Boyer and Pamco Ignition


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FNQ Australia
Boyer installation instructions by Mailman.

MikesXS, XScharge ignitions are not Pamco's and are not made by Pamcopete
What Pamco do i need and who sells them?
PamcoPete has gone out of business and does not supply to any one or sell Pamco Ignitions any more

Now That Has Been said

How to Tell if my Bike is Points or TCI Ignition
There are 2 ignition systems on an XS650.
70 – 79, ........XS650's have points,

70 - 79, .........On the head above the spark plug, there are 2 chrome caps, one on each side and these house the points and advance weights
All points Models have the points plate on the left side and the advance weights on the right, these are held together by the advance rod. The advance rod goes through the Cam and has 3 bushings holding it in place.
80 – 83, ..........XS650's have Factory Electronic Ignition this is called a TCI, (transistor controlled ignition)

80 - 83; ..........Under the Chrome covers there is nothing, TCI ignition motors do not have a Points plate, advance weights or the advance rod. The cam ends can be seen

These dates may not apply to XS650's sold in Europe, Oceania and other countries, but with the amount of XS650's exported from the States, those dates will apply to any imported XS650 from the States

To Install a Pamco in a TCI motor you need to buy an advance rod and bushings. The Advance rod can be bought separately from a private seller or MikesXS.

Instalation Instructions.

From Pamco Petes Site.........

XSLeo; ...... I got the new Pamco.
Note;. ..........This kit is the one Pete sells that has the new bushings and rod with specific rotor and advancer adapter. 80-84 TCI Ignition Motors
Went to Pete's ignition site and printed out 7 pages of instructions.
I checked the cam ends for crud, looked very clean. Just a tiny bit of oil seepage on the left side. Right was clean.
The new bushings were a slip fit in the cam. When I slipped the rod through it pushed the bushings out.
At first that bothered me a bit, after a bit of thought I realized it didn't really matter. With this set up they only hold the rod centered in the cam. It don't revolve inside like the stock advance rod does, so no worries.
The new rod is a aluminum rod all one diameter. This is a good thing, it weighs less than the steel versions. And again because it don't rotate in the bushings it won't wear.
I need to check the stock coil for proper ohms, might need to replace it.
The rest of the install should be easy. Done a couple already so this one should be a snap.
Will report more as it comes.

Troubleshooting Guide.
Pamcopete says; …..........“It's best to simply post your questions here or start a new thread rather than wait for me to answer. There are hundreds of members here with PAMCO's installed and they can usually provide an answer. If you have tried the troubleshooting tips posted on here or the web site and conclude that you need a warranty replacement, then PM me with your name and address.”

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.

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Pamco Ignition System.
Questions and Answers.

"make sure ignition is not on when engine is not running"
Q,........About to do a Pamco install and I don't understand this warning sorry.
If I start the engine and then turn it off with the key all's good right?
If the engine stalls and the key is still on and the neutral light is on - is this an issue?
Aren't I turning the ignition on before I kickstart it - by turning the key and the neutral light coming on, doesn't that mean the ignition is on?
confused about what to watch out for here and don't want to make a doodle of myself and break the thing on the first day :doh:

A, Pamcopete,......OK. This question has been asked before, so here is the answer. 12 minutes. That's the time it takes for the coil to get to a temperature of 125 F, which is about 10F higher than it would get to with the engine running. That is also starting off at room temperature, so probably no more than 10 minutes if the coil is already warmed up from the engine running. This is not the time to destruction. Just the time to a particular temperature above normal operating temperature. The transistor in the PAMCO never got above 90F and it is rated for 347F, so no worries there. It's the coil that would eventually fry, and if it shorts out as well, then it may take the PAMCO with it.
Not leaving the ignition on is also an issue with points if you are unlucky enough to have a set of points closed when you turn on the power. Same is true with the PAMCO. The coil is only on for 120/360 = 33% of the time, so, "do you feel lucky! Huh punk?" (for those of you too young to know, that is a line from a Dirty Harry movie):D
If you are dong some other work on the electrical system that requires power to be on, then just turn off the kill switch and you can leave the ignition switch on till the battery dies.

Note: The 12 minutes was from an actual test using a 17-6903 "Ultimate" coil. Your results may differ with a different coil. The test was done by a professional ignition guru on a closed course. Do not try at home. :wtf:

Q, ...........My Pamco died. All systems are good until I get from the coil output to the Pamco unit (green wire). I can find no visible shorts or anything like that. If there's something fried in the circuit board, can that be replaced without getting an entire whole new setup?
A,..........Go Back to the previous post, (above), and test using the "Troubleshooting Guide" If the PAMCO is indeed fried, then you can buy just the plate and reuse your rotor provided all four magnets are still there. Go on line to and use the pull down on the right side to select plate only

Q,...........Just got my Pamco yesterday. What kind of connectors do you use on these tiny wires ?

