Altair 5X PID Detector

The ALTAIR 5X PID Gas Detector is capable of measuring up to 6 gases simultaneously and the integrated PID sensor detects Volatile Organic Compounds in ppm concentrations. Driven by advanced MSA XCell Sensor Technology, the MSA ALTAIR 5X PID Gas Detector delivers faster response time, better stability, accuracy, longer service life, and cost savings over the life of the instrument.

Often, leak concentration is too low to be smelled by humans. PIDs are often used to detect low-level leaks in order to detect compounds at levels of less than 1 ppm. PIDs can be used for leak detection to detect leak sources. Higher concentrations of gases are found at or near the source of a leak. When a substance is detected, users wearing adequate personal protective equipment should move in the direction of higher concentrations when trying to identify the leak source.

Substances that PIDs can detect
PIDs measure organic compounds such
as benzene, toluene and xylene, and also certain inorganic such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. As a general rule, if compounds measured or detected contain a carbon (C) atom, a PID can be used. However, such is not always the case, as methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (Co) cannot be detect with a PID.

Portable Gas Detectors

A common misconception about PIDs is that they are analyzers. Many expect that a PID will provide exactly the vapor present at a spill site; such is not the case. While PIDs are extremely sensitive and effective tools, they are not analyzers and cannot determine if a spill is benzene or jet fuel, for example. A PID can detect that a substance is present and can alert you as to potentially hazardous situations, but additional steps are necessary to properly identify the substance’s exact composition and quantities present.

Listed here is a sample procedure to identify a substance’s concentration at a spill site:

  1. Set the PID to isobutylene
  2. Detect and record a reading
  3. Identify, via placard or MSDs, the specific substance
  4. If the placard or MsDs reads that the substance is vinyl chloride, set the PID response factor to vinyl chloride to enable direct reading of actual vinyl chloride level.

MSA Altair 5X PID Manual