Orbit Research is pleased to announce a much-awaited new feature – the ability to upgrade the Orbit Reader 20’s firmware from the SD card, instead of requiring a Windows PC!   This enables Mac and Linux users and those without direct access to a computer to easily upgrade the unit.

We would like to thank RNIB for supporting the development of this feature.

In order to use this feature, you will first have to update the bootloader, which is a mechanism to facilitate upgrading the system’s software.  Please note that upgrading the bootloader is required only in units that are currently in the field and is a one-time process.  New units from the factory will come with the new bootloader.

To perform the one-time upgrade of the bootloader, you will need to use a separate (Windows PC based) program which is similar to the firmware upgrade program that is used to upgrade the firmware.

Once you have the new bootloader in place, you will be able to perform future firmware upgrades through the SD card or the current method of using the Windows program.   Upgrading the bootloader is NOT necessary if you prefer to only use the existing method of upgrading the software using the Windows program.

Please download the software package titled “OR-20 – Bootloader Upgrade Package Setup vB0.00.00.05r02” from the Orbit Research website: https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-reader-20-bootloader-upgrade-package/

The package contains the following:

  1. Instructions to perform the bootloader upgrade:  OR-20 – Bootloader Upgrade Procedure v1.0.pdf
  2. Software Installation file: OR-20 – Bootloader Upgrade Package Setup vB0.00.00.05r02.exe
  3. A file containing release notes: OR-20 Bootloader Upgrade Utility vB0.00.00.05r02 Release Notes.txt

Important notes:

  1. Please read the instructions carefully before you start the upgrade
  2. Prior to starting the process, we strongly recommend that you confirm that your OR-20 unit is running software version B0.00.00.55r02 or later.  If it is running an earlier version, please upgrade it to the latest version B0.00.00.60r03 first. This will ensure that the messages that are displayed during the first upgrade using the SD card will match the messages described in the user guide.
  3. All settings on the Orbit Reader 20 will be reset to defaults after the bootloader upgrade
  4. If you have applied localization, you should download and use the latest localization package (version B0.00.00.27r00) from the website at https://www.orbitresearch.com/orbit-reader-localization-download/

The procedure to upgrade the bootloader is as follows:

 Install the OR-20 Bootloader Upgrade program by following the simple steps as is the case with any Windows installer.

  1. Once installed, run the Bootloader upgrade program.
  2. You can keep the OR-20 ON or OFF. It will not affect anything in the bootloader upgrade procedure.
  3. Connect the OR-20 to the PC using the supplied micro-B USB cable.
  4. Press and hold the Right Panning forward button (the lower part of the Right Panning button) and the Dot 6 key together.
  5. Now, press and release the Dot 8 key. The other keys can be released after this.
  6. The program will now begin preparing the device for upgrade.  This might take up to 10 seconds.
  7. When the preparation is complete, the program will show the message “The device is ready for upgrade”.
  8. Again, press and hold the Right Panning forward button and the Dot 6 key together
  9. Now, press and release the Dot 8 key. The other keys can be released after this.
  10. The program will begin the upgrade process and will take about 30 seconds to complete.
  11. The program will show the message “The device successfully upgraded to bootloader version vB0.00.00.xxyzz” after a successful upgrade.

For further details, please refer to the user guide at https://www.orbitresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OR-20-Bootloader-Upgrade-User-Guide-v1.0-2.pdf

Once you have successfully upgraded the bootloader, your OR-20 is all set to perform future firmware upgrades from the SD card or using the traditional method.

The bootloader upgrade also updated your firmware to the latest version (vB0.00.00.61r01) and you do not need to reload any firmware for now, but If you wish to give the new method a try, you can download the standard firmware upgrade package from the website and perform the following steps:

Procedure to upgrade the firmware from SD card:

  1. Copy the binary file “Orbit Reader 20 – Target Software vB0.00.00.XXrYY.bin” from the download package to the root folder of the SD card. Use either the Orbit Reader Mass Storage Mode or remove the SD card and put it in a card reader on a computer. When completed, insert the SD card into the Orbit Reader 20.
  2. Turn off the OR-20. The unit should be turned off before the upgrade is started.
  3. Press and hold the Right Panning forward button (the lower part of the Right Panning button) and Dot 4 together, then turn on the Orbit Reader 20; it will show the message “Preparing…”. Now you can release all the keys. Typically, it will take about 40 to 50 seconds to prepare.
  4. Once preparation is complete, the Orbit Reader 20 should show the message “Upgrading….”.  Progress is shown by blinking 4 cells containing dot 6 at the end of the message.
  5. Typically, it will take 2.5 to 3 minutes to upgrade the firmware. DO NOT remove the SD card during the upgrade process.
  6. When the upgrade has completed, the Orbit Reader 20 will show the message “Upgrade complete” for a few seconds and then the device will automatically reset itself and turn off.
  7. The Orbit Reader is now upgraded. Turn on the Orbit Reader to start using the device.
  8. To check for the successful upgrade of the device, press Select + Up Arrow to open the Orbit Reader Menu and arrow to “Ver” in the list. The version number of the firmware release should match the number in the name of the bin file.

For further details, please refer to the release notes at https://www.orbitresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OR20-Software-vB0.00.00.61r01-Release-Notes.txt  and the updated user manual at https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-reader-20-support/orbit-reader-20-user-guide-downloads/. For upgrade instructions, please refer to Section 21 of the user guide.

Customer Support Team

Orbit Research