A,.........You can use whatever crimp on connectors you want to. The wire is 22 gauge. The color code for those terminals is red.

Q, ...........Got the red and green wiring all set up, but 2 quick questions, where is the best place to ground it?
And with the alternator, the 3 white wires coming out, does it matter which white wires they connect to on the wire harness?
Reason i ask is because ive got 3 white coming off the alternator, and 2 solid white and a white/black on the harness.
A, ..........The black wire from a Pamco must go to bare metal on the bike's frame (assuming that you have your battery negative cable also connected to the frame's bare metal.) If you were using a battery sitting on the floor by itself, then the black would have to go directly back to the battery negative terminal.

Your alternator's 3 white wires must connect to the 3 white wires of the rectifier. There is no order...................connect any white to any white.

Q; .........I have verified that the VDC at the coil +POS is 12.4 and that the signal from the PAMCO Green wire (12.4 VDC until I spin it then it will drop to 1.11 VDC. When I spin the plate and ground a spark plug to the engine case I do not get any spark, but I do hear a clicking at the coil. This somewhat confuses me.

From what I'm gathering is that the if the transistor is actually bad that the signal that it is sending to the green wire to the coil is the incorrect signal to "FIRE" the coil.
A; Pamcopete.......Your test has the green wire to the coil going from 12 Volts to about 1 Volts. You can hear a click in the coil. If the green wire is going from 12 to 1 Volts as you rotate the rotor, then all is well with the PAMCO. The IGBT transistor is working properly or it could not pull the coil down to 1 Volts.

Conventional PNP transistor tests with the IGBT transistor are meaningless.
I would suggest a bad coil or open wires to the spark plugs. The spark plugs in a dual output coil are effectively in series so if just one of the spark plugs or wires is open, the spark on that side will not be there and the spark on the other wire / spark plug will be greatly diminished.
Conclusion; OP..........I have confirmed that the green wire is still going from 12VDC to 1VDC and upon inspection of the coil and removal from the bike I have noticed some small bulging and I believe that the center core has shorted open or let go from itself. I did not notice the bulge when I originally checked the coil out

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Wiring a Pamco.

NOTE: Good Grounds are an important part of wiring.
A link to DaddyG's Ground Thread.

This Diagram Shows the 2 different Ignition systems on a Factory XS650, Points and TCI
chopper wiring.PNG

CoilWiring copy.jpg

Batteryless PMA/Capacitor Wiring diagrams;
- this is what i have in my bike...horn circuit is missing as is the second brake switch
...alternator-rd permanent magnet
...10000uF 25V capacitor
...5 pole rec/reg
...kick-start only
...ignition unit is a pamcopete hall effect sensor mounted in place of the points.
simplified wiring Cap-PMA- Pamco fixed.jpg

Battery-less - PMA Capacitor - E-Advancer

Standard Recommendation
...........My standard recommendation is to wire the PAMCO temporarily to a separate battery to get the engine running so you can trouble shoot the PMA.........One of four things will happen when you first fire up a PMA conversion:
1, ........The engine will start immediately, you will get 14.5 Volts on the cap and life will be beautiful! (Yeah, right...)
2,......... The engine will not start because you are getting zero output from the PMA and you will break your leg kicking it with no joy....
3, .........The engine will start immediately but the PMA will produce a destructive 20+ Volts and fry the entire electrical system, including the PAMCO...
4,...... ..The engine will start immediately but because you wired the capacitor in backwards the cap will explode and spray shrapnel all over the garage, killing the cat........Be careful and use a Voltmeter.......
Caution,...........If you have the capacitor wired in with reverse polarity, it will blow up as soon as the engine starts, so wear safety glasses (this is no joke).

XSLeo,.............To run without a battery you need to convert to a PMA. When you swap to a PMA you remove most of the stock electronic ignition parts. The coil can work with a Pamco. With all that work, upgrading the coil is a good idea. .....................The basic Pamco using the stock advance, or one from Mike's, will run fine with a PMA and cap
Q; I don't see why the E-advancer won't work with a PMA and cap.
Q; Pete, will the E-advancer work with a PMA and cap?
A; Yes it will. There are some limitations, however.
1. The E-Advancer initially waits for a complete cycle of both magnets in a pair to prevent an out of time spark before firing on the next pair of magnets. This means that the engine could waste the first revolution and not start until the second revolution.
2. The E-Advancer has to "wake up" and that means that the capacitor has to get to at least 7.5 Volts with the kick.
3. The basic PAMCO will fire at the end of the first complete cycle of two magnets in a pair because it cannot fire out of sequence as it is strictly a mechanical device.
4. The basic PAMCO electronics wakes up with as little as three Volts.
5. The basic PAMCO will produce a spark with as little as 6 Volts on the capacitor.
One good feature of the E-Advancer is that it provides a retarded spark below 200 RPM, so that actually makes it easier to kick start with the limitations noted. I think that the retard feature compensates for the limitations to the extent that you will not notice the difference between the two systems. What we need here is someone with a PMA / E-Advancer / capacitor setup to tell us what his experience is.

