12-13-06, 06:23 PM
J
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 747
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Sharon,

There's no magic to a water softener. It's only chemistry, physics, and mechanics. They are not as apparent to comprehend as other things can be and along with not working they offer the added benefit(?) of leaking profusely when tampered with. It takes some experience to rip 'em open, fix 'em, and stuff 'em back together. Most people just want them to work and aren't patient enough to spend lots of time learning the ins and outs in order to effect the repair when they are living with ludicrously hard water.

If there's a problem in the turbine wheel or cable the control won't count the gallons. Not filling the brine tank is an entirely different problem. Most likely internal to the control.

IT OCCURS TO ME THAT IF THE SOFTENER IS IN "BYPASS" IT WON'T COUNT GALLONS or refill the brine tank. Is there any chance the softener is in "bypass"?

You bought a house that had a water softener. The softener was there because someone went to the expense to correct a problem in the water. You never had a water test done and haven't been doing any maintenance on that softener. The softener has a problem and with no training you disassemble it and replace the piston assembly but that does not solve the problem. I applaud your efforts but you now have to ask yourself, do you want clean and safe water or not? Clean and safe water is fundamental to life.

While you may be good at taking things apart and putting them back together the yardstick is 'did you resolve the problem or in some instances make it worse?'. Since you lack the knowledge and tools to correctly repair that Fleck control you have gone as far as you can go.

If you want to continue to experiment then go right ahead. If you want the problem fixed then look in the Yellow Pages under "water treatment" or "water softeners". Call someone up and tell them what you have and what the problem is. I wouldn't tell them you tried to fix it as that usually results in an "educational tax" added to the repair fee because often the homeowners efforts make it harder for the pro to diagnose the problem.

You can also send your control valve out to be rebuilt but all things considered the most cost effective solution might be a new softener. Then you can implement a regular maintenance routine and look forward to many, many years of reliable service. You would need a COMPLETE water test from an independant lab BEFORE you shop for a softener so you'd know what to look for.

I have already addressed your questions in my first response.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 12-13-06 at 07:34 PM.
  #5  
Old 12-13-06, 09:22 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Unfortunately no, the unit is not in bypass mode... would that it was that easy. And by the way, replacing the piston assembly did fix the problem at the time (July 2006). The unit worked fine after that until recently.

Yes, I am fully aware that the problems we're having are due to our own ignorance in maintaining the equipment. A lesson learned the hard way is a lesson well remembered but costly.

Thank you for your time and advice.

SBerg
 
  #6  
Old 12-13-06, 10:02 PM
J
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 747
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Sharon,

I was just taking a wild guess about bypass... never overlook the obvious.

What was the original softener problem in July?

All that's required to do just about anything is the knowledge and the tools. Most times, the willingness to procede without both only gets one so far and usually in the direction one didn't want to go.

Do you have the complete service manual for your Fleck?

I'm confident that when you decide what path to take you'll get long service from a softener and have a much better understanding of its inner workings.

Get your independent water test and post the results.
 
  #7  
Old 12-13-06, 10:37 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
The original problem was the unit stopped putting out soft water, and in checking the manual's troubleshooting guide, I was directed to the piston and brine valves and I replaced both with excellent results. When I pulled the piston valve out, there was a small piece of metal that shoots thru the bottom perpendicular to the piston. This pin had corroded down to nothing and very obviously needed replacing. The recommendation was to replace the brine valve as well. All went fine...

I always use manuals, I'm not so overconfident that I try to figure out complicated equipment without the help provided by the manufacturer. That's why they include "troubleshooting" sections in manuals; to aid the homeowner in making a repair or assisting in the determination of whether a pro is needed.

sharon

I found it... http://www.ohiopurewaterco.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=16483&cat=0&page=1

Now that I have a visual reference, I know that the valve needs replacing. The pin that goes thru tube and is screwed from the other side is broken. This is why I have no water in my tank!!! I'm going to order the part (ohio doesn't sell the valve only, but the online store where I purchase the piston/brine valve assembly does!) Soft water by next week, hoorah!
 

Last edited by sbergstc; 12-13-06 at 11:15 PM.
  #8  
Old 12-13-06, 11:20 PM
J
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 747
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Sharon,

The Fleck 2310 safety float is the standard in most of today's industry standard softeners with seperate brine tanks and is very reliable. I haven't seen that model used in an all-in-one cabinet model softener allthough they may very well be.

