Re: Alice the New Softener Arrived!

CigarLoverSeptember 24, 2012

Hello Alice,

The new Softener system arrived late this afternoon. I just finished unpacking the boxes & making sure I have everything that was ordered. The new system looks great! I have a few questions for you as I plan to assemble it tomorrow & get it ready for install later this week. They shipped me a bag of the gravel, not sure how much it weights but it fills up a 3 gallon bucket 1/2 way. Should I use all that gravel in the resin tank then add the 1.5cuft of resin with the funnel? Also do you recommend rinsing the gravel before I pour it in?

Lastly, I was thinking it would be really cool if I can do the programming on the Fleck 5600SXT on the work-bench so that when the plummer installs it we are ready to roll. I have the new UPS battery back-up on hand that Lurker suggested so it would be really easy to set-up the programming on the valve then it would be ready to install later this week. They say the info is back-up on a SSD so that it remains for many years. I did read thru the Fleck manual & it did not say that the valve needed to be plummed in & have water thru it to turn-it-on & do the programming changes?

I know you need this info for programming:

BLFC = .50 GPM

DLFC = 2.4 GPM

Injector = 01

Also I found the Pellet salt at Lowes for a great price & it says on the bag 99.8% pure salt. The 40lb. bag is only $4.99. I will not buy the rock salt again. Thank you again for all the help on this project. Grandma can not wait for soft water again.


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Rinsing the gravel is a good idea. When you install it, you only need enough to fill the bottom curved section of the tank and cover the bottom basket. Then your resin.

No reason not to program your softener valve on a bench, but it really won't save you much time.

Go into Master Programming Mode (manual, pg 12) and here are the settings you need:

1. GAL
2. St1b
3. Fd
4. 1
5. (not available)
6. 28.7
7. 24
8. FS
9. 15

  1. no change
  2. 7
  3. 2:00 (This is the time to start regeneration - if there is another time of day that is better, use that. Regen will take a couple of hours)
  4. BD = 60, BF = 6, BW = 10, RR = 10
  5. no change
  6. no change
  7. t0.7 (it looks like you ordered 3/4". If you ordered 1", then use t1.0 here)
  8. no change

Exit Master Programming Mode
Set time to correct time.

Once everything is put together and WITHOUT salt in the brine tank yet but WITH water in the brine tank, about 5 gallons. (manual, pages 4-5)

1. Softener in bypass
2. Slowly open bypass to fill the tank with water
3. Open a tap that is higher than the top of the tank to bleed air.
4. Plug it in.
5. Press and hold the extra cycle button for five second - this will force an immediate regen cycle
6. Wait for the entire backwash cycle to finish. Watch the drain - make sure you have steady flow and the water is clear. If the water is not clear, push the extra cycle button to move quickly through the other regen steps and repeat the backwash step until the water is clear.
7. After a clear backwash, proceed to brine/slow rinse. Watch the water level in the brine tank to ensure it is drawing down. Once you are assured water is being drawn, press extra cycle to move to rapid rinse.
8. Watch the drain line until water runs clear, then press extra cycle to move to service flow.
9. Now add a couple of bags of salt to the brine tank.

  1. If you haven't already programmed you valve, do so now.
    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Hello Alice,
Well I programmed the Fleck 5600SXT last nite using all your settings. Everything went great, the only little issue I had was on #6.
For some reason my valve doesn't do decimal points? Unless I was doing something wrong? I set it to 28K. I guess I can up to 29 if you recommend that? Otherwise it was really cool/fun setting up the programming. Thank you so much, I sure wish you would email me your contact info so I can send you a gift as a thank you for all your help.....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Go ahead and go up to 29, but it's not critical so no rush. This is the programmed capacity, which, in your case is likely a bit higher than actual usage over a 7 day period anyway. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Hello Alice,
OK i will make that small adjustment to the program. One thing that is Really cool on these new Fleck 5600SXT valves is the "gallons of water used counter". I really like that & how it shows it with the clock. You don't even have to go into the programming to see it. Very cool! Also, I'm in the process of ordering a custom made cover made out of weather-proof material to cover the new valve since it's out in the elements. I will post the pics of the cover & info on the company when it arrives in a few weeks. Very reasonable price & may be really useful for other folks on this thread that have a softener outside & need to protect their valve from the elements. Thanks again Alice for ALL your help......

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:57PM
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Hello Alice,
Thank you for the quick/nice response. I tried to re-post using our older post to help you out, my apologies if it is not how you wanted it. I am still learning on this forum how to do the little tricks.

