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Ohio Department of Public Safety Ohio State Highway Patrol

Alcohol /Drugged Driver Enforcement

Alco-Sensor Manual
Before your instrument was shipped from the factory it was checked for accuracy. However, before placing your instrument into operation, as part of your checkout procedure, you should perform a successful accuracy/calibration check to assure yourself that the instrument’s calibration settings are still properly adjusted. Record the results in the proper calibration log/record. There are several possible training resources. Often there are state organizations which train personnel in the use of the ALCO-SENSOR III. Example are; Health Departments; State Police; Municipal Police Academies; Junior College Systems, and others. Present users are frequently willing to assist new programs with advice and training. (References are available) We have a VCR instructional tape which may be purchased. Personalized training programs can be arranged at your facility. Telephone inquiries regarding our services in this area are welcome.

The ALCO-SENSOR III is a pocket -sized breath alcohol testing device designed to read breath or estimate blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Nothing more than a disposable mouthpiece and a 9-volt alkaline battery are necessary to keep the ALCO-SENSOR operational. With normal usage the unit should provide thousands of tests before the sensor needs replacing. The plug-in 9 volt ALKALINE battery should run 500 tests. Calibration is rapid and simple. An approved dry gas tank or a simulator may be utilized for calibration .
* Other types of batteries are not satisfactory.

Once a month calibration checks are recommended. If the reading is not within the required tolerance recalibrate the unit. TO GET GOOD RESULTS, THE UNIT MUST BE IN CALIBRATION. ALCO-SENSOR III’s generally hold their calibration for months. There are some circumstance which will cause sensitivity to drop and low readings to occur. A recommended procedure for setting up a new program is to put the unit in place and cheek its calibration weekly for the first month. Reviewing these results should give you confidence in the stability of the calibration. If it holds calibration in your environment, set a policy of checking calibration monthly - otherwise, continue weekly checks.

When the ALCO-SENSOR III™ is used for evidential purposes, a limit of five positive test per hour should be observed. The fuel cell in the ALCO-SENSOR III will lose about 3% to 5% of its sensitivity when more than five “high” (above .100 samples are run in an hour). The cell will recover its full sensitivity in a matter of an hour after the last positive sample is run. The ALCO-SENSOR III reading has three digits and a special fuel cell to enhance its performance. For precision work it should be calibrated with an approved standard.

The accuracy of any Breath alcohol test is dependent upon the relationship between the concentrations of alcohol in the blood and deep lung breath. This ration of 2100 to 1 is well establish. The amount of alcohol in a properly collected breath sample is governed by the amount of alcohol in the blood in the lungs. To get an accurate reading, a deep lung breath sample must be collected and analyzed. A recent drink of an alcoholic beverage of regurgitation could introduce “mouth alcohol” to the breath, thus causing an exaggerated reading. A 15 minute waiting period prior to testing will insure the elimination of “mouth alcohol”

If you are using the ALCO-SENSOR III for evidence, the waiting period between arrest and testing should conform to your local jurisdiction rulings, generally 15 to 20 minutes If the unit is being used for screening a 15 minute waiting period should be sufficient to rid the alimentary tract of any residual alcohol. Here again if regulations call for a minimum waiting period - observe it.


The results supplied by the calibrated ALCO-SENSOR III The ALCO-SENSOR III is designed for optimal can be no better than the quality of the sample collected by the operator. Good sampling technique is essential to performance at temperatures between 20ºC (68ºF) to 36º obtaining a deep lung sample, and a deep sample is (98ºF). Temperature is important as the rate of the electrochemical reaction is affected by temperature. The unit will essential to get a true breath alcohol reading. operate at temperatures as low as 0ºC, but the response is AS SIMPLE AS THE ALCO-SENSOR III IS TO USE, sluggish and some sensitivity is sacrificed. TRAINING IN ITS USE IS RECOMMENDED.




