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Pump Battery FAIL.

A funny thing happened on the cruise ship two weeks ago.

My pump refused to accept shiny new Energizer batteries.

About two days into our vacation, my pump threw out the familiar boop beep boop, and a quick glimpse at the screen confirmed what had been looming for a few days - low battery.  Since the low battery alarm goes off every few weeks, I keep a spare AAA battery at the ready in my testing kit.

Using a quarter, I unscrewed the battery cap, pulled out the dead battery, and slid in a brand new Energizer AAA.

Boop beep boop!

FAILED BATT TEST.

Oh come on.  I took the battery in and out again, trying the insulin pump version of "roll the batteries in the remote to get it to work" theory.  

Boop beep boop!

FAILED BATT TEST.

Battery FAIL!

Bullshit!  I went over to my suitcase and snagged another battery from the back-up stash.  The package of batteries was about a month old - Energizer, like the Medtronic manual recommends - and tried two new batteries.

FAILED BATT TEST.

"Arghhhhhh!"

Half expecting Chris to ask me if Lucy moved the football, I asked if he would run to the onboard cruise shop and purchase a package of batteries.  "I don't know what's up with the pump, but it refuses to acknowledge my new batteries.  It's being a prick."

Chris nodded and took off.  I proceeded to try each of the four batteries in the pack I had in my suitcase, and they all refused to work.  OMGWTFBBQ, what is up with this pump?  Why isn't it accepting new batteries?  This happened once before, of course when I was traveling, and it caused panic on my end.  Even though I had a tattered box in my medical bag with an almost-expired bottle of Lantus in it, and even though I had enough syringes to finish the trip without the pump, coming off the pump isn't easy.  I did it once before and it was a hassle of highs and lows - not what I wanted to wrangle with while I was on vacation.

Chris quickly returned with new, nine dollar batteries.

"Nine bucks?"

We both shrugged.

Of course these pricey batteries worked.

I believe my pump and the cruise ship were in financial cahoots on this one.  And Medtronic, what's the deal with this battery issue?  Has anyone else had this happen before?  Should I contact Medtronic?

Comments

Six-- I have this happen a couple of times per year on the Guardian unit. Resolves for me by swearing quite a bit, then blowing out the battery chamber and lid with compressed air.

I have an Animas pump so I cannot offer any tips or tricks.
But I Would call Medtronic and let them know. They may have some info to help you in the future.

Stupid 'betus.

I had similar problems when I first started on the pump.

It seems that you have to use VERY fresh batteries and they sure as heck can't be rechargeables.

I got myself in a pickle one day because I saw the battery was getting low but hadn't alarmed yet. I took it out and replaced it with what I thought was a new battery which promptly failed the battery test. I put the old battery back in and of course it failed the battery test too and I was stuck with no viable battery even though the one I *had* been using was working fine before I tried to swap it.

I spoke to Medtronic about this and an engineer explained that when you change batteries the pump makes sure the battery is at maximum capacity. Even a slight discharge will cause it to fail.

Rechargeables don't work because at maximum charge they put out *slightly* lower voltage than a brand new alkaline.

I'm guessing this is a liability thing. The pump tries to estimate battery life and I guess that's hard to do without knowing if a battery is *truly* new or *mostly* new.

Still - I think they erred too far on the side of caution on this one. This is the digital age and we're all comfortable with the notion of needing to recharge and replace batteries in a timely fashion. I mean - they trust us to adjust our own dosage of a powerful drug (insulin) but they don't trust us to manage batteries?

This happened to me last Friday, as I sat down to fish and chips and a tasty cold beer.

I have the same model you do, and the battery I had in my purse for just such an occasion was cruelly rejected. I had to walk to a local grocery store and buy more. And when I got back, my chips were cold.

Yuck, no fun having pump troubles on vacation. Uhoh, I just started on a MM pump and purchased a gross of AAA Duracells from Costco yesterday. Here's hoping they don't all get rejected! Never had that issue w/ my Cozmo pump.

