Review: PDM-60 Power Distribution Module

Feb 25, 2014 View Comments by

Review: PDM-60 Power Distribution ModuleIf you’re one of the many touring riders who can’t resist a good farkle or two, or 10, you may have reached the point where your bike’s battery is obscured by the spaghetti-like tangle of wires connected to it. While this setup may be somewhat functional, it’s neither ideal nor particularly safe. And if, heaven forbid, you have to remove or change your battery, it’s going to be a major hassle. That’s where the PDM-60 comes in. It connects directly to your battery, and its six circuits give you a secure and easy way to connect your devices.

To install the PDM-60, simply attach the heavy red cable to the positive battery terminal and then connect the unit to either the negative terminal or a suitable ground location on the frame. Next, find a switched power source (one that activates when the bike’s ignition turns on) and connect the gray wire. This allows the PDM-60 to remain dormant (not drawing any power) until you start your bike. From there, all you have to do is connect your gizmos.

It sounds simple, and it is, but where the PDM really sets itself apart is in its ability to be programmed. The device is capable of handling a total load of 60 amps, and each individual circuit comes preset to a specific load. The factory programmed output goes like this: circuits one and two, 5 amps; circuits three and six, 10 amps; four and five, 15 amps. The load settings can be customized to fit the specific needs of your application(s) by plugging the PDM into a PC with the included USB cable (unfortunately the system isn’t Mac compatible). From the PC, you can then alter the amperage for each circuit (circuits two, three, and six have a 10 amp max, while 15 amps are the limit for one and four, and circuit five can handle up to 20 amps). You can also control the trigger activation for each circuit. Activation choices are ignition trigger, ground trigger, both ignition and ground, either ignition or ground, always live, or off. Ignition trigger activates the circuit when the bike’s ignition is switched on. Ground trigger goes live when a ground signal is detected. Always on stays live as long as the battery has juice. Off deactivates a circuit that’s not being used.

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 9.36.02 AMThe last programmable function is a time delay. The “Delay On” setting refers to the amount of time after the PDM receives an activation signal that it sends power to the circuits. This can be set from zero (no delay) to 240 seconds (four minutes). This allows all available power to be used to start the motorcycle’s engine before distributing it to the PDM’s circuits. The “Delay Off” setting allows you to set the length of time a circuit stays live after the ignition is turned off up to 10 minutes.

Diagnosing problems is simple too. Each circuit has an LED indicator that lets you know what’s going on. Green means that everything’s right with the world, amber means the circuit is either inactive or has an intermittent fault. If the red light glows, you know the circuit has a fault.

The PDM-60 is compatible with pretty much any 12-volt system and draws so little power that even a CAN-bus-equipped motorcycle won’t know it’s there. In a sense, the PDM-60 brings order to farkle wiring chaos. It allows you to perfectly set the power delivery parameters for each electronic device connected to your bike and eliminates the need for fuses and relays. So if you need some help cleaning up that tangled mess under your seat, the PDM-60 may be for you.

Price: $199.99
www.altrider.com

 

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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.