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Published with permission from the book, DUI/DWI: The History of Driving Under the Influence, David N. Jolly. Outskirts Press (2009)
The DUI Guide: DUI Evidentiary Breath Test Devices
The DataMaster evolved from the BAC Verifier. The operation of both machines is very much the same although the casing of the machine, the printer, the layout of the printed circuit boards, the software, the mounting of the breath tube, the circuitry, and the simulator are different. The casing for the DataMaster are all metal which is supposed to illiminate certain radio frequency interference, while the casing for the Verifier is plastic.
Fundamentally there are several differences between the BAC Verifier and the DataMaster, including the printers, the circuit board layout and the chemistry. The Verifier had a central processing unit (CPU) board underneath the machine which caused some maintenance problems due to its location. The DataMaster design attempted to resolve this issue and included nine printed circuit boards which supposedly result in easier maintenance, removal, and replacement. Additionally, the manufacturer claims that the printed circuit boards are a superior electrical design because the different circuits are isolated. Because the original Verifier had problems with electrical interference within the circuitry of the CPU, the CPU board was changed in the DataMaster.
Also changed in the DataMaster design was the detector circuitry. The DataMaster has a variable resister while the Verifier had a fixed resistor. The variable resistor in the DataMaster was designed so that the resistance value can be adjusted thereby increasing the stability of the signal produced by the detector.
The most important change in the DataMaster however was the updated software. Software is constantly changing and being improved and advanced and the Verifier could not adapt to these changes. The Verifier had a limited RAM data storage capability while the DataMaster has expanded RAM data storage capacity and as such could accommodate additional software. The mathematical formula used to calculate the presence of acetone in breath samples was also changed in the new DataMaster software.
Yet another difference betwee the older Verifier and the DataMaster is that the DataMaster uses a different simulator. The Verifier uses the Smith & Wesson simulator, while the DataMaster uses a Guth simulator. The last notible change between the two machines is the breath tube mounting. In the DataMaster the breath tube can be adjusted when placed in the mounting pivots while on the Verifier the breath tube, once attached, is fixed in one position.
Despite the changes between the Verificer and the DataMaster there are several reported problems with the DataMaster devices. Most of these problems have originated in the State of Washington and have included repair and maintenance problems, problems with the meter valve (instability producing imprecise readings, or failing to produce readings), problems with zeroing, instability of infra-red lamps, improper display of interferents (generally acetone), problems with displaying results to three decimal points, and problems with lack of specificity for ethanol. Additionally, as is the case with computer-controlled machines (ie. the Intoximeter 3000, Intoxilyzer 5000, and the Verifier) the DataMaster is subject to “transient error." Transient error occurs when the computer will not function properly for a period of time until it corrects itself.