Carol - I'd watch out for Duracell. Every Duracell I've used has been eaten up within a week. The Energizer ones last over a month, for the most part. Have you opened them yet? If not, I'd recommend bringing them back and going for Energizer. :(

Thanks Kerri! Duracells are still in the wrapper, and now sitting by the Costco receipt so they can go back. Now, how to escape Costco without spending more $$'s :)

Energizer Lithium...more expensive, but so worth it. I'm on minimed, using the CGM, and still have 'low battery' only on rare occasions. In regards to Duracell, not sure why, but they absolutely give me trouble on the rare occasion that I try to use them.

Kerri, I don't think it's MM, I think it's a quality-control problem with Energizer. We had a bad package of them once, so we contacted Energizer and they happily replaced the package for us.

Go figure. Your pump has exspensive taste. I'm glad you it worked out for you. I use the Omnipod, not tricks up my sleeve for your pump.

OMGWTFBBQ-love it!

Escaping Costco-how funny and how true!
My Costco doesn't carry Energizer, however they do carry Dex4 and lately have packaged two 50 count bottles, a tube of 10 AND bottle of liquid blast. Just never enough of the white glucose tabs!!

Kerri,
I had that same problem with my old 511. I took a q-tip and wiped/cleaned the battery contacts. I did this after two battery changes. Batteries worked fine afterward.

If your battery only lasts 2 weeks before going low on you, call medtronic. I have found that as my pumps "age", their battery sustainability wanes. To me, sounds like you should get a new pump.

The batteries should last about a month at least, i think

I don't understand you Metronic people.

CALL FREAKING TECH SUPPORT AND GET A NEW PUMP!

Oh, and next time you go on a cruise, take a loaner.

Hey Kathleen, relax! Believe me, I'm on top of things on my end. And I have a backup pump, as well. No need to pull the "you people" card! :)

Just curious since everyone is talking about using loaner pumps--does anyone know how to get one insured when you take one with you on vacation. I tried to take one with me on my honeymoon (out of country, by the way) and I couldn't get any insurance policy to cover it. Homeowners didn't b/c I technically didn't "own it" and Animas said once I accepted it, it was my responsibility. Just curious, if anyone has had better luck than I have....

I use an Animas pump so I don't know if Minimed does this, but whenever I go on a trip, they send me a loaner pump. That way if something was to malfunction, I have a backup pump with me. I've never had a problem with batteries or anything, but I would definitely contact Minimed.

Deanna - I had the same problem. Wanted to get a loaner for a three week trip to Europe last summer, but could NOT get anyone to insure it. I tried lots of angles, too, but no luck. I was too nervous to take it, considering if it got lost or stolen I'd have to pay nearly $6000!

I got a brand new pump this year (the One Touch Ping), so I kept my old Animas IR 1250, which I plan to take with me as a backup for longer/overseas trips.

Re: the battery issue -- do Minimeds not take Lithium batteries? My Animas uses AA Lithium Energizers and they lasted 4 months with my old model, about 8 weeks with the One Touch Ping because the pump & meter are always "communicating" & draining the battery.

I have a nebulizer that runs on batteries. It ran out when I was on my way home from South Africa. Yeah. Terrific. What I found out was the batteries have to say ALKALINE on them to work. That's what the company told me. Most energizer batteries say this I think, but it's something to keep in mind.

M

I'm with the rest of the group on this one, Energizer Lithium is the way to go. They last longer and they just work.

This happened to me today! So funny to find your post. It's actually happened to me many times and sometimes my pump just won't take a battery at all. I always call medtronic and sometimes for me it's been that I needed a new top to my battery compartment which they send free of charge if it's under warranty. It's great when it works and a nightmare when it doesn't :) Good luck!

Your post is so timely! C's battery went on a chiming gig today at school. I spent a good 1/2 hour between phone calls from/to school and Medtronic. The screen showed "battery limit out" or something to that effect. It's happened twice and we've only had this new little pink pump for about 2 months! Medtronic said that it can happen when the pump is jolted or the battery is left out more than a minute or so while changing them. I don't know...I'll be asking for a new pump if it happens again soon...oh...and the time gets all bungfoogled too! Did you ever try those original batteries again??

You should definitely call Medtronic, I had a similar problem and they sent me a new battery cap, and has worked great since. Apparently there is some technology in that little cap, not just there to hold the battery in!

