Found a solution to the Medtronic button error issue

I am a biomedical engineer and a user of the medtronic paradigm 522 insulin pump. I have recently ran into the dreaded button error that many people have with this specific pump. I have devised a work-around to make the pump usable again (until a replacement is sent.)

If you peel back the adhesive cover for the buttons, you will see the circuit and metallic part for the buttons…

The button error is caused by moisture getting in between the silver metal and gold contact. Use a blow dryer to drive out any moisture and test out the pump by turning it on

Hopes this helps somebody out there…

If you have no insurance and your pump has done this, let me know and I’ll help you out.

Shame on you Medtronic for not being able to repair such a simple problem…

Hi -
My medtronic pump had a ‘button error’ about a week ago. It is not under warranty but they sent me a COT pump while I figure out financing (no insurance). After the first night w/out my pump I put the battery back in and it worked, although the ACT button was a bit slow. I got another button error the next day and transferred to the COT pump. I have read your post and I am going to give it a try. Medtronic asked me to mail back my old pump but why would I send it back just so they can refurbish it and use it, unless they want to give me a discount on a new one.
Have you had any experience with Animas pumps? I thought maybe because they are water proof it might be better?
thanks, Erica.

Hey Erica,

I haven’t dealt with Animas pumps at all so I wouldn’t know. But we are basically in the same boat, I too have no insurance and medtronic wouldn’t help at all. The trick to get the adhesive off the front panel is to get an exacto. Knife and pry gently under the plastic from the top right area where the light button is. Once you get the panel off, you will see a gold contact and if you press it, you will see how it works. I would recommend blow drying that area first, test the buttons… if it still does it, get a Q-Tip and some isopropyl alcohol and gently clean the gold contacts, then blow dry again for a minute. Also buy some compressed air in a can and gently blow on it (not full blast, just small puffs of air)

Let me know if it works. If you need help with it you can send me the broken pump and I will try my best. Im doing research at louisiana tech right now till august so I have access to some special tools if needed. Either way let me know.


thanks Kris! I will give it a try tonight. I don’t plan on sending them my pump back even I can’t get it working- ridiculous that they can use it again and I can’t. - Erica

What is a "COT’ pump?

They may have a trade in value on it. So it can help in the cost of a new one. I am switching to Animas and they are giving me 700 break on the cost of it for the trade in.

‘Continuation of Therapy’ basically just a loaner while I get financing etc together for a new one…but hopefully the fix will work!

He's quite right.
I've found that a slightly less invasive solution (very short term) is to sit the pump in a bag of rice, and if you can stick it in your pocket and go about your day.

I've had three pumps do this now. I work in a fast paced kitchen environment and I guess I'm just getting it too sweaty in my pocket. tmi.

The rice bag works every time, and I've also noticed that showering with the pump in the same room also kicks my button error pump into this mode very easily. once it's moist, the buttons stick and it literally has to be dried out to function again.

Crappy design minimed.

So yeah, body heat combined with giving the moisture a better place to go to (the rice) helps. It's an old cell phone trick.

My 722 blew up last summer after a 14ish mile run in 87 degree heat and monstrous humidity. Really sweaty, right about the finish line it bleeped the "BUTTON ERROR" message. It was also the Saturday of the 3 day 4th of July weekend so I knew before I called that it was likely Tuesday/ Wednesday to get a replacement. I got home and figured I'd take the battery out and dry it off as it was a bit sweaty so I left it in the sun, had some NPH and took a shower and did some cooking (carnitas!). Then, I tried the battery and it was still bleeping so I put it in the freezer so I wouldn't have to hear it and then went about my business. The next morning, it appeared to be fine! I'd already gotten it replaced and wasn't sure I'd trust it over a holiday weekend but it seemed fix to me?

Seems like ever since they retracted the rule that they were water resistant (that first generation even claimed you could go swimming with them), they've been far from even close to being so.

I say if humidity can find a way in and do this at all, then it's likely not exactly a 'fix', but more a go to when it happens.
For this particular pump, it happened after a long swimming pool party for my kids, and the humidity was, well like a swimming pool, so while I'd never known what caused the button error before, I knew this time. It was obvious.

I can even feel my act button sticking when it gets mushy in there. The rice trick fixes it within hours.
In fact I just spent a couple of hours at target with a ziplock bag of rice in my pocket with my pump slowly resuming it's normal functions. Now the button sticking 'tick noise' has gone again and it appears to be dried out once more.
..Much to the embarrassment of my eldest son who thought I looked utterly ridiculous tending to and testing my insulin pump buttons through the side of a bag of uncooked rice in public. :D
Seems I've given up caring what others think.

Anyway, it works! I'd imagine actually getting in there somehow as the original poster mentioned to clean the connections would be a lot longer lasting, but I'm going to reserve this for when it's truly beyond reproach and I'm looking like I'll be without a pump for an extended period of time.


