FUDiabetes

Remote monitor G6 without phone (with tslim x2)

Hello!

Many thanks for reading and helping me.

My young daughter has T1 and I’m trying to level up on our CGM monitoring. We are currently using the tslim:X2 pump with the Dexom G6. My wife’s android phone is a secondary receiver with the Dexcom G6 app. We have a few issues with our current setup:

  1. When my daughter is at school, we’d like to track her BG. We’ve thought about sending her with a phone to be the secondary receiver and run our phones as followers. This is not quite ideal because a) she’s not old enough to have a phone, b) she won’t be carrying the phone with her everywhere, c) since her pump is giving alarms, we really don’t want the secondary device (phone) also giving alarms in her classroom
  2. The Bluetooth range from the transmitter to my wife’s phone isn’t great. We can’t check her numbers at night from our bedroom.
  3. We don’t seem to have enough control over alerts with the Dexcom G6 app.
  4. We have had a few issues with transmitters and sensors and would love the option to reset transmitters and restart sensors.

I have been doing research on XDrip, Nightscout, smart watches, etc. but am unsure how it can all fit together. Here’s what I’d like:

  1. To see CGM data from my daughter, even when she’s at lunch or recess. This means she’ll need to wear the device that can upload the data to the cloud. It would be nice if I could have a simple cell radio connected to the X2 itself. (Seems unlikely). Short of that, I’m thinking a smart watch or tiny wearable she can put in her pouch or pocket with cell access.

Questions:

  • Can a smart watch with BT, sim card, and wifi connect directly to the G6 transmitter without a phone?
  • Are there any other small devices that are simple G6 receivers and gateways to Nightscout? If not, this would be a really cool project.
  • I’m assuming that there are no Dexcom apps that can do what I’m asking, so I have to assume xdrip on a watch or some special firmware/stripped down xdrip running on a screenless device. Is this correct?
  • Can xdrip and/or nightscout upload to Dexcom Clarity?
  1. When my daughter is home, we’d want my wife’s phone to receive data pretty quickly. If it is setup as a nightscout follower, for example, I’m not sure how quickly it gets updated. So it would be nice if her phone automatically became the second receiver if its in range and the watch/device became a follower.

Questions:

  • How quickly does nightscout receive and report data? Is it polled at some interval or is it pushed for fairly immediate feedback? If this is fast, probably no need for the trickery where the phone becomes the collector when in range.
  • I have seen in the xdrip settings that a watch can be the BT collector if the phone is out of BT range. Does this accomplish what I have described above?
  • Since I’d want my daughter to wear the watch and it would have to administered through my wife’s phone, is there a way to limit the kinds of notifications the watch would get from the phone? Also, if my wife has another smart watch, can the phone be linked to both watches? (I don’t want the full smart-watch experience on my daughter’s watch, it would only be paired is so my wife’s phone can set it up or maybe assert BT collector priority when both in range).
  • I’m having trouble understanding which should be collectors and which should be followers. I think I’d like my wife’s phone to be a BT collector within range but a nightscout follower when out of range. The watch would be a BT collector when the phone is out of range, but a nightscout follower or phone xdrip follower when the phone is in range. Does this make sense and is any of this possible?

(Edit)
Removing extra questions unrelated to remote monitoring.

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Welcome to the community, @kenfred!

What an interesting and in-depth post. You are setting a number of questions and problems here. May I suggest that it would be better to have several threads, each one focused on a specific set of questions?

Our experience is that threads work best when they are focused on small sets of tightly related questions. Otherwise they tend to go in every direction, and never end up responding to all the concerns of the OP.

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Thanks @Michel! I can appreciate your point. I’ll remove the questions regarding G6 transmitter resets and sensor restarts.

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As per your core setup question:

  • I could be wrong—I believe that the only way for you to build a working set-up that does everything you want is going to be to buy your daughter a small, compact phone, for which you will shut off all alarms (although, unfortunately, you will not be able to shut off the low low Dexcom alarm)

  • I recommend an iPhone. Right now I would say a used SE is the best platform, and cheap too. But Apple is coming up with an SE II soon, so this may be a better one for you. I am issuing this recommendation despite the fact that I am an Android guy. We have used 5 or 6 phones so far, and I am now sticking to the smallest iPhone model available at any time for my T1D son.