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Instrument temperature can be checked by liquid crystal thermometer built into the back panel. It reads the temperature in Celsius degrees and has a range of 20ºC to 36ºC. If no figure is visible, the unit is either too hot or too cold. Placed in the shirt pocket, the unit will come to operating temperature in a short time. Once the unit is at operating temperature it will function properly in ambient temperatures of 0ºC to 36ºC, and relative humidity of 0 to 100%. The higher the operating temperature, the more efficient the unit becomes. These higher temperatures minimize condensation and assure rapid reading. Also the unit becomes reusable in a shorter period of time. The temperature of the unit can be maintained by carrying it in the shirt pocket where temperature is about 36ºC. Tests on the ALCO-SENSOR III can be run every 15 seconds when no alcohol is encountered, and every 2 minutes when a positive reading is registered.


DRINKS ( Two Hour Period) 1 1/2 oz. 80° Liquor or 12 ozs. Beer

100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 3 3 3 3 3

4 4

5 5 5 5

6 6 6 6 6 6

7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 7 8

9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12

5 4 4

6 6 6

The ALCO-SENSOR III will lose sensitivity if more than 5 positive alcohol tests are run in an hour. Avoid mass testing of subjects of more than .10 BAC unless the unit is recalibrated every 5 positive tests. If this procedure is followed note that the unit will regain its sensitivity after a rest period and will therefore require recalibration.





A reading on a subject of .000 to .003 should be considered as zero or insignificant.

With a good deep lung breath sample the ALCOTHEORY AND DESIGN OF THE ALCOSENSOR III reading of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) SENSOR III GENERAL COMPONENTS should not vary more than minus 5% from a blood sample drawn at the same time. The ALCO-SENSOR III contains a FUEL CELL sensor backed by a SPRING LOADED DIAPHRAGM/SAMPLING VALVE INTERFERING SUBSTANCES which, when released, draws 1cc sample from the breath in the mouthpiece into the FUEL CELL for analysis. A signal is The ALCO-SENSOR III responds to alcohols which generated in the FUEL Cell in response to alcohol in the breath might be in the breath. However, it does not read sample. An amplifier powered by the 9 volt ALKALINE battery, acetone found in the breath or other hydrocarbons. which has a 500+ test life, causes the result of the analysis to be displayed when the READ BUTTON is depressed.


Sampling System

Most states consider 0.10% alcohol concentration as presumptive evidence of impairment as far as driving skills are concerned. Some states use a 0.08% level, the level used in Canada and most of Europe, 0.04% is the upper level acceptable in most industrial sites. The accompanying generalized chart relates alcohol concentration levels with numbers of drink consumed for an “average” person.



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The READ BUTTON operates in two stages. First, it releases the valve, taking a sample. Second, at the bottom of its travel, it switches the instrument “on” electrically. The SET BUTTON cocks the valve when depressed all the way and also “shorts” the cell. This accelerates the destruction of any alcohol left on the cell so that the time delay between tests is minimized. (CAUTION: To assure a correct result, no alcohol should be consumed within 15 minutes of a test, and the subject should not be allowed to smoke.) (See page 11). With the mouthpiece mounted ask the subject to blow as long as possible. The first portion of breath from the subject must not be sampled since its alcohol content is low, and not representative. It will take about 3 to 5 seconds to empty the lungs through the mouthpiece. Toward the end of this period, while the subject is still blowing, the READ BUTTON should be depressed. Then the action valve will draw 1cc of deep lung breath into the FUEL CELL from the passing breath stream.

-Numerical readings refer to percent blood alcohol readings i.e., 0.120 is 120 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. A BAC reading takes between 15 to 40 seconds to develop in the standard FUEL CELL unit. This reading will hold for a few moments before deteriorating. During this period the READ BUTTON can be released and reactivated without affecting the value. However, the SET BUTTON should not be depressed during this period as it will destroy the accumulating reading.

ALCO-SENSOR III‘s have an automatic zeroing feature. When the READ BUTTON is depressed completely, the digital display should show .000 when the READ BUTTON is held down for a 10 second period.

