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Old 11-16-2019, 12:06 PM   #1
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ABCwaters built Compact Fleck 5600sxt 16k Water Softener System

This forum seems to be on life support so some rejuvenation seems to be in order. When I picked up my 2020 Summit last April it came installed with the Compact Fleck 5600sxt water softener in the basement, driver's side, near the manifold enclosure. This water softener was not plugged in and had not yet been used, the plan being to begin using it once I arrived at my winter destination, which is where I am now. I attempted to get it set up yesterday, adding salt and water to the brine tank, and plugging it in. During the programming process it went into a regeneration sequence (about 5 min). The Fleck head has two valves on top that had been turned to the 'bypass' position and these are now turned to the inline position. My questions concern the plumbing going to and from the water softener. First, is there a valve that diverts the 'normal' flow path from the Anderson Valve/Filter/Manifold path to the softener path before the flow gets to the manifold? The softener system sits in two low level enclosures constructed to restrict movement during travel and butts up against the 'normal' basement partition preventing the removal of this portion of the normal partition. With this layout, visibility into the area directly behind the metal manifold enclosure is extremely restricted. So my second question to those with this softener system installed is, how are you dealing with the lack of visibility/water line repair access to the area immediately behind the metal manifold enclosure? Any response would be highly appreciated, particularly relating to valve positions.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:30 PM   #2
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Good to see some more action on the board!

I have the same water softener in my 2014 NH. However, I recently installed it myself so I can't comment on the factory water line connections or physical access. But, I'm sure they ran the main incoming water line through the filter, then the softener, then to the Anderson valve, and then to the manifold and fresh tank. You want all incoming water to pass through the softener, regardless of whether its used directly, or saved to the fresh water tank. You could verify this by turning off one (and only one) of the softener bypass valves so nothing can flow through or past the softener. Then check if water flows inside the trailer, and if you can still fill the fresh tank. If anything flows, it is NOT passing through the softener. If its done properly (in my opinion), nothing should work when the softener is blocked in that manner.

Some things I learned during my installation:

If you need to service the softener, you can turn the two bypass valves to "Bypass", which isolates the softener but allows untreated water to flow, bypassing the softener. These two valves need to always be in same position - both in normal, or both in bypass. If they are different, all flow is blocked - which can also be useful as noted above.

When you first start the softener, you need to manually put water in the brine tank. Fill it 2 inches above the platform in the bottom of the tank prior to adding the salt. If you already have the salt in it, the water should be around the top of the salt. If it was started without salt in the brine tank, the first regeneration would not have done anything since there was no brine to work with. Check to make sure it was able to fill the tank itself after the first regeneration, and do a manual regeneration.

There are many settings on the Fleck Head, such as tank size, water hardness, etc. I chose the 5600SXT because it also has a flow meter that measures the gallons of water that it has processed. It uses all those settings along with the gallons to predict the right time to regenerate, ideally just before it is "full". Therefore, all the settings have to be done correctly for it to work properly. If it doesn't regenerate soon enough, you will get hard water until it does. If it regenerates to soon, it wastes salt.

As you change locations, you should change the "Hardness" setting of the control head based on the hardness of the water at your location. You can find the hardness by googling "Water Hardness in xxx". The Fleck wants to know hardness in "Grains Per Gallon" or GPG, so look for this number. Once you have the number, follow the instructions to set it in the Fleck (its not hard to do). The rest of the settings stay the same.

Of course that isn't practical if you're travelling every day. Alternately, you could just set hardness to a high number, say 15, and leave it alone. It will regenerate more often than necessary and use a lot more salt, but you don't have to mess with it.

If the hardness is set too low, the softener will slowly (or quickly) become ineffective because it fills up before it regenerates. If that happens, you can increase the hardness setting to the proper value for your location, and then run a manual regeneration to restore it.

