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PAMCO Electronic advance

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by pamcopete, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Jackmar

    Jackmar XS650 Member

    I recently purchased the pamco and and e-advance set up for my 77. Had it installed and running then it just quit on me. Now I have no spark. From all the information I found on here I tested everything and all I can seem to come up with is the ignition went bad. Unless there is something that could be wrong with the e-advance, but there's nothing I found on trouble shooting that since it is a new product. Anyway I emailed the customer service email on Pete's site but haven't heard back. Just wondering what I need to do to get this situation sorted in time to ride out the season.
  2. jd750ace

    jd750ace Front Toward Enemy

    Tested everything? Details please.

    Welcome, BTW. Pete is very busy and is not just sitting at the computer waiting for E-mails. Be patient and he will do you right. He checks this thread when he gets on and assists all the time, as you can see if you look back through this thread.
  3. retiredgentleman

    retiredgentleman XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Here is the link to Pamcopete's web site:

    Read it over very carefully. You will find instructions on how to test the pamco ignition.
    Double and triple check all of your wiring and connnections.

    Are you using a 7.5 amp fuse and did you check that its not blown?
  4. EvenmoreXS

    EvenmoreXS 1981 XS650

    If I ordered an advancer from mikes, would It come with this update or would i be better getting it from you Pete.? By your wording above it appears Mikes may not have it yet.

    NO issues with my advance currently, but I recently noticed I could hear it happening there under the cover. At a certain RPM that vibration is pretty audible, sounds like something is loose, very quite at idle. This is the only thing I can find with my stethoscope.

    May update soon just to quiet it down a bit and get rid of some of those vibes.

  5. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple


    The E-Advancers from MikesXS should all have the new advancer replacement.
  6. Jackmar

    Jackmar XS650 Member

    I installed per the instructions. Checked the coil according to the steps. Went through and checked all my connections. Have power on the red/white wire. Took apart and cleaned the kill switch. Also checked the ignition according to the steps provided. Are you talking about installing a fuse to the system or something that's already on the bike?
  7. retiredgentleman

    retiredgentleman XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Your 1977 bike only has 1 fuse which is 20 amps. The later bikes starting with the 78 Special, have 4 fuses. One of the additional fuses is an ignition fuse. The igniton fuse was 10 amps from the factory, but Pamcopete recommends a 7.5 amp fuse for the Pamco ignition.

    It would be a very good addition to your bike to install a new 7.5 amp fuseholder/fuse. It should be wired down stream of the kill switch in series with the red/white wire that feeds power to the ignition coil and the Pamco E-advancer.

    You say you checked the ignition, so did you spin the pamco rotor by hand while viewing one spark plug?
  8. Jackmar

    Jackmar XS650 Member

    I did, and no spark, which was why I figured it was the ignition. Also, I will take your advice and add the fuse.
  9. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Jackmar, are you using the stock charging system or a PMA conversion?
  10. EvenmoreXS

    EvenmoreXS 1981 XS650


    Is there a noticible difference in sound going from orginal advance mechanism to that sweet little billet cap? I swear the sound Ive been hearing is my advance. Its very quiet at idle, sounds great, but I think I can hear the advance spinning when im cruising and accelerating.

    Thanks everyone. If I order it before 11:00 am I could have it tomorrow. :thumbsup:
  11. Jackmar

    Jackmar XS650 Member

    Leo, I am using the stock charging system.
  12. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Jackmar, On Pete's ignition site is the test procedure for all Pamco ignitions. They all work the same and use the same test procedure. The first thing I would check is when the key and engine stop switch are both on do you have battery voltage at the red/white wire where you hooked the red wire of the Pamco to. If you have good voltage check for good grounds. Also check the connections on the whole system. If you have a poor connection between the E-advancer and sensor plate it won't spark.
    EvenmoreXS, unless something is rubbing the e-advancer cap there won't be any noise. The cap locks the advance rod to the cam. Noise can only occur if parts are rubbing together.
    The stock advancer may make a bit of noise but none I ever heard.
  13. osteoderm

    osteoderm out of the box

    I had been running into apparently intermittent ignition-related problems pretty much for as long as I've had my PAMCO (both mechanical and E-Advance), which I am pretty sure are not actually real ignition problems after all.

