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PAMCO No spark :(

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by JE4570, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    Hi all,
    so I have a 79 XS650 special that randomly stopped running on me. I found out it was my advance unit.
    I decided to put in a pamco instead of replacing the advance. It worked great so it seemed at first. The bike never sounded so good. I even got about 50 miles on it until I started getting trouble.

    The bike would sometimes have trouble at low idle. When I would rev it high it did ok. But it would die on me very randomly and usually after engine got really warmed up.

    I noticed that if it had a bad idle, messing with the spark plug wires would sometimes help. I thought they were not being insulated well enough because the occasionally touched my horn and thats when the troublesome idle would occur. I was originally using the stock wires but decided to replace them with some from mikesxs.

    After putting fresh wires on the bike it did fire up, but then died and now I have no spark at all.

    I have cleaned a lot of things behind headlight and around charging system as well as grounds and replaced my fuses as one of them occasionally gave me problems.


    The coil and pamco are both getting voltage (around 10-11) I believe I have it grounded well. I grounded it to the old mounting points for the original coil.

    From the tests I tried, the only thing that seems weird is the coil resistance from both terminals. It jumps around between 2-5 ohms and occasionally goes above 5 and even as high as 10 but keep in ming my volt meter is a crappy harbor freight one so idk if that is why it isn’t constant. How can I determine if my coil fried or if the pamco is fried. Or something else? Im using the coil pete sells with his systems.
     
  2. willis

    willis XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter

  3. 650Skull

    650Skull Dinosaur Lives Top Contributor

    First off is to ID the unit........If it has been bought from MikesXS then it is not a Pamco it is an XScharge ignition.....the thread title should reflect this as well.....there have been some problems with the XScharge units, they are a reversed engineered knock off

    This thread may help and does have a "how to test the coil" in it as well
    http://www.xs650.com/threads/pamco-ignition.46859/
     
  4. 650Skull

    650Skull Dinosaur Lives Top Contributor

    Ha, ha, beat me to it willis
     
  5. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    I bought it straight from Pamco Pete’s website from hearing that warning before. My resistance through the plug caps was around 23k ohms. Is this too much? My charge system is still in stock configuration. The pamco seems to check out. It has voltage and the green wire has about ~8 volts.
     
  6. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple

    Do you have a PAMCO E-Advancer working with an original PAMCO, or a PAMCO E-Advancer working with some other similar ignition? Or, do you have a PAMCO E-Ignition, which is a combined original PAMCO ignition and the PAMCO E-Advancer on the same PC board? Less expensive ohmmeters do have trouble reading low resistance, so perhaps that is why you are getting those strange readings. I recommend that you spend a few dollars and get a better meter, or at least change the battery in the meter you have. The Harbor Freight digital meter is not bad and will read low resistance, but you have to have a fresh battery to reliably read low resistance and very low resistance in the test leads themselves, like, .3 Ohms or so.
    Also, to read the primary resistance of the coil, you have to completely isolate it by disconnecting the battery and green wire to the coil when you measure the resistance.
     
  7. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    I have the combined e advancer unit. I am going to get a good voltmeter because I always need one and my harbor freight one is getting old and has always given me weird readings. I will check it sometime tomorrow and will continue to troubleshoot.
     
  8. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    So I finally got a new multimeter, the coil resistance from each terminal to terminal was around 3.3. I measured that disconnecting the green wire and turning the engine kill switch to the “off” position.
     
  9. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple

    How are you checking for spark?
     
  10. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    I remove spark plug from engine then plug it in and put it near the engine with both spark plugs plugged in.
     
  11. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    I messed with it some more and cleaned my main battery ground with a wire wheel and sanded all of my grounds and I’m still without spark. How can I know if it is the pamco unit and what could have caused this to fail so quickly.
     
  12. mrtwowheel

    mrtwowheel Honda Etched On Brain Top Contributor

    Above, you put the spark plug near the engine, what does that mean? The spark plug would have to be TOUCHING a part on the bike to get a good ground connection to get spark at the plug. Better yet, bare some wire and wrap it around the bottom thread part of the plug, attach the other end of the wire to a ground on the bike, an alligator clip works well too.

    Scott
     
    gggGary likes this.
  13. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    I had it touching the engine.
     
    gggGary likes this.
  14. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    So I’m not sure what my next step should be at this point I think its my pamco unit and that the coil is fine
     
  15. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    You can test the coil. Plug bodies touching each other, disconnect the coil's primary leads, attach one to battery (+), scratch the other across battery (-) ground.

    Do a forum search on "coil test"...
     
  16. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    Ok l... so let me describe my process and results of coil testing. I sort of did what TooManyXS1Bs desribed. Most of the sparking was at the wire ground end that I was “scratching” the frame near the ground. It certainly was sparking but seemed weak to me but idk if you can tell that for sure with this method. Anyway when hooked up to the pamco it gets nothing.


    How do these sparks look? Probably grainy because they are cropped screenshots of a video.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Well, that coil test has 2 outcomes.

    No spark - Coil definitely bad.
    Spark - Coil may be good, and/or it's bridging internally to the primary, putting damaging voltages on the primary, knocking out the Pamco.

    If you had no spark, you'd know for sure the coil was bad.

    Since it *does* spark, you know the Pamco failed.

    So, the question is, if the Pamco is replaced, will this coil fry it?

    This would be a good place for a protection device, like a lightning arrestor or Metal Oxide Varistor, on the grounding primary lead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  18. JE4570

    JE4570 XS650 Enthusiast

    57
    33
    18
    Ohio
    Well those sparks seem weak to me. Im not sure if the coil should just be replaced for good measure. What coil do you guys recommend if I did that. Also does anyone recommend an easy to install device to protect the new pamco?
     

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