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What are Digital Alcohol Breathalyzers?
Digital alcohol breathalyzers, or digital breath alcohol analyzers, are handy portable devices that one can use to instantly trace alcohol levels in the breath of an individual.
Most of these devices are small, battery-powered units that use highly accurate fuel cell sensor technology (also known as an electrochemical sensor) or semi-conductor oxide sensors. Some models may also contain an advanced electric exhale pressure monitor, which helps in ensuring that an accurate breath sample is obtained.
The detection range for most of the sensors is 0.00 to 0.40% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) and the more professional-grade digital breathalyzers meet Department Of Transportation and/or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines.
Who uses Digital Breathalyzers?
There are a number of professional and non-professional uses for digital breathalyzers.
With extremely accurate breathalyzers coming in easy-to-use and convenient sizes now, more and more individuals are keeping one on them so they can test themselves prior to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Digital breathalyzers help people avoid the dangers of drinking and the severe consequences associated with a DUI arrest and conviction.
Digital breathalyzers provide families with a quick, convenient, and highly accurate method of measuring a person's BAC or testing for the presence of alcohol, even in trace amounts.
Concerned parents wondering about their teens' drinking habits or family members who need to monitor another family member's drinking will find these breathalyzers useful.
The last thing that any employer who employs drivers wants is for an employee to crash a vehicle, but the situation would be made a thousand times worse if the employee crashes a vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol. Buying and using a digital breathalyzer can potentially avoid thousands of driving fatalities, workplace injuries and expenses related to accidents, not to mention helping to keep their employees and the general public more safe.
And not just for use on employees, breathalyzers can also be used by employers on customers who may leave a business under the influence of alcohol, potentially causing problems for the business.
Alcoholism Treatment Providers
Professional-grade digital breathalyzers are used to test patients' BAC levels in hospitals, treatment centers, clinics and recovery centers.
They are useful monitoring tools to support efforts to curb alcohol consumption where required.
The most obvious professional use for digital breathalyzers is in law enforcement.
Roadside evidential testing is now permitted using approved fuel cell breathalyzers in over 30 US states.
How do Alcohol Breathalyzers? work?
Fuel Cell Sensors
A fuel cell breathalyzer measures the concentration of alcohol in a breath sample by measuring the amount of electrical voltage that is created when alcohol compounds are oxidized by the fuel cell sensors. The more alcohol that is present, the greater the voltage the fuel cell generates, leading to a higher reading.
A semiconductor sensor uses an oxide sensor to measure the reactivity between the tin dioxide (SnO2) in the sensor and the ethanol molecules in the breath sample. When the ethanol molecules come into contact with the tin dioxide, the reaction changes the electrical resistance of the sensor. The semiconductor measures this difference and calculates an estimate of the BAC of the sample.
Semiconductor sensors are not quite as accurate or reliable as fuel cell sensors, but are generally less expensive and a good fit for individual use. Professional grade breathalyzers generally use fuel cell technology.