It takes a while to notice a big difference in water softness when its first installed, or if it gets "full" and you have to manually regenerate. That is because the hot water tank and fresh water tank are full of unsoftened water and need to be diluted down with the softened water before you really notice the difference.

I previously had a manual softener. It worked very well, but it was impossible to predict when it needed to be regenerated. Therefore I was usually regenerating after we noticed the water was hard and it was already too late. The automatic one works MUCH better because the water is always soft.

I like the readout that shows how many gallons of water capacity it has left before regen is required. I look at that before I fill my fresh tank. If there isn't enough left to fill the tank, I do a manual regen before filling the tank so the entire fresh tank is soft.

The next step in my installation is to move the electronic control up into the control cabinet so I can keep track of the gallons remaining without climbing into the basement.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for the very helpful info on the softener. Apparently it's not working correctly because I can never get a readout to have me input the hardness and # of gallons (75 is recommended for just one person). Also with one 'bypass' valve in the bypass setting I still get water at both sinks, so I think here too the setup is incorrect. The flow diagram that you have given makes sense, so again the main routing thru the softener appears to be incorrect. I will attempt to contact NH tomorrow when hopefully someone there can explain to me just how they set up the flow. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:06 AM   #4
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One other thing I should have mentioned. If you have an accumulator tank (maintains constant pressure and keeps the pump from surging), it will provide some water flow while the bypass valve is shut off. If you have one, let the water run for a while to drain the accumulator tank.
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans45 View Post
Apparently it's not working correctly because I can never get a readout to have me input the hardness and # of gallons (75 is recommended for just one person).
I'm not sure what you mean by "75 is recommended for just one person". If the softener is set up correctly, it should just regenerate when enough gallons have passed through it. The number of people should be irrelevant. This may be referring to a softener that does not have a flow meter like the Fleck 5600SXT does.

To see how many gallons are left before regeneration:
1) Press the Up/Down buttons until you see "RC" for Reserve Capacity.
2) The display shows number of gallons that can be treated before regen.

To set the hardness:
1) Press and hold the up and down buttons simultaneously for 5 seconds to enter programming mode.
2) Press the Enter button repeatedly until you see "H" for hardness.
3) Use the Up/Down buttons to set the hardness in Grains Per Gallon (GPG).
4) Press the Enter button repeatedly until it exits programming mode.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrington View Post
One other thing I should have mentioned. If you have an accumulator tank (maintains constant pressure and keeps the pump from surging), it will provide some water flow while the bypass valve is shut off. If you have one, let the water run for a while to drain the accumulator tank.
Originally I may not have closed one of the valves all the way (thought I did) to check the flow with one bypass valve closed. After repeating this, I was able to verify that the flow is thru the softener. As for the programming part, I can enter the programming mode but right now the only inputs that show up are the # of days and the time for regeneration. Advancing through the program from this point gets me to the time setting and then back to # of days. If I press and hold the diamond button for several seconds the unit goes into regen mode. Options for hardness and # gallons never shows up. I've made several calls to ABCwaters and left messages each time since they don't seem to answer their calls. I have not heard back from them. BTW, your procedure mirrors the instruction booklet but as I mentioned before I cannot get past the time setting in program mode.

Thanks for the info and help,

Hans
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Old 11-20-2019, 08:27 AM   #7
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The manual says that Hardness is only displayed if the "Regeneration Control Type" is programmed for Volumetric Regeneration. It sounds like yours is programmed for time clock "tc" regeneration instead of volumetric. That is the CT setting in Master Programming mode. I think you will need to change that from "tc" to "FI" or "Fd", but I'm not sure which. I suspect its FI, but ABC Waters can tell you for sure if they ever answer your call. You should get them to give you all the master program settings for your setup so you can check if anything else is wrong. Maybe they expect the installer to set everything. Mine came from a different supplier who set all the programming for my application before I picked it up.

