Looking back at blog posts I have been working on #openAPS in one capacity or another for the last two years. Just double checked it, I placed my first Adafruit order for xDrip and OpenAPS parts on May 11, 2015… that puts us at over two years. What has held me up this long? Well there was a lot of life stuff for sure… moving to DC, living at home, being seriously sick with diabetes fall out, moving to Seattle, changing careers, 6 month intensive software development program, new job, freelancing, another new job, god knows how much emotional turmoil, therapists, new anxiety drugs, my grandmother passing away, one of our family dogs passing away, gender feels, relationship feels… it’s been a jam packed two years, but I can’t help but think how different it could have been if I had had balanced BG numbers through that time… but I just wasn’t ready. Honestly I’m barely ready now, I was not prepared for the emotional turmoil accompanying starting openAPS – it’s like I don’t feel like I deserve these numbers, I’m waiting for the other foot to drop, for it to be taken away, for it not to work, to go back to struggling… that maybe this would ever not be a limit, or a worry or whatever… it’s like just being in constant shock. I’m just sort of floating. I have so many things that I should be doing right now, but instead I’m just here, existing, watching the terminal with my openAPS logs and my nightscout dashboard in disbelief. I was not expecting all these feelings. I’m glad it’s a busy weekend with lots of friends, I’m not sure how I would be dealing otherwise. Catching the lows has eliminated the rebounds and kept me so much more in range I can’t even believe it. disbelief… that pretty much covers it.
today I setup the wifi-only samsung galaxy I used to test the NightScout system so that I can stay connected to the NightScout server while charging the samsung galaxy that’s on a data plan… meaning that I can stay on the NightScout monitoring system all the time… that’s right people, I am actually trying to stay on something that might help me… and god help me, I’ve agreed to setup my parents so that they can see my numbers too… just in case… wooo sahhhhhh
So the xDrip progress has not met my millennial need for instant gratification… I’m sure I’ll power through the project itself, but the parts are not all “amazon-primable” so I’m waiting for the whole kit to be here, so I can get started. I took some time away this past weekend to get centered and focus on my health from the inside out — it was an amazing last minute decision. Rather than just going camping, I found this amazing yoga retreat, never mind the fact that I realized after signing up that I haven’t consistently done yoga in at least two years, and even then, maybe longer depending on what you count as a “consistent” practice… but it was amazing, I jumped in with two feet, accepting and being excited by vegan/vegetarian food, getting a massage, and letting my science mind accept the healing of reiki with out a scientifically defendible solution… and I feel ridicuoulsly amazing, so I guess that’s the only thing that matters. The thing that this weekend really proved to me is that I am stronger than I thought I was — and my ability to connect with people is not in my mind, when I am willing and choose to devote the energy I am capable of connecting with new people, seems like a blinding glimpse of the obvious, but there it is… love and light, and hope, xo
I had a great time building my Night Scout, but I was really nervous about having the right parts to complete the build. The directions for building the Night Scout are incredibly detailed and amazing, that being said, sometimes I need a little extra help — here are some extra pictures and detail to help you prepare before starting your Night Scout build. I have explained my decisions, but if you want the a + b directions they are in blue bold text through out this post.
First to clarify, I am building the least complicated model — just the Dexcom reciever to an android phone, not including the pebble or any other additional device (I plan to add/upgrade later).
The 4 things you need: Dexcom G4 Receiver, USB to mini USB cable (same as the cable used to charge your Dexcom), Smartphone supporting USB OTC and an OTC cable
1) Your Dexcom G4 Receiver and the USB to mini USB cable used to charge your Dexcom (any USB to USB mini cable can be used)
2) Smartphone supporting USB OTC — I could attempt to explain, or link to explanations, of OTC technology and how to tell if a phone is going to work, but our reality is that we just want this to work… with that in mind, I highly suggest just buying a phone that has been validated rather than going through your build and being frustrated by it not working. The Night Scout Build Page give a full list of phones that work with carrier details and a list of phones that have not worked. Here is a consolidated list of devices that I used to determine which phone to buy.
