How does a breathalyser work?
Once alcohol has been absorbed into your bloodstream, it is evaporated into your exhaled breath through blood capillaries in your lungs. This is how the breathalyser can read your BAC through your breath. For the most accurate reading the breathalyser will need a deep lung sample of your breath, this is why you are required to exhale your breath for a certain amount of time for higher quality samples.
Why do I need a breathalyser?
Breathalysers are handy for anyone who consumes alcohol. Quite often people are not aware exactly how much alcohol they can consume and still be under the legal limit. There are different factors that can affect a persons BAC as well as the rate the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream. These factors include food and drink, smoking and weight. A person may seem to be sober but that does not mean they are under the legal limit.
What's the difference between Semi-Conductor and Fuel Cell Breathalysers?
There are two types of breathalysers on the market, traditional units with semi-conductor sensors and higher accuracy units with fuel cell sensors.
Australian Police are using fuel cell sensor breathalysers and have been for some time. One of the reasons for this is that fuel cell sensors last longer then semi-conductor sensors, allowing more accurate readings before the sensor needs to be recalibrated or replaced. Please see below more information regarding the differences between these two technologies.
Advantages of Semi-Conductor Breathalyzers:
An economical method to determine blood alcohol level, keeping the cost of the unit lower.
Semi-conductors are accurate and very sensitive to any chemical substances.
Ideal for personal breathalyzers and for low-volume professional testing.
Disadvantages of Semi-Conductor Breathalyzers:
Accuracy declines after 250-350 uses or 6 months, after which the unit must be calibrated or have the sensor replaced.
Sensors can decrease in accuracy even when not in use.
Advantages of Fuel Cell Breathalysers:
Fuel cell breathalysers are more accurate, detecting blood alcohol reading to 3 decimal places.
Reduces false readings from substances such as ketones that are similar in chemical structure to alcohol.
Calibration lasts 3-5x longer than Semi-Conductor Breathalysers.
Accuracy does not deteriorate when the unit is not in use.
Gives the user 700-1000 uses before calibration needed.
Why does my breathalyser need to be returned for calibration?
The sensor in the breathalyser degrades over time and with repeated usage making readings less acccurate. Having the unit calibrated ensures the sensor is able to focus on continuing to detect accurate readings of BAC in your body. Some breathalysers allow you to simply replace the sensor yourself while others require you to send the unit back so we can recalibrate the sensor for you.
If your unit needs to be calibrated all you need to do is send your unit back to us at Security Gear with a service request form and we’ll send it back to you as good as new and as quickly as possible.
How often do I need to have my breathalyser recalibrated?
This depends on the type of sensor that is in the unit and how often it is used. Generally you will get 2-3x more life out of a fuel cell sensor than you will get with a semi-conductor sensor. Please see each product item to see how many uses or length of time you will get out of sensor or contact us for more details.