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Is the BACtrack S35 Accurate?

08 May, 2023

A woman showing a portable breathalyser

Nowadays, people can easily manage their alcohol consumption thanks to portable breathalysers. A device like the BACtrack S35 is a helpful tool for measuring Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). It is one of the tiniest alcohol testers, designed with style, portability, and ease of use. Additionally, the S35 utilises the advanced MicroCheck sensor of BACtrack. The technology has a patented burn-in process for higher performance. Therefore, it delivers accurate BAC results.

Law enforcement places more sobriety checkpoints to help minimise drink driving incidents. Roadside breath tests measure a motorist’s BAC to see if it is over the limit. Thus, many people opt for a personal device to help control their alcohol levels. Conveniently, breathalysers have become more affordable for consumer use since their first release. The following sections will cover the accuracy and features of the S35 breathalyser and an understanding of the BAC results.

The Accuracy of the BACtrack S35

The BACtrack S35 features an advanced MicroCheck semiconductor sensor to measure the BAC accurately. Semiconductor sensors use a tin-oxide substance that undergoes a chemical process when it comes in contact with alcohol. The internal reaction turns into acetic acid and water, generating small electrical currents. Additionally, the change in sensor resistance is subsequently measured based on the number of currents. The output in sensors and alcohol concentration is directly related and converting it into the BAC.

Semiconductor breathalysers are sensitive to alcohol and other gases with similar compounds. Thus, the presence of other substances in the breath may interfere with the BAC readings. On the other hand, the MicroCheck breathalysers of BACtrack, like the S35, go through a patented burn-in process that equalises the response. As a result, the S35 delivers more accurate results than standard semiconductor breathalysers. It is one of the most affordable alcohol testers with high reliability.

Furthermore, the BACtrack S35 has a wide detection range of 0.00% to 0.400% BAC. Therefore, it can trace alcohol concentrations over a complete range expected in the breath. Portable breathalysers are helpful when testing the intoxication level after alcohol consumption. However, it is worth noting that results from personal devices are not admissible in court. Therefore, individuals must ensure to have accurate readings, especially when deciding to drive.

What to Avoid During a Breath Test

  • Using a breathalyser right after eating, drinking or smoking. It is vital to wait 15-20 minutes
  • Mouthwash, mint gums or breath sprays before the test
  • Taking the test in a room filled with smoke, alcohol vapours, paint fumes
  • Taking the test in extreme temperatures
  • Hyperventilating or holding the breath

A woman conducting a breath test using a personal BACtrack breathalyser

Features of the BACtrack S35

The BACtrack S35 integrates a user-friendly design for quick alcohol breath tests. It has a one-button operation to enable testing in seconds. To use a breathalyser, just press the power button and wait for the sensors to warm up. Then, blow to the mouthpiece at the start signal. The device analyses the breath sample and delivers the BAC results on an easy-to-read LCD screen within 10 seconds.

The S35 also has an effective breath capture system that ensures only the exhaled air goes through the sensors for analysis. It includes using a mini pump that activates at the end of each test. As a result, it minimises the possible contamination of alcohol residue in the mouth. Moreover, the mouthpiece helps prevents external air or fumes from entering, which may interfere with the readings. The extra mouthpieces allow you to share the breathalyser with others for hygienic reasons.

It is critical to recalibrate breathalysers regularly. The sensors accumulate alcohol residue over time, which may cause inconsistent readings. Hence, regular maintenance helps ensure the sensors are working optimally. The BACtrack S35 has a six-month recommended timeframe or for every 300 tests. Not sending the unit on time may harm the sensors. Additionally, only trained technicians can service the device. Do not attempt to open the breathalyser, as it may cause damage and void the warranty.

Benefits of Portable Breathalysers

  • non-invasive sampling procedure compared to urine or blood alcohol tests
  • give instant results
  • a straightforward process of performing the test
  • more affordable than professional breathalysers used in roadside testing or workplaces
  • efficient for rapid screening needs without regard for the actual alcohol amount
  • give dependable results following the guidelines of breathalyser use

Alcoholic drinks in a bar

The BACtrack S35 Breathalyser and BAC Results

Breathalysers give rapid BAC readings in seconds, enabling individuals to make informed decisions. It also aids in a better understanding of how alcohol affects the body. The BACtrack S35 displays the BAC results in percentage relative to the alcohol concentration in the bloodstream. For example, a 0.05% BAC equals 0.05g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The 0.05% BAC is the legal limit for fully licensed holders in Australia.

For people not to exceed 0.05% BAC, they must know what affects their BAC level. The main contributor to the increase in BAC is the type of drink and its alcohol content. Various alcoholic beverages have different strengths. Additionally, how fast a person drinks can cause the BAC to rise rapidly compared to slow drinking. The body absorbs alcohol rapidly through the bloodstream, causing intoxication within minutes. Hence, the waiting period is vital for the body to process alcohol.

Moreover, various individual factors influence the BAC. These include age, gender, weight, body fat, food intake, metabolism, and medications. For instance, older people tend to process alcohol slower. Likewise, drinking on an empty stomach enables alcohol to pass into the bloodstream quickly. While food may slow down absorption, it does not completely stop it. Therefore, people who test their BAC using a breathalyser like BACtrack S35 are unlikely to have the same results.

BAC Level Interpretation

  • 0.01-0.03%: feelings of relaxation or euphoria, elevated mood
  • 0.04-0.06%: lowered inhibitions, minor impairment in judgement and memory
  • 0.07-0.09%: impairment in speech, vision, balance, hearing and reaction time
  • 0.10-0.20%: significant impairment of judgement and motor coordination, the beginning of unwell feeling
  • 0.20 and above: nausea, lack of physical control, mental confusion, possible blackout and alcohol poisoning

Conclusion

The BACtrack S35 breathalyser is a reliable device for quick alcohol screening. It utilises MicroCheck semiconductor technology and advanced functions to estimate the BAC accurately. Therefore, it can deliver more dependable results than standard semiconductor breathalysers in the market. However, semiconductor sensors are susceptible to false readings due to the presence of interfering substances. Therefore, following the guidelines in alcohol breath testing is important. Additionally, keeping the device recalibrated regularly helps maintain long-term accuracy.

Using a portable alcohol tester has significantly improved the safety of consumers rather than second guessing. There are also advanced breathalysers suitable for people needing high accuracy. For instance, breathalysers with fuel cell sensors provide high precision because of their specificity to ethanol. They are personal devices with police-grade accuracy. Moreover, the fuel cell sensor is the technology used by police officers and workplaces for valid and reliable results. You may visit Breathalysers Australia for more upgraded styles and features.

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