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Pamco/E-Advance no spark - continuity issues?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by girouxmcisaak, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast

    I've been working on rebuilding an XS and I've come up with no spark.

    I started going through the PAMCO system as per Pete's instructions on here and when I got to testing the green wire's voltage when spinning the rotor, I found that the voltage was remarkably low (3v, compared to the batteries 12.7). The Red wire sensor side was also slightly lower (11.9v).

    I started testing continuity and found that for the red wire, with my meter set down to 200, I was getting a reading of about 48. With the green wire, it stayed reading as open. Just for curiosity's sake, I measured the continuity on both wires on different points and found that the continuity issues seem to come from the circuit board in the e-advancer itself. I can get continuity from the end of the green wire sensor side to the circuit board, and from the green wire coil side to the circuit board, but from the two points on the circuit board there was open continuity. I found the same issue with the red wire (the continuity was reading 48 between the two points on the circuit board).

    I don't know electrical stuff well enough, and certainly don't know circuit boards, so I wasn't sure if this was how the readings should be on the circuit board or not. I tried reaching out to Pete but he hasn't responded back yet. I thought I would give it a shot here.

    Just for clarity sake, I have the basic PAMCO with e-advancer, the 17-6822 ignition coil from Mikes, and currently the ignition system is hooked to its own battery. I'm able to get voltage readings on the coil side, and tested for continuity throughout the coil and got the numbers Pete said they should be.
  2. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple

    There is no direct connection from the green and red wires between the sensor side of the PC board and the coil side. There is a 47 Ohm resistor in series from the red wire coil side to the red wire sensor side. That explains your reading of 48. The green wire sensor side goes to an input of the MCU. The green wire coil side goes to the collector of the driver transistor.

    The green wire coil side should alternate between near zero and battery voltage as you spin the rotor so your reading of 3 Volts could be the low side although it normally goes lower. The red wire sensor side will be lower than the red wire coil side due to the drop across the aforementioned 47 Ohm resistor.

    Lets start over. Did you ever get the PAMCO to work or were you just curious about it's operation? You have to be careful when using an Ohm meter to check any electronic device as some Ohmmeters use a fairly high Voltage to measure Ohms and they are all generally reverse polarity.
  3. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast

    I haven't gotten it to work at all. I haven't gotten any spark. That's when I went through testing the coil to make sure it was good (full disclosure: I didn't test the ones where you mentioned the center core of the coil because I honestly wasn't sure where that was on the coil). The other numbers read within the range you gave. I tried spinning the rotor to get spark but haven't gotten it.

    Just to kinda start at square one, here's the diagram of how I have the pamco hooked up. (both grounds on here lead to the same ground frame).


    Also, I'm just going to throw stuff out there because hopefully my dumb questions will show off whatever dumb thing I did and we can figure it out:

    On the green wire coil side, I realize I might be reading it wrong. It appears now that with my multimeter's positive lead to the wire and negative lead to the battery ground, I am getting 3v when the magnet is over the sensor and 0v without. After thinking about how I think I read the negative wire from the coil goes to the green wire, i switched leads and found (negative lead to wire/positive lead to battery) that I'm getting 12.5v and then 9v when the magnet is over the sensor.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  4. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast

    Any ideas on the weird readings I'm getting on the green wire or not getting spark? Like I said, I'm really new on any electrical stuff so I'm trying to account for any user error on this.

    Also thank you Pete for answering my questions. I'm sure you get hammered with them, so I do appreciate your time and knowledge.
  5. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple


    Your readings are probably OK. Your latest reading of 9 Volts with one test lead on the positive battery terminal is just 12 - 3 = 9. The original reading of 3 Volts was probably correct, so at this point I would suggest that the coil could be a problem so please test the coil as follows:

    Testing the coil:

    1. Using the lowest scale on the meter, measure the resistance between the primary terminals with the wires removed. Should read from 2.5 to 4.5 Ohms.
    2. Using the highest scale on the meter, measure between one of the primary terminals and the center core of the coil. Should be infinite resistance. (open)
    3. Measure between one of the primary terminals and one of the plug wire terminals. Should be infinite resistance. (open circuit)
    4. Measure between one of the plug wire terminals and the core of the coil. Should be infinite resistance (open circuit)
    5. Measure from one plug terminal to the other. Should be 15,000 to 20,000 Ohms

    Testing the PAMCO

    1. Use a voltmeter and check for battery voltage on each of the red/white wires with the key and kill switch are turned on.
    2. The dual output coil has to have both spark plug wires connected to a spark plug at all times.
    3. To test for spark, connect one of the spark plug wires to a spark plug that is grounded to the engine.

