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Peter Kennedy has been in  business since 1991 designing, installing and servicing marine electrical systems. The purpose of this blog is to offer support to both professional installers and  do-it-yourself boat owners who wish to undertake this work themselves.
Peter Kennedy has been in  business since 1991 designing, installing and servicing marine electrical systems. The purpose of this blog is to offer support to both professional installers and  do-it-yourself boat owners who wish to undertake this work themselves.

Non Contact AC Voltage detector

Posted by Peter Kennedy on 10/19/2013 to Safety
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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