Breathalyzer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a breathalyzer?

If you drink, you can always be safer by using a breathalyzer. If you don't drink, you may know someone close to you that does.

Without a breathalyzer, you can't be very sure about how drinking alcohol relates to your specific Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). There are generic weight charts available, but they are only vague approximations and do not account for the differences in body chemistry from person to person. Only with a breathalyzer can you know for certain.

Even if you don't drink yourself, you may have a parent, a child, a friend or a close peer who does. Maybe you are hosting a party where alcohol will be served.

Whatever the case, don't let your loved ones fall victim to the heavy fines, criminal records and even possible loss of life in the face of alcohol-related tragedies.

What is PRISM Technology?

Please watch our short technology video to understand why Pre-calibrated Replaceable Intelligent Sensor Modules (PRISM) are such an important innovation in breath alcohol testing.

PRISM technology is an exclusively patented feature only available with AlcoMate breath alcohol testers (US Patent No. 7,841,224 B2, also worldwide). The AlcoMate TS200 is the first and only breath alcohol tester that combines PRISM technology with advanced fuel-cell precision for the perfect combination of reliable accuracy and convenience with no downtime.

What is Calibration?

If you choose to purchase a breathalyzer that does not feature PRISM technology, you will be required to perform mail-back calibration at least once per year or more. Click here to learn more.

What is BAC?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration and is a percent (%) measure of alcohol in the blood. A breathalyzer is able to calculate this percentage using only a breath sample because of the precise relationship between alcohol in the blood and alcohol metabolised into the lungs from the bloodstream. This is also why it is important to make sure the mouth is clear of contaminant (including alcohol) so that the breath sample contains pure lung air, or as close as possible.

What is the BAC limit where I live?

The BAC legal limit for all states in the US for DUI/DWI is currently set at 0.08%. For licensed drivers under the age of 21, there is a Zero Tolerance policy in most jurisdictions, with a limit of 0.01% or 0.02%.

Can I drive if my breathalyzer shows that I'm under the legal limit?

Breathalyzers are for informational/monitoring purposes only. We absolutely do NOT recommend driving after consuming ANY amount of alcohol. It has been medically shown that there is a greatly increased risk even when driving with a BAC of 0.05% or lower. There is NO "safe" amount of alcohol to drink before driving.

How do I install a pre-calibrated replaceable sensor module?

Click here for instructions.

I think my breathalyzer is not showing a correct reading.

Please wait at least 20 minutes after eating, drinking or smoking before performing a breath alcohol test. It is important that your breath sample contain ONLY lung air (See What is BAC? above).

Remember that a breathalyzer analyzes the alcohol concentration in your lungs. If you have alcohol in your mouth, test results may be dramatically affected. Common household products like mouthwash or breath spray often contain alcohol that may cause a high reading on a breathalyzer.

If you have owned your device for at least 6 months and/or have performed up to 200 tests on the device, it may be in need of sensor replacement.

*Note: In rare cases, diabetics that are untreated for their condition, as well as some individuals on special diets, may exhibit elevated levels of ketones and/or acetones on their breath. High concentrations of ketones and acetones may induce a false positive in alcohol sensors.

** Recently, it is reported that breathalyzer shows the high false positive readings of +0.012BAC% up to +0.018BAC%, even when you test a brand new device without drinking.  This is because the active ingredient of ethyl alcohol in hand sanitizer may affect the sensor sensitivity of breathalyzers.   If you use alcohol based hand sanitizers with breathalyzer, please avoid closed space where the contaminated air is full.  If you can't avoid it, ventilate contaminated air enough to make sure there is no contaminated air, prior to using breathalyzer. 

Common error codes or messages encountered in the device:

  • Error Code "bat": This issue is caused by low battery power.  Replace the batteries with a new pair.  Always use a brand new pair of batteries. 
  • Error Code "Err2": If this error code appears in the display, the device is reporting a general problem with the alcohol sensor, or that the device has been physically damaged.  Replace sensor module to ensure the sensor module is in good working condition.  If the problem is not fixed and continues, please contact AK GlobalTech Technical Support for troubleshooting.
  • Error Code "Err6/Err9": The device is reporting that power is insufficient to complete test. Replace batteries with a brand new pair.   If the problem is not fixed and continues please contact AK GlobalTech Technical Support for troubleshooting.
  • Warning Code "Flow": If this warning code appears in the display, the breath sample was not strong or long enough for measurement.  As soon as you start blowing into the device, you will hear a long beep, indicating how long you should blow. It requires 3 seconds of moderate blow.
  • Warning Code "Cal": If this warning code appears in the display, the device needs a new sensor module.  If the cumulative test counter reaches 300 tests, the device will display "Cal" automatically.  Please replace it with a new sensor module.
  • For more information, below please download our operator's manuals.  

(Right-Click to Save to Your Computer)

I would like information about becoming a reseller/distributor.

Please contact us by phone for more information.

Can I walk into a retail store to buy a breathalyzer?

Currently, the only brick-and-mortar retail chain that carries our products is Fry's Electronics, a retail chain limited to certain western and southern US states. You can use the Store Locator on the Fry's website for a list of retail locations.

What is your return policy?

If you are planning to return a product to us, make sure to include your complete return shipping address, daytime contact telephone number, copy of original invoice or sales receipt and written reason for return with your package. Re-calibration service carries a fee of $35 ($50 for the AccuCell), which can be included by check (only AlcoMate and AlcoScan brand breathalyzers are covered).

Requests for refund must take place within 15 business days of the original order date (30 days for destinations outside of the United States). Restocking fees and other deductions may apply. It is strongly recommended that you contact us by phone or email before returning a product for refund request.

If you purchased your breathalyzer from an unapproved re-seller, we may refuse service (including exchanges, refunds and calibration). Unapproved resellers are most likely unable to provide any post-purchase services for you. Buy at your own risk.

My question is not answered here.

Please email us at If you believe there is something wrong with your breathalyzer, you should contact us before returning the product. Many apparent problems may be resolved without physical service.