• Michelle Law

Lessons from a cracked 780G pump

I woke up one Saturday morning a few weeks ago and noticed a long crack down the side of my Medtronic 780G pump.


There were a few unexpected twists and turns in what followed so this post is a heads up for Medtronic 780G users about what to expect if it happens to them.


There's quite a lot to think about:


  1. Is this crack a big deal?

  2. Will I get a new pump?

  3. How do I report it?

  4. Setting up the new pump

  5. Pairing the Guardian 4 sensor

  6. Waiting for SmartGuard to warm up

  7. The main things to remember if it happens again


Is this crack a big deal?


So here it is, a long crack down the side of the battery compartment.



The first thing I did when I noticed was to ask on Twitter. I wasn't sure if it was a "wear and tear" thing or a "you need a new one" thing.


Twitter folks said I needed a new one.


Some people replied and said they'd also had cracks in the same place on their pumps. Apparently it can happen if you overtighten the battery cap. I don't think I did that but it was good to know. Pumps get knocked around a bit in every day life so it's hard to know how it happened.


How you report it


I needed to contact Medtronic.


Then I hit the first hurdle.


The only way you can report a damaged insulin pump to Medtronic is on the phone.


I couldn't get through at the weekend.


You can't report it any other way. I tried messaging the company on Twitter, looked at options on the Medtronic e-shop, the We Care site and the Medtronic Penny app. No joy.


I was lucky as my pump was still working despite the crack but I had to wait until Monday to get through to Product Support.


Will I get a new pump?


Once I got through it was efficient, friendly and easy. My pump is still under warranty and the Product Support person said straight away that they'd send me a replacement, but it would take a couple of days. They also arranged for a courier to collect my damaged pump the following week to give me some time to change everything over.


The new pump arrived 48 hours later.




Entering settings into the new pump


It took a bit of time to get a new pump set up, but as all my device settings are saved in my CareLink account it was very easy.


I just had to click to download the Device Settings Snapshot report and work methodically through each section to enter the settings into the new pump.



Then I had to pair the pump with all the other things it connects with. The Accu Chek Guide meter that has a wireless link to the pump for finger prick readings - easy. The Minimed Mobile app, my Carelink account - both easy as well.


So far so good. Until I tried...


Pairing the Guardian 4 sensor


But you can't pair your new pump to your Guardian 4 transmitter if you are currently wearing and using it.



You can only pair the transmitter when it is on charge. At this point I had a few days left on the sensor I was wearing and the transmitter was stuck under a layer of tape.


I wasn't sure what to do.


Do I take the sensor off early and waste it? (In hindsight it would have been good if a spare sensor came with the replacement pump in anticipation of this.)


Do I leave the sensor and my damaged pump on until the sensor expires, then switch to the new pump?


Do I use the new pump and leave the sensor connected to my old pump so I can at least still monitor my sugars until it expires?


By coincidence the decision was made for me as my sensor failed later that day.


I paired the transmitter with the pump while it was on charge and inserted a new sensor. It worked fine.


Waiting for SmartGuard to warm up


By this point I had my kit all set up and communicating with each other.


Now all I had to do is wait 48 hours for the SmartGuard algorithm to warm up.


This meant mostly manual diabetes for the next two days. I activated the "suspend on low" function which helped avoid hypos, but other that that my sugars were not pretty.


After 14 months of using a loop, I realised I am now rubbish at manual diabetes, and for these two days my time in range suffered.



I've become so used to the 780G doing its thing. I don't want to be looking at my sugars all the time and giving myself corrections. Rising sugars weren't prevented. Overnight readings were high. I woke up out of range. It was horrible.


Just a couple of days without SmartGuard confirmed to me that I never want to go back to doing diabetes manually ever again.


I'm back on normal service now, SmartGuard is working and my time in range is back to an average of 79%.


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The main things to remember if it happens again


Now that I've been through this process I thought it would be helpful to share my tips if your 780G is faulty or damaged in the future:


  • You can only report it by phone

  • Call during office hours for quicker service if you can

  • Use Carelink to find your pump settings

  • Pair the sensor transmitter with the pump when it is charging

  • Wait 48 hours for SmartGuard to warm up again


As always, if anyone has any questions about using the Medtronic 780G in real life, just let me know and I will try my best to help.