Rowe Electronics Power Distribution Module PDM60: anybody try one?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by John Smallberries, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. BMWzenrider

    BMWzenrider The Road Scholar

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    I don't see any need for the Positite connectors unless you intend to submerge your GS for LONG periods of time... :deal

    I have been using the standard PosiLock connectors on my sidecar rigs for many years of rain/snow/road-salt abuse with not one single failure.

    Just give a squirt of dielectric grease into the end before you tighten down to keep moisture out if you are really worried...
    #21
  2. Spam16v

    Spam16v Squid Rocket

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    yeah.... and then why wouldn't you put them on an ignition controlled circuit so when the key is off and you're inherently not driving, your driving lights for driving are then off? I'm not understanding your logic either.
    #22
  3. Bill P.

    Bill P. n00b

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    It's my understanding, from reading through the documentation of the PDM60, that:

    1) There is a built-in (i.e., you don't add your own relay) provision for adding a switch to only one of the six circuits.
    2) And if you make use of that provision, it changes that circuit from an ignition-on circuit into a circuit controlled only by the switch (i.e., no longer by the ignition). Or maybe that circuit is always hot, regardless; I'm not sure.

    Of course, I may have misinterpreted the documentation, but I believe I am correct. I am referring to the "Optional switch input" discussion on the second page. It states, when opting to add your own switch, that:

    The optional switch input controls the #1 circuit and is for loads up to 15 AMPS. To enable the switch, simply route the blue wire (Connector Pin 1) to a low current SPST (Single Pole Single Throw - On/Off) switch. Route the other side of the switch to ground, preferable on the ground buss of the PDM60. Circuit 1 is not controlled by the ignition trigger wire. This circuit is intended for use with driving lamps or other accessories which you would not likely forget to turn off.

    So, by way of explanation, that sums up what I think of as a shortcoming. That is, the device provides one easy method of adding a switch to control one circuit, but that circuit is always hot. And, as they say, it then becomes your responsibility to not "forget to turn [it] off."

    I've added Motolights to each of my last three bikes. (I realize they are not great driving lights. I mostly appreciate their rugged construction and use them more for conspicuity than for added illumination for my use. But let's not go there just now, okay?) In any event, I've always had a switch to turn them on and off whenever I felt that it was appropriate to do so, and I've always had them powered via a relay, which in turn was triggered by something that was on only when the ignition was switched on (i.e., they could not be inadvertantly left on, nor could someone flip them on when the bike was parked).

    Now - again, if I understand the documention - you can certainly add a relay and a switch to one of the other circuits in the device. But if you do so, you're turning the device into an expensive "manual" fuse block, is all. That is, you're not making much use of the electronics in the device; that is, the device is not functioning as a sort of super-relay for you, and - it seems to me - you might as well just use one of the other less expensive fuse blocks that John referred to in his original post (except that, yes, you still get the benefit of solid-state "fuses"). (And I realize that you could skip the relay, and just put an in-line switch into one of your farkles that's using one of the other circuits, but it's been my experience that putting full juice in a series switch is not a great idea.)

    I'm not trying to be cantankerous or a smart-aleck here. I hope I've just made a better explanation of what I see as a shortcoming. I'd rather that there was a provision for just as easily adding an optional switch to something that was still, ultimately, controlled by the ignition. I can see the use of always-on circuits (e.g., an alarm). And I can see the use of no switches on an ignition-controlled circuit (I do this now, for instance, for running lights - I changed the front turn signals from single-filament to dual-filament sockets and bulbs). And I can see the usefulness of adding a switch to an ignition-controlled circuit (e.g., my Motolights). But I cannot see the usefulness of adding a switch to an always-hot circuit; I imagine that someone has a good use for that, but I certainly would prefer an easily-added switch for an ignition controlled circuit.

