The worse time for a pump to fail

When would be the worse time for a pump to fail? How about at 5:45 on a Friday afternoon like mine did yesterday, that’s when I received an out of the blue cartridge error alarm on a cartridge that had been in use all day.

After changing the cartridge twice and then powering off my pump in an attempt to clear the alarm I relented and called Tandem Tech support. After going through a few checks it was determined that my pump had truly died in a most unusual way. Unusual because pump error alarms generally do not occur on a cartridge that is in use indicating a pump problem not a bad cartridge, the technician had never heard of it. A replacement pump is scheduled to arrive Monday.

So I went to my neglected backup plan, an expired Novolog pen which got me through the evening. This morning I was able to talk with my Endo through their on call service, he called in prescriptions for Levemir and Novolog pens to get me through.


Gary, I don’t remember how long you’ve been on a pump, but I think it’s a good idea for all of us to save our old pumps, just in case. I use Medtronic, and I have two older ones for backup. I update my settings in a Word doc (which I also give to my doctor) so that if my current pump fails, I can always set up the old pump quickly.

Meanwhile, I’m glad you were able to find a way to get through until you get the replacement. Scary times, for sure.


Oh so frustrating Gary, I am sorry that this happened to you. So glad that your endo came through with insulin, and happy that you will soon have a new pump.

Oh no. Truly sucky time for things to go haywire.

I get a new vial of Levemir every year… For just in case. Haven’t had to use it yet, knock on wood! But these reminders to stay on top of our backup plans are great to have.

I finally got a Lantus pen last year. I knew I should have had it already but kept dragging my feet. But I finally did.

I was motivated because my pump was slow to turn on sometimes. I called Omnipod and they sent a new one. But at that point I took a picture of my settings and asked for a prescription for a long lasting insulin. The tricky part now lol, will be remembering to replace the hidden away Lantus pen off and on.

Gary, that’s always a rude surprise when that happens. Nice that Tandem and your doc came through for you.

Unfortunately, it usually exposes the weakness of our back-up plan. I think it would be good practice for every pumper to take a regular pump vacation, say, once per year, so that they can use their backup plan and maybe even get good at it.

Since I use an out-of-warranty pump, I have a back-up duplicate pump on the shelf. I think I’ll go put a battery in it and make sure it still works!

Edited to add: I put a battery in my back-up pump and it gave me an A21 error. I had to refresh my memory with a quick google search to remind me that an A21 error is common but harmless when you store a pump long-term without a battery in it. Once I entered the date and time, the A21 error cleared. This pump is circa 2005. But it works and I put it back on the shelf. I think doing this once per year is good practice!

My back-up long acting Tresiba insulin, however, is three years past its expiration date. I wonder how long I should count on that being potent.


I had my Medtronic pump fail while on a 6 hour flight.
Back then I would alway walk through the magnet style detectors and never had an issue, until I did.
When I got on the plane I saw my cgm said 188, so I blouses and I got a delivery error. I could not clear it. I couldn’t call anyone while on a plane so I went to the flight attendant who got me a syringe from their emergency supplies and I drew insulin out of my cartridge and made it through.
Medtronic overnighted a new pump to me the next day.
However with a warning that if I ever went through a metal detector or allowed it to be x rayed they wouldn’t replace it.

I always travel with a bottle of lantus and syringes, and I never go through the scanners or metal detectors. I just get groped instead.

It’s really not that bad, and better than the stress of a failed pump.
I also have a back up pump, however I have no supplies for it !!!

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How about in South Korea and 4 days from home. Yeah it was a bad time. Luckily I had my backup pump in my luggage. Grr.

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Sad part is that I still have my old Medtronic 723, what I don’t have is any infusion sets or cartridges for it.

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And, the happy part is … Happy birthday! :slight_smile:

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Thank You

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I started pumping about 8yrs ago and so far have had a single pump failure. That was one too many! Fortunately my health coverage has always extended to having a prescription for Lantus and Fiasp (originally Novolog) pens, which I get filled yearly, because I’ve never wanted to put all my eggs in one basket when it’s something with as many potential failure points as an insulin pump. That one pump failure happened going into a weekend and I couldn’t get a replacement for 4 days. Amazing how much you forget—I had to take a CAWG at what my Lantus dose should be and this was before I got a CGM—but it’s a big reassurance to know I have a backup system in my fridge.

One side benefit was that the pump that failed was almost out of warranty, and the warranty period doesn’t change when you get a replacement, so I had a virtually new “old” pump when eligibility for my next one came up. Enter the 670G, which was a total PITA failure for me after three months, so I put it back in its box and switched back to my virtually-new replacement pump, which I’m still using. Ironic twist: the 670G’s warranty period is running out next month, so even though it’s still in its box, virtually unused, I’m eligible for a new pump and already getting come-ons from Tandem and MedT. But having such an underwhelming experience with the first-ten AID experience I’m not altogether convinced it’s to my advantage to try again. I may just stick with my good old pager-style Paradigm!

I have the same paradigm pump it lasted me 6 years with almost no issues.
However I wanted to try tandem because it integrates the dexcom g6.
My control is much better and I’m less stressed about my cgm.
It took me about a month to get the settings right.
I’m real happy with it now.

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It seems that I will reap the same benefit, my warranty expires in August. Another added benefit is that my pump is a Tandem T-flex which is not manufactured anymore, I was not looking forward to switching pumps models when mine failed. Hopefully now I have a newly refurbished T-Flex that will last me for a longer period.

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Tell me why you prefer the Tflex. It seems like a logical move to the Tslim. I believe you can’t use the integrated cgm with that one.
Is there a reason you want to stay with the older version?
I will like move to Tsport when it comes out. It will be 4years before mine is out of warranty. Timing might line up nicely.

It seems like halfway between a tuned pump and a pod.

I bought my T-Flex because it is designed with an insulin resistant Type 2 in mind, it fit my needs at the time, still does.

I had a medtronic 523 fail while on vacation, 1500 miles from home. I called medtronic, and after fiddling with battery cap, got it to work, but they overnighted a new cap. Next day it failed again, even with new cap. So then overnighted a replacement, but was a 723 instead of 523. (Slightly larger pump.) All menus the same, but hated the larger size.
Anyway, ended up using Levemir + Novolog injections in between times waiting for replacements.

Since the first failure was “recovered” on existing pump, I was able to write down my settings. And glad I had them when it failed again, and got the replacement.

Now on T-Slim, and think I would be able to get settings from T:Connect, in case of replacement.

My replacement pump arrived this afternoon, I have put my setting in and its ready to go.

Ya know what! I’m enjoying my little pump break, I think I will wait until morning to start er up.


Ruth4 makes a good point about saving pump settings. I, too, have a Word document that lists all of my current settings. When I make a change, I update the document so I always have ALL of my settings easily available. That way, if I have to change the pump, I can do that without stress.

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I’m confused. The way I make a record of my pump settings is to print them off as a report from the database I upload my pump’s data to.

Do you not upload your pump’s data?