This is a Fluke non contact AC voltage detector. The tip lights up in red if the detector is placed near a live AC source over 90 Volts. 

Before you use it you must test it each time and make sure it lights up from a known source. The tip will light up momentarily from static electricity but it takes a live AC source over 90 Volts to make it light continuously.  I use this for AC troubleshooting. If something isn't working I start back as far as I have to go to detect AC present and then I keep working forward until I find what the problem is. It will read voltage through the insulation of a wire, even a shore power cable.

I also use it every time I open up an AC panel for inspection. I know I unplugged the boat and disconnected the inverter but maybe there is something I forgot to do.  Before I go touching anything I make sure its not live.

This particular one is by Fluke and has an on/off switch.  I have an older one without a switch, its powered by a AA battery which seems to last forever.  I have seen many similar devices on sale, in hardware stores, Home Depot etc.  They range from $15-25 and are well worth the money.  I think every boat with shore power should carry one.

We don't sell these at PKYS since they are so widely available but I though I would share this handy tip with you anyway. For more on AC electrical supplies visit our section on Shore Power.

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