    That's all I'm saying. Make sense to anyone else? Don't any of you have switchable driving lights? And if you do, don't you prefer not to have to remember to turn them off (if they were on) when you turn off the bike? If you answered "Yes" to these questions, or you were adding new lights, wouldn't it be nice to be able to skip the relay and associated wiring, especially if you just spent $109 on a control box?
    #23
  4. Arby60

    Arby60 Bluegrass Rider

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    I have what may be a dumb question. I looked at the specs. on this unit. I see three 5 amp circuits and three 15 amp circuits. It would seem that the 5 amp circuits might be of little use. Kind of like the 5 amp connector on the rear of my GS. Inadequate for any of my needs. Am I way off base here?
    #24
  5. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

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    The 5A circuits would be fine for LED lights, a GPS or an intercom system, but not enough power for clothing, horns or regular driving/fog lights.
    #25
  6. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    I think this is the most fundamental limitation of the device: lack of flexibility in current fusing.

    My initial view was to use the two 15 amp circuits for aux lights and heated clothing. Now that I fully understand the Clearwater Krista lights - I will likely change that. These lights come with a fairly sophisticated control module and wiring harness of their own and recommend a direct battery connection with inline fuse included. This controller is intended to be tied to the ignition, for which one of the 5-amp circuits would work fine. This is overkill. I could tie directly into an ignition-switched circuit as this is only a "turn me on" signal, not a significant current load.

    I also learned the my 1200GS has an unused pigtail taped up near the handle bars that provides an ignition-controlled power lead for a GPS. I could use this for my iPhone and/or Zumo (if I take the plunge on this expensive gadget).

    So - I may end up having a free 15 amp circuit (still want a fused lead for heat), use one 5-amp for the Kristas, one 5-amp for various aux LEDs (airbag sensor, LEDs on my handle guards, etc.) I may also include a simple USB adaptor to charge my Cardo Scala G4 unit.

    I realize I could also forgo this module altogether with the tiniest of fuse blocks being all I really need.
    #26
  7. testrider

    testrider Been here awhile

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    I recently saw a fancy power distribution unit that has a remote wireless control panel to let you switch on/off any of the circuit and it can be used as temperature control for the heated gear too:

    http://www.arborealsystems.com/Dispatch_1.html
    #27
  8. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Great idea - obnoxious, huge, ugly-ass display/control unit! It looks like it belongs on a factory-floor lathe, not a motorcycle.

    Good to have options!
    #28
  9. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Pete, one of the technical experts at Aerostich, sent me more information in response to the questions posted:

    "The PDM (and all output circuits) is grounded by the main ground cable (either to the negative terminal on the battery or to the frame). If a direct ground to a device is desired, you would plug one of the included ground wires (16" black wires with attached connector) into the opening above the corresponding circuit wire and complete the circuit using your own wires and splices.

    If driving lights were wired to Circuit #1 they would be able to be activated by passersby (unless, perhaps deactivated by a second hidden switch?) Personally, I think the Circuit #1 would be a good choice for GPS, alarm system, or auxillary power outlet (or all of these). In areas prone to tampering, using one of the ignition switched circuits, might be a safer option for driving lights.

    The PDM60 is a very adaptable device, limited only by the creativity of the user. There is almost no way to damage the unit and if something is wired incorrectly will provide you with an error message in which case you correct the problem and reset the unit.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if we can clarify anything.

    Pete
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #29
  10. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

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    It appears that the positive leads already come attached and the ground leads can be added as needed.
    If you only use a few of the circuits you are going to be left with a big bundle of wires,or else you cut them off.
    Too bad they don't sent the colored positive wires loose,like the grounds.Then you use only what you need.

    Otherwise,seems like a nice system!

    JR356
    #30
  11. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    That makes a pile of sense. It is a good question for Pete at Aerostich. I'll send a note.
    #31
  12. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Here is my exchange with Pete at Aerostich on your idea:

    answer from Pete:
    Interesting idea. I'm thinking its possible to remove any unused wires (we're checking on this right now). When you remove the interface plug, it looks like you could push out the plugs with a small screw driver or similar tool. We decided to install all the power leads to make it as easy as possible for folks to wire it up (but the ground leads are very optional).

    I'll forward your suggestion "upstairs" for future consideration.

