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Coin Operated Breathalyzer: The Need to Know

07 March, 2024

Three alcoholic beverages on a table

Law enforcement officers commonly use breathalyzers to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol. As such, breath-testing devices have become more in demand to avoid drink driving. A coin-operated breathalyzer is a machine that requires payment before allowing the individual to test their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels. It analyses the breath samples using fuel cell sensors and displays results on the LCD screen. Its operation necessitates one to blow into the straw and follow the instructions.

This type of breathalyzer is typically found in public spaces like bars, clubs, restaurants, and other establishments where people consume alcoholic beverages. In some places, it is an additional source of revenue. It helps people check their BAC levels before attempting to drive. Consequently, rhi can help reduce the risks of accidents and getting charged with drink driving. This article will present information on coin-operated breath testing machines, the technology behind them, and how to operate them.

What is a Coin-Operated Breathalyzer?

A coin-operated breathalyzer is a device that people can find in sports bars, clubs, restaurants, and other public spaces where alcohol consumption is common. It uses breath samples to measure the BAC level of the donor. However, this requires the individual to insert payment first, typically a coin, into the device before they can use it. Hence, the term coin-operated.

This alcohol screening device is wall-mounted, making it easy to spot inside the establishment. It can contribute to informed decision-making, leading to reduced cases of drink driving. In turn, this can help lessen the risk of accidents on the road. For some establishments, this breathalyzer machine can also be an additional revenue source.

Some workplaces also have wall-mounted breathalyzers for employees to use. Some may be coin-operated, but in many cases, it is usually for regular testing of the workers. It can have several features, depending on the model. These aid in making breath alcohol testing more efficient for people to use.

Features of the Breathalyzer

  • Replaceable breath alcohol sensor: device owners can replace the fuel cell sensor inside the device with a pre-calibrated sensor module, which enables ease of use and maintenance of the breath alcohol analyser.
  • Coin operation: the device will only operate after it receives a coin. Owners may configure some devices to accept different types of coins by modifying the coin acceptors to fit specific coin diameters.
  • Clear LCD screen: this allows users to read the instructions. Moreover, some testers have large displays that can show the result with up to three decimal places.
  • Disposable straw-like mouthpiece: This sends the breath specimen into the device.

A group of friends touching their beer glasses together

Technology Behind the Coin-Operated Breathalyzer

Coin-operated breathalyzers utilise advanced technology to measure the BAC levels. Many of these units use electrochemical fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC levels accurately. The device determines the actual breath alcohol concentration from the provided samples.

After alcohol consumption, the body processes the ethanol in the beverage. Then, it leaves traces in various body samples. When a person breathes into the breath-testing device, these alcohol molecules reach the sensors, which trigger chemical reactions. The reaction produces electrical currents that correspond to the BAC level. The device then displays this on the screen of the breathalyzer test machine

Alternatively, some owners may configure the device to show PASS, CAUTION or FAIL results instead of numerical amounts. This is more common for workplace testers where they configure the device to the workplace limit. However, bars and clubs can also set it to legal driving limits. Furthermore, other products even offer wireless connectivity or allow them to connect the device with a cable to download the testing results.

Alcohol Sensor Technology

Coin-operated breath testing machines use alcohol sensor technology to provide accurate and reliable results. In particular, most of these devices use advanced fuel cell alcohol sensors. This is the same type of sensor law enforcement officers use to identify impaired drivers.

Many prefer using devices with fuel cell sensors because they are more accurate than semiconductor sensors. One contributor to this is that it only reacts to ethanol, which reduces the risks of false positives from environmental exposure. This is crucial in locations that have significant amounts of alcohol vapours. Moreover, it requires less frequent calibration than semiconductor sensors. This reduces costs from maintenance services.

A man and a woman with alcoholic beverages and a breathalyzer next to the drinks

Operation of Coin-Operated Breathalyzer

To use a coin-operated breathalyzer, first, insert a coin into the device. Some devices may allow other forms of payment, but a coin is the primary method. Once the machine accepts the payment, the user will be prompted to blow into the clean straw or mouthpiece of the machine. Users must follow the instructions on the LCD screen carefully to ensure an accurate reading. They must continuously provide a steady stream of air until the device signals to stop.

After providing the sample, the device will analyse the breath sample and display the BAC level on the screen. This process typically only takes a few minutes. However, users should note that these readings are for reference purposes only and not for legal evidence of sobriety or intoxication.

Moreover, some may benefit from using alternative devices for breath testing. The reason is that not all establishments have a wall-mounted breathalyzer for people to use. It may also be more convenient for an individual to use a personal device than a public product.

Non-Coin Breathalyzer Alternatives

There is a wide range of personal breathalyzers that people can select from as an alternative to coin-operated machines. In particular, Breathalysers New Zealand offers several BACtrack alcohol testers suitable for various needs. Some examples of reliable testing devices are the BACtrack S80 Pro Gen1 and Mobile Pro Gen2.

Furthermore, there are also small keychain alcohol testers that are very compact and convenient to use, like the BACtrack Go Keychain. Alternatively, they may consider the BACtrack C8 Smartphone or C6 Smartphone, which seamlessly connects to a smartphone application. This app enables users to store their results data for easy access.

Conclusion

A coin-operated breathalyzer is a helpful device people can find in bars, clubs, or restaurants for measuring BAC levels. It is typically mounted to a wall and uses disposable mouthpieces or straws to facilitate testing. The individual who wishes to operate the device must first pay. Then, the LCD screen will provide prompts to ensure proper use. After providing the samples, the machine will use its fuel cell sensors to analyse the specimen. Afterwards, these will appear on the screen.

Coin-operated testing machines use fuel cell sensors to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results. Unlike semiconductor sensors, it only reacts to ethanol, reducing the risks of false positives. Alternatively, people may also purchase personal breathalyzers for more convenient testing. There are several products available here at Breathalyzers NZ for various needs. Highly portable BACtrack devices also have fuel cell sensors for accurate testing.

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