Restarting G6 sensors and transmitter

{starting note:  Added video for Option 1 and Option 4}

“10-day hard stop on G6 sensors.” – love, Dexcom

Did that one thing alone stop you from considering the G6?  Well, good news…you can actually restart the sensors (and the transmitter).  The only thing that stops at 10 days for sure is the “no-calibration” aspect of the G6.  That part goes away no matter how you choose to restart a sensor…and probably should as no studies are published for how long the G6 self-maintains calibration after 10 days anyways.   Actually have had some success in no-calibration restarts using the code now.  Just working on determining the correct combination of steps to reliably reproduce that.

There are four ways to restart a G6 sensor, listed below from easiest to hardest. (Technically, Options 1 and 2 (and to a lesser degree Option 3) are so much easier than Option 4…that it’s almost not worth mentioning Option 4)

  1. Use the G6 receiver to restart
  2. Use the phone to restart (without receiver)
  3. Use the resetTransmitter app
  4. Remove the transmitter from the sensor

Let me just get this out there early (and I’ll repeat it throughout)…the key to doing either Option 1 or Option 2…YOU WILL NEED TO FINISH THE RESTART PROCESS BEFORE YOUR 10 day SESSION EXPIRES.  Don’t wait for the “you have 2 hours left in this session” notification…by then you are already too late for Option 1 or 2.  Technically, you need to (1) start at least 2 hours and 10 minutes before the 10-day session expires and (2) finish the restart process before the 10-day session expires…if you don’t you’ll be forced to use Option 3 (and that can take some time for the first time user).  SO…my piece of advice…set a timer, calendar appointment, or task so that on the morning of the 9th day (or sooner) you start the process.  That will buy you a little bit of nice breathing room on the timing of everything.  There’s no reason to wait until the last minute to do this process…day 7, day 8, day 9…they all would work.  If you like routine like my family does…EVERY WEEKEND we just do this process sometime during the weekend.  That way we aren’t hurried, I’m not watching the clock, and it becomes an easy routine, and we never bump-up against the 10-day deadline.  (We use Option 1.)

If for some reason you didn’t get a chance to prepare for Option 1 or 2 far enough in advance of the 10-day expiration, then you will need to use Option 3.  Said another way: Option 1 and Option 2 have a two hour and 10 minute process minimum to finish and if your sensor session expires before you finish, you will be forced to use Option 3 or 4 (or just put on a new G6 sensor).

So let’s discuss each of the processes in detail.

Option 1: Use G6 receiver

This is the easiest and preferred method because you don’t have to lose BG data during the restart process.  You can just keep looping (if you are a looper) and watching BG data on your phone, Nightscout, and Follow apps the whole time.

REMEMBER TO START THIS PROCESS AT LEAST 2 hours and 10 minutes before the session is due to expire.  Giving yourself at least an hour extra is even better…so at least 3 hours before would be great!  We do this process every weekend just so we don’t have to track the timing.