If this does not occur, depress SET BUTTON for a few Using mouthpieces of other design than those supplied by the moments and check the instrument again. manufacturer may cause inaccurate readings by as much as 10-20% Whistling mouthpieces can either draw room air into the breath sample or pressurize the system causing a low Blood Alcohol reading on a subject. On the other hand, extremely restrictive mouthpieces can result in false high Blood Alcohol readings. Additionally, the use of a mouthpiece adapter mounted on the ALCO-SENSOR III which permits the use of plain, straight mouthpieces can result in the accumulation of alcohol-bearing condensate at the intake port. This will result in positive blank readings and inhibit the clean-up of the instrument. A check valve mouthpiece is available which eliminates the possibility of the subject sucking a sample out of the mouthpiece at the last moment. This feature assures better results and prevents the possibility of the subject being exposed to infectious germs. Call the factory for details. —An optional sampling system involves the addition of a vented terminal bag of 1100cc volume attached to the short end of the mouthpiece. —With this system the operator starts with an empty bag, has the subject blow steadily until the bag fills and the whistle in the vent is blowing. THEN the operator pushes the READ BUTTON. —A whistle accessory can be mounted permanently on the instrument case and gives an audible indication the subject is blowing continuously. Call the factory for more information.

Initially calibration checks should be run weekly. Later calibration checks are not necessary but once a month. Recalibration is performed when necessary (See page 1 on initial checkout procedure).

Alcohol Breath Sample + Fuel Cell == Acetic Acid + * Electrons =

CO2 + H2O + O2
fast reaction slow reaction

— REPEATED SAMPLING IN SHORT PERIOD — ACETIC ACID Alcohol Breath Sample + Fuel Cell = BUILD -- UP + Electron = CO2 + H2O + O2 EFFECT

The FUEL CELL is a plastic membrane coated with a thin layer of platinum black and an active chemical. The cell partitions the fuel cell case and when the breath sample is drawn into the cell, all the alcohol in the 1cc sample is immediately absorbed on the membrane and is converted to acetic acid within a short period. The resulting electric current is related to a BAC and digitally displayed when the READ BUTTON is depressed. Field use indicates the cells generally have a life of 2-5 years.

Alcohol Breath Sample + Fuel Cell H2O + O2

Reaction slow-up Loss of Sensitivity


CO2 + H2O + O2


Sensitivity of cell regained

The unit is perfectly zeroed and clean when the digital Alcohol Breath Sample + Fuel Cell = Acetic Acid + Electron CO + 2 display reads .000 for 10 seconds. H2O + O2 -If .888 is displayed the 9 volt ALKALINE battery is failing and needs replacing (See page 22)



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Calibration should be accomplished in no more than two tries and should be done when acetic acid has not built-up. * Electron build-up on the cell in this reaction is registered on digital readout.

NOTE: (Intoximeters can only control the color of the labels on the tanks that are sold through Intoximeters).

Flush for 10 seconds if the tank has not been used today. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Check gauges on regulator for proper settings. Attach mouthpiece to end of regulator line. Bleed regulator line by depressing button on regulator for approximately 7 to 10 seconds Attached mouthpiece with attached regulator line to ALCO-SENSOR III. Depress button on the regulator for 5 seconds, on the 4th of the 5 seconds, depress READ BUTTON. Remove mouthpiece from the ALCO-SENSOR III. Results should be ±.010% of value marked on tank.

FIRST - “Please make sure SET BUTTON is depressed!” ZERO DISPLAY CHECK: (Assures the unit is clean) 1. 2. 3. Depressed READ BUTTON .000 should be seen for at least 7 to 10 seconds. If above condition is not seen, depress SET BUTTON and recheck in one minute. Check temperature strip on back of ALCO-SENSOR III. Any visible number verifies proper operating temperature. Make sure SET BUTTON is depressed. 6. 7.

1. 2. 3. 4. Verify temperature on simulator is 34ºC (±0.2º). Check ALCO-SENSOR III for readiness Attach mouthpiece to ALCO-SENSOR III and then to simulator. Blow into inlet of simulator with a constant breath for 5 seconds. On the 4th of the 5 second count, press READ BUTTON. Remove ALCO-SENSOR III and observe reading. Results should be ± .010% of solution or as your program dictates.


(Materials needed - ALCO-SENSOR III, calibration standard equipment and mouthpieces. (See pages 10-11). NOTE: Preparation procedures for using the approved dry gas tank (listed on tank); for simulator (see simulator manual). 5. 6.


If unit does not read within specifications recalibrate it.

