Australian seeking your assistances

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

  1. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,642
    Location:
    IL
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    I don't know what you are calling a head unit. Thirty seconds into the YouTube video in reply 14 it shows how to pull the flappers and put them back.

    I would use silicon grease on any o-rings I replaced and maybe on other sealing rubber surfaces. I have a tube of Molykote 111, but there are others that would be suitable too. I use disposable nitrile gloves for applying grease because that sticky grease does not wash off easily. I probably over-use it, but even at that, a little goes a long way. I am not implying that lack of grease would cause your problem. I find this sentence in the manual for a different Autotrol controller: " Lubricate the O-rings on the injector, injector cap and injector screen with silicone lubricant only!" In that same manual, it says 'Injector Size ā€œCā€ Red. . . Nozzle .059-inch (1.5-mm) diameter, Throat .099-inch (2.5-mm) diameter" In any cases, you are working with small passages.

    During that long regenerate/brining phase, the water is routed through a venturi, which I presume is the injector, and then out the drain tube. Check for flow out of the drain tube.I don't know what the flow rate out of the drain tube should be during slow rinse/brine draw/regenerate draw with your red C injector. Here is a graph from a different Autotrol C injector that may be similar. So I am suggesting you either estimate or measure the flow out of the drain tube with a container and a watch. If it is way low, that would point to where to look for the problem. It is probably not way low, but it would be telling if it was. While you are at it, check that the drain is not passing water in the "service"/ "conditioned water" setting.

    Regarding that slow rinse/brine draw/regenerate draw phase, I know you have a problem with it. It may not be the only problem, but it is the one that is for sure based on symptoms.
  2. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    Does the injector have to be turned in any special way ( other than the right way at each end) when putting it back, as I did not take any notice when I pulled it out to clean it? I just bobbed it back in after. When I first pulled it out, I could still tilt it up to the sky and see that the tiny hole in the centre was still clear, and naturally, even cleaner when it went back. Does the water flow both into the injector and out of it through the same one pin hole, or does the pin hole get used one way, and the slots another?If ot does, doesn't water flowing back into the brine tank mean the injector is ok?
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    As long as the injector is clean so water can flow through it from the side or lengthwise, and in the valve body in the correct direction (it can only go in the right way) and you have water pressure above like 20 psi and water flowing to/through the injector you should have suction IF there are no suction air leaks in the brine system. So... IIRC water flows through the injector from the side (too), can you see through the injector from the side or not? Or you may have broken loose some rust that is blocking the injector again, or the injector screen. Or there may be a leaking flapper valve. Or blocked internal water flow ports.
  4. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    As far as I was aware, the injector was clean when put back in, but I'll rip it out again tomorrow and look at the thing.

    Again, asking the same question again, does the water only inject into the valve in the one direction, or does it also go backwards through the pinhole towards the glass bowl and ball before ending up down in the brine tank?

    Thanks all..
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't know if water goes through the injector both ways or not but in all the years I serviced Autotrol valves, I didn't need to know if it did or not. And I don't recall any that I didn't eventually get to suck brine. I did find at times that after cleaning everything and checking for suction, there was none and then taking the parts out again I found rust blogging something (again).... And now I have to ask you, again, were you able to see all the way through one side of the injector and out the other? If not, and my memory serves me right, the side passages are blocked and that will cause no suction.
  6. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    Sorry Gary,

    I have been unwell for a few days and unable to work on the system. I will take out the injector tomorrow and look at the sideways section that you refer to. As stated, I just looked at it through one end like a telescope to check it was clear. Although I washed and cleaned it with an old toothbrush, detergent and hot water, I cannot ascertain the sideways one was clear, that you say for me to check.
  7. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    Here are the shots of the clean injector and screen
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I took them all apart again, cleaning again, although they were fairly clean, and all holes clear.
    Put them all back, and it would still not suck, everything else was ok.
    A bit baffled, I went back to putting the brine line into a water jug to see it going into the jug, and hopefully sucking it.
    Water went in perfectly well, again no suck. Just to see what may happen, whilst in the perceived suction position, I pressed a screwdriver against the brine flap, even though it was in the position open, to draw, nothing happened.
    I then went to the two flappers at the back of the unit, flaps marked "6-backwash-drain flaps", as they were in a closed position. The cam was well away from those flappers. The clock face was in the regenerate mode. I quickly pushed both flappers to the open position, and immediately the sound changed, I saw the float glass get air into it, and that water was being drawn from the jug into the unit. At the same time, flapper number 3 (outlet valve) momentarily shuddered, but then stopped quickly. The water drew all the water out the jug, and I moved the valve into the fast rinse refill, and then to backwash.
    Hmmm...I thought "that looks promising".
    I then pushed the unit through it's cycles, but again it would not suck, but as soon as I touched/pushed back flappers 6, it started to suck again.
    It makes no sense to me, as flappers 6 was off the cam, in a closed position. Only pressing the flappers 6 and then letting them go back to the "closed" position allowed the suction.

