1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  3. Hey Facebook people... We've created a group for XS650.com members to connect. Check it out!
    Dismiss Notice

Stranded! Coil or Pamco?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by vincejames, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    As I mentioned in the past, I've been dealing with some flat spot issues. After leaning my needle jet, I took her on a nice ride last night. About 34 miles into my ride, putter putter putter. Bike just dies.

    Take a run over to autozone, grab some new plugs... no spark. This would lead me to believe it's the coil or a fried Pamco. How perfect! I'm running a dual output coil and a Pamco from Pamco Pete. Strikes me as VERY odd considering the bike ran fine for 3 weeks w/ only minor flat spots. How great!?!?
     
  2. 650Skull

    650Skull Dinosaur Lives Top Contributor

  3. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple

    Perhaps a little more detail will help us offer some assistance.

    1. Which model of PAMCO are we talking about here? There are several.
    2. What is the year / model of your bike?
    3. What type of charging system do you have?
    4. If a PMA, is it a battery or capacitor setup?
    5. Have you done any work on the electrical system lately?
    6. When did you buy / install the PAMCO?
    7. What was the battery / capacitor voltage the last time you checked it at 3,000 RPM?
    8. If a battery setup, what is the battery voltage now?
    9. Have you had a chance to review 650skulls excellent PAMCO write up?
    10. Have you tried these troubleshooting tips?

    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.
     
  4. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict


    Hi Pete,

    Just PMed you my receipt. The Pamco was purchased about 28 days ago. I will be doing a full write up very soon. Have to get the bike back to my garage considering this was 10:30PM last night and couldn't get a tow at that time. What I can say is that the bike ran perfectly fine (minus some flat spots/stumbling I was noticing early in 1st and 2nd gear) for 3 weeks w/ the PAMCO and E-Advancer. Attached is exactly what I bought and installed per your website. Followed the instructions to a tee... I'm running a battery w/ a Hugh's Handbuilt complete PMA. Dual Output coil just like you suggest off Mikes. Everything is grounded powered and grounded correctly w/ correct fuse. Timing is spot on.

    Like I said, I will have to get the bike back to my garage to do the testing you outlined. All I could do while on the road was through in new spark plugs, test them out and see that there was no spark coming to the plugs.

    It's a 1978 w/ BS38s
     

    Attached Files:

  5. In my humble experience, it sounds like a charging issue. It took months for me to work it out. It all had to do with the Reg/Rec not supplying the charging power to the battery. Now it charges as it should and all is well. It is easy to think it's the Pamco, though. Thanks Pete for the diagonstic checklist. Hope I don't need it anytime soon.
     
  6. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    Interesting, where did you buy your reg/rec from? I've had terrible experiences with ones off eBay. The one currently on my bike is from Hughs...

    I'm sure once I get the bike back to my garage I'll be able to troubleshoot. If only I had my voltmeter on me last night!
     
  7. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    What boggles my mind is why the fuse wouldn't blow? Either way, I'll follow the guidlines from Pete and Skull and report back tomorrow.

    Thanks Guys!!
     
  8. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    I'm also wondering if these flat spots I've been trying to fix since the install of my PAMCO might have caused this issue. Maybe I confused these flat spots to not be a carb issue all along and a power shortage somewhere... hmm... anyone want to weigh in?
     
  9. pamcopete

    pamcopete Ride.Enjoy.Life is Simple

    It is becoming increasingly apparent that the majority of posts requesting help with a PAMCO installation involve a PMA. There are now more than a few PMA setups available including a bunch of home made setups that do not always match the regulator with the PMA. Other PMA issues can involve the use of a PMA with more power than is necessary to power up the XS650 resulting in an excess of current and / or Voltage which is dissipated in the form of heat by the shunt type regulator. To add to the complications of a PMA setup, it is now very popular to substitute a capacitor for the battery which then introduces even more potential complications. Many of these PMA setups, especially the capacitor variety, are done without any careful thought given to the dynamics of the setup requiring a degree of balance among all of the parts. PMA's with a high output. Poor quality capacitors chosen randomly based on cost and physical size rather than suitability for the intended purpose. Haphazard wiring and installation to get on the road quickly without benefit of any electrical testing. The use of tiny batteries that work for a few miles before succumbing to the heat from an excessive amount of charging current. Somehow, the PAMO and other electrical equipment is supposed to survive this abuse. The typical failure is often after the bike has somehow survived the poor PMA setup for a few miles or even a few months of abuse before it finally succumbs, leaving no way to test the PMA because the engine will no longer start. A replacement PAMCO may be installed and the cycle then continues because the root cause was not discovered due to the urge to get back on the road while there is still some of the season remaining. I am quite often asked to provide installation guidance for a PMA setup even though there are dozens of possible setups and I do not manufacture, sell or service a PMA. Some thought has to be focused on reducing or eliminating the impact of PMA's on the functionality of the PAMCO and its warranty.
     
    NorazDad likes this.
  10. Yeah, mine was part of the PMA kit from Hugh. Oddly enough, the REC/Reg didn't work until my battery died and I got a jump from an F-150. From that point on, everything seemed to work as designed. I am sure it was the Rec/Reg unit and it needed some kick to allow it to work properly. I was at my wits end prior to this mysterious event. I was planning to buy a very expensive hand made Mosfet unit from a guy in California when this incident happened and now all is good. I don't know if that will help, but it was all about charging and without it happening properly, the bike ran great for thirty minutes and then...dead.
    Good luck. These guys here will help you. They have helped me render a wonderful old machine.
     
  11. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    I was able to get her home yesterday, but not much time to test what PAMCO Pete outlined above. I did take some photos of the coil and wiring. I also made a quick wiring diagram of how I wired everything up per Pete's website. See attached. Opinions????
     

    Attached Files:

  12. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    Went ahead and tested the coil yesterday. See the video below. Coil works fine. Traced the issue back to a blown component in the E-Advancer. Popped what I think is the main chip back into place and the bike started up... see attached

     

    Attached Files:

  13. Wow, that's great. You really did some deep diagnosis to get there. I sheared the nut off of the advance rod a few months back. I thought it was the coil as well. It was my over tightening.
    How about that charging system. Are you getting 14+ volts at 3200rpm?
     
  14. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    Have not done a test yet. It was pretty late when I figured out the issue. I did a rather novice job of just wiring everything back into place to see if the bike would start after popping this little chip back into place. It started, but I didn't run it that long to measure my voltage. Tonight, I'm going to do that along with getting the timing back on point!
     
  15. weekendrider

    weekendrider Iron Horse cowboy Top Contributor

    5,668
    1,157
    213
    S.W. MO
    What am I seeing in the video? Or not seeing I should say.
     
  16. I think you are seeing spark
     
  17. vincejames

    vincejames XS650 Addict

    Yes, I am seeing spark. I wanted to test the coil first.
     
  18. weekendrider

    weekendrider Iron Horse cowboy Top Contributor

    5,668
    1,157
    213
    S.W. MO
    Ok. My ears told me it was electrical popping, but my eyes couldn't see what or where something was sparking.
     
    NorazDad likes this.
  19. weekendrider

    weekendrider Iron Horse cowboy Top Contributor

    5,668
    1,157
    213
    S.W. MO
    What was holding the piece in the advance box? A rivet? A plastic nut and screw? How are you going to hold it place now?
     
  20. What caused it to pop? Vibration? I have mine zip tied to a section of wiring harness, not frame.
     

Share This Page