Tuesday, September 27, 2022


RV Electricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Where did the Power Pal 50-amp tester go?

By Mike Sokol

Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM

Dear Mike,
A company with the name “Pal” in it produced a tester that plugged directly into a 50-amp pedestal outlet that allowed you to check both legs of power. I can’t find them online and wanted to know if they are still available. Do you know of them and have you ever tested one? THANKS,  Bob

Dear Bob,
That’s an easy one, but I don’t have a happy answer for you. This product was called Power Pal, and it was a pretty slick tester that plugged into a 50-amp pedestal outlet. I did a little research on them years ago and found that this was a one-off project and only a single product run was produced. Once they ran out of product they didn’t do another run and no more were available for sale.

While their website is no longer live, I was able to use a neat web utility called the Wayback Machine to find an old webpage and grab the screenshot below. I do think there was a real need for this sort of product 10 or 15 years ago, but once EMS/advanced surge protectors with a built-in voltage meter became available there was not much need for this kind of tester. This was a product ahead of its time that just didn’t catch on quickly enough to be profitable to manufacture and sell.

OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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2 years ago

i have, use and love our Power Pal. sorry to hear this was a limited run item.

2 years ago

I have been building Power/Pedestal Testers for RVer’s for a number of years now. Frankly, the device that I build was a step above the 50 Amp Power Pal shown above as mine will also test for any “Fake 50 Amp” pedestal whereas the Power Pal does not. I build these for people who are electrically challenged or prefer not to take the time to collect all of the material to build one themselves. Many of my customers have commented back to me that it has saved them from many disastrous situations. I use it to test the pedestal at my assigned site PRIOR to taking the time to back in and get situated only to find out that there is a problem with the pedestal requiring us to move to a different site. It has also saved some of my customers from destroying their male plug on their power cord when the female receptacle was defective or had a bunch of bugs setup home in the receptacle.

2 years ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

I’ve similarly used “standard” 3-light testers and voltmeters to make my own cobbled tester, and last year built an ugly all-in-one prototype that tests for hot-skin as well (google “impossible tester” on youtube). I’m currently working in my “spare time” (ha ha ha) to miniaturize and convert it to an english-language OLED display. As you noted, the PowerPal above isn’t that complicated if you understand what it does.

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