Variations in absolute barometric pressure can alter the expected value of a pressurized dry gas standard, according to (Materials needed -ALCO-SENSOR III, calibration standard equipment and a calibration screwdriver) standard gas laws. (PV=nRT). (A simulator reads its stated value the same under any conditions so long as its 34°temperature is maintained.) The TRUE-CAL DEVICE is designed to sense changes I absolute barometric pressure and report an adjusted value for the dry gas standard. TRUE-CAL DEVICE has been designed to work exclusively with Intoximeters approved dry gas standards. Due to Intoximeters’ strict requirements for accuracy and quality for all tanks sold by Intoximeters, the TRUE-CAL DEVICE should not be used with gas standards supplied by other vendors. Due to the TRU-CAL’s unique design, it is not necessary to introduce a gas sample into the TRUE-CAL. By simply depressing the button on the TRUE-CAL DEVICE, the LED display on the TRUE-CAL will show the current value of the gas. The TRUE-CAL is powered by a 9 volt alkaline battery which should be good for 800 applications. “888” will appear on the TRUE-CAL display when the battery needs to be replaced. Your TRUE-CAL DEVICE is colored-coded and the colorcode should be the same as the color of the label on the tank you are using. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Insert screwdriver in calibration screw located in hole on the right side of unit. Turn screw two full turns clockwise. Attach calibration assembly to ALCO-SENSOR III. Depress valve on tank for 5 seconds, on the 4th of the 5 second count, depress the READ BUTTON. Remember to quickly remove the calibration assembly and insert the screwdriver in the calibration screw. Carefully observe the reading. Once the reading surpassed the value marked on the tank or True-Cal, immediately turn the calibration screw counter clockwise until the value of the tank and the reading are once again the same. When the reading rises above the standard value, the screw should be turned back again to bring the reading back to the standard value. Eventually the value will stabilize. When the value holds for 5 seconds, the unit is calibrated.


NOTE: Under no circumstances should the screw be turned clockwise to increase the number displayed by the ALCO-SENSOR III during this procedure. If during the first



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adjustment counterclockwise the reading is carried below the value of the tank DO NOT bring the value back up by turning the screw clockwise. Wait and see if the reading rises to the desired value. If it rises past the desired value bring it back down to the desired value again by turning the screw counterclockwise. 7. 8. Once you are satisfied with the reading, depress the SET BUTTON. Verify calibration using steps 1 through 7 above. The reading should fall within .003 if the calibration was done properly.


Remove unit from the box. Note number from 20 to 36 in temperature window on back of unit. Liquid crystal reading of from 20° to 36°C indicates unit is in operating temperature range Mount mouthpiece . Press READ BUTTON and hold down to verify unit is ready to use. Check for alcohol traces. Depress SET BUTTON. Flushes unit & prepares for sample taking. Instruct subject to give SAMPLE. **Be sure to observe 15 minute waiting period before beginning of test. Ask subject to blow continuously for as long as possible. Push READ BUTTON before exhalation ceases. Sample after at least 3 seconds while subject is still blowing. Keep READ BUTTON depressed until reading peaks. Read maximum reading attained. Push SET BUTTON to accelerate elimination electrically of reading. Purges and cleans cell surface. Discard mouthpiece.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Depressing the SET BUTTON purges 1cc of air from the sampling chamber into the cell and displaces 1cc out through the mouthpiece port. This action flushes the chamber prior to each test, but the cell surface may still retain alcohol. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10. Put ALCO-SENSOR III in pocket with SET BUTTON depressed. Cleans cell and maintains temperature If any residual alcohol is present in the system, a positive reading is displayed when the READ BUTTON was depressed and held down for 10 seconds. CAUTION: Sufficient time after each test must be allowed for all traces of alcohol on the cell surface to be eliminated. This can be accelerated by locking the SET BUTTON down to short circuit the cell. If the ALCO-SENSOR III is ready to use, no reading will develop when the READ BUTTON is held down for 10 seconds. Even when exposed to breath samples with high alcohol levels, a cell should clear within 2 minutes when the SET BUTTON is depressed and the unit is kept in the pocket. (See page 2 for information on multiple high readings). FOR ACCURATE RESULTS, THE ABOVE PRECAUTIONS MUST BE OBSERVED OR CUMULATIVE READINGS WILL RESULT

Where important evidence is being collected, it is recommended that a STANDARD be run prior to a test to establish the accuracy of the unit for the day. Unit should stay calibrated for days. but this is partially dependent upon handling and storage. If the ALCO-SENSOR III is being used as a SCREENER, the subject can be asked if he/she has used any alcohol in the last 15 minutes. If the response is negative, test the subject immediately: if otherwise, wait 15 minutes before testing. If the test result is positive, wait 2 to 5 minutes and take a second test. A similar results indicates true blood alcohol level. A much lower result strongly suggests mouth alcohol was present at the time of the first test.
If the ALCO-SENSOR III is being used EVIDENTIALLY, the subject must be kept under\observation for 15 minutes as previously described.