  • It is simple and easy to come up with ways to “package” the phone on your daughter’s body at school, and near her at home (in particular while she sleeps). Many of us have solutions they have used for very young children that I am sure we will see discussed in this thread.

  • I was sure that my son, who loses everything he owns, would also lose his phone. He has broken one twice, and accidentally (not always his fault) immersed one in water three times. But he has never lost one :slight_smile: So your daughter might also surprise you.

  • After the first new purchase, I have never purchased a new phone for my son. I was able to buy many instances, on CL, for 1/2 price or less, sometimes brand new. This is a significant cost control measure.

I will let others take on the other types of issues. Good luck!

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In my quest to get access to my son’s Dexcom readings all the time I have played around with everything that you have mentioned. While you might get one of the older Sony Smart watch 3 working and then pair it with a Android phone I would recommend the same as @Michel, just limit the pain and frustration and get a used iphone for your daughter. If she is big enough, she can wear it in a pump band and you will have your data. You can use Xdrip or the Dexcom app. We currently only have the Low Low alarm and a really high alarm set due to alarm fatigue. When my son has something important where he really needs his blood sugar to be on point, we adjust the alarms for a limited amount of time.

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Some answers to some of your questions:

There have been multiple discussions of this topic in the past on FUD, since many have tried. As far as I know there is no satisfactory answer.

None that I know

Correct

The Dexcom app running in a phone will upload to Clarity, but nothing else so far, although I feel it would not be impossible to make it happen.

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Thanks for your advice, Chris. She’s 9, so a phone isn’t out of the question. However, I don’t see us strapping the phone on. Perhaps if it’s small/light enough, she can wear it in the same pouch with her X2.

More likely, we’d just leave it in her book bag and we’d get readings from the classroom, but not from the playground.

I’m interested to hear if anyone has had luck with a solo smart watch, preferable one that isn’t the old Sony. What about the BlueJay?

I’m also interested to hear if there has been any efforts into making a small, headless/alarmless device to transmit this data to the cloud? It’s similar to the idea of the Parakeet, but wouldn’t require the wixel. It would be a small device that has BT and wifi (and optionally cell service), maybe something like a small, cellular IoT device (link below), configured with dexcom receiver and nightscout uploader capability. It wouldn’t have to do much except pass on the data.

BTW, I don’t yet have permission to do proper links in my post. Please google for info on BlueJay watch and Parakeet. To see the IoT project I referred to, search “arduino Cellular IoT with Blynk & Hologram”

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Thanks Michel!

We are hoping the apple watch vaporware actually materializes. My son uses the apple watch at school to monitor his bg, his teachers really appreciate him not fiddling with his phone, even though he is allowed to via his 504. Having the ability for it to act as a receiver without the phone will be life changing for exercise and other activities.

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It has been vaporware now for more than 18 months :frowning:

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If you are highly motivated and have some technical skills in this domain, you might want to talk with the Rileylink people and see if they have interesting thoughts to contribute.

It is really hard, in my experience, to build something that is reliable and small enough to take on the use cases that our children have :frowning: But it would be great if someone succeeds.

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Just noticed that your daughter is 9. My son was 11 at diagnosis. We had never planned to give him a phone until high school. But we got him one a couple of days after he left the hospital. He had no problem dealing with it at that age.

There are quite a few parents with children who were diagnosed at age one and two on the site. They might be able to tell you what they thing of age vs phone use at younger ages, if you use a thread with the right title.

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Thanks Michel. Yes, she’s right on the edge as far as us being comfortable with her having a phone. From a practical perspective, she’s very energetic and she’s not going to be carrying the phone with her as she tears through the house or runs out to recess. So I’d really like to find a smaller, wearable solution.

I do have some technical experience, so I’ll try to make some contact with those whom you suggested. Thanks for your help!