    Pete

    my question::pete;
    Why don't you just ship the entire set of load leads (power and ground) separately, like the grounds? As you likely know, this module appeal to those who want the neatest, most orderly, aux wiring system they can make on their bike. Most are not likely to use all available circuits (I know I won't). It would be nice to do a "virgin" installation of the colored power wires we need and save the rest for future expansion. As it is, we will either need to cut off, or bundle and stow the unused circuits.

    Can we special-order them without any wires installed into the connector?
    #32
  13. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

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    Thanks for contacting them!

    JR356
    #33
  14. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Aerostich is very high on my vendor list as their people (thanks Pete and Ida) are very responsive to questions. Here is the last response I got from Pete on how to remove wires from the main plug. With this method, you can now customize the PDM60 to only use the number of circuits you want without any extra wires. The unused wires are easily removed from the main plug following the directions in the attached photo:

    [​IMG]

    I also confirmed with Glenn at Clearwater that the 15-amp circuit on the PDM60 is fully capable of running both a set of Krista and Glenda LED aux lights. I'm sold on this thing and waiting for Santa to bring it down the chimney.

    Just ask my daugther - she was very happy as well:
    [​IMG]
    (ask me about Ethiopian adoption anytime.....)
    #34
  15. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    She is a beautiful child, and your bike is WAY too clean!
    #35
  16. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    I took that the day I brought it home. This is it's punishment recently: [​IMG]
    #36
  17. genka

    genka SUV hater

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    It won't look to bad on ugly-industrial styled 1200GS. This thing has an unprecedented level of functionality. Not only it works like a fuse panel/ power distribution unit, but it integrates several adjustable heated gear controllers, switches for all outputs, USB chargers, voltmeter, ambient temperature and a clock. If you have a need for most of the above, it may be worth $400 investment.

    Your daughter is very cute!
    #37
  18. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Agree - buy one and let us all know how it works out. I'm going to try the Aerostich gizmo and will post photos, etc.

    There is no end to the opportunities to dump money into these bikes!:lol3

    Thanks!!!!
    #38
  19. srowe41

    srowe41 Mr. Resistor

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    There seems to be a lot of questions about the PDM60, how it works, what can be done with it, etc, so I'm going to offer to share a bit of information to help things along. I concieved the idea for the PDM60 and my company developed and builds the product. I can't sell them to you, that's what Aerostich does, but I can help them support the product so you better understand how it works. Unless of course they get pissed off about my posting here...Then they could be available direct.:wink:

    This may be a little dry to some, but it's the nuts and bolts of the product. The original concept of the PDM60 was to get around the Canbus system current draw limits on the newer BMW motorcycles. Mirroring some of the functionality with much greater current capacity, but it ended up being much more than that.

    The units available from Aerostich are configured to their specification but the product can be configured just about any way you want it as long as you keep the current draw max to 60 AMPs total with a per circuit max of 15 AMPs. The system features an ignition trigger which senses ignition on/off, if you want to use it, and we recommend you do; over current protection, easily resettable; diagnostic LED's so you know what it's doing and a choice of always on, ignition trigger on/off, variable time delay off (like for your GPS to stay on after the bike is off or for heated clothing to prevent battery run down). The auxiliary switch can be configured to work with the ignition trigger off, but the intent was for this feature to work with the ignition trigger for use on high draw items like driving lights and would not work with the system off. Thre are no replaceable parts to lose or corrode.

    With exception of some very early production units, the product can be reconfigured by the factory if you find the settings to be unacceptable. Addtionally, any properly equipped dealer/distributor will have capability to custom program the units after January 2011 when our "dashboard" software will be released.

    Wires can be removed from the connector if not needed, and we would be happy to provide them with no wires populated if the dealer/distributor is willing to order them that way. There is already a design change underway that will accomodate these needs.

    The product was built by and for a rider. It's completely waterproof, unlike other fuse type products available, and yes, it's more expensive than a fuse block, but they really aren't even in the same category.

    Any questions/comments/feedback would be welcome and appreciated.

    Ride safe and leave your fuses at home:clap

    Steve Rowe
    #39
  20. the kaz

    the kaz has become "FERAL"

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    How is the device "reconfigured" ? And would an advanced user be able to do it themselves ?
    #40