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6 Battery Tips for Keeping Your Insulin Pump Powered Up

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  10/9/2012 3:00 PM

Tags:

I’ve always believed that as a person with diabetes it’s important to take what I learn and share this information with others. I have many times benefited by being on the receiving end and learning from my friends with diabetes. I like to use my blog posts as a way to educate and share interesting tips, but to also share my personal experiences (even if it means sharing my mistakes, like I’m about to…)

Last night I got a “Low Battery alert” on my insulin pump and I knew this meant my battery had less than 10% of power, so I should change it before bedtime. I grabbed a battery and a quarter from my drawer, changed it out, and quickly did a few more things in my nightly routine, then crawled into bed.

As I began to drift off to sleep I realized I forgot to check my blood glucose. So, I pushed the button to turn the backlight on my pump to shine over my glucose meter screen so I could see what I was doing in the dark. “Hmmm…that’s weird; I wonder why my backlight isn’t turning on.” I turned on my lamp to realize that I put a completely dead battery in my pump before I went to sleep. Based on this experience and many others in my almost 10 years of changing pump batteries, here are some tips:

1) When you put a battery in your pump make sure to double check that it’s working.

2) Use a new AAA alkaline battery, not carbon zinc or lithium. You can use any brand, but we recommend Energizer® for the best performance.

3) Use a coin such as a nickel or a quarter to open the battery cap when you change it out instead of sharp objects, like a knife.

4) The average life span of a battery in your pump is one week. Know that using settings like vibrate mode, the back light, or the sensor will use more battery which can make this time frame vary.

5) Keep a spare battery handy, like in your meter case or a drawer at work, but avoid storing it in extreme temperatures. Especially as the weather begins to get cooler this fall, make sure not to place it somewhere where it can get too cold.

6) If you get battery alerts and alarms, most can be fixed easily.  You can look up the specific alert on our website and follow the steps listed here.

My blood glucose was a lovely 118 this morning, which felt good since I was able to fix the battery ordeal before it impacted my body and my glucose meter screen.
 

Comments

Mark Harris

Posted on Tue Oct 09 18:43:42 GMT 2012

I change my pump battery once or twice a month. I was suprised when I read that the average battery lasts a week.

Michael G

Posted on Tue Oct 09 18:47:13 GMT 2012

your battery only lasts a week? O_o

I use energizer max which lasts almost or over a month before I have to change the battery. saves a lot of money and worry.

william

Posted on Tue Oct 09 18:48:26 GMT 2012

Dont use a quarter use the lip to your test strip bottle it fits better and doesn't strip it

Ernest Lease

Posted on Tue Oct 09 19:03:41 GMT 2012

Everytime I change my battery now my pump will not funtion. I use Energizer alkaline in it all the time. This problem has only started in the last few months. I have to remove the cap and then screw it back in before the pump will work. Twice I was in a hurry and did not double check and I got a bad battery alarm. Knowing the battery was new and even double checking with a volt meter, I unscrewd the cap and replaced it and the pump began to work. One time it lost date and time. I called Medtronic and the man I talked to refused to do anything, It is still under warranty. The last time this happened my pump was over five years old and out of warranty. When I called the tech, she told me that is a sign the pump may be going bad and it needed replaced. Of course it was not under warranty, so between me and the insurance company I got a new one. This one is still under warranty so the tech would not replace it. Like I said this has been going on for a few months and happens everytime I put a new battery in. Only now I wait and when it does not restart, I unscrew the cap and simply screw it back in and it works.

Mike

Posted on Tue Oct 09 19:14:52 GMT 2012

I certainly get more than a week with a standard Energizer with CGM and vibe on. When I get the alert with a STANDARD battery - I know I likely have 12 hours to go - at leas t- but time to take action. I have also used Lithium batteries - which seem to last longer - but when they go - they go fast - so when you see the battery life indicator start to drop - time to take action THEN.

I have not done an objective battery life comparison between standard and lithium - but plan to soon - will update.

Karrie

Posted on Tue Oct 09 20:39:04 GMT 2012

@Ernest I'm sorry tohear you're having problems. I'll have someone from our team reach out to you shortly to see how we can help.

@Mike As an FYI - in our testing we found that the Energizer AAA Alkaline Battery is the most effective with the pump. We recommend that you not use lithium batteries because they may cause the pump to overheat.

