martijn avatar image

Phoenix 12/500 ECO mode not working

Hi everyone! I've searched trough the forum and the manual of my Phoenix 12/500 but I can't find the answer to my question. I start to think my Phoenix 12/500 is faulty but perhaps anyone here knows better.

I want to use the ECO mode so it won't drain my battery. I've set the lowest limit possible (15watts) but when I switch on the LED lights (8 bulbs of 4watt = 32watt) then the light won't go on and the inverter keeps switching off like it detected no load.

You can see the light go on for 0.5sec every 3sec (that are the default settings) but they won't stay on. I've played with the interval settings so it checks every 10sec for a load en the check duration is 8sec. This results in the lights to go on for 8sec, and then turn off for 10sec.

During the 8sec, when the lights are on, I can see on the BMV that it draws 32watts. When I add more lights to a total of 48watts the problem remains the same.

Why won't my lights stay on even tho I'm way above the minimum 15watts?

Thank you very much in advance!

Phoenix Inverter
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2 Answers
Justin Cook - Bay Marine Supply USA avatar image
Justin Cook - Bay Marine Supply USA answered ·

Hi @Martijn, welcome to the Community!

As stated in the manual: "Note that the required ECO mode settings are heavily dependent on the type of load: inductive, capacitive, non-linear. Adjustment may be needed"

In your case, since you specify LED lights, you are powering non-linear loads and this greatly complicates things because, to put it really over-simply, the LEDs are only using a part of the sine wave at any given time, which means that they're maybe using 32w overall as an average, but at any given point in the 60 cycles per second of the sine wave (assuming US 60Hz) they're actually only using a fraction of the sine which, basically, causes problems within pure sine inverters.

It gets weird, and honestly although I vaguely understand it, I'm definitely not the best person to explain this. Victron's free book Wiring Unlimited discusses this problem a bit - starting around page 50, I believe.

Now, in terms of a fix, I'd suggest two things to try: First, 15w is just the default ECO minimum; you can, through VictronConnect using a VE.Direct USB Interface connected to your computer or a VE.Direct Bluetooth Dongle to pair with your smartphone, dial down that setting. This may solve the problem but will likely require some fiddling to get it just right. (note: that's assuming you have a VE.Direct version of the Phoenix inverter). [EDIT: This is inaccurate - 15w is the minimum, period - it can be adjusted upward, but not downward.]

Alternatively, and much easier, just throw an incandescent bulb into the mix: an incandescent bulb is a resistive load, so it uses the full sine, and should resolve the problem.

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Hi Justin Cook,

Thank you very much for you time and effort to try answer my question. Your help is very much appreciated!

I'm running on 50Hz in the EU and I do have a VE.Direct Bluetooth dongle connected so I can access the Phoenix trough my smartphone/laptop. I can't set it lower than 15w but I will for sure try a non-LED bulb cause your explanation makes a lot of sense!
I will come back and let you (and others searching this forum) know if this solved my problem.

Oh, I'll be dipped... yeah I just checked on my own and you're right, 15w is the minimum, period! I'd never actually tried to dial it down myself, but I -mistakenly- was quite convinced that it could go lower. Well, every day I still learn something new!

Yes, please do let us know if putting an incandescent on the system resolves the issue!

Hi Justin Cook,

I've changed one Led bulb with an incandescent bulb and it fixed my problems. Now the phoenix reacts normal to the given settings. To bad that only LED bulbs are not working. My OCD won't accept one different coloured light and my power usage from the lights went up quite a bit!

Maybe I come up with a different solution, but your answer is the key to fixing my problem:-) Thank you very much for that!

Is that incandescent light bulb on all night? How many W it has?

It might consume more than your inverter in normal mode.

If you have bluetooth connectivity, you don't have to worry about outsmarting the 15W wake up call. It looks to me like you could just turn it off and on as needed through the app. Or am I missing something?

You are partly right. Yes I can use Bluetooth to turn the inverter On and Off when I need power. But that is not the user experience I’m looking for. I have mounted a few light switches at several doors to switch different zones On and Off.
what I was hoping to achieve was when I press the switch and the light bulb ask for power the inverter switches on. The idea is good because it works perfect if you use incandescent light bulbs but not with LED light bulbs as Justin Cook explained above.

So the solution I’m still looking for is some kind of resistance which I can connect to my LED light bulb so the inverter thinks I’m requiring at least 15w of power while still using a 8w led bulb which gives the same amount of light (lumen) as a 60watt incandescent bulb.

Gotcha. I'm just learning my new system so I was pleased to find the bluetooth on/off option. I'm in a hurry to hit the road so that works for me. And I suspect I'll be too stingy to give up the extra wattage for Eco mode. Energy budgeting is a work in progress. Well, still at the conceptual stage, pretty much. :)

martijn avatar image
martijn answered ·

Is there anyone who maybe has a slight idea what I can try to do?

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