Fleck Pentair 5800LXT first review

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by ditttohead, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Ontario California
    Sorry about the bad picture, I installed this on the 4th of July and only had my camera phone with me and it was at night in bad lighting. This valve was installed on a 13" x 54" tank, 2.5 Cu. Ft. System with a 304 brushed stainless jacket, 3/4" flex install, replacing an existing ProFlo 5000SE

    I have been bench testing the new Fleck 5800LXT valve for a few weeks and my first impression was that this valve could be a viable alternative to the SXT electronics. The valve itself is classic Fleck with the addition of a high speed DC drive, and a one piece stacked seal and spacer kit assembly. The valve is able to cycle from service to backwash or any other cycle in less than a second. This is a great feature compared to the slower moving control valves. It even makes the WS1 controls seem very slow. For the field technicians, this will save them a few seconds. While this is a unique feature, it does not make the slower drive valves worse in any way. The slower drive systems simply take longer to get between cycles. This may take an extra minute or two during a service call or during a syncronizing cycle or testing.

    The valve is loosely based on the ProFlo design and shares the injection system, the drain, and the valve body appears very similar. The ProFlo valve is one of the great Fleck valves for its simple design, high flow, high backwash, and overall durability. Sharing the design was a wise choice. The valve also shares the same meter, bypass, and plumbing connectors that any Fleck installer is familiar with. It uses a 1.05" manifold and I replaced a ProFlo 5000 with this valve. It is a direct replacement, no plumbing was needed.

    The LXT programming is a 4 button design and fairly intuitive once you go through the programming a few times. It appears to be based on the Autotrol programming and has a similar "feel". Programming it is a breeze as long as you understand a few limits. The programming is set to the injector size and BLFC size. So programming it for a 2.5 Cu. Ft. systems means it must have the correct injector #0 and a .25 GPM BLFC button. If you do not install the correct BLFC or injector, the system will not work correctly. The programming is set internally based on system size and is not adjustable unlike the SXT. This is fine for the vast majority of applications. I would recommend the SXT for installations where better programability is needed. Systems with Iron, sediment in the water, etc may need the more adjustable programming of the SXT.

    Some minor notes, the salt setting is adjustable from 3-18 pounds per cubic foot. When you set the salt pounds, this is a "per Cubic Foot" adjustment, not total salt pounds. The programming will autmatically set the refill time, system capacity, reserves, etc.

    The reserve programming is a "Day of the week reserve" and it calculates a reserve for each day based on the past 4 weeks.

    Getting out of a programming mode is simple once you do it a couple of times. Simply hold the regeneration button for a few seconds. You must do this to save programming changes.

    The LXT also includes the most important diagnostic features and are very easy to access.

    Days since last regeneration
    Current flow rate
    Current days water usage
    Total water usage since last regeneration
    average daily water usage for days 1-7, very useful if you need to see when and if a water spike occurs regularly.

    The very early prototype versions of the valve I was testing had some minor programming issues, this actual production version has taken care of all of those issues. I have not found any programming errors yet. The inability to adjust the cycles makes this more like the Clack valve than the Fleck SXT series programming which allow the user to have total control over the programming. This is good for most since it lessens the potential that people are going to be playing with the system to much. It also makes it much easier for the homeowner to adjust the salt settings for extreme efficiency and to let the homeowner ultimately decide if they are happy with the slightly lower water quality that can occur when ultra low salting is used. It is very easy to adjust the system from 3 pounds of salt per cu. ft. all the way up to 18 pounds per cu. ft., the valve self corrects the rest of the programming including the regeneration cycle times, capacities, reserves, etc.

    From a technical standpoint, I prefer the XTR, NXT, SXT programming for their ultimate adjustability, but I also find myself impressed with the LXT. This valve can make those critical and sometimes difficult salt efficiency adjustmants a breeze for many dealers and especially the homeowner.

    I highly recommend this valve for most customers on municipal supplies. The LXT may not be the best choice for well systems due to the lack of adjustability where extreme variances in water quality can be overcome with a highly programmable valve. If the well produces consistent quality water, the LXT should be just fine.

    The LXT ad SXT boards are easily changed in the field in under 30 seconds, so I see no reason to not try the LXT for the majority of installations. If more programming is required, simply switch it to the SXT later.

    The original problems of fast cycling water hammer on the 5800 prototypes has been eliminated with better homing programming and what appears to be a soft finish. The valve quickly goes between positions, then at the last moment, it slows slightly to eliminate the hammer. The original complaint of the difficulty in reading the board from any angle other than straight on remains.

    With extremely high flow rates, higher backwash rates, and a very high quality build, this valve can replace much of the Fleck product line. It should eliminate the need for the 2510 valve (one of my all time favorite Fleck valves), the ProFlo, and the 5600SXT can all be replaced with this valve. Once the XTR programming is available, this valve could also replace the 6700XTR as well. The 7000 series controller will still be a very popular valve due to its larger size, higher flow rates, and for application over 1". I definetly see this valve competing with the high end 1" valves by any other manufacturer, and likely bettering them.

    My only real complaint is the continued use of the brass BLFC that has been common for decades on fleck Controls that uses a traditional compression fitting on the brine line instead of the hand tightening design on the 7000 with a quick disconnect. This is a very minor issue that does not detract from the overall build quality or functionality of this valve.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
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