Nightscout question for Dexcom CGM G5 and iPhone

I read that some people have had great success using Nightscout. I am not sure if this would work for us. Our situation is that my hubby is the diabetic wearing the Dexcom G5 CGM and Omnipod. He uses Dexcom Share on his iPhone. I use Dexcom Follow on my iPhone. We have had a lot of lost signals and the long ones are the ones that are obviously dangerous. Since hubby’s heart attack, he’s lost 30 pounds and has had some night time hypoglycemic events. We have lost signal for 90 minutes. Dexcom is trying to figure it out but I’m wondering if Nightscout would even work for us.

Hi Linda,

We use both Share & Nightscout, so we always have a safety net. As you know, anything using a Bluetooth signal can have problems from time to time.

Our little guy (dx at 12 months & now 9 years old) also uses both Omnipod & Dexcom.

If you would like further information, please join us on the Facebook group “CGM in the Cloud.”

There are people available to help you setup Nightscout 24/7. If anything seems above your tech level, tag Amy Cowen or Kate Farnsworth in your post (our most amazing Tech Support volunteers).

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Nightscout provides a way to view CGM data using a web browser, but it does not provide alternative means of collecting data from a Dexcom G5 transmitter. While there are alternatives available for Android, I think one has to rely on the Dexcom app to get and view CGM data on an iPhone. If that works, Nightscout could then be used as an alternative display for CGM data, but that’s not addressing the problem you have.

In addition to any suggestions or solutions you may get from Dexcom technical support, you may try the following:

  1. use Dexcom G5 receiver instead of iPhone, or in addition to iPhone. Some people report fewer signal drops on the receiver compared to the iPhone. If you are simultaneously losing signal on both the received and the iPhone, the problem might be with the transmitter - Dexcom tech support may send you a replacement, or suggest some other solution.

  2. On the iPhone, check Settings, Bluetooth, and see if there are any other Bluetooth devices connected to the iPhone. If so, try to remove them and keep just G5 connected

  3. Reset Bluetooth occasionally or when signal loss occurs: on the iPhone, in Settings, Bluetooth, turn off Bluetooth, and turn it on again; make sure G5 shows up again as a connected Bluetooth device.

  4. Reset iPhone occasionally or when signal loss occurs: power down and power up, then start the Dexcom app again.

I can very much understand how CGM signal loss can be frustrating. It seems some people report more frequent signal loss with G5, while others have no such problems, but it’s not clear why. Wish you best luck.

Hi, Linda.

I’m sorry you are having this trouble.

I used Nightscout before G5 was released. My son uses both OmniPod and Dexcom. It was very useful and very effective. We had to work out some signal kinks and would have occasional problems here and there. But it was a wonderful tool as it was the first time we could see his BGs remotely.

When we started G5, I had intended to continue with Nightscout as well bc the information provided is much more robust and the tools allowed to great communication bt myself and the school nurse. But that was short lived. It just wasn’t work the extra baggage and hassle for the incremental benefit. Caleb was becoming more autonomous and although the information sharing between myself and the nurse was nice information to have, it was unessential as Caleb was taking all the action and making his own decisions.

We only use G5 now and we don’t have lost signal issues. I don’t know why this seems to vary so widely from user to user.

To clarify - when you say lost signal do you mean that dexcom is not getting any data, or do you mean that followers do not get data for periods even though the user still gets data? Caleb gets ??? from time to time. For him it seems to be if his bg is rapidly rising or when the sensor is getting old. But true lost signals or followers getting “no data” happen only occasionally for us such that it’s a nuisance but not a significant concern.

I use both the iPhone app, and the receiver, with my G5. I do get signal loss with both at times, but rarely both at the same time. On the times both go out, I have figured out there are some common issues:

  • If the loss is at night, it is likely that he is laying on the transmitter. Doing so will cause signal loss. Adjusting where he wears the sensor/transmitter will usually alleviate most of the problem. Dexcom will not recommend “alternative sites” like arms, but it is one of the reasons I use the back of my arm.
  • Keeping the iPhone in the rear pocket opposite the side the sensor/transmitter is on. Bluetooth is not omnidirectional, and will not pass through the body. Move it to the same side of the body as the sensor/transmitter.
  • Leaving the phone on a desk (or elsewhere) and walking more than roughly 35 feet away from it will cause a signal loss on the iPhone. There are technological reasons for this I won’t get into - but it will then take a while to re-connect.

In most cases, when the iPhone loses signal, it is fairly quick to reconnect to the transmitter if he simply goes into Settings, turns off Bluetooth, then turns it on again.

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