Fleck 5600 SE softener brine refill not working

mat9June 7, 2011


I have a eight year old softener system with a Fleck 5600 SE (digital on demand) control head that has been working fine until about a month ago. When I was tiling my utility room I moved the softener, emptied and cleaned the brine tank, then put everything back. After the first regeneration the water was VERY salty. Apparently the brine somehow got into the drinking water. I ran the water out and everything went back to normal, but in about two weeks I found the water getting hard. The brine tank was empty!

Everything in the system works fine except for the brine refill cycle. The softener is drawing brine from the tank and it is sending the used brine to the drain through the plastic drain pipe, but it is not filling water back into the brine tank. If I keep filling the brine tank manually the system works fine.

If anybody can give me simple easy to follow instructions to fix this problem that would be great.

In the regeneration cycle the head is going through all the steps, including the brine fill, but no water goes into the brine tank.

Any help would be appreciated.



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Check the brine line from the control head to the float assembly/brine pickup. Make SURE there are no air leaks and that the float is free and not stuck. If you have the Fleck 2310 safety float make sure that the air check at the bottom is not plugged up.

Check the brine valve in the back of the 5600 (under the cover) and make sure it is not stuck.

If you don't have the service manual for your 5600SE you can download it all over the internet... just Google for 5600SE manual and make sure you download the correct manual.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:58PM
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Thank you, Justalurker. The brine line is fine.
The float valve is enclosed in a plastic cylinder inside the brine tank. The cylinder is about 4" diameter and about 3/4 length of the brine tank. I have no idea how this one works since I cannot see any moving parts. Plastic cylinder is opaque. I have the manual. Already took the small brine valve off the head and inspected. There was a small piece of debris, but not enough to block the flow. Looks like I need to empty the brine tank and try to take that cylindrical "thing" out and inspect.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 2:38PM
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Sometimes the brine valve in the back of the control just sticks and the spring tension isn't enough to free it. I would try another regeneration after finding debris after checking the brine pickup.

The float assembly (brine pickup) is easily removed the the brine well (4" tube). Remove the brine line and unscrew the little nut near the top of the tube. Don't drop the nut!

Angle the top of the float assembly to the other side of the inside of the well, the stud is attached to the float assembly. Once the stud is clear the entire float assembly will lift out of the brine well. Don't move the float setting on it's shaft.

An easy and quick check of the brine pickup is to disconnect the brine line at the 5600. Blow into the tube and see if you get bubbles in the brine well. Then suck on the tube and you should get salty water in your mouth.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Thank you, Justalurker. Will disconnect the brine line and check as you said. Will also try one regeneration (with the end of line just immersed in the tank, with no connection to the float valve) to see if the float is the culprit.



    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 2:55PM
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If you have the Fleck 2310 safety float then the float is only an overflow safety mechanism. The brine pickup has an air check valve to prevent the control valve from sucking air when it has drawn all the brine it can.

If the float is stuck in the up position it can prevent brine from being sucked out (brining stage) and water from being returned to make brine (brine refil stage).

If there is no water in the brine tank, as you describe in your first post, then the problem is either the main piston, the motor, the BLFC is blocked, the cam that pushes the brine valve, the brine valve, the tube from the float assembly to the control is blocked, or the air check/brine pickup is clogged

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 3:12PM
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Thank you, Justalurker. I finally found enough time to play around with the system and finally found the problem.
The float actually fell off the metal arm it was inserted into and was at the bottom of the plastic tube. Since the tube had a cap I never saw it. (in fact the cap has such a seamless fit I always thought the top end was molded closed, until I checked closely)Once I found the problem it was a simple fix- emptied the brine tank, re-assembled the valve mechanism, refilled the brine tank, and it works like it used to work. It was really stupid of me not to check it first!
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 11:22AM
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You got it fixed and it cost you... NOTHING. It was a good day.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 12:07PM
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