I'm sorry you had to experience frustration on your well deserved vaca :( But I am glad that the new batteries worked! I would call MM ... it could be that you need a new battery cap. I believe they should send it to you at no charge. They also may send you a new pump ... I had my 522 replaced twice for wierd battery issues. However since I've been using the 722, no such issues. I hope they can help you avoid any further annoyances!

I think I remember the Energizer vs. Duracell thing is something about how they measure the half-life of the battery differently.

I have always used Energizer (as recommended) and usually get about 6 weeks out of it. Last time I needed batteries I bought some Energizer Lithium - that was the last week of April and the screen still shows a full battery. I am starting to think the battery sensor is broken! :)

Maybe the ship had a magnetic field to disable electronic devices so passengers would be required to buy their pricey batteries! LOL!

Nah, it happens. The Paradigm wants nice, fresh, Energizer batteries. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean unopened.

The same thing happened to me. It was just the package of batteries, but I called MiniMed and got a new battery cap because sometimes they can become loose making it hard for the battery to hold a connection. The reason MiniMed suggests Energizer Alkaline batteries is because they know how the battery will respond with the pump, with any other batteries you cannot trust that the levels are correct. I would give them a call just so you can document it in case something happens in the future.

I think you were right with your instinct. The pump was being a prick. Pumps tend to act out when on vacation, like babies taken out of their element. They don't understand the subtle motions of the sea, the salty air, or the constant bolusing to cover margaritas with or without salt. Instead of remaining supportive, they turn on you, turning prickish. They cry and wail, complain and occlude. Thankfully I got William Polonsky's new book, "When Your Pump Becomes a Prick" and learned techniques of calming my pump into submission. $19.95 on Amazon.com.

Nine dollars, indeed!

Hm...maybe you're just not spending enough on your batteries, Kerri.

You didn't get those black market ones they sell on eBay, didya?! ;)

This happeed a few weeks ago with my daughter's pump-same model as yours. She was at school, it was time for her after-lunch bolus and the nurse called and asked me to come down there with more batteries because the two that they had in the nurse's office weren't working. I came up with three new Energizer batteries. I got one failed test and then the pump screen went black and wouldn't "wake-up". I spent 45 minutes on the on the phone with MM running a series of tests on the pump. Finally they asked me to ask around for one more battery. The ladies in the ofice got me one of theirs and (of course!) it worked. The only explanation was that the other batteries must have been bad (seriously? 5 of them?). She mentioned making sure the cap was screwed in correctly (which seems obvious to me!) and she did tell me that if it happened again they would replace the pump since it was under warranty.

I swear by the Energizer Lithium batteries in my MM 715! They last at least twice as long as the regular Energizers.

This just happened to me last week. bought a new battery pack at Walgreens, tried all 4. All 4 failed.

Jon - hilarious!

To the topic at hand - I had some Sony batteries on-hand as spares. My calculator fizzled the day before finals, and I didn't take time to buy new ones.

I replaced one of the Ti89 batteries with my Sony 'pump spare'. Took my final. (86%, I'll take that).

My MM pump needed a new battery a few days later when I was studying for another final, and I used the borrowed Sony that was in my calculator. It worked.

Why did it work, and other fresh, tasty, nice batteries are rejected? I have no earthly idea.

We just had a failed battery test, too. Dear 11 yo son's battery was very low and he put in his spare which would not register at all. He assumed that it was a dead battery, although I was sure it was new. So, as he was on a field trip and about to board a boat for the day, he tried to put his METER battery in, and got a "Failed Battery" message. They held the boat while his teacher ran to the store for fresh batteries, which worked. All Energizer.

At first I believed that he somehow had a dead battery as a spare, but after doing a bit of research, and ending up here, too, I see that there is more at play.

Speaking to the lithium/alkaline issue...I had been using the lithium and enjoying the longer life, better value. The pump was having issues, don't remember exactly what, and Medtronics told me that the lithium ran too hot and caused issues.Can't remember exactly what, it was a couple years ago. I switched back to the high output alkaline and no issues since. Um, until this week!

Wish I could get a new pump out of it, but I think I am out of warranty...gonna keep more batteries on hand I guess...

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