I am away from my trailer until January or I would go through all my settings and provide them to you.
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Old 11-20-2019, 09:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Burrington View Post
The manual says that Hardness is only displayed if the "Regeneration Control Type" is programmed for Volumetric Regeneration. It sounds like yours is programmed for time clock "tc" regeneration instead of volumetric. That is the CT setting in Master Programming mode. I think you will need to change that from "tc" to "FI" or "Fd", but I'm not sure which. I suspect its FI, but ABC Waters can tell you for sure if they ever answer your call. You should get them to give you all the master program settings for your setup so you can check if anything else is wrong. Maybe they expect the installer to set everything. Mine came from a different supplier who set all the programming for my application before I picked it up.

I am away from my trailer until January or I would go through all my settings and provide them to you.
You are correct in that my compact system is programmed for time clock. I did get the following response from ABCwaters:

"When it comes to the Compact Softener, the valve does not have a setting for Hardness. It is considered a time clock valve and not a metered valve. Only metered valves require the hardness setting."

Apparently you and I have different valves installed where you can choose in the Master Program mode, something not possible with my valve. It's possible that NH installed a cheaper version in my Summit. I do appreciate all the info you provided on your valve.

Hans
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:29 AM   #9
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You are correct in that my compact system is programmed for time clock. I did get the following response from ABCwaters:

"When it comes to the Compact Softener, the valve does not have a setting for Hardness. It is considered a time clock valve and not a metered valve. Only metered valves require the hardness setting."

Apparently you and I have different valves installed where you can choose in the Master Program mode, something not possible with my valve. It's possible that NH installed a cheaper version in my Summit. I do appreciate all the info you provided on your valve.

Hans
That's really odd because according to the Fleck website the 5600SXT valve comes with the flow meter.
See spec sheet: http://www.flecksystems.com/pdf/5600SXT-Spec-Sheet.pdf

Is it possible your model is not the 5600SXT? If you look at the back of the head, there are two stainless steel clips and screws holding the bypass valve onto the back of the unit. The flow meter is between the bypass valve and the head. It has a black wire coming out the top which runs into the control. You can see it in the photo on the spec sheet in the link above.

If you have a 5600SXT without a flow meter, maybe ABC Waters are ordering their valves without it for some reason. Maybe they were trying to keep it simple for people on the move to not have to set the hardness.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:34 AM   #10
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Apparently the newer compact systems have a valve system that, using your words, "they were trying to keep it simple for people on the move to not have to set the hardness". Even their original user's manual for the compact system differs from what I actually have. My system is making the water softer and the regeneration process automatic. I'm good with that. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to gain access to the connections right behind the manifold system.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:32 PM   #11
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Yes, that's the real bottom line: getting soft water without the hassle of manually regenerating. The downside of the time-based system is occasionally running out of soft water if you use more than normal, or wasting some salt if you use less water than normal. For most people that's probably a good compromise to not have to fiddle with the settings. Of course it's cheaper too, and that's always a good thing.

We should compare notes again in a year and see if we're both still happy with what we have...
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Old 11-22-2019, 07:22 AM   #12
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The system we have allows us to set regen by the number of days OR by the number of gallons that have gone through the system. So far I'm happy with the number of gallon way of doing it. But of course there is some guess work involved with that.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:24 PM   #13
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Yes, that's the real bottom line: getting soft water without the hassle of manually regenerating. The downside of the time-based system is occasionally running out of soft water if you use more than normal, or wasting some salt if you use less water than normal. For most people that's probably a good compromise to not have to fiddle with the settings. Of course it's cheaper too, and that's always a good thing.

We should compare notes again in a year and see if we're both still happy with what we have...
Sounds good, let's revisit in about one year.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:26 PM   #14
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The system we have allows us to set regen by the number of days OR by the number of gallons that have gone through the system. So far I'm happy with the number of gallon way of doing it. But of course there is some guess work involved with that.
Dave, I'm wondering why my install is different from yours. Could it be a Summit vs. Majestic issue??
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