Resources & Services
AlcoMate AccuCell AL9000 Fuel Cell Breathalyzer Review
Author: Scott Nixon
Date: May 5, 2010
Two years ago, we started selling the AlcoMate Premium AL7000 breathalyzer, the third iteration of the popular AlcoMate line with PRISM sensor technology. January of 2010, saw released another refresh, a super accurate fuel cell version of the Premium, with the ability to connect to your PC called the AlcoMate AccuCell AL9000.
The sensor upgrade performs tests that are more accurate and increases the durability of the breathalyzer. Many of the same features that made the AlcoMate Premium a huge success for ASD are present in the AlcoMate AccuCell. In addition, the AL9000 now has the ability to connect to a PC to export data into Excel spreadsheets.We will be primarily comparing the AccuCell AL9000 with the Premium AL7000, so if you want to read more about the jump from the AL7000 to the AL9000, please check out our full review of the AlcoMate Premium AL7000.
If you own or have held an AL7000, the first thing you will notice about the AL9000 is its weight. Coming in at 2.8 oz with the batteries, the AL9000 feels surprisingly light. The plastic housing has been upgraded with an attractive dark polish with a hint of blue and the back of the device has a noticeable bulge present. This bulge houses the larger fuel cell sensor within. Small divots shower the back of the device for improved grip when holding.
Measuring in at 4.17 inches long, 2 inches wide, and .787 inches deep, the AccuCell is an extremely portable and compact fuel-cell breathalyzer. The 4-digit display remains with the AL9000, which is great for reading results such as .038 instead of just .03. Operation is just like any other breathalyzer. Large circular button in the center starts the breathalyzer and begin a countdown. Once the countdown is complete, continue to blow into the unit until you hear the audible beep. A couple of seconds later, you will get your results and the AL9000 will shut down by itself.
A noticeable difference very much enjoyed is gone with the new AL9000. Within the back of the AlcoMate Premium was a slot to store two mouthpieces. This was super convenient and practical for a portable breathalyzer. The decision to remove this slot was because of the increased size of the fuel-cell sensor and the inner workings it takes to operate the sensor. The good news is that because the sensor is so large, they also had to switch to AAA batteries instead of the chunkier and heavier AA batteries found in most modern day breathalyzers.
The AlcoMate AL9000 features an advanced fuel cell sensor that has been calibrated for DOT testing in a compact design. Accuracy improves to a margin of error of +/- .005% in comparison to most semi-conductor breathalyzers that have a +/- of .01%. Most law enforcement or clinics will use a fuel-cell sensor to ensure that accuracy is maintained.
Fuel cells use an electro-chemical reaction to determine the alcohol concentration in your breath. This reaction is free from any defects due to contamination or over saturation. For law enforcement agencies, clinics, or schools, this is necessary have feature. The last thing you want is your device damaged by one person, and then contaminates the results for the next person. This increased durability also lengthens the time between calibrations for the AlcoMate AccuCell. Most normal breathalyzers are required to have a calibration every 300-500 tests. The AL9000 will perform accurately for roughly 1000 tests.
Another distinctive feature of the AlcoMate AccuCell AL9000 is the PC-connect software kit. This is a sought after feature for alcohol breathalyzers that had only been present on expensive desktop units. Software installation is a bit long, but instructions take you step-by-step until you are ready to store your test results. Essentially, the software acts as a gateway to storing test results online. With some clever Microsoft Excel know how, you should be able to export the test results directly to your alcohol testing documents and forms.
We tested the AlcoMate AccuCell in our lab using a wet bath simulator and the accuracy was comparable to our more expensive desktop breathalyzer that is used by law enforcement agencies. Audible alerts were loud and clear and messages were simple enough to figure out what was going wrong.
With support for PC connection, we decided to perform our tests while connected to the PC. Below you could see the results of our tests. Each color represents what concentration of alcohol we were mimicking.
The AL9000 has performed well beyond any breathalyzer we have tested before in terms of accuracy and response time. It was consistently within the margin of error. Most fuel cell breathalyzers we have tested came back rather low in BAC readings.
Sensor: Long-Life Electrochemical Fuel Cell
Size: 106 x 50 x 20 mm
Weight: 2.8 ounces (including batteries)
Battery: 1.5V AAA Batteries x2 (included)
Response Time: 10 seconds or less
Sampling system: Actuated deep lung air sampling
Detection Range: 0.000 ~ 0.400% BAC
Display: 4-digit decimal LCD display
Sensor Accuracy: +/- 0.005% BAC
The AlcoMate AccuCell AL9000 performed very well during our tests. It has a host of features that put it ahead of most professional testers and is getting high accolades from magazines and DUI attorneys. The AL9000 remains simple to use but improves upon every feature of the AL7000 version. If you were looking for the absolute best breathalyzer on the market today, the AlcoMate AL9000 would be a great investment for your home, clinic, business, or school. It is however important to note that if you're looking to service your own breathalyzer, then the AlcoMate Premium AL7000 still remains the best breathalyzer with replaceable sensor technology.
- Sleek and compact
- Advanced Fuel Cell Sensor
- Easy to read LCD screen
- Eliminates false positives
- Software allows for integration into your PC
- Cannot replace the sensor yourself
- Mouthpiece holder removed to make room for fuel-cell sensor