    Anyone care to explain? Could it be that the cams at the back of the unit are not set in the right position..they seem to be a separate part of the cam that operates flappers 6.Although when I look at the diagrams posted earlier, it does show flapper 6 to be closed (as it was when checked and pushed), but manipulating them makes it suck.
    Confused..
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    My best guess is that some internal porting is blocked. Maybe the drain line control, or the cams are on wrong. There has to be flow out the drain line to allow suction on the brine line.

    I would also look at the brine flapper for blockage. You can take the top and middle moduals of the valve off while the valve is on the tank. You should find instructions to do that as opposed to breaking something just tearing into it. There are o-rings under the 2nd one and it's probably not good to take that apart without new ones. There is a red part on the left side at the bottom of the timer that pulls out and that allows removal of the timer and camshaft. You need to relieve water pressure first.
  9. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Gary
    It's all rather strange isn't it...even more I suppose to you guys listening to my descriptions?
    Obviously the flappers "6" are in the right position (closed) as described in the instructions how they should be in brine intake, but weird it only works if I quickly push them to the open position, let them go, and suction begins unhindered after that? I would have thought if it were blocked, it would just remain blocked after flicking the flappers? The brine flapper seems ok, and moves freely to the open and closed positions when pushed around by the cam.

    At this stage, it is obvious to me that I can simply do a manual backwash and regeneration, by simply clicking those flappers, albeit, it doesn't make much sense why. I also have to do it manually anyhow, as the clock/timer is a no go too. For the time being, will need to do it this way, as we still have not had any rain to fill my rainwater tank. Not until that time occurs, can I even contemplate trying to tear it apart. I have never received any response from the importers of autotrol units in Australia about spares availability, despite trying and trying, so spares would seemingly need importation still.

    After a lot of back-washing, the water now comes out clean through the waste pipe, and all the orange iron junk seems to have completely cleared the main tank. Yesterday we gave it a complete cycle (manually) and drew brine (salt softener) into the valve etc, and have it in the conditioned water mode for usage. Is there a guide to how often I should manually back-wash the unit, or do I do this as I assume water quality deteriorates?

    Thanks again for all whom have tried to assist.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Going back to see if I could guess what size softener you have, I see I misled you about pulling the red plastic part to get to the top modual off. That is wrong, pulling it takes the top two moduals off and that exposes a bunch of o-rings. To get to the flapper valves, you remove a bunch of screws and lift the top thin piece off. IIRC there is a gasket that can be damaged when you do that.

    As to manually regenerating it... I'd say every 3 days due to the iron and not knowing the hardness, number of people etc.. Looking at your pictures, I think you have a 463i timer and if so, a 169 or 269 control valve. Today, if it is still being sold, it is an exclusive territory dealer arrangement, not available to everyone selling Autotrol and it's called the Avantapure. I built and sold that back in the early to mid 1990s before the Avantapure program was started. It has upflow (counter current) proportional brining and a very unique distributor tube that I doubt you will be able to replace if needed; without finding a dealer that will sell and ship you one. The same DT is used in the Technetic 1000 or Plus. Part of it is a tube inside another larger tube. I suspect finding a dealer would only be possible through Autotrol/GE. I would replace the softener rather than repair it, and I think I see your resin tank coming apart... don't know why I didn't see all your pics until now.

    AH ha, Google is my friend.... lookie here
    http://www.avantapuresystems.com/product/avantapure/#howitworks
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,642
    Location:
    IL
    Interesting. That page says "This innovative treatment process only regenerates the depleted portion of the resin bed,". Now that doesn't sound right, since any portion of the resin bed that is not regenerated will become depleted, I would think.

    Is the control valve used with this system an upflow brining control with different cam lobes, or is the special tube somehow re-routing water on its own?
  12. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    Thank Gary...you guys here are full of information...thanks, I appreciate it.
    I think I will follow the sound advice of not investing further time into such an old unit, and thus consider an additional rainwater tank as perhaps the best solution, considering water quality in the first instance.
    I would need to get a plumber in to sort out our present spaghetti of water lines etc, and end up just having the bore water for outdoor usage, and set up the tanks for indoors. You never know, I might just buy a whole new valve unit and have that as a back up too, just in case.

    It still makes no sense to me that I can press flappers 6 when it is supposedly in the brine draw section, and this then makes it suck...weird....something is better than nothing though...I will also do the regeneration about each 3rd day as suggested.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I see there is downflow and upflow versions now, there was only upflow (brining) when I sold them. They have a new timer now.

    With a new 1 cuft of resin and using say 15K between regenerations, there is 15K of non "depleted" or unused capacity remaining right? That applies to all softeners of all sizes using a salt efficiency setting rather than 15lbs/cuft so...

    Depleted = K of capacity used. It has proportional brining (variable brining, meaning it adjusts the amount of refill water for eacth regeneration based on used capacity since the last regeneration. And it is counter current (upflow) brining.

    Looking at the cutaway picture in the link, there is a top basket X inches below the bottom of the control valve or the top of the tank, the regular DT goes through it inside a larger piece of DT. You can see the top basket in the picture/drawing just above the number 4, but they don't show the larger DT very well if at all.

    And mentioning that top basket... it may be blocked with rust and why Viewer's softener isn't able to suck brine.
  14. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    I did another manual backwash today..same again for brine draw, I had to tap flappers 6, and it sucked up all the brine water in the tank easily.

