About a month ago my AlphaTrak meter started giving me an “Er4” message when I turned it on. After an extensive search of the internet I came to the conclusion the “Er4” message was as vague as the instruction manual’s explanation. “Problem with the meter” OR “Problem with the test strip” Considering the error appears immediately before I even put a test strip into the meter I’m guessing the issue is with my meter.

It got me thinking about product life. Flipping the meter over I found out it was made in December 2005. That means the meter is 6yrs old. I bought it in March 2009, so I got roughly 2.5yrs worth of use out of it after it sat on the shelf for 3.5 yrs. Not very long. But considering how much it has saved me at the vet but more importantly how much it has helped regulate Bender’s blood sugar, I’m not mad about having to replace it after 2.5yrs of use. At the time I paid $89 for the meter. That’s about ONE vet visit to get a glucose curve done. So being able to do a curve any time I want is a huge savings.

But that still doesn’t answer the question, how long should I use a meter before replacing it? Let’s think about it… With the use of any electronic it will slowly wear out. Even if you take care of it and no matter how well it is built. As the meter slowly wears out it will be less and less accurate. With that in mind, there are two sides, use the meter until that day it becomes inaccurate. If you are doing your up keep and checking to make sure your meter is accurate every 6-8 months, then it might last until it just stops working. On the other side, you might want to replace it every 3yrs for the soul reason that technology is always getting better.

My question to you is how long has your AlphaTrak meters lasted?