Northstar water softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by MiddleAgeSoftie, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    They aren't tired of programming their Clack or other electronic control valves because they are DIYers AND they only have to do it once and it is as easy as heating a cup of coffee in their microwave; literally.

    To fix an electronic control valve you replace the circuit board in a Clack but in a Fleck or Autotrol, IIRC you must replace the SE or SXT timer. To replace a Clack circuit board takes about a minute and there are no tools required; just two hands with at least one finger per hand..
  2. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

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    A warning to readers of this thread--when the poster above puts IIRC in a statement it means he doesn't really know what he is talking about and if you call him on it he will say "but I said IIRC" --which he says means If I Remember Correctly. So when he puts that in a post you should not believe what he posts.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    To set a softener up, you can't guess on what your hardness is, you need to know. If this is public water and not a well, you can often get that from the supplier, but it may be a range. It is better to test it to compare their report with yours. It will verify that yours is between the max/min. If you don't want to test yours, you could use the max they list, but may be wasting salt.
  4. Skip Wolverton

    Skip Wolverton In the Trades

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    This is nothing more than bashing. Just because you don't like what a poster says, you resort to bashing the equipment they recommend. This is what I meant when I said, "Find another forum". And you don't know what I know about programming electronic control valves. Just another way to bash those you don't agree with you. That just shows what type person you are.
  5. MiddleAgeSoftie

    MiddleAgeSoftie Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Pet

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Here's a municiple website http://www.calgary.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_526005_0_0_18/Water Hardness FAQ.htm with information regarding water hardness in Calgary. Is that good enough? Where would I go to get a water test?

    I'm a little unclear about which parts are which.

    Is the valve the small part with the water in and out pipes connected to them (or is this small part with the pipes connected to it the "...meter..." you mention further on)? Is that the part you're referring to as a "...5600 metered unit..."? Or is the "...5600 metered unit..." the whole thing - the part connected to the water supply AND the part with the gears.

    As you'll observe from my questions I really don't know anything about water softeners... However, I'm willing to learn. I've already repaired dysfunctional solar hot water and HRV systems that were in the house when I purchased it.

    Where am I likely to find one of these rebuilt units or a new one for that matter like the Clack WS-1 CS that Gary mentions or the Fleck 5600 that Skip mentions or the Fleck 7000 that Bob referes to?

    Is the Media tank that dome topped cylinder inside the unit? Is the brine well that thing on the right side of the inside of the unit? Again, where am I likely to find a brine well? What is a Brine float assembly, and again, where would I find it? Would it replace the brine well that you mentioned that I should replace?

    You're right there is a kind in that hose. It looks like a piece of garden hose which has been put on there it's quite stiff.

    Ok, after repeatedly reading what you wrote, and running down to my water softener a couple of times I think I'm with you. I'm pretty sure I can do this provideing I can find the supplies. Are these the sorts of things I can find at a place like Rona or Home Depot?
  6. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    That is great... now if you are in the half that gets the Bearspaw that will give you one setting, if you are in the other then you will have another setting, either way those numbers will give us the total hardness that we will need to set the meter for the unit that you have.
    The black plastic is what is the 5600 with meter that I am talking about... the copper has the colored red gate valve handles.. The 5600 is made up of 2 main parts the valve body with its control and then there is the meter body with its cap or dome.
    here is a link to the manual for what you have
    http://www.pentairwatertreatment.com/PentairFiles/Pentair%20Water%20Treatment/Manuals/5600%20Service%20Manual%2040106.pdf

    There are dealers on the net that have new 5600, some might have a rebuilt 5600, I take in some from time to time and rebuild them to either trade out or sell...
    Media tank is what you have identified as the tank.. and you have identified the brine well... brine wells are the tubes that hold the salt away from the item used to suck the brine water out of the brine tank, brine safety floats have the suck tube and a float assembly like in the back tank of the toilet.
    You have it right about me saying to replace that which you have with a new tube and full brine float safety float assembly.

    The deal with the drain line is that it can not have any kinks in it for the system to work correctly .. so either get the kink out or replace with a new line that is the same size as the drain barbed fitting..

