Problems with Animas Vibe's Alarms

Short story: last night I had a severe hypoglycemia. It was one of those where you wake up drenched in sweat and super disoriented...not good times. First thing I did was check my Vibe's CGM, and not only did it read "LOW", but my trendline showed that I'd been below my Low Alert threshold for nearly 2 hours. After drinking some juice, I tested my BS... 40.

This isn't the first time that I've missed an alarm while asleep since switching to the Vibe in Feb, but it's by far the most disconcerting. What's even worse is that my snooze time is set to 30 minutes, which means that the alarm must have gone off at least 4 times without waking me.

I'm set on not having this happen again, so I'm now actively trying to find ways to make the Vibe's alarms more viable. I plan on running a few different experiments. The first will be to clip the Vibe to a glass cup and leave it in the bed with me. If that doesn't work, I may try using a longer tubing and clipping it to a glass that sits on my nightstand (like I used to do with my G4 receiver). I'm also going to try to clip it to different places on my body that may be more sensitive to the vibrations than my waist (e.g. a shirt pocket). If any of you have any ideas for experiments, or have figured out a technique of your own, please do share! Thank you!

In the meantime, I'm going to reactivate my G4 receiver and set its Low Alert threshold 5 mg/dl below my Vibe. That way I can ensure my safety while still testing the Vibe's alerts. Ultimately though, I don't want to have to use both devices simultaneously, so I'm hoping to find a solution to the Vibe alert problem.

tl;dr - Do any of you have a technique for making the Vibe's alarms more viable, either by amplifying the sound, increasing the vibration, or some other means?

Thank you so much! All the best

Beware of rolling over on a glass cup. I did that once while asleep. The results were less than stellar.

I, too, am interested in ways to make the alarm sounds louder. I'm a heavy sleeper, and I've been used to the loud alarms of the Dexcom. The Vibe alarms aren't cutting it.

I'm currently thinking to just keep my Dexcom receiver charged and calibrated whenever I'm home, and use that.


You mentioned "like I used to do with my G4" I would use the G4 receiver also in conjunction with the Vibe. They both are receivers to the sensor so it is just a question of starting them both. Keep the Vibe on your body and lay the G4 receiver on a sound board (wooden nightstand, hollow box). Together they might do the trick or stop sleeping so good.

Sorry to read about your hypo experience while sleeping. I know how miserable that feels!

I've slept through many pump alarms over the years and realized that a pump is not a good way for me to reliably wake up, especially when it's warning about a low BG under many layers of blankets.

I've heard of this hack at two conferences in the last few weeks that seems to me will make an low BG an event that you will not sleep through. Download an earthquake app on your smartphone that is sensitive to small movements and vibrations. Place your G4 receiver nearby or even on top of your phone at night. When the receiver vibrates, it will trigger the earthquake app and people are reporting that you will not sleep through that!

Here's alink to Kerri Sparling's SixUntilMe story about it. I haven't tried it myself but have now heard from at least two people that this solves sleeping through low alarms.

Only if you have an IPhone and more people have Android OS (the same but still different) than Apple OS phones.

Yeah, I'm thinking of doing the same, at least for now. That's def not ideal though, as it would require me to use both devices.

Besides the obvious inconveniences of that, the other problem I can see with that is that the numbers on the Dexcom receiver are going to vary from the Vibe (for the reasons below), which will likely lead to an overload of alarms.

1. My Dexcom receiver is on the new 505 software
2. I sometimes calibrate my Vibe when I'm not home, and so if I'm leaving my receiver home, it wont get those calibrations

Thanks for the suggestion, but I had actually already addressed that in my original post

You must have skipped down to the tl;dr part :)

Appreciate the message Terry. Thanks!

That's a really clever hack...I'd heard about it as well, but never needed it (as the G4 receiver in the glass trick always worked well for me).

The issue is that I can't use that hack with the Vibe, since the Vibe is attached to me and therefore in the bed. So if I have the phone close enough to the Vibe to sense its vibrations, it will also, unfortunately, sense the vibrations I create by rolling around in the bed at night.

