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Device Error Messages

EBTIs Error Messages

The current Type Approved Evidential Breath Testing Instruments (EBTIs) in use in the UK are of three types, the Lion Intoxilyzer 6000UK, the Camic Datamaster and the Intoximeter EC/IR.  All three types were "Type Approved" to be used by Police Forces to obtain Evidential Breath Samples and all had to show that they were capable of detecting and reporting certain "errors".  These include;


Breath Differences


Incorrect Simulator Checks


Ambient Fail


Incomplete Breath Samples


Interfering Substances


Mouth Alcohol


Out of range Breath Readings 

High Blank

Pump Error

Lion Intoxilyzer 6000UK
Camic Datamaster
Incorrect sim check
Simulator check incorrect Drink Drive Expert report

Incorrect Simulator Checks

Each EBTI is attached to an external gas bottle which contains a mixture of ethanol in air.  Each gas bottle should have its own Calibration Certificate showing its date of calibration, Date of Expiry, Certificate Serial Number, Cylinder Number and the Certified Concentration of the Ethanol in air inside the bottle.


The EBTI's take a "slug" of the mixture twice during a breath test procedure to check they are measuring alcohol within allowable limits. 


If the simulator check is out of range, the readings should not be used for evidential purposes. 

Interfering Substance

Interfering Substance

As part of their Type Approval all EBTIs have to identify the presence of compounds on the breath which are similar to ethanol but not the same.  When such compounds are indicated then the EBTIs are designed to, make an audible sound, abort the procedure and record the "error" message "Interfering Substance" on the printout to notify the operator of the device that the result should not be relied upon.

We have had cases where the machine has operated correctly, could be heard on the CCTV to make its audible sound and indicated an interfering substance on the operator but the operator has completely missed the "error" message.


Interfering substance error message Drink Drive Expert report
Ambient Fail
Ambient Fail Error message Drink Drive Expert report

Ambient Fail

The EBTIs purge themselves four times during the procedure, to ensure that there is no alcohol left inside them from either a previous breath sample or a simulator check.  The Lion Intoxilyzer 6000UK and the Intoximeter EC/IR also purge themselves between failed breath attempts within the three minute period an individual is allowed to attempt to provide their sample.  


If the devices detect the presence of alcohol within the air at the end of purging they will abort.  The printout opposite shows alcohol detected in the system after an attempt to provide a breath sample but before the next.  


The defendant in a case similar to this was wrongly charged with failure to provide.   


Incomplete Breath Samples

If a suspect fails to provide an acceptable breath sample the device will record "Incomplete Breath Sample"

If the suspect has been tested on a Lion Intoxilyzer 6000UK then the device will give a list of the partial breath samples provided (see opposite).  It is possible to estimate with a high degree of accuracy what an individual's breath alcohol level would have been from such incomplete readings if required.  We have also carried out calculations based upon these readings to show that the suspect's account of their drinking was correct and that they would have been under the legal limit had they not consumed post driving drinks.

They are also very useful in fail to provide cases to show whether an individual was trying to provide or not,

Incomplete Specimens Error message Drink Drive Expert report
Mouth Alcohol
Mouth Alcohol Camic Datamaster Drink Drive Expert Report

Mouth Alcohol

When an individual drinks alcohol, the mouth and upper respiratory tract will be coated in alcohol.  This alcohol, if present, can give a false reading during a Evidential Breath Test.  To avoid this possible error the Type Approved Evidential Breath Testing Instruments are designed to detect the presence of mouth alcohol and abort the procedure if any is found.


It is not uncommon to find that both the police and prosecutors are not fully aware of what a "mouth alcohol" message means.  If you want to ensure you or your client is not been treated unfairly when a "mouth alcohol" message has appeared during a breath test please contact or you need an Alcohol BAC Calculation call our Drink Drive Experts. 

Printout opposite taken from a Camic Datamaster

Breath difference

Breath Difference

The Type Approved Evidential Breath Testing Instruments are designed to abort the procedure if a difference of more than 15 % of the lower figure is found between the results of an Evidential Breath Test.  The machine will print the message "Breath Difference" on the print out and the results should not be used as evidence.


However, we have had cases were a defendant still faces charges even tough the printout clearly states "Breath Difference" and in other cases were the two samples were collected over two full procedures so the machine was not aware of the difference.

If you or your client needs help with such a case or you need an Alcohol BAC Calculation please get in touch with our Drink Drive Experts.

Printout opposite taken from an Intoximeter EC/IR

Breath difference Error Message Drink Drive Expert Report
Out of Range
out of range Error Message  Drink Drive Expert Report

Specimen Out of Range

if an individual blows higher than 220 ug of alcohol per 100 ml of breath the Evidential Breath Testing Instruments are designed to abort the process and print the error message  "Specimen 1/2 Out of Range".  In most cases a blood sample should then be taken from the suspect.  

If you or your client need help with this type or breath reading or need an Alcohol BAC Calculation please give our Drink Drive Experts a call or drop us an email

Printout opposite taken from an Intoximeter EC/IR

High Blank

High Blank

To ensure that a breath sample is not contaminated with alochol from the environment, from an earlier breath sample or from the calibration mixture the Evidential Breath Testing Instruments are designed to check they are reading zero at four points during the Evidential Breath Testing Procedure.  If any one of these "blank" checks is not zero the device will report a reading of HIGH BLANK or Ambient Fail (see above) and abort the procedure.

To ensure that the correct procedure has been carried out or if you require an Alcohol BAC Calculation contact our Drink Drive Experts for advice.

Printout opposite taken from an Intoximeter EC/IR

High Blank Error Message Drink Drive  Expert Report
Pump Error
Camic Datamaster Evidential mouthpiece Drink Drive Expert Reports

Pump Error

Occasionally the Camic Datamaster prints the “error message” PUMP ERROR. 


This is an “error” detected by the device during its purging and usually is caused by a short term blockage in the system. This can be something as simple as the officer or suspect touching the end of the mouthpiece or refitting the mouthpiece during the purging process, or, if it occurred during the first purging after the mouthpiece was fitted, it could be a result of "capping" the end of the mouthpiece with plastic from the bag the mouthpiece was supplied in as it was being removed from the bag (see upper photograph). If it was caused by a plastic "cap" these caps can sometimes get lodged within the breath tube and can be found when the breath tube is removed by the engineer (see lower photograph).

Alternatively it could of course be as a result of a glitch of some kind with the pump itself, or these small plastic "caps" interfering with the flow sensor within the device. Whatever the reason, a PUMP ERROR “error message” should not result in a charge of failure to provide, which I have seen in some cases.

If you require advice of this or any other aspect of Evidential Breath Testing contact our alcohol expert

Breath Tube plastic cap Drink Drive Expert Report
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