Observation; .............That's certainly some good information on running with a PMA and a capacitor. Thanks Pete, I wouldn't have thought the E-advancer would have needed a battery based off my experience with the Boyer requiring a strong charged battery. Guess I shouldn't have assumed.

Q, ......I have a 81 xs650-H. I want to retain the battery and electric start. If I install the PMA & Pamco Ign., do I need to retain the IGNITOR?? Thanks for any advise.
A,......No....But it can be disconnected and left in place

Q; ..............With a capacitor wired like the diagram, "XS650 PMA Pamco Bare bones Wiring Diagram", (above), does it charge on first kick? I have a '76 XS 650, I am running the Pamco, Hugh's PMA, toggle on/off for main power and kill switch instead of a key, and I also run a fuse block. Bike is kick only, headlight/tail light.
I get nothing without using a battery, and if the battery gets low, the bike dies. Everything is wired/soldered like it should be.
Any advice on getting it to run with a cap and possibly why the cap is not getting a charge with everything being new?
I purchased 2 Sparx caps from lowbrow, so that is what I am using
A......... ProSimex; ............odd, yeah with my bike you can see the lights in my gauges light up every time i kick it over. I'm using a cheapo 25,000uf 35v cap, hhb pma, and points.
A.......... Pamcopete, ..........Go back and reread My standard recommendation

................. I'm confident I can put every thing in place properly per wiring diagram above. However, is there anything I can check on the individual components to make sure they will perform as they should prior to starting the motor?
-PMA is from Hugh
-Sparx capacitor (not sure which side is which + / -, but from what I have read the side with two terminals is the +)
-Pamco 277 (kit from mikes with the giant green coils) mechanical advance
-Plan is kick only, One main toggle after the main 20amp fuse, one toggle (kill on/off) and a 7.5amp fuse inline to the ignition circuit, and one other toggle for the headlight (on/off/on)
I have no problem using my battery temporarily for the initial start (I'm not sure exactly what this does, but I'm going to take Petes word for it)
Where exactly should I check the voltage during the initial start? And at what "High" voltage should I panic and shut it off if it does occur?

A. XSLeo,.........As you see in Pamcopetes standard recommendation, it lists a few possibilities when you start your bike with a PMA. Hooking a battery to just the ignition, starting the bike, the bike runs off the battery. The PMA can now be tested for proper function. With the bike at idle you should get about 12-13 volts or so. Rev the engine up a bit. About 2500 rpms, the voltage should come up to around 14.5 volts. If you rev it up more it should never go above 14.5 volts.
If you have no voltage, low voltage or high voltage, above 15 volts, you need to check the wiring on the stator to reg/rec and from the reg/rec to the cap and grounds.
Doing it this way is a safety measure to ensure the PMA is working before you wire the ignition to the PMA.
A high voltage spike of up to 20 volts can occur if the PMA isn't right. With the ignition wired to a spare battery the high voltage can't hurt the ignition. Maybe blow light bulbs but they won't cost much to replace.
Kyle, an engine stop switch with 6 wires? It must have more than just the engine stop switch. Is it a right side switch housing?
The engine stop switch needs at most two wires, power in, power out. Hook the power in after the main switch, power out goes to the Pamco and coil. You need to figure out which wires they are. A pic of your switch might help us help you.
On the 79 stock wiring the power wire to the coils is a red/white wire. It will have a two place female plug in on it. Attach bullet connectors to the red wire of the Pamco and one of the primary wires of the coil. Plug these into the connector on the red/white wires.
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NOTE: ....PamcoPete: ....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.

NOTE: .. PamcoPete; .....If you are using the original "Green Monster" coil, I would also suggest that you take this opportunity to replace it with either the 17-6822 or 17-6903 "Ultimate" coil from MikesXS.
I would also suggest that you take this occasion to check your charging system after you get the PAMCO fixed. Look especially for a high battery voltage with the engine at 3,000+ RPM for a minute or so after it has recovered from recharging the battery after starting.

Tips - Repairs.

