Recovery Time

What Does Recovery Time Mean?

Recovery time in the context of alcohol breath testing refers to the time needed for an electronic alcohol breath analyzer to reset after analyzing a sample. During this period the device resets to its base calibration so that the next sample can be independently analyzed.

The recovery time is the period in which the machine clears the last reading and prepares for the next.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Recovery Time

An electronic breath alcohol testing device is often used to determine whether an individual has consumed alcohol and at what level. This device is called a breath alcohol machine and the test is sometimes referred to as a "breathalizer test." However, the breathalyzer is just one type of breath alcohol testing device.

While simple, single-use devices may be used to provide some information about a person's alcohol consumption, more sophisticated devices can calculate a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on the amount of alcohol detected within the person's expired breath. This calculation relies on a series of steps beginning with the detection of alcohol in the breath sample by specialized sensors. The exact type of detection method used will depend on the specifics of the device. Once the breath sample has been analyzed, the breath alcohol machine then converts the results of the breath sample into its equivalent BAC and provides a readout or report of the results to the tester.

Because each sample must be independently analyzed and a conversion performed, a breath alcohol machine requires a period of recovery or reset between samples. Sometimes this process is called resetting to zero, purging or blanking. Once reset, the machine should accurately measure the new sample based on its original (factory) calibrations. On occasion, a breath alcohol testing device may also need to be recalibrated.


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