I had the same trouble with my Animas Pump and they refused to fix it even though it was ! 1 MONTH out of warrantee. I even offered to pay for it.
I think they Know we have to buy new ones when something goes wrong.
Both companies seem to use the same trick in the case of buttons sticking. I used alchahol swabs to dry out mine and it worked again for several days.

Anyone who is handy with a soldering iron could replace them I am sure.

Thanks krispykris and breanndrink for the solutions. I had heard of the rice solutionh for cellphones, but did not think you could do it with the pump.
I have had 2 MM pumps to "go down" with the "dreaded button error" signal on hot days. I had to send them back for a replacement.I got a suggestion to put the pump in a cushy baby sock when I am wearing it close to my skin ( yes we women put it in "tighter" spaces than men, for fashion discreetness in dresses, lol)

I found that ther sock absorbs moisture on hot days; and I have not had the button error issue in over 3 years. I am due for a pump upgrade and I am debating whether I want to stay with MM pump models. I would prefer one that is waterproof as well as integrated with a CGM.

God Blss,

Thought I'd chime in on this again as this happened to me again today.
Obviously, now I'm so aware of it, it wasn't as horribly stressful as the times before. My mind wasn't going at 100mph wondering where I'd put that ancient box of syringes and wondering if I could find 600-800 dollars for a new pump.

Again, got a bag of raw rice, put the pump in it, chirping it's warning bleeps, and sat it under a heat lamp on my stove. (a pocket works just as well).
It was absolutely frozen for over an hour this time, but allowed me to esc ACT out of the alarm afterwards.
The up button (the one that has always stuck on every pump I've ever owned from Minimed) was the culprit again. I could quick bolus 2 units at .5 unit increments before it would stick again and I'd have to wait for it to release.
I manually pushed some of the reservoir through the tubing to stop a high from happening at this point, knowing I'd have to wait this one out.

I volunteer at my children's school today so I took it with me in my pocket, in the bag of rice, zip-locked up to the tubing, wondering if I'd have to manually push the plunger in on the reservoir to keep me going, but within 2 hours it was straightened out again.

The plastic baggie of rice trick worked again, and I'm thinking I might get into the habit of sleeping with it in the bag now the nights are getting a bit gross and humid.

I really need a new pump, but honestly, I don't want to give it to minimed :(


this problem of button sticking, just happened to me during hot yoga, this is the yoga that is in a sauna like atmosphere, 105F,..i had done this yoga about 2.5 years ago and never had any problems with the new Medtronic Revel pump, but this pump went bad, so i had to use my Uncles older 722 pump...and now the UP button is the button that is sticking...i am now having trouble because this UP button is always "stuck" and the other buttons will not operate..My question,After i do this "rice bag" solution, is this a temporary fix ?? or is this a permanent fix as long as i dont get this pump close to any moisture or humidity ??
Also, anybody on this page, have any solutions possible so this doesnt happen again ?? I would hate to have this pump not near any shower, or while i am running,etc..
I appreciate all the comments and stuff on this thread, this is very helpful

Hey there,

Well the problem is moisture, and the rice takes away that moisture, so in that sense it's permanent, but it won't stop how and why the moisture is able to get in there in the first place, so likely it will happen again.

If your pump is under warranty they'll overnight you another if you call it in.

I have noticed that if I wear and use my pump in a case that covers the entire thing, it isn't happening any more. I just bought a little mp3 case for an ipod that so happens to fit the minimed perfectly, and it hasn't happened since having it in this case.
Perhaps it just needs that slight extra layer/covering?

I've also wondered about having a 'covering' for my pump as this is pump number 2 for me this year. The first failed with the "up" button just absolutely froze. Called Medtronic and of course played the 25 question game like they have to do. They sent a refurbished pump overnight and all was good.

In the meantime I sent for a cloth pump case from a place called Insulin-pump-packs for you. If you are interested, just google the name and you should see what I mean. I usually wear my pump either in my jeans pocket or most often in my bra, so the cover does help it to stay dry.

Has it ever occurred to anyone that the moisture may originate from the insulin in the first place?

It's so locked away that any leak at all would basically stay inside the casing until allowed to ventilate until 'dry'.

Oddly I've been diabetic for so long and don't know what the general makeup of insulin is, and while problems have always arisen when the pump has been in humid conditions, I do wonder if it would also be a temperature thing with moisture levels already inside the casing vaporizing and causing havoc with connections in the buttons?

Just a thought.

I have a problem with Medtronic CGMS buttons. Not possible to push. No one Medtronic company explain what reason can be. Thanks for information, will try to dry my monitor.
Changing battery system always shows A21 alarm. Have you ever had such case? Do you know what it means this alarm.
Thanks in advance for answers.

A21 means you need to put in a fresh battery OR that the battery compartment is corroded. To clean the compartment you need contton swabs and 90% isopropyl alcohol.

Thanks for so fast reply. One more question. You wrote "If you peel back the adhesive cover for the buttons"

If I understand correctly- I have to take out common cover from all buttons and let dry. How you are placing back this cover? Glue?
Thanks for the answers