When I said that I "re-set the valve" here is what I did:

Left Button on control valve I went thru each of the backwash parameters, Example: BW, BD, RR, and BF.

Once I got back to the time & confirmed it was correct then I pressed the left button one final time.

I thought about it this morning after reading your notes & it dawned on me that after the time shows on the valve, it displays a number 1. When I did the programming on the bench prior to install with your program set-up it showed the number of gallons after the time, think it was 998 if I am not mistaken? Hopefully that little info that I noticed will help us out.

As for your thought about the UPS, I didn not consider the problem being there? When we installed the UPS I had a qualified Electrician run a dedicated box/outlet for the new softener & the Fleck 5600SXT plugs into the UPS, (nothing else is plugged into the UPS). We tested for voltage once we were done, & all was good. I can certainly unplug the UPS/valve & do a hard re-start if needed. My thought is though if we had an Electrical issue there the time on the valve would not be correct/holding time? What do you think?

Here is the Master Programming list that you want to see:

1. GAL
2. DF1b (St1b same on the new valve programming)
3. Fd
4. 1
5. 29 (Remember we increased this from 28 to 29)
6. 24
7. SF (FS same on the new valve programming)
8. 15
9. 7

  1. 2:00
  2. BD = 60
    BF = 6
    BW = 10
    RR = 10
  3. t0.7

Lastly, stop me if I am jumping ahead but I wonder if we should adjust the Hardness up 1-2 because when I tested yesterday with strips we had soft water but it was 1-2 hardness still. I checked an outside hose-bib (not softened) & I came up with 25ish. I may be able to post pics of the strips if you want to see them? I brought samples home of both the softened & not softened water in bottles.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Provided the power outage was less than two hours, the time would still be correct. But, if you are getting an error code, that is a different matter.

Step the unit through a manual regeneration, waiting a few minutes of each step before moving on to the next. Do you get an error, or does it work correctly? Once it is back in service mode, how many gallons does it say it has until the next regen? Turn on a faucet and leave it running. Watch the remaining gallons on the screen - is it going down appropriately?

If you are feeling handy, you could refer to the wiring diagram in your manual, unplug the unit and check to ensure all cam switches are connected to the circuit board, but that is more than you should be expected to do on a new unit. If error occurs during manual regen, or the gallon count is incorrect, then you need to contact tech support where you purchased the softener because something is not functioning properly.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Hi Alice,
You know I like your thought process on this. I will force a manual Regen & give each cycle ample time as you suggested. I will pay special attention to see if the "Gallon counter" appears & is working. If not then Fleck can short-it-out. I can check the voltage on the cam swithes & board, etc. That's not what I paid for when we went with Fleck. They can figure it out for us. Thanks Alice, I will update you but it may be a few days before I get to Grandma's again.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Hey Alice,

Just to give you an update based on our discussion a few days ago about this error code that was coming up on our new 5600SXT valve. Today I did a hard re-start, re-programmed the settings with your set-up & stepped thru a manual regeneration letting several minutes pass before going on to the next cycle. Still no gallons remaining being displayed & once I got back to the time it showed error core "1" again. I have taken your advice & sent OPWC an email just now to let me know tomorrow what the protocol is to send me another new valve so that I can swap it out/send the failed valve back to them or to Fleck? I have learned over the years when these types of things happen exchange/send it back because it just ends up costing you time & money messing around trying to fix-it/trouble shoot it...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:01PM
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Hello Alice,
Well here are the updates as of a few hours ago. I did everything you recommended on Sunday & we still were getting the error code"1". I expedited to OPWC & they got in touch with their Fleck rep. They emailed me this afternoon with tracking info & explained that Fleck was sending out a new circuit board for our 5600SXT valve. I will need to replace the current board with the new one & ship the failed board back to them. My dilemma now is should I take-on the project of replacing the board or try to hunt down a water softener company in the area that services Fleck valves to take over & fix the valve. Have you ever replaced a board, is it a very difficult project? OPWC said in the email they can walk me thru it over the phone to help.

To make matters more complex, in the last few days we have had to transfer my Grandmother to a Nursing home due to her health failing. Once I get this Fleck valve issue resolved I am not sure what to do with the programming now that the house is empty & not much water is going to be used except for occasional check-ups on the home, using the bathroom, washing hands, run DW, washing machine few times etc. It will be very minimal water usage in the home for the next few months until we figure out what to do next???

My apologies for being such a nightmare on this forum. When it rains it pours!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:46PM
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I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. I hope she will be well - she is fortunate to have you looking out for her.