  1. In your Alerts settings for the receiver, it’s a good idea to turn off the “signal loss” alert during this process.  Your receiver is going to have signal loss for two hours and it would be annoying to hear that alert for the whole time.  Just a good idea before you get started.
  2. Watch the receiver get a fresh BG value.  Usually this happens just seconds after the phone app gets a new BG.  During this process, the transmitter and receiver briefly talk and then disconnect from each other for the next 5 minutes.  We are going to use that disconnected state to our advantage to restart the sensor.
  3. Wait about 15 seconds or so after the new BG value came in and then press the “Stop Sensor” option ON THE RECEIVER (not on the phone).  You’ll be told “Are you sure you want to stop your sensor?  It cannot be restarted, a new sensor is required.”  Answer Yes.  You’ll see a little progress bar go by for stopping sensor.
  4. On the screen that appears after the progress bar, press New Sensor.  You’ll be promoted to choose between “No Code” or “Enter Code”.  You can choose either.  If you choose to “Enter Code”, go find your code from when you originally inserted the sensor (the one printed on the adhesive cover of the sensor).  Contrary to early rumors, not all the sensors in a box have the same code. That code is the calibration code for the particular sensor wire that sensor is using.  If you don’t have that code saved, go ahead and choose “No Code” (don’t just randomly use the code from a different sensor in your supplies).  Realize, no matter which option your choose, YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR A CALIBRATION EVERY 12 Hours WITH A RESTARTED SENSOR (even if you have the code entered).  [Note: I have since had some sessions restart without a calibration request if I used the code again…I’m working on understanding what factors determine the calibration requests at restart…stay tuned.]  If you don’t enter a calibration, the sensor session will keep going and you’ll get a second reminder at 20 minutes.  If you don’t calibration then, you’ll get a reminder every 5 minutes…but the sensor session will keep going (just like with the G4 and G5 systems).
  5. After you finish with the Code entry decisions, you’ll need to press the “Start Sensor” button that will appear on the receiver.  You’ll see a “starting sensor” progress bar for a few seconds and then the 2-hour sensor warmup countdown circle will be displayed on the receiver.
  6. From this point forward for at least two hours…you need the receiver to NOT COME INTO COMMUNICATION WITH THE TRANSMITTER.  There are several ways to do this, some ideas:
    • Put the receiver in the microwave.  The microwave blocks the communications between the receiver and the transmitter very effectively, just make sure you don’t turn on the microwave during the 2+ hours you’re waiting, or
    • Put the receiver in a faraday bag (costs less than $10 and it can act just like the microwave, but a lot more portable and easy to manage), or
    • Put the receiver “far enough away” that it stays out of range of the transmitter.  Neighbor’s house, the corner of your backyard, etc.  Just so long as it is far enough away that the transmitter and receiver won’t accidentally talk to each other during the 2+ hours of waiting.
  7. During this 2+ hours of waiting, the receiver will have “signal loss” message.  That’s a good thing.  Don’t worry about that.
    • You can wait longer than 2+ hours without a problem…so long as you don’t wait so long that the sensor session expires on the phone while you are waiting. I’ve forgotten and waited 12 hours before…it still works so long as the session on the phone was still going.
    • Also during this 2+ hours of waiting, you’ll have BGs on the phone app uninterrupted.  Your Nightscout site, dexcom follow app, dexcom G6 app, and Loop app (if you use it) will all continue to work as usual.
  8. After waiting 2+ hours at least (I usually go at least 2 hours and 10 minutes just in case), bring the receiver back into communications with the transmitter.  Within 5 minutes, the receiver will connect with the transmitter again.  And then 5 minutes after that, the receiver and phone will magically light up with the “enter 2 calibrations” request. [NOTE:  sometimes you will just automatically get the session started back up again without the 2 calibration requests if you used your code to start it again.  I’m not yet certain what combination of events determine whether you can always reliably have a no-calibration start…but I’m working on that.]
  9. Enter the calibrations in both the phone and receiver at the same time.
  10. Congrats, you’ve just restarted your G6 sensor session.  Your newly started session will expire 10 days from the time that you did Step 5, so plan ahead if you are going to do any subsequent restarts.

If you want to see a video I did using the G5 (similar process to the G6 described above) using a microwave…check it out here.  I will make one for the G6 specifically soon.

Here’s the video for the G6 Option 1

Option 2: No-receiver restart

For non-US residents, sometimes you can purchase the G6 system without the receiver.  So while you can still restart the sensor session without it, the disadvantage (vs. using Option 1) is that you will not see BGs for two hours during the restart process.

REMEMBER TO START THIS PROCESS AT LEAST 2 hours and 10 minutes before the session is due to expire.  Giving yourself at least an hour extra is even better…so at least 3 hours before would be great!

