Sunday, November 1, 2015

Winter Traction and Power Distribution

I took advantage of the fresh snow to try out the tire chains on the Ural. I put four (eight cross links) on the pusher to see if that was enough and if they cleared the drive shaft. I am still using the leather straps as I hadn't fitted the velcro straps yet. With just these, I drove around including more than a few stops on the steeper hills and deeper snow. They seemed to work pretty well. Very little wheelspin except when I tried climbing a steep slope in reverse. It was pretty challenging to get them installed on the wheel in the correct location so the strap wouldn't touch the drive shaft.

It was a much cooler ride this morning at +9°F but wonderfully bright and sunny. I finally got around to installing a few more studs in the pusher. I was reminded that I needed to put a few more in when 2WD was needed to get up our subdivision road. I used the studs that I removed from the tires last spring. Since this was last years sidecar tire, there is still plenty of tread left to screw in the studs.

A little over a year ago, when I installed the heated grips and the outlet for the heated gear, I installed a relay under the seat that was triggered by power to the electronic ignition module. This way the gear would shut off with the engine. There are more "elegant" methods. I picked up the Rowe Electronics PDM60 on sale on Amazon after reading about it on ADVrider. It simplifies the installation of accessories as it has one connection to the positive terminal of the battery, a low current ground connection and a sense connection to a switched connection. For the switched connection, I used the same connection to the no longer used electronic ignition module. The LED lights show the status of each circuit. In case of overload, the color changes to red. And just by cycling the ignition power, the circuit will reset. Simpler than changing fuses. Total current handling capacity is 60 amps.

It has six circuits and you program it using software (Windows only!) through a USB connection. You can set the current limit for each connection, whether it is switched by +12 or a ground connection or both, and startup and shutdown delays. I'm currently using three of the six circuits. One for the heated grips, another for heated gear and the third for the GPS. I still need to install the horn again and will use the one high current (20 amp) circuit for that. I set a 10 second delay on to limit draw on the battery while cranking the engine. I set a delay for the GPS of 600 seconds so that it will remain running during gas stops.

I was thinking that the software wouldn't run under Windows 8.1 as it wasn't seeing the device via USB. A search of the web site indicated that there are fewer problems if it is disconnected from power. There is no mention of that in the included documentation. A pretty cool device and smaller than an auxiliary fuse box.

It felt kind of nice to be able to remove all of the inline fuses that were installed under the seat for all of the accessories. Much cleaner installation. Who would've thought that a non-EFI Ural would need a laptop connected to it.


  1. Well, if nothing else, Richard, the chains give that wheel a pretty mean look.

    1. I'm really not sure whether they were designed for regular use. Especially with a leather strap.

  2. Richard, I think that device is pretty cool. I only partly can keep up with what it's doing but I'm going to look into it further.

    Those Urals are full of surprises it would seem and someday I'm hoping to experience some of those surprises!

    1. The tangle of inline fuses and the relay under the Ural's seat was not scalable. It took a 17mm socket w/ short extension, 5mm allen wrench, and 8mm wrench just to get to them. Alright in a pinch but not for long term. The power distribution module basically replaced the fuses and the relay. One of the future plans is to install a toggle switch to the ground switch cable to control power to the sidecar fuse box. So if either the switch is on or the ignition, the sidecar fusebox (and accessories) will have power. For now, the only sidecar accessories are the two USB ports and an outlet for heated gear.

      The Ural is very practical winter transportation. Plus it's fun...