Replacing a circuit board is not all that complicated, but you do need to pay attention to where everything goes. If you decide to do it yourself, take pictures along the way in case you forget where anything should be. If you are uncertain, once you see what is involved, have a local company do it for you.

If you will be leaving the water on in the house - Since the water usage in the house will be so minimal, go ahead and increase the days override to 30 days and increase the backwash time to 20 minutes. It's not ideal, but circumstances have changed.

If you intend to keep the water turned off except when you are there, you may want to consider turning the softener off and bypassing it so it doesn't attempt to regenerate when there is no water on.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Unplug the control valve during board replacement.

You will want to take anti-static precautions when handling the new circuit board. Static discharges can kill a solid state circuit board.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 12:38PM
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Hello Alice & Lurk,
Thank you for the really kind & caring thoughts Alice. At this point I am a bit overwhelmed with lots of family details to figure out. I decided last night after reading your message Alice that I am going to delegate the replacement of the board & find a Softener guy to change it out. I did some searching on the web for a local contact & called 2 companies. The first guy, owner operator 2nd generation in the softener business was very knowledgeable but said he only installs/services "Autotrol" valves. He didn't say anything bad about Fleck valves, just switched over to Autotrol years ago & hasn't worked on Fleck in years. He really did not want to fool with replacing the board.

The second guy another owner operator but young guy hasn't called back yet, left him a message late this afternoon. I looked on his web-site & he does some really nice/clean installs. Looks like he uses the "Clack" valves?
I really like the idea Alice of the 30 day override; I did not think we could do that. I will be making regular trips to check on the house so we could do 15-20 days if you think that would be better for the resin? You tell me? Anyway I am rambling here watching the World Series, Go Giants!

Also thanks Lurk that makes perfect sense about the anti-static discharges. A friend of mine (IT guy) taught me that trick when changing out/upgrading RAM in my laptop. I will confirm whomever does the board knows that info prior to doing it for sure. Thanks so much for helping me out.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:46PM
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Well the new circuit board from Fleck has been installed & the softener is up & running. I found a softener guy to install it for me & get'er done. He said to me over the phone it was basically plug & play. I had him program the valve using our original settings Alice so that we can make sure the new board is working correctly. He set it to do a Regen last night so I will check on it in a few days. We ran about 30 gallons thru the sink fixture to confirm the "Gallon counter" was working & it was showed 1440 to start. Great! He also checked for hardness & we were at 0. He likes & installs the Clack valves but said to me "This is a really nice softener system, You sized it Perfect". I told him that a few experts did the sizing/configuration, I just placed the order. He also commented on the 3-way ball valve set-up. He said wow people do not want to spend the money to do it that way in copper/brass.

He is going to stop by again next week for me & do a check-up as well as change out the suction hose from the brine tank to the valve as he explained that in probably less than a year the sunlight would ruin the current one due to the fact that the softener is outside. I said OK great, I over-looked that detail.

Thanks again & again.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 6:45PM
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I'm happy to hear you got the problem fixed. You could always wrap a protective cover around the suction hose. There are products made for this purpose. There are heavy-duty hose protectors that are spiral configuration, or you could go with something light weight

Here is a link that might be useful: Something like this might work

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 10:53PM
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Hi Alice,
Nice to hear back from you. That's a Great idea about the plastic wrap for the suction hose. I think I have some of it for wiring harnesses/motorcycle stuff in the past. I will have to look around the garage if not I know where to buy it locally.

I am thinking that as often as we are checking on the house/stopping by to get mail, etc. How about this next week after I confirm the Regen has done its thing, display/time look good & the salt dose is correct now/hardness, we set the days override to 15 days instead of the 30 days you were thinking a week or so ago? Also if we do 15 days what should I set the backwash time to be? Your thoughts?

Thanks again Alice hope all is well with you...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 3:51PM
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I would still leave the backwash longer in case the infrequent water usage results in some particles being carried into the softener. The day setting is your call - we are trying to strike a balance between salt usage and avoiding leaving the resin too long between regens. I would not be overly concerned about 30 days since not much water will be used, but you can do it however makes you more comfortable.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 4:19PM
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PE for the brine line is cheap and EZ to find. Changing it out should take less than 10 minutes. You can pre-cut a few lengths and have them ready to swap out every year.

If the softener drain line is also PE you ought to swap that out annually also.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 5:01PM
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Just an update, the softener guy that I found just let me know that he will be in the area tomorrow. He was planning on stopping by to do a check-up on the softener & change-out the suction line. I asked him to let me know when he gets there because I want to change the programming to:

30 days over-ride
20 minutes backwash time

Any other changes we should make Alice?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:29PM
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