  1. In phone’s bluetooth list (in iPhone Settings), “forget” the Dexcom transmitter ID.  In fact, “forget” all your old Dexcom transmitters if you don’t regularly delete them.  Old ones don’t need to be saved.  By forgetting the Dexcom transmitter, we are preventing the transmitter and app communications during the restart process…and that’s a good thing.  We don’t want them paired during the 2 hours.
  2. Go to G6 app on the phone and “stop sensor” from the Settings menu. You’ll be told “Are you sure you want to stop your sensor?  It cannot be restarted, a new sensor is required.”  Answer Yes.
  3. On the screen that appears after, press “New Sensor”.  You’ll be promoted to choose between “No Code” or “Enter Code”.  You can choose either.  If you choose to “Enter Code”, go find your code from when you originally inserted the sensor (the one printed on the adhesive cover of the sensor).  That code is the calibration code for the particular sensor wire that sensor is using.  If you don’t have that code saved, go ahead and choose “No Code” (don’t just randomly use the code from a different sensor in your supplies).  Realize, no matter which option your choose, YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR A CALIBRATION EVERY 12 Hours WITH A RESTARTED SENSOR (even if you have the code entered).  [Note: I have since had some sessions restart without a calibration request if I used the code again…I’m working on understanding what factors determine the calibration requests at restart…stay tuned.]  If you don’t enter a calibration, the sensor session will keep going and you’ll get a second reminder at 20 minutes.  If you don’t calibration then, you’ll get a reminder every 5 minutes…but the sensor session will keep going (just like with the G4 and G5 systems).
  4. After you finish with the Code entry decisions, you’ll need to press the “Start Sensor” button that will appear on the screen.  You’ll see a “starting sensor” progress bar for a few seconds and then the 2-hour sensor warmup countdown circle will be displayed on the phone.
  5. Wait at least 2 hours, but not so long that the old sensor session will expire during your wait.  If the old session expires before you finish the remaining steps…you’ll have to move onto Option 3.
  6. Your G6 app will also likely switch to display “signal loss” during this time.  That’s good, too.  If any pairing messages come up for the transmitter, say no.
  7. After the 2 hour wait, restart the phone (hold down the power button and slide to turn off the phone).  Open G6 app. This will trigger the phone to try to re-pair with transmitter.  Accept the pairing request now that you’ve waited at least 2 hours.  If you don’t get a pairing request within 5 minutes of the restart, you may need to restart the phone one more time.
  8. Within 5 minutes of re-pairing, you’ll be greeted with two calibration request and a new sensor session.  Enter the calibrations and you’re good to go.

Option 3: Reset Transmitter

The last resort for restarting a G6 sensor session, Option 3 should be saved for when you’ve accidentally lost track of time and won’t be able to finish Option 1/2 before the 10-day clock runs out.  It’s not because it does anything bad…it just takes a bit of manual hassle and more technical effort than Options 1/2.

  1. Build the ResetTransmitter app as described in my blog post here.
  2. Make sure your G6 session has ended.  You cannot be in an active session for a transmitter reset.
  3. Go to your iPhone’s Bluetooth area (in Settings) and “forget” the Dexcom transmitter.
  4. Close the Dexcom G6 app (double tap home button and upswipe the app to close it)
  5. Shutdown and restart your iPhone.
  6. Open the ResetTransmitter app and enter your dexcom transmitter ID and press the Reset button.  Within 5 minutes you should get a pairing request to accept.  The reset success message will appear within a very short time after the pairing is accepted.
  7. IF you don’t get a pairing request within 5 minutes in Step 6, restart the phone again.  Double check all the dexcom transmitters have been deleted from the bluetooth list on the phone.  Double click the iPhone home button and make sure the Dexcom G6 app is not open.  Open the ResetTransmitter app again and see if you get a pairing request within 5 minutes.  (The toughest part of this process is getting the transmitter to successfully unpair and re-pair between apps.  Sometimes it takes a lot of restarts and patience…but it does work eventually.)
  8. After the transmitter has been reset, you can reverse the process.  Forget the Dexcom transmitter again from Bluetooth list, restart the phone.  This time open the G6 app and wait for the pairing message to appear within 5 minutes.  Once you get a successful pairing established, you can start a new session on your sensor again by following the normal sensor start process.
  9. As part of (re)starting a new session, you’ll be promoted to choose between “No Code” or “Enter Code”.  You can choose either.  If you choose to “Enter Code”, go find your code from when you originally inserted the sensor (the one printed on the adhesive cover of the sensor).  That code is the calibration code for the particular sensor wire that sensor is using.  If you don’t have that code saved, go ahead and choose “No Code” (don’t just randomly use the code from a different sensor in your supplies).  Realize, no matter which option your choose, YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR A CALIBRATION EVERY 12 Hours WITH A RESTARTED SENSOR (even if you have the code entered).  [Note: I have since had some sessions restart without a calibration request if I used the code again…I’m working on understanding what factors determine the calibration requests at restart…stay tuned.]  If you don’t enter a calibration, the sensor session will keep going and you’ll get a second reminder at 20 minutes.  If you don’t calibration then, you’ll get a reminder every 5 minutes…but the sensor session will keep going (just like with the G4 and G5 systems).

