Osmonics Autotrol 255/440i no longer using salt

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by 68AMC343, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    I have an Osmonics Autotrol 255/440i softener that is no longer using salt after over two years of working fine since we moved into the home. All diagnostics appear good: the ball is at the top (no air in lines), the brine pickup hose with the filter at the tip is not blocked, the holding tank has good pressure, a manual rinse drains water from the brine tank. I've downloaded the manual to find out if it's in bypass mode, but not sure where to change that on the unit itself. I have yet to empty the existing water/salt to check for solid salt layer at the bottom, but as stated above, the pickup hose appears to work when I pull it up out of the salt at the bottom and initiate a manual rinse.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    For bypass valve info, see figures 4 and 5 of your manual.

    To figure if it is a salt bridge, and if you have a brine well (which you may not have), watch to see if the brine gets drawn or not.

    Your manual will have a Troubleshooting section near the end.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    Is a "brine well" the same as the "brine tank" (which I have)? Sorry, trying to clarify all this terminology. As stated, during a manual rinse the brine does drain from the brine tank to the drain hose in the laundry tub. I'll check the valve positions in a few, but I don't recall ever changing them. And if it's not in bypass, and the house IS getting good water pressure, but no salt is being used, and water in the brine tank remains very high (precariously near the drain hole), what could that be? Thanks in advance!
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    For the useful info, skip right to the second paragraph. A brine well would be a bigger (maybe 3 or 4 inch diameter) tube to the bottom of the brine tank. Since the Autotrol units have the air check valve up with the main valve, they have no air check valve in the brine tank. The brine line could go right through the salt, as my really old Autotrol did, or the brine line could go down though the brine well. The brine well would let you look down to see the brine level, or you could stick a dipstick in there. It is also seems possible that you could see the brine level by backlighting the brine tank in the dark, but the tanks are often too opaque for that.

    Come to think of it, you could best tell what is going on by watching the ball in the clear housing! That would normally be pretty full of liquid, and would suck down partially during brine draw for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Then the ball would bottom out. What happens to your ball during brine draw?

    If you don't want to wait for the backwash, for your test you could
    Advance indicator knob COUNTERCLOCKWISE until arrow points to the center of the BRINE/SLOW RINSE position. See page 7 items 5c and 5d for some references to moving to the brine draw and watching the ball action.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  6. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    Great info! The tank does have a brine well, I'll try the suggestions and follow-up.
     
  7. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    I don’t see any bypass controls as shown in the pictures. There is a round gray “dial” with a 6-point star shape (possibly for a flat head screwdriver) and a “B” at the end of one point facing the small clear tank with the elevated ball.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Follow that copper pipe up the wall. Are there 3 valves up there?

    If the softener supply is in bypass, you won't get water coming out of the drain during backwash.

    I would be surprised if the bypass was the problem. I see your check valve ball sits high in the water.

    Do the bit where you watch the ball during brine draw.

    I am tending to think that the injector (Code 9) or injector screen (code 5), on page 12 and 13, could be clogged.

    Or maybe the unit is drawing brine, and you got a mistaken impression that it is not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  9. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    I ran cold water from three faucets for 15 minutes and the only thing that happened was the pressure on the well water tank would go down, then the well pump would bring it back up. Brine tank and small clear ball tank never moved. The picture has the three valves, green ON, red OFF, they are configured for the water to go through the softener.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    Can I clean injectors/screens on my own? Again, thanks for the help!
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Yes you can.

    You can also watch the ball during brine draw on your own. From a troubleshooting point of view, that will be informative. Time how far into the brine draw that the ball drops to the bottom. Not super critical, but normal would be about 15 minutes plus or minus 5.

    Video shows how to get to the injector screen and injector. The wrench may be T-50 or use a 1/2 inch flat screwdriver. That is a really big flat screwdriver.
    On the other hand, it may be an Allan wrench. I am not sure. See what you have.

    https://www.danco.com/product/12-oz-waterproof-grease/ is NSF 61 approved and meets or exceeds the requirements of FDA regulation 21. Often available locally. Small 1/2 ounce tube will last a long time for you. Apply very lightly to o-rings and rubber seals that you remove and replace. Many years probably.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  12. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    Okay, the check valve ball drops when I run the Brine/Slow Rinse, and water is flowing out through the drain hose to my plumbing. However, I don’t see the brine level going down in the tank and the ball appears to have completely seated at the bottom of the small clear tank. Not sure which troubleshooting step to follow, but should I let this continue into the Fast Rince/Refill mode?
     