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ELEMENTS: A. Pressurized metal tank. B. Regulator. C. True-Cal device.

simulator top must be on securely. To check, cover the outlet port and blow into the intake port. Bubbles of air should not rise rapidly through the solution if the top is secure.

A .888 display indicates that the BATTERY is not strong enough to support an accurate reading and needs replacing. Use only 9 volt ALKALINE batteries PROCEDURE: A. Slide battery door open. B. Remove old battery and disconnect. C. Connect new battery* and replace. D. Close battery door. E. Check CALIBRATION of unit.

Under no circumstances should raw smoke be blown into the instrument. Cigarette and cigar smoke will shorten the life of the fuel cell and increase the cost of maintenance.

Storage in cold or moderately hot environments will not harm MAKEUP: the ALCO-SENSOR III. Avoid extreme humidity or very dry Tank contains a single-phased mixture of Nitrogen and Ethanol storage areas for prolonged periods. The more extreme the and the value of the gaseous mixture, at sea level under storage temperature, the longer it will take to get the unit standard atmospheric conditions, displayed on the label. The adjusted to proper temperature. volume of gas is 17 liters (17000cc) in the small tank and 105 TO EXPEDITE CLEAN-UP, HAVE SET BUTTON liters (105000cc) in the large tank. DEPRESSED WHEN INSTRUMENT IS NOT IN USE.

A. B. Flow rate of the regulator is 1.5 liters per minute Used properly, the tanks will supply at least 100 and 800 tests respectively.

OTHER APPLICATIONS OF THE ALCO-SENSOR DETECTION OF ALCOHOL: USING ACCESSORIES For unconscious persons use a nasal tube on the mouthpiece adaptor. With SET BUTTON depressed, Insert the nasal tube into the mouth or nostril of subject and depress READ BUTTON For containers (blood or other solutions in a septumed container): Use a customized syringe needle which fits on the mouth piece adaptor to sample headspace of container.

C. New tanks show approximately 1025 psi on the gauge. Follow instructions on an approved dry gas tank to mount the regulator. When the regulator is initially mounted, depress the regulator control button and allow the gas to purge the valve for 10 seconds. Allow the system to sit idly for a minimum 15 minutes before using.

D. The True-Cal device connected to the tank will supply information on the true value of the standard at the time of DETECTION OF ALCOHOL: WITHOUT USING ACCESSORIES. DETERMINE THE PRESENCE OF the test. ALCOHOL IN SOLUTION HELD CONTAINERS BEFORE RUNNING A CALIBRATION CHECK OR With SET BUTTON depressed push READ BUTTON CALIBRATION, ALWAYS PURGE THE VALVE FOR AT and hold down for 10 seconds. LEAST 5 SECONDS USING THIS PROCEDURE. ALSO CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE ON THE TANK TO MAKE If display is .000 consider the ALCO-SENSOR III CERTAIN THAT THE GAS IS DEEMED USABLE BY ITS clean and ready for use. If reading is higher, depress the MANUFACTURER. SET BUTTON for 60 seconds and then with SET BUTTON depressed push READ BUTTON and hold down SIMULATOR for 10 seconds. Depress the SET BUTTON Invert the ALCO-SENSOR III over the opening of the container holding the suspect liquid. Have the gray mouthpiece adapter nipple about 1/2” above the liquid or above the opening of the container and push the READ BUTTON in and hold it in for fifteen (15) seconds or until the numbers stabilize. A reading above .003 suggests the presence of alcohol. (If the liquid is carbonated hold the adapter nipple at least an inch above the liquid surface to avoid drawing effervescent into the unit.) A simulator containing a solution of known alcohol concentration value must be at the operating temperature 34°C and the ALCO-SENSOR III must be clean. The



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