Option 4: Remove the transmitter

The G6 transmitter is surrounded by plastic entirely.  The locking wings for the transmitter are located under and inside the plastic ring surrounding the transmitter, making them very inaccessible by fingers.  Therefore, popping out the G6 transmitter is a bit cumbersome, requires some small pointy tool, and frankly would be a little hard to do if you like to wear your sensor on your arm.

Technically, if you remove the transmitter, you can replace it back onto the same sensor (and tape it back down so it stays locked in place, if you’ve busted the hinge point in the process of removing the transmitter).  This would allow you to restart a sensor session on the same sensor.

I’m only mentioning this option for full disclosure of ALL the options…but really this shouldn’t be used.  It’s so much easier to use one of the first three options that this should be considered just an academic possibility.

Video of how to remove the transmitter:

Restarting G6 Transmitter (avoid the 90-112 days Dexcom shut down)

The Dexcom G6 transmitter is just like the G5 transmitter in that Dexcom artificially kills the transmitter by 112 days of use after first activation.  If you’d like to use the transmitter beyond the 112 days, and instead use the transmitter until the end of its battery life, you can use the same process described in my G5-reset-transmitter post.  The G6 transmitter can be reset at any time just like the G5 transmitters.

47 thoughts on “Restarting G6 sensors and transmitter”

  1. Hi Katie,
    Thank you for this and your other very interesting and informative posts.
    Have you managed to make a G6 sensor last 2o days?
    I self fund and this would make it a practical proposition for me. At the moment I use a G4 & get around 18 to 23 days.
    Using these methods do you still have “no calibration” for the first 10 days.
    Regards,
    Robert

    1. How long a sensor will go will be dependent on the person more than anything. If you get 18-20 days on g4 now, I would expect similar with g6. Only the first 10 days are officially tested/advertised as “no calibration”. After that you will get calibration notices. You can choose to ignore them or not…the session will keep going. How well the g6 holds calibration on its own after 10 days has yet to be tested.

  2. Thank you for this so much, I have insurance but my part I have to pay is a lot
    I have been wearing the G5 3 to 4 weeks, and it has helped a lot with costs.
    I will be giving this a try
    Shari Rogers

  3. First – THANK YOU so much for your detailed and well written article. I’m sharing it every chance I get 🙂

    Now I do have a question – which really may be more of a curiosity since all of this is still pretty new … It relates to sensors that have the same code – I have 2 in my first box that do. This makes sense based on what you said about the factory calibration codes being matched to the wires. They can use one lot of wire in creating multiple sensors and so – in theory – there could be hundreds of sensors out there with the same codes.

    So let’s assume that I DO actually change the sensor and that I choose the one that has the same code as the first one I used. Let’s say I didn’t notice (or remember) that it had the same code. So now I’m using a new sensor but with the same code – how does the system know that it’s a new sensor so as to not prompt for calibrations?

    Along those lines but from the flip side – if I DON’T actually change the sensor but use the same code on a restart – how does the system know it’s NOT a new sensor in order to prompt for calibrations?

    I don’t mind the calibrations horribly so I will do the restart at day 10 regardless, but this is the kind of thing that just tickles my brain and makes me question “why” and “how” 🙂

    1. As an update… Still kinda wondering the how and why, but I did a restart on Friday the 15th, using this article and a Faraday bag. Completed at 11am and have had no calibration requests since then – so today is day 16 on the same sensor.

