Monday, January 05, 2009

Rebel Without A Battery

Two weeks after starting on my new insulin pump, I got a low battery alarm on Saturday.

I called Animas and someone called me back immediately.

According to the rep, a new battery is supposed to last 5-7 weeks. My alarm, after only two weeks, was possibly happening because of the "start up" session I did.

That sounded ridiculous to me. Starting up the pump shouldn't waste several weeks of battery life.

The rep insisted that I only had 30 minutes of battery time left after the alarm went off.

The battery life indicator on the front screen of the pump was confusing. It's a battery icon with a black background. Sometimes a third of the battery is white, while other times two-thirds of the icon is white. The rep told me two different things about whether the icon was a third empty or a third full.

He kept insisting I change the battery out. The pump works best with a lithium battery; Animas only provided one when I started the pump. We have alkaline batteries at home, but when I said I'd just pop one of these in, the rep was like "it's really best to use a lithium battery. You can buy them at..."

I cut him off.

"I know how to buy batteries. I just want to know why I'm getting a low battery alarm far before I should."

He couldn't answer that, and instead kept repeating things from his handbook about battery life.

I hung up on him.

He called back, and on my voice mail, urged me to buy a lithium battery and replace the battery.

At this point, it had been longer than 30 minutes since I got the first alarm.

It's now almost two days later and the pump continues to work, although I am getting regular low battery messages.

I bought some lithium batteries at CVS a day later and have them ready to go.

But I almost want to see how long it takes for the battery to completely die. My old 508 used to give me low battery alarms and I could go another two days before the battery was completely out. I mean, what's the point of changing a battery out before it's really dead?

I think I'll just change the battery today, see how long the next one lasts, and if it's still less than five weeks, call Animas and complain.

Which, you know, is one of my specialties.


Lee Ann Thill said...

Maybe the battery they sent you was wonky in some way? I don't know how much more juice a Ping needs, but I have the 2020, and I change the battery maybe 2-4 times a year (it's not very often so I lose track). I can't recall ever having battery issues like the one you're describing, but I think your plan to change it when it dies and see how long the next one lasts is what I would do. When I get a low-battery warning, I can usually get a couple more days out of it, but that's varied.

type1emt said...

Mine lasted precisely 26 days(lithium,no less-what they'd included). 1.5 days from the first warning till the final death. Whatever you find out...please post about it.(I sure hope I don't have to change the battery every month)

Caro said...

I used to have an IR1200. The batteries lasted months. And I mean months. But the low battery warning was also flaky. Once I got a low battery alert but within the next 24 hours the battery status icon had regained 2 bars! I'm pretty sure I went a few weeks after that before I really needed to change it.

I have heard a couple of other similar problems with Pings though, so I wonder if either the Ping uses a lot more juice, or if Animas shipped them with a bunch of old batteries that were already below par.

The good thing about Animas pumps, unless things have changed, is that they retain your settings no matter how long the battery is out. Sure, no one wants a sudden dead pump and high BG in the middle of the night, but battery alerts on Medtronic pumps always scare me to act within minutes in case I lose all my settings, which has happened more than once!

I'm interested to hear how long that battery lasts, anyway!


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