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Thread: Northstar water softener

  1. #31
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    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..
    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.

  2. #32
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    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.
    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 by Bob999; 03-27-2010 at 06:57 PM.

  3. #33
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    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.
    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.

  4. #34
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #35
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    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....
    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 by MiddleAgeSoftie; 03-27-2010 at 08:58 PM.

  6. #36
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    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.
    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..

  7. #37
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    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.
    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...

  8. #38
    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    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.

    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.

  9. #39
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    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...
    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.

  10. #40
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    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.
    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 ?

  11. #41
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    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 disagree that they are comparable IF you are looking at the ease of programming and repair by a DIYer but in this case especially where there is a cabinet model softener that is limited to a 10" x probably a 35" resin tank. There is no sense to go with a 1.25" control valve.

    Actually most distributors sell the Clack at a higher price than Fleck valves, possibly due to Clack's distributor contract where the valve is not allowed to be sold separately unless it is replacing another brand of valve; as in this case. I suspect Clack charges more for their valves than Fleck does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
    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).
    There is no sense in a 1.25" control valve on a cabinet model softener.

    The tools needed to work on a 7000 are more than pliers and a screwdriver, I know there is a nut that must be turned to just the right position and IIRC (if I recall correctly) the manual calls for a socket. That is so the plastic nut is not chewed up and the piston can be 'indexed' just right or you can't get things apart. Maybe you don't know that Bob because you've never sold a 7000 or worked on one. And when you get it right and apart, you must re-index or you can't get it back together until you do. There's no such thing on any Clack valve.

    To break the thumb tabs on a Clack you'll have to try really hard but, to get the circuit board off a Clack you can either take the board off or the board and the bracket it is installed on off as one piece instead of the board and then the bracket separately.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  12. #42
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    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 ?
    The red tag on the bottom of the valve body is a serial number. There is also a white tag beside the red tag. It says Injector #1 (the #1 is hand written) and Drain flow 2.5 GPM (Again the 2.5 is hand written).

    I've tried to measure the tank and it does appear to be 10# X 35". The circumference is 32". If my math is right that works out to 10" diameter. Eyeballing from the floor with a tape measure looks like 35".

    There is a serial number on the top of the cabinet (which likely won't mean much) which is NAC30MI. There is also another label (with no identifier saying what it is) which simply says "12 G".

  13. #43
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    One more detail which, from my reading seems to be important is that the inside pipe diameter going into and out of the valve is 3/4"
    Last edited by MiddleAgeSoftie; 03-28-2010 at 04:34 PM.

  14. #44
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeSoftie View Post
    One more detail which, from my reading seems to be important is that the inside pipe diameter going into and out of the valve is 3/4"
    The older ones like that most of the time did have the 3/4" distribitor tube, the one going from the valve down to the bottom of the medis tank.

    So far the number is not turning up ,, must be out side of the web records that I can get...

    10X35 tank means that 95% chance that is a 1.0 cubic foot unit.

    The injector is a 1 or white in color, the 2.5gpm is the backwash flow rate.

    No idea like you on the 12g..... there was a reason for it going there, but it is now lost to time as to why....

  15. #45
    Computer systems technologist for Geologists & Petroleum Engineers MiddleAgeSoftie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    The older ones like that most of the time did have the 3/4" distribitor tube, the one going from the valve down to the bottom of the medis tank...
    The pipe diameter I was referring to is the copper water pipes going from the house into the softener and from the softener back into the house rather than the distributor pipe going from the valve to the bottom of the tank (although that may also be 3/4").

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