      I’ve been doing fingersticks periodically – without entering as a calibration – and it’s maintaining its accuracy so far. I’m optimistic

  4. aha! but you can shutdown the dexcom receiver for 2 hours -what do you think -easier than storing at your neighbors

  5. Started a new sensor this morning, following the instructions to the letter (Using the receiver only method). When I took my receiver out, it said that it was only 30 minutes into the warm-up, but it was actually closer to 2 hours, 15 minutes. I assumed the process failed and just shut down the receiver.
    I looked at my phone about 30 minutes later, after it was due to expire, and was surprised that I was still getting readings. I looked at the settings, and it said that it was inserted at the new time (when I hit the restart sensor on the receiver), and is now due to expire in 10 days!!! Biggest point: No calibration requested!!!!

    1. Update: It has been over 25 hours since my restart, and I have yet to receive a single calibration request, nor have I entered one. I would love to figure out what I did to make this work.
      I hit stop sensor on the receiver, then hit restart, and placed it in a Faraday bag. I took it out over2 hours later, and it still was on the warm up, saying only 30 minutes in. I then powered down the receiver.
      One note: When I first inserted the sensor, I used only the phone. I turned on the receiver several days later, then turned it back off again. I never entered the code into the receiver, UNTIL I RESTARTED.
      Hope this helps!

      1. I’m not getting prompts either after sensor restart. I entered the same sensor code that I originally started my first session on the g6 receiver with. So I am not sure why I am not getting the prompt for calibrations as the article says we should get. I introduced the phone to the transmitter after about an hour after the sensor warmup was running on the first session.

        Hopefully it keeps rocking.

      2. If the receiver hadn’t already had the transmitter in it before…you can restart without calibration requests, I’ve discovered. We have one receiver that has bounced between two transmitters. By pairing with the other transmitter B and getting a reading from that transmitter first, I can then finish the restart with the other transmitter A without calibrations (does require changing the transmitter ID in the receiver before starting the new session). Haven’t been able to reproduce this on a single transmitter past the first restart. Let me know if you are able to restart a second time without calibrations.

        1. So how would you modify the process (overall) for Option 1, to end up with a no-calibration second 10-day session with a sensor? Do initial insertion with phone only… and then? Turn off phone, use receiver for restart process somehow? [We’re only 2 days into our G6 for our little guy, and they forgot to send sensor, so we’re still figuring this out… and thanks for doing this diligence!!]

          1. The only way I have gotten a no-calibration restart was when I had the receiver paired with a different G6 transmitter immediately prior to using it to restart another one. But, not many people have two transmitters going to do that process at any one time. 😉

        2. I have only used one transmitter, and as mentioned above, I was able to restart without the need for calibrations. Of note, I never paired the receiver with the sensor. I only paired the sensor with my iPhone.
          I am only into day 3 of my current new sensor, but will try again! I know there is a trick to this, and one of us with isolate the process.

          1. awesome…i’m sure it’s just a matter of playing around with a bit more like you say…

          2. OK. I just did another restart and no calibration requests were required. I carefully documented each step. One important note: I have no idea if steps 11, 12 or 13 are actually all required, or if one or two of them are. This is the way I did it, and it worked.

            Initial start (new sensor)
            1. Shutdown Receiver. Store it safely away somewhere for the next 10 days
            2. Pair and insert a new sensor using iPhone only. SAVE THE CODE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.

            Time of Restart:
            1. Begin restart process well more than 2 hours before sensor expires (I did mine 12 hours earlier)
            2. Use ONLY the receiver. You may look at the readings on your iPhone, but otherwise enter nothing on it.
            3. Turn on the receiver and wait for it to get a fresh BG value. It will get one even if never paired with the sensor currently in use.
            4. Press “Stop Sensor” on the receiver
            5. Press “New Sensor”
            6. Enter the ORIGINAL sensor code from 10 days earlier.
            7. Press “Start Sensor” and wait for warm-up screen.
            8. Immediately put the receiver in a Faraday bag.
            9. After waiting at least 2+ hours, take the receiver out of the Faraday bag. Your should see a “Signal loss” message.
            10. After a few minutes, the receiver will show the warm up screen, but should only be 30 minutes into it. No, I do not know why. But this is consistent on both my attempts.
            11. Put the receiver back in the bag and wait at least 5 more minutes.
            12. Take the receiver back out of the bag, see that it is still in warm up mode, and IMMEDIATELY shut it down
            13. Wait several minutes and turn the receiver back on.
            14. Wait for the receiver to get a glucose reading.
            15. Once a reading is obtained, the iPhone should show a new sensor insert time of now.
            VOILA!