  13. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    Correction: I think the brine tank is draining VERY slowly. The ball went back up and is sitting about 1/3 from the bottom now. I think the pickup hose wasn’t fully immersed since I also was cleaning the tank to check for a salt bridge. At this point I’m letting it go into the Fast Rince/ Refill stage.
     
  14. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    Refill went quickly, so we can safely say there’s no physical blockage in the pickup hose. I set it back to Conditioned Water, gonna run the faucet again to see if the ball level fluctuates (assuming that’s an indicator brine is being delivered?).
     
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    How soon? 1 minute, 10 minutes, or what?
    Ahh... in that case, the ball would drop quickly. Once that hose sucks air, the ball should drop all of the way.
     
  16. 68AMC343

    68AMC343 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2019
    Location:
    SE MIchigan
    When I removed the hose from the brine during Rinse or Condition Water the ball never dripped quickly IIRC.

    The Refill only did about 7-8 inches of water (there’s only a couple inches of salt at this point), and took about 3-4 mins.

    What does all of this mean? If the ball and brine level doesn’t drop during Rinse/Condition with lots of water running in the house, the house is getting water pressure,
    water is flowing through the softener, then well water is leaking through some point of the softener while brine is blocked?
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The ball is cut off from the outside during rinse or condition (in service). So sounds normal.
    I am not calculating, but 7-8 inches of water when there is not much salt, seems like a lot -- so may be a fully appropriate amount. During this testing, it is fine to not have much salt, but in normal operation, you want some salt above water. Salt water is heavier than the incoming water, so stratification would be possible. Tilting the salt fill so that some salt is above water is fine while you are keeping an eye on things. Then fill much more when you have done your testing and want to let it operate on its own for a while.

    The 255 manual does not show it, but there are diagrams as to how the flapper valves route water during the various phases.

    For timing things, if you don't have a handy clock that shows seconds, there are timer apps for your smart phone. You still have not said how long it takes from the start of the brine draw until the liquid is exhausted and the air check ball drops all of the way. You still have not checked or cleaned the injector and injector screen. The liquid will only be drawn down to the level where air gets sucked in, and refill starts from that level.

    I think the ball only gets affected during brine draw/ slow rinse and during brine fill. Otherwise it is isolated by the valving. The 255 service manual does not have the valving and paths shown, but the manual for the predecessor 155 does. You might want to see https://www.swtwater.com/catalog/operation_manuals/autotrol/155-440_Manual_1017911_1996.pdf pages 12 and 13, if you want to try to understand the paths determined by the flapper valves and the cam.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  18. old

    old Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2016
    Location:
    NE
    You will not see any water movement in the sight glass/ball when the softener is in the "conditioned water" state. You will only see movement in the sight glass on the brine draw and refill cycles. Reach4 is on the right path, you need to make sure the unit is drawing brine.

    Another thing that could be happening is the 440i control could have gone bad. It may not be starting or completing the regeneration cycle. Basically the thing is just a box of plastic gears and a motor. The gears and pivot points can wear out and the gears start skipping, or the motor wears out and does not have enough power to spin the gears. Or you could have a bad power supply. Does the clock keep the time properly?

    If you manually start a regen cycle does it complete the cycle?
     
Similar Threads: Osmonics Autotrol
Forum Title Date
Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers Help removing GE Osmonics Valve from tank Apr 27, 2017
Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers Autotrol 460i Capacity Setting advice please Nov 24, 2019
Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers Eliminating BYPASS function on Autotrol Softener ? Oct 31, 2019
Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers Autotrol valve and switching to fleck 5600sxt Jul 14, 2019
Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers Autotrol 255, code 2400? Jul 9, 2019

Share This Page