Australian seeking your assistances

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by viewer, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Hi,

    Firstly, hello all, and thank you for the mods in allowing my access.

    I have been reading your forum today, from a google link, in relation to Autrotrol units.

    I have not yet found what I was looking for in advice, or maybe have overlooked where my predicament was explained (more than likely)

    We have a water softener unit here, but do not know its brand, model number, manual etc.

    I am surmising that it is an Autotrol unit?

    I have supplied some pictures for possible identification purposes.

    The problem we are experiencing, is that the unit no longer supplies clear water to the household. We use this bore supply when our normal water tank ( rainwater) becomes low.

    The bore is very high in iron content ( which is evident in the photos and on the brine tank)

    Things I have noted are:

    * The timer indicator light does not indicate when power is on.
    * It is no longer cycling through its cleaning cycle
    * The brine tank fills with water to the top, and does not seem to reduce.

    Things I did today...
    * I cleaned the iron residue out of the visalage glass and cleaned the rubber type ball and seal
    * I emptied the brine tank, down to my new 1 x bag of salt softener
    * I manually turned the header panel to the backwash position. The unit started backwashing, but the red button dial just stayed in the same place all the time.
    * I advanced the red button to the next cycle, and so on, in each case backwash or rinse took place, but at no time did it draw from the brine tank.
    * I took the supply line apart at the brine tank, and whilst cycling the Autotrol manually, can see water being sent to the tank, coming out of the black line, or further down on the tank wand thing that goes to the bottom of the brine tank
    * It never sucked any water.


    I have no manual, so cannot use that to possibly troubleshoot, or show me other areas where I should look for places to clean things.
    I have read here about "flappes" etc, but don't know what they are?

    Any assistances you can give or point out to me ( maybe a link to a manual) would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you

    John

    Attached Files:

  2. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Maine
    Oh boy, from the pictures you pretty much have a pi\le of junk there. Two things, you need to test the water and then buy the proper equipment. I suspect you have pretty high iron an your filter is a fine example of what high iron will do to a softener, especially if it is not regularly maintained.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The answer to his question is yes, it is an Autotrol valve.

    It looks like he has a brine line water leak where the line connects inside the brine tank or there wouldn't be rust everywhere. That will prevent the suction of brine in the slow rinse/brine draw cycle position. That will cause there to be no regeneration or salt use the high water level in the brine tank and iron fouled resin. That leak may be the only problem with the unit not sucking brine or there may be other causes like a blocked injector screen, injector, the passage between the screen and injector or the drain line flow control.

    John, mix a dry measure cup of Iron Out/Super IO in a couple gallons of warm water in a bucket and stir while adding water until all the IO is dissolved into it. Then disconnect the brine line form the brine tank and stick the brine line in the bucket and start a manual regeneration. When Backwash is done, let it get into brine draw and suck the solution into the resin tank for like 15 minutes and pull the plug on the control valve.

    Wait 15-30 minutes and reconnect the brine line in the brine tank, pour any remaining solution in the bucket into the water in the brine tank and plug in the control valve and let it finish the regeneration. I have never seen that fail to clean resin and the internals of a valve. Of course you have to fix the no brine draw problem first

    If no one posts a link to a manual for your valve, you should be able to find one on most sites selling Autotrol valves online.
  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Maine
    Still reading my posts are you LOL

  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
    It is an Autotrol 155 w/ modified cam lobes. This is a very common control valve. Like Tom said, start with the electrical troubleshooting. Also, by the picture of the brine tank, it looks like you are not drawing the water out. To check for a brine leak, you simply put the system into brine/rinse and see if the clear air check empties of water before the brine tank does. (note: the brine tank will have an inch or two of water in the bottom still even when it is empty).

    Brine draw on this unit is through the injector, looking at the amount of iron/dirt etc, it is likely fouled up. Remove and clean the injector assembly. You may also want to replace the flapper set. I have linked the manual for you here. http://www.caitechnologies.com/images/PDFs/Autotrol_155-440.pdf.

    I dont have the link to the electronic protion of that control valve but I will look for it later.
  6. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Tom Sawyer, Gary Slusser and ditttohead...many thanks for your replies, as well as suggestions and the link to my downloaded manual.

    Before I progress on this, can it be determined, or even to bother with other fixes, if the unit will progress at all through its cycles, without any indication of power getting to the unit?