I tried playing around with different options last night and couldn't find a workaround.

Mark sorry for misunderstanding but you said USED to do with my G4 which I assumed was B-4 Vibe time not with Vibe.
Sounds like if you have an Iphone that Iseisometer might do the trick.
I just keep using my wife she'll notices it before any alarm and she can give me a Glucon shot (as she had to last Friday morning at 03:30 hrs).

No worries. I was actually referring to this paragraph:

In the meantime, I'm going to reactivate my G4 receiver and set its Low Alert threshold 5 mg/dl below my Vibe. That way I can ensure my safety while still testing the Vibe's alerts. Ultimately though, I don't want to have to use both devices simultaneously, so I'm hoping to find a solution to the Vibe alert problem.

Have you thought about just using the Vibe as an insulin delivery device and using the Dexcom receiver as a stand-alone device? Night-time low alerts are pretty important to get right. I've used a pump and CGM together for six years. I don't see it as a problem. I know it defeats the idea of the Vibe integration but you've run up against an important deficiency.

I know about running two receivers at the same time. The multiple alerts get to be a nuisance.

Terry I don't think multiple alerts would be a nuisance as you only want alerts when needed. Like the bark or nudge of Norm when you need it.
Again I say to the OP use the louder G4 at night (during the day it can be out of range when you leave it home, it will catch up when you go to sleep) in conjunction with the Vibe and the Vibe alarms alone should be fine when you're awake.

Great boat pic. Terry what are you sailing? Mine is a 1972 32' Irwin.

Hey E-J, My boat is a 33-foot Beneteau, 2001 vintage, also my humble home.

I'm jealous as that's what I like to do living on a boat, when we retire to Florida during the cold months, but the Admiral won't let that happen.
Stay healthy and fair winds.

Yeah, I've definitely thought about it, and may end up going that route. Esp since the stand-alone receiver is more accurate with its newer software.

I really liked the idea of integration with the Vibe, but it's turning out to be not as convenient as I hoped. I'm going to try out E-J's approach first, and see how that goes.

I'll report back with my experience after I've played around with all the options

Have you thought about switching of low alarm at the vibe (of course below 55 mg/dl cannot be switched of) and rely just on the Dexcom receiver at night. Even if you leave it at home and do not calibrate it during the day it should work pretty good.

Yeah, that's what I'm doing now. Good call

I am a light sleeper so I don’t have the same issue Mark, but leaving the Dexcom receiver on your nightstand and if you calibrate at night and in the morning, it should be close enough. I ran both for awhile when I first got my Vibe and they stayed real close, even when the Dexcom receiver sat at home during the day not receiving input.

I also don’t use a 30 minute snooze on the low alert so it will alarm more frequently.

I have a few gripes too about the Vibe alarms, but not having to lug around a pump and a cgm receiver wearing a batman utility belt is a pretty good thing!

My biggest alarm gripe is when you go low in the night (assuming you wake up) is that it alarms you when you cross the low threshold and again if you go below 55. If you treat the below 55 sugar and go back to sleep it will alarm again once you are above 55 but below the low threshold - I wish it would skip that one.

Thanks for the response Stephen.

Yeah, I’ve been doing the same the last few weeks. It’s a good workaround, but it would still be so much nicer if we didn’t have to use both devices. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they didn’t give us the option of using the same alarm as the below 55 sound.

It’s a solid product, but the alarms are a fatal flaw in my book. If someone who uses a Vibe is just starting on the Dexcom now, they essentially still have to buy a receiver. And if my Dexcom receiver ever stops working, I’ll have to purchase another, even though I already have a Vibe. So the cynical side of me makes me wonder if this is by design.

And yes, there’s a lot of those little annoyances with the settings. Like the fact that we can’t set up multiple high and low thresholds. For example, I’d like my CGM to alert me when I’m above 140, and again when I’m above 160, etc. That way I don’t feel the need to keep looking at it. I noticed the one you mentioned as well. Honestly, I wonder if that’s a bug or a feature

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Similarly, it’s a more likely and less complicated explanation than greed for situations such as this. No? :wink: