4 new sensor failures in a row 12-12-2021

Background-Type 1 diabetic for 52 years. One of the rare ones w/close no complications. Started using DC G6 January 2021. Have been on Medtronic pumps for quite some time but switching to Tandem next week so can pair w/DC. Yesterday I went through 4 new sensors due to “sensor failure” message w/in 15 minutes of starting warm up. I’ve been using Dexcom for almost a year now and have gotten very good at changing out so I was baffled and frustrated. Had 3 conversations w/DC Tech Support and all of them were just repeating same questions over and over, starting with “Have you read the User Guide?” Yes, I have. The best comment was “Well, you’re getting sensor failure message because your sensor isn’t working.” Wow, really?? I’m now out of sensors, waiting for new ones to arrive. This am I still had a sensor in from last night w/transmitter still attached. Watched a couple of videos(yes I know not medical experts but these people are actual USERS and sometimes know more about how to handle issues than Tech Support. Learned 2 things from videos this am. Things I never heard from DC. DC USER COMMENTS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

  1. YOU CAN RESTART A SENSOR W/O CHANGING IT OUT-extending life of sensor. Learned from a video that that if you can manage to get transmitter out of holder, and keep it out for at least 15 minutes, you can actually put transmitter back in, and restart same sensor. Since sensor I put in last night was still in and transmitter still attached, I decided to give that a try. Worth a shot! Tried credit card, hair clip, guitar pick etc. but found it IMPOSSIBLE to get transmitter out of holder. Videos I watched were 3-4 months old and I can’t help but wonder if DC got wise to this “outside of DC protocol” trick that people were using to extend life of sensors (resulting in less $ for DC) and did a redesign to keep users from doing this. I believe sensors “expire” based only time parameters programmed in-not on how long sensor can actually work.

  2. SKIN TAG WIPES-Learned from a video, never rub Skin Tac Wipe directly on skin. 1 video showed wipe on sticky ends of sensor tabs only. I’ve been using STWs for a few months now but never knew to watch for that. Makes sense since I’m sure if ANY glue on skin is near site of sensor insertion it could cause a problem and since I just kind of randomly wipe STW around, certainly possible that sometimes glue goes where it’s not supposed to. No one from Tech Support ever asked me “Are you using STWs?” Will definitely pay attention to this from now on.

And definitely use an alcohol wipe or bottled alcohol on a tissue on the transmitter. That could also wipe off any skin tack.

I have done this many times, and still works. Will be doing so on Sat. I use a hair clip, but it has to be thin enough. And need to locate the plastic tabs on both sides of transmitter.

If you have an old transmitter and used sensor, you can try to practice on that.
When i have dexcom on my arm, it is the most difficult position, but can still remove trans.

I’m sorry you’re having a rough time. It might be possible you just got a bad lot. Dexcom is usually pretty awesome, but there have been bad runs that escaped quality control.

It’s most definitely possible, it’s just tricky. I restart all my sensor to get my full-cash-paying-out-of-pocket money’s worth. Once you figure out the trick, though, it’s much easier to do to future sensors. I practiced on a used, removed, and intact sensor (not had the butt snapped off yet), which was really helpful.

If you look at your transmitter you’ll see an indentation on each side. If you look in the empty sensor housing, just next to the cut-out where you’d break a dead sensor to remove the transmitter, you’ll see two clips that correspond to the aforementioned transmitter indentations. You’re trying to shove something stiff, thin, and flexible in-between those two parts. I find it takes a good shove to get the tool in, and then a swoop to the side to make it release. You’ll hear a soft “click” when you get it. You can pull your tool out then, so long as you’re careful not to press on the transmitter and snap it back in place.
I find it impossible to fit a test strip, or whatever you’re using, on both sides at once. Then repeat on the other side to release the second clip. Since the transmitter is spring-loaded, it will actually jump out at you when you get the “click” on the second side, so be ready to catch it or standing over the bed/sofa/something soft.

Excuse the fuzzy pic, but the arrows point at the indentation and location of clip. That’s where you’re aiming for.

My favorite prying tool is a laminated paper insurance card. My Freestyle Lite test strips don’t work, they just bend and break.


When i insert dexcom sensor, i just use alcohol wipes, not the tacky stuff. But you could try that instead. Alcohol reduces oil on skin, and i get good adhesion. It’s possible the dexcom sensor wire is contacting the skin tac on insertion. Or your shipment was impacted by cold weather during shipping.