    To test for spark without having to turn the engine over, do this procedure:
    1. Remove the PAMCO rotor.
    2. Remove the locating pin in the advance rod.
    3. Reinstall the rotor, but without the pin.
    4. Replace the nut holding the rotor on loosely. This will allow you to spin the rotor to produce a spark without having to turn the engine over.
    5. Connect one of the spark plug wires to a spark plug that is grounded to the engine, but not installed in the engine.
    6. Make sure that the other spark plug wire is connected to a spark plug in the engine.
    7. Turn on the ignition switch and the kill switch.
    8. Spin the rotor while looking at the gap in the spark plug for a spark.
    9. Turn off the kill switch and the ignition switch.
  6. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast

    On Mikes Coil 17-6822, where is the center core exactly?


    On the other parts:

    1. 4.2 Ohms
    3. Infinite
    5. With it set on 200k, I had a reading of 15. With the spark plug caps, it was 25.
  7. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple


    So far so good. The center core is the metal exposed where the mounting holes are.
  8. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast

    should all the cool tests be done with the wires removed? If so, I had an open reading on the primary terminal to center core and open circuit on plug wire to center core.
  9. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast


    I decided to go back and just get all the measurements again and put them all here, as well as any details about what the system entails.

    So the PAMCO is currently on it's own separate circuit with it's own battery, which is a 12V 1.3Ah AGM sealed battery. There is a 12V 25A kill switch wired in. I've also tested it without the kill switch in place to determine if it effected my readings (it didn't). I'm using NGK Iridium IX plugs (BPR7EIX).

    Coil Testing: (all tests were done mounted to the frame, wires removed from the terminals)

    1) Resistance between primary terminals: 4 ohm
    2) Resistance between primary terminals and core (the exposed metal by the mounting holes): open
    3) Resistance between primary terminal and plug wire: open
    4) Resistance between plug wire and core: open
    5) Resistance between Plug wire and terminals: 15 (measured at 2000k)

    Each plug cap is 5K so total resistance when screwed in: 25

    PAMCO testing: (everything hooked up, kill switch/key on)

    Note: I believe this was done with the magnet over the sensor. There are two pink dots on the PAMCO rotor and this is with one of the pink dots over the sensor.

    Battery: 12.38 V
    Kill switch, both terminals: 12.38V

    Red wire, Sensor: 11.66 V
    Green wire, Sensor: 2.97 V
    Black wire, sensor: 12.33 V

    Red wire, Coil: 12.30 V
    Green Wire, Coil: 12.20 V
    Black wire, Coil: 12.30 V

    All these measurements were taken where the e-advancer and the sensor/coil meet.

    When the pink dot is NOT over the sensor, the readings remained the same except Green Wire, Sensor read 0 V.

    I followed the steps to free up the rotor. With the kill switch/power on, the right spark plug in the engine and the left in the plug boot, grounded to the engine (threads touching the case, I checked the spot to make sure it was in fact grounded) I was unable to achieve spark. I installed the left side in the engine, and put the right one in the boot, grounded to the engine and was also unable to achieve spark.

    Are there any other diagnostic tests I should run?
  10. chizler62

    chizler62 XS650 Addict

    "Resistance between plug wires and terminals 15"

    That seems to require further attention. Pic of exactly hoe you got that?

    Posted via Mobile
  11. girouxmcisaak

    girouxmcisaak XS650 Enthusiast

    Ah, that was a typo. It should be "Resistance between plug wires".

    I went back and edited it in my original post, but my measurement between plug wire and terminal was open, and my measurement between plug wires was 15 on the 2000k scale (which I believe would be 15000 ohm but I wasn't positive).
  12. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple


    OK. PM me for warranty details.

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