What is the Blucon Nightrider?
Blucon is also referred to simply just “nightrider”, so I’ll refer to it as both during this article.
The Blucon is an electronic device which reads NFC (near field communication) tags and then sends any data to a bluetooth enabled connected device. So, this means it works with the Freestyle Libre to send data from the sensor to your smartphone or smart watch every 5 minutes.
Essentially it means you do not need to scan your sensor as the information is always being sent to a device that you can see instantly.
This turns your Freestyle Libre into a type of CGM style device.
How does the Blucon Sensor work?
The Blucon is super easy to set up. Your blucon sensor will arrive in a small box (as you can see below) alongside a spare battery, a small pin to activate the sensor and some waterproof stickers (if you have chosen that package).
It’s simply a case of downloading the compatible app, activating your blucon with the pin until it starts flashing red, then searching for the blucon sensor via the app.
You need to make sure bluetooth is turned on and once it finds the sensor you will be prompted to enter the serial number that is on the back of the sensor.
Then once it’s connected, you can pop it on your FreeStyle Libre by pulling off the sticky section inside and holding it over the libre for a few seconds.
If you’ve got some waterproof stickers, you simply place these over the FreeStyle Libre to make it waterproof for the shower etc. (More on that a bit later on).
If you’re wondering how to calibrate blucon nightrider you can add a calibration (finger prick) to the Blucon to ensure it’s going to read your scanner correctly, then from then you will get blood sugar readings sent to your smartphone or smart watch every 5 minutes.
If like me, you hate the beeping noise, then just set it to silent or vibrate, otherwise it will beep every 5 minutes.
You can set voice alerts for when your blood sugar is high and low, but I can't find anything that allows me to set alarms to predict highs and lows (so I can catch them). So when I refer to them not having alarms, I mean prediction alarms.
What is the FreeStyle Libre?
So in case you don’t know what the Freestyle Libre is, then I’ll give you a short overview here. However if you want full details on everything Freestyle Libre related you can check out my mammoth post here.
The FreeStyle Libre is a device that allows you to “scan” your blood sugar and will give you an indication of whether your blood sugars are staying stable, rising or falling. This can be scanned via a FreeStyle Libre reader or a compatible smartphone.
How much is the Blucon Nightrider?
There are two types of Blucon system offered.
The first is the “non-waterproof nightrider blucon” option which is a one-off payment of $110 (but you get $10 off with this link)
And the waterproof nightrider blucon” option is a one-off payment of $145 (but you get $10 off with this link).
After your first use, there is no more sticky tape, so you will need to buy and armband or use tape to keep it in place. They offer armbands on their website for $9 or you can buy some on Amazon.
Of course there is also the cost of the FreeStyle Libre Sensors. This will vary depending on what part of the world you are from and whether your health system covers the cost of them for you.
Remember that the cost of a Blucon is one-off so it will keep lasting you as long as you replace the batteries when needed. So in that sense, it’s not a bad price in my opinion, especially compared to other products such as the Dexcom that need constant paid replacement.
How often do you need to replace the battery in the Blucon sensor?
With my Blucon sensor I was given one spare battery but they are fairly easy to come by when you need them.
On your app there is a battery icon which will warn you when the battery needs replacing. I would assume every couple of months. As of writing I’ve had my Blucon sensor on 2 weeks and the battery is still full.
The Blucon uses a CR2032 battery and for a set of 10 batteries it’s around 50 cent to $1.
Where can I buy the Blucon Nightrider system?
As of right now you can only buy the Blucon Nightrider system direct on their website. Remember if you buy through my link here you will get $10 off your first purchase wiith a blucon coupon code.
Where is the Blucon sensor available?
I believe they current ship worldwide, but I have emailed and asked for full clarification on that as I couldn’t find the right information.
What apps work with the Blucon?
Blucon Nightrider has apps for both Android and Apple. It’s called “LinkBluCon” and I only have android devices, so can’t vouch for apple, but so far it’s been working fine on my Samsung Galaxy s9.
