All about Insulin Pumps for adults and children with diabetes    Medtronic/Minimed 512/712
Copyright 2004, Insulin Pumpers and Eric Schmidt <>


The Medtronic/Minimed Paradigm 512 and 712 models are physically very similar to the 511. The major differences occur in programming and the unique capability to communicate with an optionally available Paradigm LINK™ blood glucose meter. The Paradigm 512/712 also allow the user the option of changing pump settings and downloading history data using the Paradigm LINK™ meter and optional software packages available from Medtronic/Minimed. Since the Paradigm 512/712 share similar specifications and features with the 511, this section will focus on describing the additional features that the models 512 and 712 provide. The 512 and 712 differ only in their size and insulin capacity; the 712 holds 3.0 ml of insulin where the 512 is slightly smaller and holds a maximum of 1.76 ml of insulin. Note that in this review I will refer mainly to model 512, as the features between the two are identical. The different physical specifications are noted within the Technical Specification section below.

Technical Specifications

Model 512 - 2.0 x 3.0 x 0.8 inches

Model 712 - 2.0 x 3.6 x 0.8 inches

Model 512 : 106.5 grams with full 1.76 ml reservoir

Model 712 : 108.2 grams with full 3.0 ml reservoir

Proprietary stepper motor design with captive lead screw. Delivers insulin in discrete 0.05 unit increments (U-100 insulin) per cycle. Motor does not audibly "click" as in previous Medtronic/Minimed models such as the 508.

Automated using pump motor. A mandatory "manual" priming step is presented as part of the insulin cartridge replacement procedure. This manual priming step seats the plunger and can also be continued to prime the tubing if desired. A "fixed" priming option is provided under the "Prime" menu to prime the infusion set with a pre-programmed amount of insulin.

One "AAA" alkaline battery.

Proprietary plastic insulin cartridge.

Model 512 - 1.76 ml (176 units of U-100 insulin)

Model 712 - 3.0 ml (300 units of U-100 insulin)

Medtronic issued a notice in September of 2003 instructing users to avoid immersion of any model Paradigm pump in water. Medtronic should be contacted for additional details.

Four year warranty.

Feature Details

Supports three basal programs similar to the Paradigm 511.

A temporary basal setting is available under the "Basal" menu. This feature allows the user to set a temporary basal rate to override the current basal program.

In addition to the ability to set a fixed temporary basal rate as with the 511, the 512 also provides an option to set a temporary basal as a percentage of the original basal program. The choice of fixed or percentage of basal is set using the "Temp Basal Type" option under the "Basal" menu.

A fixed temp basal rate is set (which could be lower or higher than the current basal rate) for a specified time duration from 30 minutes to 24 hours, in 30 minutes increments. Note that a fixed temp basal rate will continue at the same rate regardless of the shape of the original basal program's shape. For example, if the original basal program drops slightly at 10:00, a temp basal rate set from 9:00 to 11:00 will not correspondingly drop at 10:00 since it is a fixed rate.

A percentage temp basal rate can be set to be anywhere from 0% to 200% of the original basal program (limited by the "Max Basal Rate" setting). This type of temp basal rate follows the original program's shape. For example, if the original basal program drops slightly at 10:00, a percentage temp basal set from 9:00 to 11:00 would show a corresponding drop at 10:00.

As with the Paradigm 511, the 512 allows 3 different bolus delivery options : Normal, Square Wave, Dual Wave, as well as the audible Easy Bolus programming method for setting a Normal bolus (either with buttons or option RF remote).

One major addition that the 512 provides over the 511 is a feature called "Bolus Wizard". While requiring more involved setup than other pump features, it promises to simplify the process of calculation of bolus dosages.

Before using the Bolus Wizard, several parameters must be programmed into the pump. A physician may need to be consulted for assistance in setting some of these parameters.

    1. Carb Units : either "Grams" or "Exchanges"
    2. Carb Ratios : ratio of [ # carbs per unit of insulin ] or [ units of insulin per exchange ] depending on whether you are using carbs or exchanges. Up to 8 different ratios can be set if insulin sensitivity varies by time of day. For example, if you currently take 1 unit of insulin to cover 10 grams of carbohydrate, your Carb Ratio would be 10 grams/U.
    3. BG Units : "mg/dL" or" mmol/L"
    4. Sensitivity : insulin sensitivity, which is the amount your blood glucose drops per one unit of insulin (used in calculating correction dosage to bring down a high blood sugar value).
    5. BG Targets : pre-meal BG target values. You can set up to 8 different values if your targets change throughout the day (for example if you want to set a slightly higher target right before bedtime to avoid hypoglycemia during the night).

Once the Bolus Wizard parameters are set and Bolus Wizard is enabled, it can be used to estimate a bolus based on current blood sugar (either manually entered or transmitted by Paradigm LINK™ meter), carbohydrate/exchange amount to be eaten. One nice aspect of the Bolus Wizard is that it also takes into account any active bolus insulin that might be in your system from a previous meal or correction bolus given by the insulin pump earlier. As you probably know, this "remaining insulin" factor can be difficult to account for if performing a bolus calculation in your head.

Once you enter the BG and carbohydrate/exchange information, the Bolus Wizard will offer a dosage recommendation which you can either accept of modify if you decide a higher/lower dosage is more appropriate.

NOTE: Bolus Wizard will only use BG values for up to 12 minutes after they are entered. If it has been longer than 12 minutes since the BG reading was taken, another BG test will need to be performed and the new result entered/transmitted to the pump.

As with the Paradigm 511, the 512 supports up to 3 different remotes which may be used to control Easy Bolus, Suspend, and Resume pump features.

The Paradigm 512 uses a similar interface to the 511 based on Medtronic E-Z Path™ Programming. The main differences are the additional menu options available for additional features available with the 512 pump.




Allows up to 8 different daily alarms to be entered as personal reminders. If this feature is enabled, the pump will alert the user and display "REMINDER" on the screen.

Various error and alarm messages : call Medtronic/Minimed

Boluses with time and date, alarms with time and date, daily totals, priming.


This feature, accessed through the "Utilities" menu, will alarm and suspend the pump if no buttons have been pressed for the programmed time limit. That limit can be set from 1 hour to 24 hours in 1 hour increments.


The optional Paradigm LINK™ blood glucose meter is available from Medtronic/Minimed for use with the Paradigm model 512 and 712 insulin pumps. The Paradigm LINK™ meter communicates via radio frequency with the 512 and 712 pumps. The pump must be programmed with the meter's RF ID before it will accept BG value transmissions from the meter (up to 3 meters may be programmed into the pump). It should also be noted that the Paradigm LINK™ meter is required for use with Medtronic/Minimed software used for pump programming and pump data download, as the meter is attached via special USB cable to the computer, and the pump communicates its data via RF to the meter which is then transferred to the computer.

When a "LOW BATTERY" condition is present, the pump will not respond to RF commands from the remote and will not receive transmitted BG readings from a Paradigm LINK™ meter until the battery is replaced. Also, a "LOW BATTERY" condition will cause Rewind and Manual Prime functions to occur at a much slower rate (presumably to preserve limited battery life).