    The media that you will need , from looking at the photo the media tank is either 8x35 or 10x35 if it is the smaller then .75 cubic, the larger 1.0 cubic.. either way that too is going to be found on the web at either a web dealer or auction site..

    You are learning quic
    k.. :D
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Here is what I said: To fix an electronic control valve you replace the circuit board in a Clack but in a Fleck or Autotrol, IIRC you must replace the SE or SXT timer.

    I just looked up Fleck SXT parts and I found that only the 7000 has a replacement circuit board. The rest you replace the whole timer as I thought. So it appears you're wrong Bob.

    I also searched softenerparts.com but they do not have any electronics parts for any Fleck controls on the web site.

    From the parts list in the back of the 5600 SXT service manual.

    http://www.pentairwatertreatment.co...nuals/5600SXT Upflow Service Manual 42683.pdf

    Front Panels
    61672-0201 ..... 5600SXT Front Panel Assembly,
    ......................... Square, Black
    61673-0201 ..... 5600SXT Front Panel Assembly,
    ......................... Curved, Black

    From the diagram page in the same manual.
    26A ................. 1 .......................61672-0201 ................Front Panel Assy, 56SXT, Square
    26B ................. 1 .......................61673-0201 ................Front Panel Assy, 56SXT, Curved

    So now I'll ask you again.... What programming features (of the 7000) do you consider as superior to the Clack WS-1?

    Also, why do you think Fleck got rid of variable bring with the SXT timer if not due to excessive water use caused by more frequent regenerations when compared to the same softener without the variable brining feature?
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    There is nothing untrue in what I said so what do you see as bashing by me replying to what someone said to me; here's what I replied with; What programming features do you consider as superior Bob? and then this; And why do you think Fleck got rid of variable bring with the SXT timer if not due to excessive water use caused by more frequent regenerations when compared to the same softener without the variable brining feature?
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You have to size and program using the highest hardness in their system so when they send your house harder water than a test today may show at your house, the softener can remove the additional hardness. If you don't do that, additional capacity is used but won't be regenerated by the salt dose and within days or a week you'll get hard water through the softener.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Middleagesoftie, you should use 18 gpg to size and set up your softener.

    Also, the link has a number of errors in what they are telling people, such as: The hardness of Calgary's drinking water does vary throughout the year, so it is recommended that you set your water softener for the middle or average hardness value for your area.

    If you set a softener at the 'average hardness' of city water and the city sends you harder water which many do and fairly often, the softener won't be able to continue to remove the higher hardness for very long because the resin will remove it but the capacity used will not be regenerated with the current salt dose so you'll get hard water through the softener fairly soon.

    Then you have to do two manual regenerations at the maximum salt dose lbs for the volume of resin you have (15 lbs/cuft of regular mesh resin) and you can not use water during or between those two manual regenerations. That usually will take 8 hours and many lbs of salt.
  11. MiddleAgeSoftie

    MiddleAgeSoftie Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Pet

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    The OP in this case (me... ;-)) would side with Gary on this one. I'm a tech guy to begin with. The more tech the better ;-)

    I've done some investigation of all of the valves mentioned in this post and I think I'm leaning toward the Clack valve that Gary has recommended. Based on other material I've come across on the web and Gary's referral my gut says that the Clack would be a reliable replacement in my case.
  12. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Clack makes a good valve. If it were priced the same as the Fleck 7000 I would consider the two valves comparable--there are some differences but on balance they net each other out in my view. However most internet sellors price the 1" version of the Clack valve about $40 higher and in my view the Clack doesn't warrant the premium.

