• Stephen Biss

Reliability: 5000 64- False Error Codes

This is the same aged Intoxilyzer® 5000 64- series instrument depicted in the June 24, 2015 blog entry. As we have already seen, this instrument is susceptible to radio frequency interference and can experience false positives on cal. checks or subject tests. However, sometimes RFI manifests itself in other ways, producing false error codes. If the defence is able to discover clusters of weird error codes in police maintenance or other data (including COBRA), the defence may be in a position to ask the Court to infer the presence of RFI in that breath room compromising reliability.

An Ambient Fail is normally an indication of too much ethanol floating around in the breath room environment. The current ATC Recommendations require that approved instruments be equipped with automatic systems that flag error when the air blank identifies more than 10 mg / 100 mls of ambient ethanol. However, this experiment shows that an Ambient Fail can also be triggered by RFI produced from a receiving cell phone. RFI can trigger all sorts of error messages on an approved instrument - not just RFI Inhibited.

RFI can produce bizarre cal. checks in the absence of any alcohol standard and can trigger an inability in the instrument to reach 000 during an air blank. Note the absence of any "RFI Inhibit" flag.

Note the "Unstable Refererence", "Ambient Failed", false cal. check of about 65, and purge fail all triggered by RFI in this video of the same instrument in 2009:

If, as of 2015, this instrument has not received any maintenance, is it "reliable" in 2015 if it is able to produce the good test records shown during the June 23 blog (June 22, 2015 captured) videos?

WARNING: Please do not try to use these videos in Court. They are for discussion among lawyers only. Courts must deal only with proper evidence from expert witnesses. You need to retain an expert witness. The author is not an expert.


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WARNING: Please do not attempt to use any text, image, or video that you see on this site in Court. These comments, images, and videos are NOT EVIDENCE. The Courts will need to hear evidence from a properly qualified expert. The author is not a scientist. The author is not an expert. These pages exist to promote discussion among defence lawyers.


Intoxilyzer®  is a registered trademark of CMI, Inc. The Intoxilyzer® 5000C is an "approved instrument" in Canada.
Breathalyzer® is a registered trademark of Draeger Safety, Inc., Breathalyzer Division. The owner of the trademark is Robert F. Borkenstein and Draeger Safety, Inc. has leased the exclusive rights of use from him. The Breathalyzer® 900 and Breathalyzer® 900A were "approved instruments" in Canada.
DrugTest® 5000 is also a registered trademark of Draeger Safety, Inc.. DrugTest® 5000 is "approved drug screening equipment" in Canada.
Alcotest® is a registered trademark of Draeger Safety, Inc. The Alcotest® 7410 GLC and 6810 are each an "approved screening device" in Canada.
Datamaster®  is a registered trademark of National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc.  The BAC Datamaster® C  is an "approved instrument" in Canada.