New Tandem User Question, Hack

As some regulars here will know I switched to using a Tandem X2 last April after many years with Medtronic pumps. Since then a couple of things have come up that I thought I’d get some feedback about.

  1. Geez my screen is already getting pretty scratched up! I do mostly keep the pump in a pocket, either pants or shirt. I’ve just never liked having things clipped to my belt—more likely to get bonked, uncomfortable when I need to bend over, etc. But I do try to have nothing else in whatever pocket I have my pump in. Apparently not as successful about that as I thought, as I’ve recently noticed the screen is getting scuffed up, when the light hits it from the right angle. Is there some kind of screen protector you can get for these things, like the ones for smartphones? Maybe get one of those and cut it to size?
  2. My little reservoir-filling hack. Took a few times to get used to this slightly finicky process, but I think I have it down now. But the one thing that remained a PITA for me was getting the air bubbles out of the syringe. Air bubble thwacking has been a pain in my butt ever since I was on syringes, back in the 80s. It’s a particular feature of Tandem because of that business of having to draw the air out of the reservoir before filling it. I’ve watched plenty of Tandem vids where they show the bubbles coming out nicely when you just push in the plunger and watch for a teeny-tiny little bit of insulin at the tip, indicating they’re all gone. NOT! Every time I do it, I end up spritzing several units of insulin all over the place while the bubbles rest happy and contented right where they are, even though I thwack until my finger gets sore. So my little hack is that I insert the needle back into my vial so I can thwack at it and push enough insulin through to see the bubble finally bloop out into the vial, then pull enough insulin back in to make up for the difference. Works pretty well.

So far, still very happy with this pump though. Cheers!


There’s already a screen protector factory-installed. You can see it if you look just inside the silver bezel going around the perimeter. Tandem will even send you free replacements if you call support and ask. While you’re on the line, go ahead and ask for dust cover replacements, too. That’s the little flap that covers the charging port. It’ll wear out and start to annoy you and you’ll want to rip it off.


Cool—thanks! Oh, and my CGM session just ending reminded me of one other thing. When you start a new sensor session do you find there’s any advantage to doing it from the pump versus from the Dexcom app?

It honestly shouldn’t matter, but it seems that most people prefer to do it from the pump, simply because it’s the official medical device. I use a 3rd party app for Dexcom, so I feel more comfortable having important CGM interactions in a place that can be verified if need be. You do what makes you comfortable, though. You can still make the pump join a CGM session that’s already running by going through the normal process to start a new sensor, but this time you’re supposed to click the “skip” button instead of entering the calibration code a second time.

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I tried doing it from the pump the first time it came up, but after the warm-up started on the pump I checked the app and it showed no sign that a new session was underway, so I got a bit nervous and just redid the procedure from the app. Probably just needed to wait five minutes but I was afraid I’d end up prolonging the warm-up or something. I think I’m more trusting of the system now.

Of course the pump doesn’t have access to the phone’s cam to use the QR code to enter the sensor ID, but that’s pretty trivial.

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I start from my pump always and my phone picks it up after a few min.
If you start it from your phone, you can join the session by starting it from your pump with no code, the it joins the session already started by your phone.

The only issue is if you change your transmitter and then change the transmitter code in your pump settings and start a new session, then you will not be able to join the session from your dexcom ap.

So when I change the transmitter, I change it in the settings of both my phone and in the ap, then I start a new session with my sensor and it works. But a few times I just didn’t, and I wasn’t getting data on my phone for 10 days.

Of course the tandem ap still gets the data , and thst the one I use anyway.

I’ve replaced my screen protector a couple of times. They tell you that you need to pay for it, but if you ask them on the phone and play dumb, they will offer to send you one free of charge.

I bought a silicone pump cover and it does a good job of keeping most things away from the screen. But I keep mine in my pocket too. Keys are the worst enemy of screens


I remove the air from the cartridge before filling the syringe with insulin. That way there is no removing bubbles.

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I do the same as Firenza, remove air from pump with an empty syringe first. Then fill with insulin. I have a metal letter opener that I use to tap my syringe to get bubbles to top and out of syringe. I can’t do it with finger taps. Have also tapped edge of laptop! It must be a firm tap. I hate those cheap syringes.

I changed from Humalog to Novolog 6 months ago. I have a lot less trouble with stubborn bubbles with Novolog. It seems to me that Humalog has higher surface tension making the bubbles more difficult.

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I always do this. Actually, this is how my trainer taught me to do it.


DrrBB said: “I’ve just never liked having things clipped to my belt—more likely to get bonked, uncomfortable when I need to bend over, etc.”

You might consider getting a case that is aligned horizontally. Not easy to find those, of course. I’ve been using a Medtronic sports case (don’t tell anyone!) with a belt loop on the back, which aligns with your belt, and it works fine; better than the Tandem cases, AFAICT. The case is a just tad too roomy for a t:slim, but like so many things in life, “too much is always better than not enough!”

Diabetics are the only people who inject themselves so that they DON’T get high!


I do the same. Never understood why you do it the way they suggested.

I really like NiteIze cases. They have one for just about anything. I don’t have one for my t:slim because my quilting expert wife made me a couple nice padded belt pouches. But NiteIze has some that should wokl, either on their own web site or (of course) Amazon.

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