    I would get this occasional hiccup where the bike would fall flat around 5k RPM. I made all the usual checks per Pete's suggestions, and everything was fine, or at least inconclusive; no real problem was to be found. I found the simple problem later, through a complicated procedure: a barely-loose connection at my main switch. Wiring in a temporary meter at various positions showed that the loose connection was providing enough resistance to "fool" the voltage regulator into treating the battery as fully-charged, and pulling back the charge voltage (a fully-charged battery shows more resistance than an empty one, I believe). The bike would run fine around town, but any significant blast would quickly drain the tiny battery down to the point where the PAMCO was gasping for current, while the voltage regulator simply wasn't wasn't sensing the correct battery resistance, and subsequently not supplying the required charge. A triple-check of all the battery connectors and a few extra toothed lockwashers solved the problem... and nothing in the ignition wiring itself was even touched.

    A couple months later, I installed a new tach/speedo. Not too long afterwards (the correlation is obvious now, but was baffling at the time), a similar intermittent sputter started showing up. I could hear it, feel it, and most importantly see it on the tach; when the engine momentarily sputtered at 4k+ rpm, the tach needle would drop or bounce. Since the tach pickup was directly from the coil, I again assumed it was an ignition gremlin. I double-checked and/or replaced a handful of ignition connectors, checked the battery connectors, switches, etc., and nothing. The bike would test A-1 per Pete's recommended tests, but the intermittent sputtering continued.

    Another month of this went by, until a fluke occurance revealed another piece of information... I don't ride at night much, but one evening pulling into my drive I felt/heard/saw the sputter, and also noticed that the speedo backlight was sputtering at the same time. Not the running lights or headlight, just the tach/speedo dial light itself.

    The next day I double-checked all my gauge connections. Nothing seemed loose to me, but I went ahead and replaced a few remaining quick-disconnect fittings with soldered splices. I haven't had an unexplained intermittent "ignition problem" since. I haven't puzzled this one out too much, but I'm guessing that the intermittent connection to the tach was causing some sort of spike or feedback that disrupted power just enough to give the ignition a little fit from time to time (totally technical terminology, eh?)

    Pete's PAMCO, with or without E-Advance is a fine, quality, and inexpensive product for the excellent results it typically provides. Follow Pete's troubleshooting guides to the letter, carefully wire things up, and expect excellence. However, I'm writing all this as a caution to those of us who may have failed to really properly 120% check their wiring for loose connections, faults, and poor grounds, and then blame the PAMCO.

    I'm an electrician working as a professional marine systems installer, and I spend entirely too much time soldering wires in lousy spaces, troubleshooting weird fluky problems on boats. I'm confident in my skills and well-practiced, but I still screw things up from time to time. It took me three problem/solution cycles to fix my "ignition malfunctions", none of which seem to have been actual ignition issues. I'm not directing this to anyone in particular, but be advised that "double-check your wiring and connections" isn't something to skim over; it's fundamentally important.
  14. peanut

    peanut XS650 enthusiast & inveterate tinkerer Top Contributor

    excellent writeup oestoderm :thumbsup:

    it should be added to a troubleshoot section.
    On old vehicles obscure intermittant type problems invariably turn out to be poor grounds and oxidised connections .

    Because wiring is perceived as complicated by most ....and connections seem mundane ...they are invariably the last thing that is looked at, after bolting lots of new parts on, in the hopes of curing a problem.:wink2:
  15. Jackmar

    Jackmar XS650 Member

    Leo, I have power on the red/white wire. I through and cut off the connectors and put new ones on just to make sure, and still no luck.
  16. very nice will be ordering tonight............
  17. Question...... is there a rev limiter with the pamco and e-advancer....
    was thinking of teaching my son the art of burn out's and thought to myself.......
    be nice if he could just hold it up against the rev limiter...........LOL
  18. jd750ace

    jd750ace Front Toward Enemy

    I'd be looking for some more torque, and probably not a 30+ year old engine to do that with. :)
  19. Jackmar

    Jackmar XS650 Member

    I know this isn't the spot for this, but its been 6 weeks since I first tried to contact someone about the warranty on the ignition and I still haven't gotten any response at all
  20. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple


    PM me the details and I will try to get you straightened out.

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