I disagree with your statement "I always use manuals, I'm not so overconfident that I try to figure out complicated equipment without the help provided by the manufacturer. That's why they include "troubleshooting" sections in manuals; to aid the homeowner in making a repair or assisting in the determination of whether a pro is needed".

Owner's and operations manuals are provided by manufacturers to educate customers in the operation and routine maintenance of products and WHEN to call a pro. Service manuals are published for professional use and outline the specifics of that particular product based on the understanding that the professional is already trained on those products. Service manuals often leave out basics that trained professionals are expected to know and are taught through classes or demonstration pertaining to those products.

Any problems beyond the scope of the owner's or operations manuals are intended to be addressed by professionals that are trained on that product and have the proper tools.

The fact that manuals are often easily available doesn't qualify their use by untrained amateurs. Every customer has the right to attempt whatever repair they choose on their own stuff whether they succeed or not.
 
  #9  
Old 12-14-06, 12:44 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Actually it's the 2300 valve not the 2310... Take a look again... http://www.ohiopurewaterco.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=16483&cat=0&page=1 It's a brass valve and the pin corroded and cracked in two.

I feel the troubleshooting guide and detailed information included in the Fleck OWNERS manual is designed to encourage those owners who feel competent enough to attempt a repair on their own. I've also seen retailers/manufacturers offering detailed information online as well as encouraging the customer to email if need further advice or instruction on problem solving is needed.

I've been patient and respectful in my posts, yet you've repeatedly insinuated that homeowners do not have the necessary skills or tools to diagnose and repair the equipment in their own homes. Sometimes the skills and tools needed are determination, the owner's manual and a screwdriver.

"The fact that manuals are often easily available doesn't qualify their use by untrained amateurs. Every customer has the right to attempt whatever repair they choose on their own stuff whether they succeed or not."

I'm here to tell you that I've accurately diagnosed furnace problems, replaced a failed timer on my washing machine, diagnosed and remediated problems with my 20x60 pond's equipment and chemicals, as well as recent problems with my water softener... This time it may have been a game of hit or miss, but with a little determination and internet help I've managed to uncover the causes and solutions for both my problems, neither of which has anything to do with cleaning out the tank... The meter cover assembly is definitely bad (I found detailed information on how to determine this; and THANK YOU for nudging me in that direction) and the float valve needs replacing as well. I will purchase these parts online for around $120 and save myself $250-$500+ by repairing it myselft instead of hiring a "pro" or purchasing a new WS.

I realize there are many situations that I would not be qualified to attempt, however I know my own abilities and limitations and I suspect many homeowners feel the same and should not be belittled for their efforts. Some can't afford the $45-85 hourly rates for the "pros" and some do it for the simple enjoyment of the process and the sense of accomplishment when othey succeed. And even with failure there are lessons learned... you've narrowed down the choices so when you call in the pro you can tell him/her where they "don't" have to look.

I'm done... Take care and have a nice holiday.

SBerg
 
  #10  
Old 12-14-06, 07:52 AM
J
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 747
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
And I have been more than patient and respectful in all my posts. I have not insinuated anything but rather have been very specific in my posts while not belittling anyone.

I and many others spend considerable time on forums like these trying to help people who usually appreciate the effort or at least don't make us feel like we're wasting out time.

Unlike (some) others who post on these forums "keyboarding for dollars" and whose heads are so big they can't fit them on the monitor. I have no agenda other than trying to pay back the help I've received in other fields from people more knowledgable than me.

There are many reputable professionals out there who try really hard to provide a dollar's worth for a dollar to their customers. Unfortunately, there are hucksters out there who will try to slide their hands into your pocket and sneak away with your money while providing nothing special in product and no service.

When people come here (or other forums) asking for help they accept that they do not have the knowledge to effect the repair or have tried and failed. That's OK, no one knows everything about everything, and many are pleased to help. Don't insult me for trying to provide the help you asked for because you don't like what I tell you.

Please accept my apology for trying to help. In the future I will be much more carefull before offering help to just anyone who asks for it and I'll make doubly sure they really do want the help before I offer it.

Now, I'm done.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 01-10-07 at 09:52 AM.
  #11  
Old 01-18-07, 06:20 PM
S
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 10
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Sorry, but a pro would have had a fleck valve fixed in 20 minutes at maybe $180. Enjoy your family and life--pay a professional.
Just my one cent.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: