TECHNOLOGY: Andatech Prodigy

By: Dave Lorimar, Photography by: Dave Lorimar


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Being loyal readers, you will remember a few issues back reading about the Andatech AL9000 Stealth breathalyser that was tested in this section. Now the team at ADT has sent in the Prodigy model to be put under the same spotlight.

TECHNOLOGY: Andatech Prodigy
TECHNOLOGY: Andatech Prodigy

The prodigy is a fast and accurate breathalyser that is certainly an improvement on the Stealth model. To put it another way, if the Stealth was a student, think of the Prodigy as the teacher. It is clearly designed and marketed for commercial operators and the advanced features included are noticeably more suitable to this type of operation.

When compared to the Stealth, the Prodigy is larger in all directions. It still fits nicely into the palm of your hand but it's no longer the size that you will be happy to carry around in your jacket pocket for a night out. But then again this unit is designed for testing thousand of samples, not hundreds like the Stealth.

The unit

As expected, the Prodigy does everything the Stealth can do, plus more. It is definitely faster, for both the start up and the detection and analysing phase. When you are performing test after test, improvements like these can be a godsend. The unit can be fitted with a normal tube, which users blow through, or a cup-shaped mouthpiece for passive detection, when a person only needs to talk into the device to obtain a reading. As the cup does not make contact with the mouth of the person being tested, it does not have to be changed between tests. This makes it faster to sample many people quickly.

Once the unit starts up, the user is presented with four icons displayed on a 2.4" TFT colour touch screen. Two icons are for accessing the testing options with the others used to change the units' settings and to view any records already stored on the unit.

There are two types of tests that the unit can perform. The first is called the screening test. This is a quick test that will give the operator a simple yes/no answer as to whether there was alcohol detected on the sample. This is good for testing many samples quickly. The recycle time is quicker as the unit doesn't measure the amount of alcohol in the sample. These readings are not recorded in the memory. Once alcohol has been detected, then it's best to use the other test option.

This is called the test record. The user's details are then entered into the device before a sample is taken. The type and amount of data the unit asks you to enter can be changed using the settings configuration. Once entered, the unit then asks for a new sample. After a few seconds the unit will display the alcohol amount detected to three decimal places. The default setting is for milligrams per litre, but this can be changed to any unit configuration the user wants. All measurements obtained using the test record option are recorded to the internal memory. These records are also time stamped so it's possible to see a reading over a time period. Up to 10,000 individual records can be stored before the unit runs out of memory, more than enough for most situations likely to be encountered.

The unit can be paired with a thermal or DOT matrix printer using blue tooth if any records need to be printed. Using the supplied USB cable, the unit can be attached to a PC and the records downloaded. From there they can be imported into most database programs. The units' internal software can be updated using same USB cable. The kit also includes a car cigarette power adaptor that can be used as an alternative power source and a black carry pouch that attaches to a belt.

How does it work?

Both the Stealth and the Prodigy utilise the accurate and reliable fuel-cell detection method. However, the Prodigy has a more advanced, larger fuel-cell detector enabling more breath samples to be tested before needing recalibration.

Conclusion

At an RRP of $925 plus GST, the Prodigy is a great unit that gives fast and accurate results very quickly. Today, many businesses now conduct their own in-house testing, so it's not hard to see why this unit is selling very well in industrial sectors such as mining and transport. With the extra options and increase in price, it's clearly targeted at commercial users. However, once you get used to its speed, it's hard to go back to the slower Stealth.

Positives

  • Very fast operation
  • Easy-to-use and easy-to-read colour LCD touch screen
  • Advanced fuel-cell sensor gives accurate results
  • Can store 10,000 test records with all information included
  • 1500 samples can be taken before unit needs calibration

Negatives

  • Has to be sent away for calibration, meaning a continual cost (approx $50 with a three-day turnaround).
  • Expensive, but to be fair it's not designed for personal users

For more information contact Ron Jarvis at ADT, ph 021 881345 or 03 944 0358 or visit adt.net.nz.

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