    I would be interested in knowing what tilts the balance in favor of Clack in your evaluation. I hope you are not being influenced by some of the bad information posted earlier in this thread. I am specifically referring to the following points
    --that the 7000 is overkill (bigger internal passages are always better if the price is the same or less, the Clack 1.25 in valve is about $100 more expensive than the Clack 1" and the Clack 1" sells for $40 more than the 7000)
    --that the 7000 uses excessive water because of the variable brining feature (it doesn't have a variable brining feature so this comment is pure ####)
    --that there is a difference in the ability of a DIYer to repair the valve because you need a screwdriver and pliers for the Fleck 7000 but you don't need those tools for a Clack (it is true that the Clack circuit board snaps out while the Fleck board uses screws but on the other hand there is a risk you will break the board or the snap fasteners with the Clack)
    --that the timer is separate on the Fleck (both the Fleck 7000 and the Clack have one circuit board and all electronic components are on that board on both heads).
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  13. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    Location:
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    The main Question that you will need to ask your self.. Re work the copper pipes coming and leaving the current unit or not to re work the copper pipes.
    Changing to the 5600 SXT can use the same meter body with a change in cap, and a change in the upper control... but the yoke will stay the same, no change to the copper..
    Changing to the Clack will mean changing the copper and putting fittings needed to make the change from copper to the clack valve..

    Full new system or rebuild what is there.

    Choice is yours.
  14. MiddleAgeSoftie

    MiddleAgeSoftie Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Pet

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Thank you to all who have posted in response to my inquiries. Clearly there are differing opinions about what is "best". My sense of things based on what I've gleaned so far from this forum and from trolling the web is that the Clack and the Fleck are both in the best category of the good, better, best. Beyond that my sense is that it comes down to personal preference.

    With respect to what's swaying my opinion it's hard to say. As I said, I'm leaning that way but I haven't worked through things like price, availability and, as Akpsdvan points out, the fact that any choice beyond his recommendation of the 5600 SXT will likely mean doing some re-plumbing.

    With respect to the price, $40 doesn't seem like a lot to me considering what the overall cost is likely to be. And to put it into context, I went to Home depot and the sales guy tried to sell me a 40,000 grain GE unit for $999. If I'm understanding what you all are saying, I'd be better off with any of the valve units you've recommended in my existing unit, for less money than this new GE unit.

    As I posted before, my choice is likely to be more of a "gut" choice.

    Akpsdvan

    The one component that you mention that I haven't been able to find on line yet is the brine well and the float assembly you mention. Any sites I should be looking at?

    Again, I thank you all for your advice and I hope that there are no hard feelings regarding the differing opinions expressed.
  15. MiddleAgeSoftie

    MiddleAgeSoftie Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Pet

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Thanks for this! With this tidbit and the link to the manual for my current valve which I've now learned is a fleck 5600 econominder, I should be able to set up my current valve properly. I haven't got a clue if it's set correctly right now (as shown in the photos) or not.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  16. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    No hard feelings... we work through the thoughts to the get our selves to the same page..

    I was thinking that the new unit was the last choice and that if this one could be reworked that would be better..

    Send me a private message for the address of where you can find the brine float assembly and the brine safety float that I talked about..
  17. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

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    Location:
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    Which water plant are you getting your water from?
    Use the highest number from that plant for figuring the gallons for you system..
    your meter is a older one, one with out the number scale around the dial and between the outside teeth and that center part with the people...
    Size of your tank is going to set your capacity on the best salt setting..

    Like looking at the Horse Power Out put curve for any engine, there is the sweet spot... same for salt and resin. you can do the highest salt setting and get the max out of the resin... but just back alittle bit on the curve is a more econ for the two...
  18. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

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    Location:
    Pennsylvania

    In my view repair of an existing unit is always option 1 and would move to considering replacement only if repair was not an economic option or features were desired that could only be obtained with a new unit.

    If you go with a new unit or a new valve I think you would be best served with a Fleck or Clack valve.

    Good luck with what ever course of action you take and let us know how things unfold.
  19. MiddleAgeSoftie

    MiddleAgeSoftie Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Pet

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    My water comes from the Glenmore treatment plant. Am I correct in concluding that my valve should be set for about 18gpg? I think that's the number that Gary suggested.
  20. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,480
    Location:
    Alaska
    Yes the 18grain should be used in helping to set up the meter..

    Have you found the size of the media tank? is it 8" wide or 10" wide? most likely it is 35" in height...

    From the Photo there was a Red tag.. what is the number on that ?
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