Gilberto velez

Posted on Thu Oct 25 12:27:38 GMT 2012

I have the Medtronic insulin pump paradigm 723 for about 2 years now. I've tried all types of batteries on it. and through trial and error I find that the energizer ultimate lithium battery AAA last remarkably long. on the packaging is says the battery last 8x longer than the regular Energizer battery. on average I get about a month and a half with just 1 battery. try it out and see what you think. PS happy pumping!!!!!

karen kenney

Posted on Mon Jan 28 21:06:02 GMT 2013

I called tech support to report a malfunction with the battery and let them know that even after changing the battery the screen stayed blank it didn't reappear until a third battery was replaced due to change on 30th.told only 10 min before time out

Naomi

Posted on Mon Jan 28 22:51:24 GMT 2013

Karen, I’m sorry that you’re having display issues after changing your battery. Someone will be reaching out to you shortly to try to help.

Cory Cyronak

Posted on Thu Mar 21 17:32:46 GMT 2013

I experienced a similar thing with my last pump. It was time to upgrade to he new
revel system. The CGI monitoring has really come a long way since the first sensors and transmitters. I have kept my old CGI equipment because it is really cool to see the progression in the technology. Medtronic is an amazing company I owe them my life. Thanks medtronic for being such a great company.

Editor's Note: For IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION please visit: www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation.

Danielle Walker

Posted on Fri Sep 20 01:36:22 GMT 2013

I Have been having an issue where I replace the battery and a few days later I get a low battery alarm. I take the battery out and put it back in and it is at three bars. Anyone else have this happen? I'm using energizer batteries. The pump is only a year old.

Naomi

Posted on Sat Sep 21 00:09:04 GMT 2013

Hi Danielle, I’m sorry you’re experiencing this issue. While we do recommend using alkaline Energizer batteries, please make they are not lithium or rechargeables. I’ll have someone from our 24-Hour HelpLine team reach out to discuss this issue with you. In the meantime you can learn more about batteries here: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/device-settings-and-features/utility-settings/battery

Lucy Van Zandt

Posted on Sat Dec 21 01:46:16 GMT 2013

My pump has been eating batteries. If I didn't happen to look at the pump to bolus, I'd never know because there is no beep, no vibrate. I've been changing every week lately, using Energizer regular. I tried to call Medtronic but no one ever answered. Usually I get quick service but I waited 30 minutes before I hung up. My pump is out of warranty. I'm leaving town Monday, taking lots of batteries, hope it's ok.

Joel

Posted on Mon Dec 23 17:26:58 GMT 2013

I'm sorry to hear you're having problems, Lucy. There are certain features on the pump that use a lot of battery power and will cause you to have to replace them more often. I'll have a member of my team reach out to you to see if there is anything we can do to help.

Amanda Barras

Posted on Fri Dec 27 22:03:06 GMT 2013

So, I am curious, why are you not supposed to use Lithium Batteries? I see one posted above says he uses them with success, but why are they not recommended?

Karrie

Posted on Fri Dec 27 23:08:00 GMT 2013

Hi Amanda - in our testing we have found that although lithium batteries seem to work in an insulin pump, once it has a “Low Battery” alert the battery drains rapidly. This could mean that in some cases you aren’t given enough warning in time to change your battery so the pump could shut off due to the loss of power. This is why we recommended alkaline batteries, and specifically Energizer for best performance. You can learn more about batteries here http://bit.ly/NukFJv .

Jennifer

Posted on Sun Jan 26 23:30:20 GMT 2014

It feels like I'm always changing my battery!!! I used the ones that are recommended but why do I have to change them all the time?? I don't even keep it on vibrate. And batteries aren't cheap either!!

Joel

Posted on Mon Jan 27 17:08:29 GMT 2014

Hi Jennifer. I am sorry you’re having problems with battery life. There are some functions on your pump that will use more battery life than others, which could cause your battery to drain quicker. I’ll have a member of my team reach out to you to see if we can help. In the meantime, you can learn more about batteries here www.medtronicdiabetes.com/support/device-support/utility-settings/battery.

Catherine Devin

Posted on Sat Mar 15 23:26:25 GMT 2014

I too am having to replace my batteries on my pump more frequent than my last pump. When calling for help i get told that the battery only last about 5 to 7 days. If im not connected to the sensor or using the vibrate option, or even using the back light why would my battery die so quickly? My last pump was only making me change them once a month.....I even researched the different pumps on diabetes mall and they say your battery should lasr 3-4 weeks. Wonder who gets the burden of stock piling batteries??

Joel

Posted on Mon Mar 17 17:58:15 GMT 2014

Catherine, I am sorry you are experiencing issues with battery life. There are some functions on your pump that will use more battery life than others, which could cause your battery to drain quicker. We also recommend alkaline Energizer batteries for best performance. I’ll have a member of my team reach out to you to see if we can help. In the meantime, you can learn more about batteries here www.medtronicdiabetes.com/support/device-support/utility-settings/battery.

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