There is also a carer app in which parents/loved ones can link up to your readings and also see them which is useful. This is called “FollowBluCon”.
A caregiver can follow blood sugar readings of up to 20 Blucon users. They can get blood results from up to 30 days and can even view them in graph form. You will need a stable internet connection to see the updates of blood glucose.
What are the benefits of the Blucon?
Okay, so all these benefits are personal to me and how I’ve found the experience of using the BluCon.
Easy Application and Easy To Use App
It was super easy to apply the Blucon and whilst it seems a little bulky it doesn’t feel like I’ll knock it off. It took me about 5 minutes to get this device up and running which was great and so far the app has worked really well, whereas when I was trying to find an app to work with the Miao Miao it took me hours!
So far when using the Blucon Nightrider I’ve found it to be super accurate to my FreeStyle Libe. (My FreeStyle Libre also tends to be accurate to my actual blood sugar). So I can say that accuracy is one of it’s definetate strong points, and it’s really important that a product like this is accurate.
It’s cheaper than the MiaoMiao
I talk about the MiaoMiao compared to Blucon further down below, but an obvious benefit of the Blucon is that it’s cheaper than the MiaoMiao.
Read all about the MiaoMiao here.
Family and Friend monitoring via app
I love that friends and family can monitor your blood sugars via their own app. This is a great piece of mind with parents and children, and even me with travelling. Brad and I are rarely separated, but if we are, then he can make sure I’ve not dropped into a bad hypo or let me know if my bloods have gone high when sleeping (I love a good nap- joys of a chronic illness!)
What are the drawbacks of the Blucon?
There are no alarms
The obvious thing that the Blucon Nightrider doesn’t have it alarms to indicate whether you are going high or low. Both the Dexcom and Miao Miao do. This is something I believe they are working on adding to the features in the future.
But it is nice not having to scan my blood sugar and to just instantly see my sugar on my phone screen.
To clarify they do have an alarm (A speech) alarm that will tell you if you are out of range, but for me, that's too late, I need alarms that tell me if I'm going high or low before it happens.
Also, the speech alarm is the most annoying thing ever and I wouldn't use it.
You have to wear a band or tape to keep in place
When you first wear the Blucon you remove a piece of sticky tape that allows it to stick to your FreeStyle Libre sensor. After this 2 week period when the sensor is finished, you will no longer have the sticky tape option to stick on your next one.
Therefore you need to use external tape or an arm band to keep it in place. This can be an annoyance and inconvenience for some people.
It can get knocked off
Just like the MiaoMiao, Freestyle Libre and Dexcom, all these products can be ripped off if you catch them on a door, or your boyfriend accidentally rips it off when play fighting (cough, Bradley, cough). And if you rip the Blucon sensor off, it’s covered over the Libre, so you’re going to be ripping that off too.
Just be careful and aware.
Does the Blucon connect to a smart watch?
It does indeed. I don’t have an Apple watch, but they have a cool feature known as “Direct To Apple” the Nightrider and LinkBluCon app with display glucose readings from the FreeStyle Libre, FreeStyle Libre 2 and pro sensors on an Apple watch. This will allow parents, friends and family to monitor blood glucose levels too when away.
If you do want to try the Blucon Nightrider, then you can get $10 off your purchase via this link. Yes I get 10% of the cost too, but it’s at no extra cost or hassle to you :)
Remember you can get that Blucon discount here.
How long does the Blucon last?
A lifetime (or as long as you look after it!). The Blucon will keep lasting as long as you replace the battery when needed. Which is the beauty of a one-time purchase. I’m sure if you run into any difficulties with it, they’ll be able to help too.
Is the Blucon good for travelling?
Any device that makes it easier to manage your blood sugar abroad is good for travelling. So yes, it absolutely is! I’ll be bringing my Blucon with me around Asia so I’ll ge to test the full effects of it in the heat, whilst my swimming etc etc.
Is the Blucon a CGM?
Technically yes. A CGM is “continuous glucose monitor” which means a device that continually gives you your blood sugar readings. The Blucon sends you your live blood sugar reading every 5 minutes.