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Here is a prior post that maybe helpful.

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Hi @kenfred. This is really not that complicated. Here’s how you can solve your problem

First, it’s an all Android solution. You can get your daughter a Finow Pro watch, probably not to wear. But you can take off the watch band and you have essentially an Android phone. It’s a bit too big for a nine year old wrist, but should easily fit in a pouch.

Then connect the Finow to xDrip+, and make it the master. The only thing you won’t be able to do is upload to Clarity, but Nightscout or Tidepool, or Dexcom Follow should be no problem.

On your phone and your wife’s phone ( must be Androids) install xDrip+ and form a sync group with the Finow. No need to switch off collectors because you can control any function of xDrip+ from your phone ( the follower) that’s on your daughter’s Finow. The immediacy of Nightscout will not matter because you only have to use it retrospectively, as the xDrip+ follower will be a real time replica of the Finow.

If you can finagle the Finow Pro to be on the pump it will always be with the child. Just be able to disconnect it so you can charge the watch while she’s in bed.

So, the Finow Pro watch is the collector, with both you and your wife having full control.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Thanks @docslotnick! This is very helpful.

I am trying to find documentation on xDrip+ Sync, but can’t quite piece together what it does. I’m currently set up as a nightscout follower. How does that differ from an xDrip+ Sync follower? Are you saying the sync replicates faster?

What is the method of synchronization between the group? Do they have to all be on the same LAN? More specifically, if I’m at work, will I still get sync updates?

Is there a particular model of the Finow Pro watch you recommend? I gather this is one of the few watches that will work because it runs full Android, correct? Are there any other alternatives?

Thanks again!

@kenfred The xDrip+ sync group is a replication of the data on a remote copy of the app. The sync is instantaneous, so all the handsets in the group see the very same data, at the very same time. Nightscout may be able to do the same thing, but it does not allow any control over the master as you have with the xDrip+ followers (adding data, calibrations) You can also set independent alarms on the follower, so you get them, and turn them off for the master, so your child or their teachers are not bothered.

This method is achieved through an internet connection provided by the master handset. You do not have to be on the same network because the xDrip+ sync capability is controlled by the unique Sync group security key that is put on each handset.

You really don’t need a manual to accomplish this, it’s pretty quick and easy. Just set up xDrip+ on the master, and copy the settings from the QR code that xDrip+ provides onto the follower handsets. There is also a “desert mode” that allows Sync to function when the master or followers have no internet connection, but that will deplete the Finow’s battery pretty quickly.

I don’t know exactly which models of the Finow are the best, but really any one of them should work. As long as it is a full Android OS model it should be good. I wouldn’t try any other brand because only the Finow Pro has been shown ability to connect to the Dexcom transmitter.

I hope this works out for you!

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@docslotnick This is great info! I assume a cheap, pay-as-you-go sim is best? What amount of data are we talking about? Any recommendations on best value cell plans for this?

Also, do you get a full day of battery out of the Finow?

Just because I’m curious about the technical aspects, what kind of networking is used to achieve the sync group? If the master was wifi-only, would I need to open a port in my router? Or does nightscout host a free service that enables the communication? How does this change in desert mode?

@kenfred All you need to transfer on the internet is the master’s data. That’s a couple hundred megs a month at most.

You can likely get a full day (waking hours) out of the Finow if all its doing is acting as a collector and passively transmit the data, no user interactions. But I’m sure it will need to be recharged daily.

No fancy networking is involved in the sync group. It’s just an internet connection protected by a rather long and complex password that is installed on each handset. Wifi or cell does not matter, as long as it’s connected to the web. Desert mode just opens a hotspot connection securely so it is only available to the sync group. There are a couple of layers of security in desert mode in addition to the sync group security.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, Nightscout does not broadcast anything. It simply provides an https endpoint for viewing the data.

Honestly, you don’t need to be an internet wiz to get this up and going. It really is pretty simple for the end user.

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Wow, @docslotnick, that was so impressive. You are truly THE master at this.

You realize that means you can never stop posting.

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