Hints at timing the PAMCO E-Advancer:
1; Be sure your idle speed is at or below 1200 RPM. The E-Advance introduces advance starting at 1300 RPM, so any idle speed above 1200 will cause you to adjust the plate to eliminate this advance, and you may run out of room before you do.
2; Your timing light works best with a negative spark p,lug voltage. The dual output coil produces that on just one of the plug wires, the other one will be positive, which can cause the timing light to be erratic or false timing indications. This is true for any ignition using a dual output coil, not just the PAMCO. Try using the other plug wire.
3; There is a slight amount of free play in both the magnet rotor and the cap that replaces the advance. Try holding either or both of these in the opposite direction needed when tightening the shaft nuts to move the timing within the loadable range.
4; A loose timing chain or a worn out timing chain can put the timing mark out of the desired adjustment range. Correct whatever is the issue with your timing chain before attempting to set the timing.
5; Those fancy, expensive timing lights with the built in advance preset should not be used as they can introduce unwanted delays in the flash of the timing light. Set them to zero or don't user them. This is true for any ignition installed in the XS650 or any motorcycle engine

Instillation of the advance rod bushings from MikesXS for the TCI motors.
Pamco Pete's Tip,..........Installing the pamco is easy, not too many tools needed. You will need a timing light.
If you got the kit from mikes the bushes that come with it needs to have the outer dimensions checked some have been to large for the cam and if forced into the cam it will split the end of the cam. they need to go in tight but not too tight.
I had 2 the were too large slightly I took a bic pen and some tape around the end of pen just large enough to put the bush on where it will stay there. then I put the pen into a drill then I got some 500 grit emery cloth.turned on the drill then while the bush was spinning used the emery cloth to sand off the outer side of the bush until I could get the bush to fit into the cam with some resistance.

Repair of the Hall affect censer.

Check solder on the board.............Like all good things, nothing is perfect.
vsop-dk; Scroll down to post #17

A Recent installation and Template Bracket for the coil mount
By Maxpete

How to ground your spark Plug .

Search resaults for "Pamco Ignition"[title_only]=1&c[node]=2
Links used for this thread
Pamco Electronic ignition vs. high output?
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You guy's are the BEST.............. tim
Great write up! I guess that I did not realize how much information has been posted about the PAMCO all these years and this summary brings a lot of the pertinent information and tips together in one thread. I know I have been remiss in responding to inquiries from PAMCO users recently and can really not offer a good excuse but try to be more responsive going forward. Thank you for your patience.
Hey Pete, maybe this was addressed admittedly I didn't read every word in depth, but I did scan through looking for the answer.
when I installed the pamco on a second motor and first fired it off it was sparking from the rotor to the wires, or the wires to the rotor however you want.
I backed of the nut on the rotor side. The split washer is still flat but it is about half a turn looser than what I had it. The green wire has a small bare spot from the rubbing. There is about 1/16 inch side play in the rod. Could I use a thin washer on the end of the rod to step the rotor out a bit and the pickup still work?

Thanks for the reply . Ill take my question to the garage section . Is pamco better that boyer before my 14 day returns times out on the kit . Thanks
Good info, well worth a "bump". :cool:
From a post by @650trader 3-2021, Mebbie not the only story but seems like a credible timeline of the life and times of the Pamco ignition, a device that played a significant part in the enduring popularity of the XS650.
"Demise of the Pamco ? Peter Mclean and Mike Lalonde co developed the ignition and Mike brought
the sales to a high level. Peter is 80 and just decided to shut the biz down and retire. He did not
want to sell the business as he did Not trust the new owners of Mikes XS and they simply copied
what peter developed but not being so smart they missed a number of key important details.
As for as the flywheel magneto they sell they are nothing but trouble and peter designed his system for the stock oem
system. XS Direct was a distributor set up by Mike for Canada as shipping to Canada was good but once the parts hit the border
it typically took 2-3 more weeks to arrive . If you want parts made in Japan, Taiwan or China you need to know
a few things and not just dump the part off without giving technical specs and design details. The current owners
( Since 2011 ) have no idea. Mike has no parts made in China but does no makers there and see's that their goal
is to upgrade the Quality of everything they make."
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Regarding the PAMCO on initial start up--I read thru Pete's advice that a person should hook a battery up and have the ignition system separate upon initial start up and then check the PMA to make sure on voltage or you could fry things---where is the best spot to measure voltage coming out of the PMA--do I just do that at my fuse box or capacitor? Thanks and sorry if I missed it somewhere in this thread or anywhere else.
Need help with my e-advancer. The labeling sticker is not on the box and I need to know which side is the cool side and which side is the trigger side. Anybody with an e-advancer, could you show me a picture of your advancer chip and where your wires lead. Asap. Please please please and thank you.