  6. What do you do if you use the tslim pump that connects to the dexcom? Would you put the pump into the microwave for 2+ hours?

    1. What seems to matter is to prevent communication between *transmitter* and one receiver (or smart device, or pump).

      G6 isn’t yet integrated with Tandem x2 (but will be in Aug 2018 – next month).

      It’ll be fun to see how long G6 remains accurate “in the field” separate from official FDA studies. Of course, we should also share any negative outcomes from our extended wear – if any (infection, scarring that affects later use of pump and/or CGM use.

      I continue to use my arms for G6.

  7. With the upcoming integration of the TSlim X2 Pump, would you expect Option 1 to work the same, but substitute the pump for the receiver?

    Does Option 1 work if you reverse the phone and receiver?

    1. Not yet, to my knowledge…but I’m not an android user. I believe x-drip+ app would have it some day, if not already?

  8. Or if you’re using xDrip+ instead of the official app that restarts it automatically after 6 days (default option but can be turned off)

  9. Hey I just successful reset my Dexcom G6 Thanks so much for this info I am sending so many others your way! What is your YouTube channel info please can’t wait to join it!!!!!

  10. Hi Katiedis. What a great post. Well done for the research into the fix. Just 2 questions…

    Do you know if the option 1 and 2 work with Android devices running the Dexcom app? Android restarts are also slightly different not using power and slide keys…

    Your fantastic ‘restart transmitter’ app – is there anyone who has developed an Android equivalent??

    Thanks again for a well researched post

  11. Did Option 1 today this today for the first time. Worked perfectly! I only use the phone and dexcom app for my daughters readings. But we keep the receiver on hand as a backup.

    A couple of notes from my restart.

    1. The receiver has been paired with this transmitter previously. However, not with the sensor I used it to restart. And am not getting requests for calibrations!!!

    2. When I took the receiver out of the microwave 3 hours later, I also got the no signal error. Within 5 minutes of being out of the microwave, the receiver showed “sensor warmup” and was only about 30 minutes complete. – I was certainly worried at this point. I did not do anything at this stage but wait. But within 5 more minutes, it was getting BG readings with no calibration request.

    3. The final check in settings, sensor info… insertion time was today with 10 more days to expiration!

    I just turned the receiver off and will not use it for anything until the next restart needed.

    Thank you for this! This is amazing. Mostly because I usually run out of sensors before I can get my daughters prescription refilled, so getting a few more days out of each sensor is a God send to deal with the Drxcom reorder lag time!

  12. This is fantastic – especially useful for those on the new Dexcom subscription model where a sensor HAS to last for 10 days – I had one fall off on day 7 and am now extending my next one to 13 (and maybe more!) days.

    Great website and excellent guide – thank you

  13. Hi! Anyone have any advice for trying option 2 with a samsung s6? We tried unpairing the transmitter and ended up with having to contact dexcom to get it repaired. Can we just shut the bluetooth off for 2 hrs? We self pay and this new g6 is killing us! Thanks in advance!

  14. Strange…..i restarted my G6 for the second time today…..did enter the number code….last week….even with the code….it asked for calibrations and had the blood drop on the screen the whole time….today after it restarted….no blood drop…and no calibration request….and it is spot on…..go figure….(is it going to surprise me and stop later on it’s own????)…I use the signal preventing bag for the time away from the sensor…..CURIOUS….I am used to a weekly restart…and wanted to get 21 days…out on one sensor….so respond….if you have any new information….

  15. It works!! I was so pleased. My next batch of sensors is late due to a change in insurance, but now I have another 10 days (at least) to go. Thank you for figuring this out, writing such clear instructions, and sharing.

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