    If that is the case, then as suggested, the power issue will need to be sorted first, I guess.

    edit...found this...seems to indicate it will work manually?
    http://www.softenerparts.com/kb_results.asp?ID=120
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  7. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Hi,
    Revisiting again...sorry for being away.

    I have been using our rain tank water...

    Can I simply go out and buy a new complete control valve, and stick it where the other one was? Are there particular one's that would simply replace this one, or do different branded complete control valves have different widths for fitting onto the top of the tanks?

    Looks the best alternative, going on the good advice from above.

    Any recommendations appreciated.

    edit:

    As an example, this type of thing (used) is available in the US
    Fully Reconditioned Autotrol 155 Water Softener Control Valve Price: US $140.00
    http://cgi.****.com.au/ws/****ISAPI.dll?ViewItem&clk_rvr_id=660258128718&item=161104517347&sid=feba2
    but there is no freight facility to Australia.

    Would I be best to buy something like this, or a new one that could just slip on, and I don't have to change any plumbing and pipes etc?
    Thanks
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  8. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
  9. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
  11. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Well, I have cleaned my old unit up a bit today, got rid of cobwebs and dust, spiders and all things.

    Here is what it looks like now...another time I did remove the brine draw line, and clean out the glass bowl and ball within it. I also blew down the brine line line towards the brine tank, and bubbles came up inside the brine tank, so I surmise the brine line is ok? There is nothing on the end of the brine line at the tank end to replace, it looks ok.

    I have not done anything else to the brine tank, other than upend it, hose it out.
    I have not added any salt, awaiting what I need to do.
    The tank remains heavily iron stained, however, the water now in it, is relatively clean, although that does not look like it in the photo!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Water has been running through the system, albeit the system won't regenerate unless I guess I do it by hand, as the clock still does not light up when powered on.

    What I am going to try to do tomorrow is this:

    Push the bypass valve the other way...I think that shuts off the water.
    Put the valve in the backwash position by manually moving the red button/timer to that position..that let's pressure off too?
    Undo the right side screw ( as facing from the front) and try to see the injector in there.
    Undo the left side screw and see if the tube/screen thing is there, and clean it if needed with a toothbrush.
    Push a small rod or screwdriver or similar through from the left side, to try dislodge the injector on the other side, using long nosed pliers if needed.
    Inspect the injector, see if it just needs cleaning, and replace it back inside and screw it up.
    Seat the tube/screen thingo back in the other end and screw it up.

    Put the unit back into service, doing the following:
    Move the clock/red button back to the service position/clean water.
    Put bypass back into open position.
    Check for leaks

    Do this:

    I see this graph/tutorial online to tell me how to regenerate etc manually.
    Backwash=10 mins
    Brine Draw/Slow Rinse=50 mins
    Purge/Fast rinse=10 mins
    Brine Refill=10-15 mins

    Inspect to see if it did try to draw from the tank during the draw and refill processes.

    If all appears ok, add some salt to the brine tank, and again go through the rinse regeneration cycles to clean...see what happens.

    I don't see I have anything to lose?

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks
  12. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia

    I take it that means stay away from China ? ;);)
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Any residential softener control valve will fit your tank, another Autotrol will connect to the present plumbing as is. All other makes will require you to change the plumbing to get the inlet water line to come in on the right (facing the front of the valve) and the outlet on the left (industry standard).

    You have a good set of troubleshooting procedures but should add cleaning of the drain line flow control. You unscrew the cap back along the left side past the one for the injector screen. There is a ball in there so don't lose it. You should check for power at the receptacle and to the timer/transformer etc..

    IIRC you have a 440i or 460i timer (i is for electronic metered timer). You may have a 169/269 control valve because of the different (white) cams and the timer you have; I really can't say for sure. You may open the cover of the timer looking for a small fuse, battery and/or to clean the electrical contacts. There may be a jumper or two between two pins, take a picture so you get it back together correctly after cleaning them and the pins.

    You can buy a new timer and matching cams but it would have to be an electronic metered version or remove the turbine wheel (it's like a fan blade in the inlet or outlet of the valve, not the by pass valve).
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,233
    Location:
    IL
    You can also try typing rebuild autotrol into Youtube. For example, 5 minutes in talks about the 2 balls in addition to the one under the aircheck cover.

    I think you want to use a little silicone grease on the O-rings when you put things back together.
  15. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Thank you Gary, your information is most appreciated.

    I shall do as you say, and cross fingers all goes well, albeit, I have no replacement injectors, screens, balls etc, until such time I see they are needed, and in fact available in Australia at all.