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Thank you.

To prevent bending the sensor wire on insertion, I stick the sensor to my skin, then I pull away with the applicator so my skin draws out, then I hit the button to deploy it.

This has worked for me to prevent the bent wire and the sensor failure right at the start of the session.


Several months ago I started following Timothy’s method and it really helped. Still following his advice, but I am on my 3rd sensor this week. Sometimes the sensors are just bad. If they get too cold or too hot during shipment, that can ruin them.

I agree with some of the other people on this thread that it simply could be a bad lot of sensors.

I do use Skin Tac directly on the skin before placing the sensor and have been doing this now for approx 5 years without issue. I swim and sweat a lot during workouts so I try to do as much as possible to keep the sensor attached.

how old is the transmitter? (pretty much useless after 100 days) and if its new, its probably the transmitter… many drs offices have extras they can give you, especially specialists… ive heard of a bad sensor… usually a blood vessel, bent cannula, but 4 sounds like s transmitter issue

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Thanks very much for the input. Temperature also crossed my mind. It’s been well below zero in good part of the last month in CO. Temp range for sensors has a low of 36F which makes me wonder about conditions under which sensors are shipped… Nobody from Dexcom or Advanced Diabetes Supply was able to answer that question for me.

I use the point of a metal nail file to pry the sensor out. Took a couple of tries before succeeding. I leave the transmitter off for at least a 1/2 hour, then restart with the old sensor number. To be able to do that, always save the Sensor number paper when you take it off until you change it the next time. I have done this successfully 6 times. If you do this every couple of sensor changes, you will always have a spare sensor when you may need it. I have had Type 1 38 years and like you, switched from Medtronic to a Tandem And Dexcom G6 sensor.

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There are 2 other ways that work.

1 leave your sensor and transmitter in. Unpair the transmitter. Then pair and old transmitter. Then pair again the current one. And restart your sensor.

  1. Slide a test strip Under the transmitter from the top narrow edge. You don’t need to free the transmitter. Just get the strip in there to block the connection. Leave it there for 15 -20 min.

Then restart your sensor with the code or without code if you prefer.

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I had a similar problem about a year ago and it was a bad transmitter. Support figured is out when I called them with 4 failed sensors in a row. The transmitter had worked for about 45 days, then failed. Dexcom sent me 4 replacement sensors plus a new transmitter overnight, early a.m. delivery.


My transmitter was about 5 days out from the 90 days when I had these 4 transmitters in a row failures so DC sent me new transmitter (a bit early) when they sent replacement sensors. No way to know for certain if it was a transmitter or sensors but I’m thinking transmitter which is concerning since there’s no work around for failed transmitter like there is for sensors. BTW info on restarting sensor by removing transmitter for at least 15 minutes then putting back in has been extremely helpful!! Thank you so much!

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Hi Cheryl,

I have no good advice about bad sensors (I’ve just luckily had another one at the ready while awaiting a replacement - and it’s happened twice. Both times on day 7 or 8, not the start, which means I now have a little cushion of 2 spare sensors).

I’m just writing to say I, like you, am on DexcomG6 and using a Medtronic pump. It’s super annoying that they don’t communicate and that I can no longer have graphs that show both my levels and the insulin I took. But it is far better than the pump with just test strips.

So I can’t wait to hear how you find using the Tandem instead!

In BC Canada I can get only the Medtronic or the Omnipod covered, nothing else, so I guess I’ll use this set up until either Medtronic goes under, makes a sensor to rival Dexcom, or my BC medical starts covering a pump that works in sync with Dexcom.

Best of luck!
Aidan (t1 for 28 years, 48 yrs old)


That’s my procedure, but I started doing thinking it’d prevent bruising muscle. I wish there was a way to do that with XC sets. Sometimes when a set is causing pain I pinch the skin around the set and sort of wiggle it around. That usually works.

You can, you pinch up the skin you are about to use for your set

Rather difficult with the giant Tandem XC applicators. That’s what I did with TruSteel. To use TruSteel I have to bend the steel cannula at an angle or it is painful no matter what. This is with the 6mm cannula.

I suppose I could use those sets that are 30° angle, but I am more than pleased with the XCs. I only have painful ones rarely and pinching up some skin around the set and wiggling it around seems to take care of it.