Dexcom sensors and transmitters failing

I have had problems with about every third sensor failing before the ten days is up. Went in to the app and clicked technical help to open a ticket and filled out the form. Received an email that email support is now no longer available (yet the app still allows you to do it) and you have to go their support web page. Okay, so I do that. You only get a very short amount of characters to describe your problem and then it takes days for them to respond.

When they do respond, usually after some minor irritating questions, they will usually replace the sensors. Problem is, you have to go through this process every time, which is ridiculous. What is Dexcom doing to solve the issue of sensor failure?

When the Dexcom system works it is great, but I am frustrated with all of the sensor failures and the cost since insurance covers sensors for every ten days. And, when the sensor fails, it is never when you are at home and have another one available to swap it out with. It is always at an inconvenient time when you don’t necessarily have a meter with you. I am very disappointed in the reliability of the Dexcom system and their lack of support.

Interesting. I have never heard of that approach for Tech Support. We always call in on the phone for Dexcom Technical Support.

These statements are confusing. The first statement about 10 days would clearly indicate the Dexcom G6 system. However the Dexcom G6 transmitter is certainly not intended to last a year nor would it be reasonable for insurance to be providing coverage for a single Dexcom G6 Transmitter per year.

I assume I misunderstood the posting.

I’ve only had one Dexcom G6 come off but several were pretty lose by day 10.

I started using “Skintac” and now they last 10 days and are not easy to get off.

It’s a wipe you rub on first that makes your skin ‘sticky’, then you just put the sensor on like normal.

Yes, it is a G6. I was able to just work with my pharmacy to get coverage for the transmitter. The insurance was incorrect in stating that the transmitter should last a year when they denied coverage for a new one. The pharmacy was able to get that corrected and get the transmitters covered.


Excellent!!! Nice when you get something working. The pharmacy came through for you.


The funny thing is that the sensor isn’t peeling off at all. It just loses connection for periods of up to 3-4 hours at a time when the phone is on me and then eventually says that the sensor has failed and needs to be replaced after a few times of losing connection. And like I said, it is usually only every third sensor or so that does this. The other ones seem to work perfectly.

There is a FB group that has people on two sides of the G6 “good/bad” coin. Some restart them often w/o issues, nearly always/always get 10 days out of them, and others like you have sensor failures left and right. I wish I knew the common denominator.

The things to consider, IMO are

  1. Lot number (doubtful, from what Ive seen when people report good and bad results from the same lot)
  2. Body location of sensor
  3. Hydration level
  4. Application differences (w/o the built-in applicator you’d think that would be a non-issue)
  5. body fat (dex tech support acknowledged that the G6 doesn’t work as well as the G5 for those with little body fat.)

What other differences can anyone think of to account for the wide variation in G6 results?

This is also a little confusing as it is the transmitter that connects via bluetooth to the phone; the sensor itself is passive and doesn’t have anything to do with that. I suppose it could be a transmitter being unable to get data from the sensor, though I’ve never encountered that and it wouldn’t affect the transmitter-phone connection.

But if it’s a transmitter-to-iPhone problem—a bluetooth dropout—you might try forcing Bt to re-pair with the transmitter when it happens. I’ve only been on the G6 for a month and so far haven’t had a single drop-out (knock on wood), but with the G5 I’d get several a week. I generally found that if it didn’t reconnect within a few minutes it was just going to stay that way for hours. So I evolved a technique that works with other Bt devices in the same state. Basically you go into your Bt prefs, “forget” the device, turn off Bt for a few seconds, then turn it back on, then quit the Dex app and relaunch it (this is all in IOS). That would usually get it to send me a pairing request within five minutes, which I believe is the transmit interval of the transmitter.

Bt just is a finicky thing sometimes! It’s more complicated than just an RF connection as there are different protocols and memory assignments and godknowswhat. My understanding was that there was some kind of caching with the iPhone that could get things stuck, so cycling Bt—or if it’s really stubborn, doing a phone restart—would clear it.

I just found out from tech support, that using the G5 non-touch receiver, if it loses the signal for a while, the best way to recover is to turn it off and on. I’ve never done that, but will try it if it happens to me.

Also, some iPhone users report power cycling their phone gets things humming again.

Not sure if there is a connection between the drops from the transmitter and the sensor failures, but was just noting the pattern that I tend to observe with those sensors that fail.

do you mean the graph is jumpy, Tim? (prior to sensor failures)

Not so much the transmitter UNABLE to get the data but rather the transmitter reading the sensor data and then the error detection algorithms in the G6 Transmitter make the decision that the data is not good. The G6 Transmitter then INTENTIONALLY stops transmitting data. This condition can persist for up to three hours. If the transmitter does not determine within the 3 hour time period that the sensor data has become good, then typically the transmitter would end the session with a message that the sensor has failed.

An actual Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication drop out will never cause a G6 sensor to go into a failure state.

That sounds like a safety feature to avoid presenting faulty glucose readings to the user (the way that you presented why the sensor error message occurs). My G5 seems fairly tolerant of jumpy data (up to a point of course). Looking at the graph around day 9-10, I’ll see lots of data points that aren’t in line with their neighbors. That’s when I know it’s time to change the sensor.

Exactly. Particularly if the G6 is allowed to integrate with and drive insulin pumps, there needs to be a way to shut things down if it can be detected that the output is not likely correct.

The G6 data will still jump around (particularly at the end of the sensor life as you mention you also see with the G5) but at some point, the error detection will kick in and shut things down. Either temporary for 3 hours max or permanent with a sensor session failure.

Once in a while my actual bg level will change dramatically. Like going up 100+ points in under 20 minutes. I wonder if that fast rise would trigger an error either at the beginning or during a fast rise such as that.

I don’t know exactly what triggers it. I suspect it is more complex. I have seen a fast rise/drop displayed without it triggering the 3 hour (max) cutout.

We don’t often get drops that fast but a rise that fast is pretty easy. About all that takes is to forget a bolus with a high carb low fat low protein food !!!

What do you mean by turn it off and on? Press on select button in center of navigation wheel and wait for it to turn off and repeat a few times? Or do you mean select button>Main menu down to Shutdown option, Shutdown and restart?

I mean “Shutdown” OR push a paperclip into the hole in the back (seems silly to do that when “shutdown” is supposed to fix the issue). Wait a few moments,then press a key to restart the receiver.

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Sometimes just LOOKING at stuff like that raises my BG. Usually on someone else’s plate.