    Today will just be a "look and see" and some indications hopefully figured out.

    There is a slot on the front face of the timer unit that has different jumper pin positions, but I have never changed them, but will try clean the existing one up to see what impact there is. I know the power point the unit plugs into works, so that is not a factor. I'll poke around and look for a battery/fuse as suggested too.

    Many thanks all, as your help and guidance is pleasing me big time...THANKS
  16. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    I have the screen out...it is filthy.

    I have tried and tried with long nosed pliers to remove the injector, but I cannot seem to get it out!

    Is it a case of pulling at it for all you are worth, or is there some unscrewing required before the pull? Videos I have seen just show pulling with pliers?

    Anyone know if I should do anything else to get it out?

    Thanks
  17. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Perseverance always pays off...
    The screen
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The injector
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The ball behind the salt adjustment
    [​IMG]

    Just gotta find the part where there is a ball in the backwash area defined in the video...

    When all done, I will clean all and put back

    Hope it all keeps going like this....learning all the time.
  18. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Oh man...had some dramas.
    The waste nozzle that screws on to the back of the bypass valve area was broken in half, and it is one complete item, that you then attach your waste hose to. I had no other hose connections here to fit that 1/2 inch ( I think) outlet, so had to scoot into town and back(1 hour and 60Km round trip), getting another poly connector to suit. I have just reattached the hose/waste line, and let water in, putting it in a backwash cycle.

    The iron coming out is just like the same colors you see above that coated the injector and screen, just as thick.

    After its usual 10 min cycle (hand cycled due to no auto clock) it is still gushing it out in the same density and thickness, so I am just leaving it in that mode for a good amount of time, and will check back soon to see if there is any cleaner water coming out of the unit. I did check an outside tap that runs between the bore and the softener unit, and the water is fairly clean coming direct from the bore, so I assume this is the built up muck inside the main tank, that is being expelled?

    I will report back soon.
  19. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,483
    Location:
    Alaska
    An idea might be to have 2 valves, one on the system and the other some place between dirty and clean.
    There are a few that have two base valves so that they can be changed because of the build up that takes place.
    By stripping the valve down to the base and then putting the valve in a soaking bath of say some thing like CLR or Citric Acid for a number of days to clean out and break down the build up of the valve and parts.
    Mean while the other valve is in service and providing the needed treated water.
    If there are parts that are needed while in the rebuild there is time to find then with out the dead line of needing to getting back to the treated water.
    viewer likes this.
  20. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Australia
    Ok, I put it all together as said, and after leaving the bachwash running for 30-45 mins I went and looked what was coming out, and it was lightly stained with iron...not too bad.

    I then went to go to try and see what it would do after the backwash position was moved from.
    [​IMG]

    When in any of the next cycles, it appeared to me, that water would go into the brine tank, but it did not appear it was drawing from it?
    The difficulty here is knowing how far to manually progress the little red button, as when I seem to move it a little bit, other things gently seem to change...it's like I need to know exactly where within the lines/time shown on the guage, that the draw part starts. I am thinking I may not be hitting the right spot, and because the timer mechanism is broke, it doesn't get to that stage. Would I be correct, or am I drawing an incorrect assumption, and barking up the wrong tree?

    Is there another method to test the draw?

    If I were to take the draw line out of the tank, and get say a bucket of water, filled to the top, I assume on fill, the water should go into the bucket which is full, and now overflow> I assume this confirms filling from the valve is working ok...correct?

    Likewise, using the same test, try to find the brine draw area on the timer, and see if the bucket starts to empty, indicating it is drawing ok..correct?

    It is now approaching dark outside and I can do no more until tomorrow, so if someone reads this between now and our morning time, and has some suggestions, then I would be mightily happy to see your suggestions.

    At this stage, I have no salt in the brine tank, thinking that wasteful until it can be determined if all is ok.

    Lastly, surmising I got this fixed, or even had to purchase another valve unit, would it be any sort of use putting a simplistic cartridge filter or something in line, prior to the ironised/stained water entering the valve, and into the softener brine tank etc?

    Thanks....
Similar Threads: Australian seeking
Forum Title Date
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Seeking water softener advice in Phoenix Sep 22, 2013
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r seeking advice for water softener settings...and more- oh there's always more Jun 16, 2013
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Seeking Recommendation for a softener Nov 14, 2010

Share This Page