The BAC DataMaster Breath Test Machine Error Messages

Washington State utilizes the BAC DataMaster breath test machine to measure the blood alcohol content of a suspect arrested for driving under the influence. The BAC DataMaster is a product of National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc. (NPAS) located in Mansfield, Ohio.

These DUI breath test devices require regular maintenance, and a proper environment for testing administration. The BAC DataMaster is part computer, and uses an archaic LED display. If the alcohol detecting machine is not functioning properly or if the testing environment is corrupted, then the BAC DataMaster will report an error message. Below is a list of these messages.

  • Ambient Failure: The machine is unable to purge itself. The machine operator is required to check the testing room for excessive odors of alcohol or chemical odors. The operator must ensure the breath test tube is warm, and that the tube is not placed near the machine’s exit port.
  • System Will Not Zero: The operator must ensure the breath test tube is warm and is not placed near the machine’s exit port.
  • Invalid Sample: This warning is triggered by the presence of mouth alcohol, the subject is not providing a proper sample or the instrument is out of adjustment. The operator must conduct another mouth check and wait for the prescribed 15 minutes.

This error can really put the DUI suspect in hot water. If the error persists and the officer believes the DUI suspect is playing games and not cooperating, then the officer will mark the suspect as a refusal. This ratchets up the mandatory DUI penalties, and greatly increases the driver’s license suspension.

  • Radio Interference: RFI is being detected by the BAC DataMaster. The operator of the machine must determine the cause of the RFI and eliminate the source.
  • Printer Error: The BAC DataMaster will print a breath ticket showing the breath test results. The Printer Error indicates a paper jam or print malfunction.
  • Calibration Error: These machines require calibration and this error indicates the calibration could not be verified. The operator need only restart the test.

If the error messages above persist, then the operator must tag the machine “out of service” and contact the Washington State Patrol Breath Test Section.

Some other errors will indicate the machine will not run unless a member of the Breath Test Section services the device. Those errors are:

Fatal Systems Error
Not Calibrated
Temperature High
Temperature Low
Pump Error
Ram Error


These machines provide lots of room for error and give experienced DUI defense attorneys plenty to argue before a judge and jury. If you have been arrested for a Washington DUI then you must contact a leading Washington DUI attorney who can best protect your legal interests.