How to choose the right breathalyzer
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How To Choose The Right Breathalyzer

Among the electronic breathalyzers produced globally, we can determine three main categories:

  • Semiconductor
  • Electrochemical (Fuel Cell)
  • Infrared

Among the electronic breathalyzers produced globally, we can determine three main categories:

  • Semiconductor
  • Electrochemical (Fuel Cell)
  • Infrared

 

Semiconductor breathalyzers

Among the many models of semiconductor breathalyzers available on the market, you will not find any that will provide the accuracy, stability and repeatability of the results for which calibration laboratories or the producer will take full legal responsibility, and under which a person may decide to perform a test drive.

Most people buy these devices and come to the conclusion that things such as peppermint candy can interfere with the readings. This is because semiconductor breathalyzer results are affected by many factors such as the type of food intake, acetone, and many other substances present in the mouth, including peppermint, smoke, tobacco, tea, and coffee, as well as the temperature, humidity, etc. The biggest disadvantage of these devices is that after a few months of use, they may produce measurement errors of several hundred percent! Semiconductor breathalyzers need to be recalibrated much more frequently.

Electrochemical (Fuel Cell) breathalyzers dare often used by the police due to a very small measurement error, which is achieved through a built-in electrochemical sensor. The electrochemical sensor is used for its chemical aspect. The sensor reacts to the alcohol molecules, which are a precisely defined quantity of exhaled air that is sucked by the pump to the sensor in the final stage of blowing. These kind of breathalyzers can be used to test more people at once and do not require frequent recalibration.

Infrared breathalysers are very expensive and usually used in laboratories where very accurate measuring results are needed.


 

 

Semiconductor

Electrochemical

Infrared

Sensor

Semiconductor

Electrochemical

Infrared

Price

10 - 100 GBP

100 - 2000 GBP

above 2000 GBP

Application

As a pre-screening device used by individual users. Typically, the margin of error is so large and variable in time that the producers do not specify it.

Usually models are portable devices used primarily as evidence by the police all over the world. Approximately +/- 5% margin of error at 0.4 mg / l

Usually used in laboratory. Devices for accurate measurements

Susceptibility to confounding factors such as the type of measurement or food intake

Yes

No

No

Effect of low battery on the result

Semiconductor sensors must be heated to high temperatures as they require a lot of power. In case of low battery, sensor is not able to warm up and leads to a large measurement error.

No effect

No effect

Sensor life

At concentrations higher than acceptable, you can immediately burn the sensor or recalibrate.

About 5 years

Not Specified

Repeatability time

Unstable

Depends on the type of sensor used.

 

Stable

 

Calibration of equipment

If you notice incorrect results, you should return the breathalyzer to the seller to check device accuracy. Such breathalyzers need to be calibrated every 6 months. Note that this type of breathalyzers can start showing inaccurate results even after a few tests if not used properly.

Breathalyzers require calibration every 6-18 months.

Not Specified

 

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