    What I did notice, was on the initial backwash, I have never seen the waste water come out as clean as this, in all the years of service. Makes me think, even with the clock when it worked, that brine suction wasn't working for a long time? Perhaps the media resin wasn't being cleaned for a long long time?

    If you remember my early photo's of the color of the tank, injectors,discolorations of parts, then from the new recent long back washes since brine has started sucking, then the crap coming out the waste seems to have gone from straight dark orange stained iron looking water, to a slight brown tinge for just a few seconds when I backwash now, and for the rest of the backwash, nice and clean.

    A long long time ago, when it did go to back wash etc on its own, after it finished the cycles, the initial water always came out of the taps slightly frothy and salt present. We would let the water run for about 5 mins, and the froth and salt would then go away, and water would be ok. This is what is happening now after all this time without doing it.Seems like a new zest of life?

    I seem to have achieved something, if not by mistake?
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,642
    Location:
    IL
    I am intrigued by your symptom: during the brine (regenerate) draw cycle, the controller does not successfully suck brine until you open one of the backflow valves momentarily. That would provide a bypass around the tank, it would increase the flow, and presumably would increase the suction on the brine tube momentarily.

    I expect that there is flow through the drain tube, and there is a sudden increase in flow rate only while you poke one of the #6 flaps. Does the flow rate return to the same rate as before you poke #6, or is there a change from what it was before?

    So how could a sudden but temporary increase in flow rate help? Could there be some valve in your brine tank that gets stuck and gets-unstuck? Could it be a superfluous check valve at the foot of your dip tube getting stuck? No. Extra suction would work the wrong way for such a thing. I am wondering if there is an overflow prevention valve-- a brine level safety float... I wouldn' t think that would be it. Your brine level should be way lower than where that would activate. I expect your brine level to be way to shut off that valve. At least the extra suction would be a help if that valve were to get stuck.

    If not the safety float valve, is there something odd about your drain hose? I can't come up with a theory as to why that should require an extra burst of water to get things going...
  16. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    I agree Reach4...it is all mystifying to me, and I am only the student!
    Before I touch those two back flappers, the water flows straight into the salt water brine tank. As soon as I give them a flick forward and back, the same water pressure sound seems there, but it changes immediately to suction, with an extra sound like bits of air being drawn into the main valve.

    The procedure I use now is to turn it from reconditioned water, straight onto the backwash position. I leave it there for about 10 minutes, and it sends the water out of the drain connection, that is between the inlet and outlet connectors. It runs slightly dirty for about 10 seconds, and then keeps running out clear.

    The next click on the clock-face turns it all off(some in between mode?)

    I then turn it to the start of the slow rinse cycle, and water stills comes out through the waste pipe, this time a lot slower. It is still not sucking at that time.

    I then move it to right in the middle 12 o'clock position of regenerant draw, and again it sits idle, nothing happening.

    I then move it to the 10 o'clock position, and it starts to throw water back into the salt brine tank.

    This is when I hit the rear flappers, jolting them from closed to open, and let them click back to closed. That is when the sound changes, and it starts to suck. Before it sucks, I have at this stage got one big bag of salt in the brine tank, covered with about 2" water.

    It sucks all this up, and as it gets to empty, I turn the clock face to fast refill, again returning water to the salt brine tank, letting it get to 2 inches above again, then I turn it to conditioned water.

    I go inside, turn on a cold water tap in the kitchen and let the water run. It runs well, but starts off frothy, plenty of air, tasting of salt. After a couple of minutes leaving the tap running, it eventually stops frothing, all air is gone, as well as the salt.

    Our inside shower and tap water has not been this clear for a long long time.

    That's it??
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,642
    Location:
    IL
    That is a little different than I was thinking. What about something like if valve #2 was stuck open or leaking. Then the pulse from ticking #6 seats # 2, and then water takes the right path to generate suction. Just speculating.
  18. viewer

    viewer Member

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Reach4...I just don't know as I am not competent enough to know anything above what I have done already. It'd be nice if they were made of clear acrylic or something so you could see what was happening inside!
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,642
    Location:
    IL
    I am certainly not competent in that either. The competent folks are not so prone to wild speculation.

    Have you tried turning around your flappers? I would also lightly grease the places where rubber seals with silicone grease. That doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. I expect an imprint in flappers to indicate the contact areas. If you turn the flapper around, the contact would be in the corresponding place on the other side.
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    When the low flow of water is going out the drain line is when it sucks salt water. And watching the water level in the salt tank takes many minutes to see that it is being sucked out because the flow is very small.

    And you should let the valve add the refill water to the salt tank instead of you doing it. That would save a lot of salt. Also, I can not remember fer sure but something makes me think the valve is Pre ReFill, then a 2 hr pause, then backwash etc..

    The pause provides time for the water to dissolve the salt for THIS regeneration. Post ReFill would add the water at the end of the regeneration for the NEXT regeneration.

    Turning the flapper valves around can't hurt anything as long as you don't damage anything while taking things apart or putting them back together. There is a gasket under the top module that may stick fast though.
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