From looking at this list, and reading other people’s build stories, I would recommend picking up a version of the Samsung Galaxy (Other than the Mini or the Core Prime, see my simplified list of OTC phones) — that being said, for cost purposes, since the phone does not need to work as a phone, only as a data transfer device, picking up any proven phone model from eBay or a certified pre-owed from your current cell phone carrier is a totally valid option. I fully tested my rig with an eBay purchased Samsung Galaxy 3 on wifi only, before investing in adding an additional phone to my wireless plan (enabling my Night Scout to work when wifi is not available).
The phone must be running Android v 4.x for the Night Scout app to work. If you are also interested in building the xDrip device the device will need to be on Android v 4.3 in order to support BLE.
3) OTC Cable(s) – again, here I could explain/link to explanations, but rather than all that — this is the OTC cable I purchased, I prefer the “L” shaped end of the cable to help minimize the chances of the cables being knocked loose. The linked cable is a two pack, as with any other technology, I would recommend at least two cables for replacement purposes, but also for testing, to ensure your rig is working (see other Night Scout documentation for more information on cables, replacements/reliability).
My current rig consists of a Samsung Galaxy 3 purchased on eBay, previously used on Verizon, the above linked OTC cable, my Dexcom G4 receiver and a USB to USB mini cable as pictured below.
Once you have the components — I suggest that you verify your version of the Android operating system before starting with the build.
Now you are ready to build your Night Scout device! Start here!
Below is the summarized list of phones that I used to make my decision when building my Night Scout Device*
*It should be noted I compiled this list based on available Night Scout information, after first failing using another phone. Additionally, this list does not include carrier information, some phones have only been tested on specific carriers, for my purposes I assumed that the technology was based on the device and would be compatible with a wifi only build, and then later with a build on a major carrier — this is not necessarily true, it was my assumption that has held so far for my builds.
So I got the new phone (samsung galaxy 3)… and it worked. So excited. Like I said before, I won’t necessarily be using this all the time, but it was cool to see how it worked — and if I were a parent rather than the type 1, I’m sure I would be more keen to use it everyday. The next project I’m looking at is the xdrip (formerly DexDrip) that was — you can find an intro here. The xDrip is a project put together by Stephen Black (@) that is so cool — find the git info here — basically taking NightScout and getting rid of the cable, Dexcom G4 to android without dexcom share — and then on top of that there is NightWatch that takes the information from xDrip, NightScout, or DexShare, and transmits to an android wear device.
I know that I will have this Dex-to-wrist capability once I get my new DexShare receiver and Apple Watch (both pending arrival), but until they arrive, and also because I think it will be fun to see how it works, I will be starting on this project.
I fell like I have just opened my eyes to trying to live a better life instead of just knowing there is a way and being stuck in fear that nothing will work and I’ll still be stuck where I am… if I don’t try I’ll still be here anyway, at least if I do try I get to keep working on really cool projects… next up, wireless xDrip bridge…
So I got over my pride of “I don’t need this” and “I should know how to do this” and decided to build a night scout rig… even though there is no way in hell I am letting my parents monitor my numbers from across the country (perks of a late diagnosis), I could transmit to see my numbers from my primary phone so I don’t have to pull the dexcom out of my briefcase all the time… I think it’s over kill for me, but I want to understand how it works, it is ridiculous that this doesn’t exist already… I am learning more about it so I can be part of the solution.
Progress: I have the db end all setup (great directions!) — ordered the right OTC cable (plus a spare) from amazon… Best Buy was even less helpful than I expected them to be… then neither of the android phones I have seemed to work (one that I bought for the project and one that I had laying around), so I bought a Samsung Galaxy 3 that has been proven to work according to the Night Scout documentation — it arrived today, it’s charging now, so I’m hoping to get a working rig together tonight…