This is great for active people on the go and travellers like me.
Is the Blucon waterproof?
NOT the original. If you buy the non-waterproof version then no your blucon is not waterproof and it will break with contact with water.
If you buy the waterproof version which comes with waterproof covers that you place over the sensor, then yes it is. I highly recommend you get the waterproof cover so that you can shower and bathe normally with it.
Does the Blucon work with the FreeStyle Libre 2?
Yes! The Blucon Nightrider works with Abbott's Freestyle Libre, Libre 2 and the Freestyle Libre pro sensors.
Is the Blucon Nightrider sensor safe?
The Blucon is safe, but I feel it’s important to note that it is NOT FDA approved for relying on the blood sugars to make medical decisions. So what that means is, you should rely on the readings to give insulin for food. You should do a finger prick for that decision.
Personally I feel we should finger prick for all food related decisions because I don’t believe any of these technologies can be 100% accurate so I suggest you go by your feelings. As you live with diabetes you start to automatically know when your low or high or if your feelings doesn’t match the reading on the screen.
However for children who are a lot more sensitive to insulin, I recommend finger pricks for meals.
Blucon NightRider VS MiaoMiao
So, this is the big question. The MiaoMiao and Blucon are essentially striving for the same thing. They are trying to turn the FreeStyle Libre into a CGM. The question is, who do I think has done a better job of achieving that, and for me personally, MiaoMiao has simply because of the addition of alarms. The Blucon looks better than the MiaoMiao and I prefer it to that as my MiaoMiao just always looked like it was about to fall off.
However, the ability to set alarms on the MiaoMiao is definitely a good advantage. Then again, the set up of the MiaoMiao for Android was a lot more complicated and my app failed on the MiaoMiao, whereas it has not on the Blucon.
So, if the Blucon could add in the ability to set alarms for blood sugars going high and low, then I would choose the Blucon over the MiaoMiao.
My opinion on the Blucon Sensor
I like the Blucon but it’s not a full proof product for me- yet. Basically if it had the ability to set alarms for blood sugars going high or low, then I would 100% be using this product as I’ve found the accuracy great, I think it looks great and it feels stable and secure to me.
But because it doesn’t have the alarms, there are other products out there that can offer that, this is a drawback. It is stated that they are working on adding alarms, so once that happens, I can update!
But basically, if you’re on the lookout for a device to help make life with the FreeStyle Libre even easier, then this is a great choice. If you don’t need the security of alarms (a lot of people find them overwhelming and not useful) then this is a great device.
You can instantly see your blood sugars on your phone and smartwatch and you don’t even need to scan, it’s all there for you instantly which is great!
If you do want to try the system, then you can use this link to get $10 off.
Disclaimer from Ambrosia website for your reference.: Freestyle libre Sensor is a trademark of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. Ambrosia Systems Inc. does not have any Partnership Agreement or any kind of relationship with Abbott Diabetic Care or Abbott Laboratories. Ambrosia apps and device are not FDA approved. Hence, do not use the glucose readings to take any medical decisions. BluCon was awarded CE mark in early 2017
I would like to add my own disclaimer here too. I am not a doctor and I am not affiliated or associated with Ambrosia and I am simply reviewing a product that have used and all opinions expressed are my own. If you choose to purchase this product that is up to you and I hold no liability of your experience with it, either good or bad.
I had to add this in as I often get abuse from some people who seem to think I work for Abbot or MiaoMiao etc and forget that I’m just a twenty something blogger with t1d, so if you have abuse, please do not send it to me as I will just ignore you. :)
If you can’t afford a Dexcom which is renowned for their accuracy and it’s FDA approved for looping etc then I think the Blucon is a good place to start.
The Dexcom requires a steady flow of money (it’s not funded in the UK where my health system is based), so the Blucon is a cheaper way to get the feel of a CGM. I will review the Dexcom in time but if you do want to try the Blucon nightrider system, then remember you can buy via this link for $10 off!
I hope you’ve found this useful and let me know your experiences with the Blucon nightrider system.