So here we are, the long awaited release of the Dräger X-am 8000 has arrived. So does it live up to the high expectations we have of the Dräger brand?
Well on first sight it looks sleek and feels great. The clear display, classic Dräger 3 button menu makes for simple intuitive navigation. The pumped and diffusive options provide numerous sampling applications comparable to the other pumped instrument out there and as we always say, first impressions mean a lot.
And it’s true to say the X-am 8000 on first sight appears to be impressive and different. At just over 500g and small enough to sit in the palm of a hand, the X-am 8000 exudes quality. Small, solid, tactile and sleek all come to mind. The neatly seating pump adaptor is unobtrusive and connects firmly to the top of the instrument with no fuss and as you would expect, the X-am 8000 also comes with all the standard visual and audible alarms, bright and loud enough to be both a personal and area alarm.
Bumptests and calibrations should be simple once the promised Dräger X-dock module arrives; although we have not been able to test this out. It’s possible that Dräger’s biggest achievements this year are the two new photoionisation detectors (PID’s) and the introduction of Bluetooth technology allowing connectivity to a smart phone using the new CSE Connect app for Android.
So is the X-am 8000 a Germanic thoroughbred or just a generic reproduction?
Well only time will tell. At the moment we have only had a sneak peak into the latest device to come out of Lübeck. Its sleek design and robust sensor housing appear to make the X-am 8000 an ideal choice for all those harsh environments gas tester work in. But as we have been unable to test it in the field, we cannot say for sure. (We hope Dräger will supply us with an X-am 8000 for prolonged testing soon)
The extensive range of sensors and especially the two new PID’s make the X-am 8000 more interesting than most devices our there. PID’s have always been a weak spot in the otherwise superlative Dräger sensor range and now this appears to have been solved. (Again – if Dräger can let us have some to try, we will confirm whether this is the case for real.)
So given all the time and money invested into the development of the X-am 8000, it should be the perfect host for the Dräger sensor range – but what do we mean?
Well most manufacturers have a pumped multi-gas instrument fitted with third-party sensors. All claim long sensors lives, stabilities and resistance to cross sensitivity. Now we are not going to deal with the matter of sensor selection here, but the point we want to make is – gas detector bodies and operating systems are only half the story. What determines if a gas detector is great is the sum of the two parts. So the true test of the X-am 8000 will be, how it uses the Dräger sensor range to meet the needs of the customers – thoroughbred or just another generic device?
You may also ask, is the X-am 8000 really worth the high price it demands from suppliers? Well to answer that question we’ll need to dig deeper into its capabilities and find out what lies beneath its basic outward appearance.
What is the X-am 8000’s Purpose in life?
The X-am 8000 is an internally pumped gas detector with a large rechargeable battery, loud audible alarm, high visibility luminary alarms and fitted with Dräger’s very reliable sensor range. By adding or removing the pump adaptor, the X-am 8000 alternates between diffusive or pumped sampling. (Note: the internal pump is a purchase option and not always supplied as standard.)
All of the afore mentioned makes the X-am 8000 suitable for use as a personal detector, area detector, leak tracer and gas sampler. Now – It’s true the alternative Draeger 2500 and 5000 range of instruments also provide similar capabilities when used with the external pump. So why purchase the X-am 8000?
So what’s the difference and why pay the extra?
Truthfully, for many of you there is no need to purchase an X-am 8000. If all you are doing is standard 4 gas checks for flammables, oxygen, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, then Dräger’s X-am 2500 combined with an external pump will work just as well for about 20% of the cost. However, if you want a very flexible portable, rather then personal gas detector, with the ability to select from over 30 plug and play sensors, then this may be the instrument of choice. For more complex applications such as shipping, purging, tunnelling, upstream oil and gas, refineries, benzene monitoring, etc. more is needed from a gas detector and the ability to have inbuilt applications invaluable.
The X-am 8000 menu also features a number of pump sampling options depending on the application and sample tubing length. For us, its a bit gimmicky and we think most gas testers will fine them slightly annoying and potentially misleading. But feel free to let us know if you don’t agree!
(Note: Currently we do not know if users will be able to change sensors themselves as they could with the X-am 7000. And neither do we know how simple it will be to clean the PID’s lamp?)
But there is much more potential to the X-am 8000 than just an internally pumped, plug and play sensor, gas detector! And its true capacity will depend upon its ability to be configured appropriately for different applications.
Should You Buy One?
Well the X-am 8000 comes with a strong Dräger pedigree, but sadly it’s too early to say if they have created a true thoroughbred. If the PID sensors live up to their design specifications and the instrument body withstands real working conditions, there is a strong possibility the X-am 8000 will be at the races for many years to come. But greatness will depend upon the fine details going forward. For example:
- Will the operating system be flexible enough to meet customer’s needs?
- Can applications be programmed into the device?
- Will calibration and maintenance be simple?
- Can data be stored in cloud-based systems with simplicity?
- Will GPS be an option?
- Will there be biometric user identification?
Time will tell and as we always say – please let us have your opinions so that we can share them with others.
So in the meantime we suggest before you buy a new pumped instrument, get an X-am 8000 in on trial and check if it does everything you need. Feel free also to contact us if you have any questions.
@gt ratings – to follow
Other technical details include:
- Dimensions (H x W x D) – 179 mm x 77 mm x 42 mm
- Temperature – 20° C to 50° C
- Alarms – Typically 100 dB(A) at 30 cm
- Ingress protection class – IP 67
- Energy supply – Lithium-ion battery, rechargeable, inductive charging
- Operating times (Diffusion)
- With CatEx and 3 EC sensors With IR and 3 EC sensors – Typically 24 hours
- With 3 EC sensors – Typically 22 hours
- With CatEx, PID and 3 EC sensors – Typically 120 hours
- With IR, PID and 3 EC sensors – Typically 17 hours
- PID only – Typically 42 hours
- Charging times – Typically 4 hours after use during a shift of max. 10 hours
- Start Time <60 seconds for standard sensors
- Warranty – 3 years for the device and 1 year for the power supply
We suggest you look at the full data sheet for the complete list of the technical specification.
Manufacturer – Draeger.com