The dimensions (W x H x D) are 6.6 x 1.4 x 4.4 inch (168 x 35 x 112 mm). It weighs 0.99 lbs (450 grams).

You can purchase the following accessories
1. SD card – 8 GB
2. Padded Carrying case
3. Power Adapter
4. USB-A to Micro USB-B Cable
5. Spare Battery

It has eight high-quality Perkins-style keys and a space bar.

It has a Power on/off button, a cursor pad with four directional buttons and one select button for navigation, and two rocker type panning keys.

It has one Micro-B USB port (USB 2.0) with support for Serial, HID and Mass storage device classes and one SD card slot.

The battery typically lasts 3 days with normal use.

The Orbit Reader 20 uses the SD Card for storage of files for reading and editing.

The Orbit Reader family of braille devices uses TrueBraille™ cells that are based on Orbit Research’s patented Tactuator™ technology and produce signage-quality braille.  The cells are electro-mechanical in nature and are different from the traditional piezoelectric cells that are used in most other braille devices.  Orbit’s TrueBraille cells offer several advantages over piezoelectric cells:

  1. The braille dots are prouder than the dots on piezoelectric cells – they are about a millimeter tall compared to about half a millimeter on the piezoelectric cells.
  2. The braille dots are completely rigid and don’t give when touched by the finger.  This gives the user a much higher “tactile contrast” making it much easier and less strenuous for the reader to read over extended periods of time.  This “signage-quality” braille is also extremely helpful for beginners as the taller and rigid dots make the braille much easier to sense.  It can be compared to a high-contrast visual font versus a faded and blurry font.  In contrast, the braille dots on piezoelectric cells easily give when touched, resulting in significantly lower tactile contrast. 
  3. The braille dots do not “fade” over time as is the case with piezoelectric cells.  They always remain rigid to the touch.
  4. Piezoelectric cells are prone to catastrophic failure if they come in contact with droplets of fluids such as water or beverages, requiring the entire display module to be replaced.  The TrueBraille cells, on the other hand, continue to function even when exposed to droplets of water.  If a beverage is spilt on them, just the affected dots need to be serviced and there is no danger of the entire module becoming unserviceable.


Orbit Reader 20 supports only FAT32 file system. SD cards should be formatted with the FAT32 file system only.

The Orbit Reader 20 supports SD cards with memory capacity ranging from 4 to 32 GB.

The maximum length allowed for a file name and path is 255 characters.

When a file is created or edited, the Orbit Reader 20 applies a fixed date and time, i.e. 1-Jan-2019 00:00:00.

There is no limitation to the number of files that can be stored in a single directory of Orbit Reader 20. However, the file sorting function is limited to the first 250 files found on an SD card.

The txt, .brf, brl, and .bra file formats are supported in Stand-alone mode.

A maximum of 100 files within the same directory can be marked for cut, copy or delete operations.

Cut, copy and delete operations can be performed only on empty folders. If you try to perform these operations on a non-empty folder, the system shows an error message.

Text files can be encoded in ANSI, UNICODE-LE16, UNICODE-BE16 or UTF8 formats. Other encoding formats are not supported.

This error message indicates an internal error with the SD card, such as corrupt memory regions or a damaged card adapter or wrong file system.

There is no way to check the remaining space on the SD card through Orbit Reader 20. However, you can check it by connecting your Orbit Reader 20 to your PC and go to mass storage mode by pressing command Space + Dots 5 7

It is not possible to rename a file with mixed characters from Unicode and ASCII.

Connect your Orbit Reader 20 to your PC using USB cable and invoke mass storage mode for the file transfers. Hotkey for the mass storage mode is Space + Dots 5 7.


A maximum of 5KB (approximately 5000 characters) of the file content can be copied at a time.

The maximum number of bookmarks that can be set, in a single file, is 100.

The text formatting options from the Menu are applicable in the Reader only.

The Cut/Copy block operations can be performed only in Editor. To perform these operations in Reader mode, you should first open the file in Editor mode and perform the desired operation.

When you remove the SD card, Editor application is terminated and edited data will be lost. It is highly recommended not to remove the SD card while editing any file.

A file is automatically saved when you exit the Editor. A file is also automatically saved while editing or navigating approximately 1000 characters within the file.

‘Navigation by page’ will move the cursor to the next form feed character or 1000 characters, whichever comes first in the file. If the file has no form feed characters, the cursor will move approximately 1000 characters.

The ‘Filter dot 7’ function works only for BRF and BRL files. It has no impact if you are reading a text file.

Steps to create a BRF file
1. Choose encoding option “ANSI” from the Menu
2. Create a new file using the command (by pressing space + N keys)
3. Type the content
4. Save the file (By pressing Select, Select)
5. Rename the file by adding the extension ‘. BRF’

Steps to create a TXT file
1. Choose appropriate encoding option from the Menu
2. Create a new file using the command (by pressing space + N keys)
3. Type the content
4. Save the file (By pressing Select, Select)
5. Rename the file by adding the extension ‘.TXT’

Yes, Orbit Reader 20 can support on-board translation using the localization feature. You can prepare the localization files (.lan and .loc) and apply the localization on your Orbit Reader 20. Once your Orbit Reader 20 is localized, it uses the translation table supplied in the .lan file. For more information about the localization please refer Orbit Reader 20 localization user guide available on our website at By default, Orbit Reader 20 uses the 8-dot computer braille chart for translation. You can refer to this chart in Appendix A of the product user guide.


Paring requests are accepted automatically when the pairing mode is set to “Just Works”. If it is set to “Confirm Code”, Orbit Reader 20 will not respond.

Four Bluetooth devices can be connected to the Orbit Reader 20. However, only one Bluetooth device will be active at a time. In order to switch between connected devices, first put the currently connected host on standby (screen lock the phone) and then wake up the other host from standby (unlock the phone). The host will then connect to the Orbit Reader 20 automatically, provided it was paired already.

The default setting for Bluetooth is Auto in the Menu. That means If there is any screen reader activity running on the paired device, the Orbit Reader 20 automatically switches to Bluetooth Remote mode. If you do not want automatic Bluetooth connection switching, change the Bluetooth menu option to manual. To disable Bluetooth completely, select OFF.

The Orbit Reader 20 keys cannot be used to wake up a mobile from the standby mode, but can be used to enter a password to unlock the screen for iPhones.

Android phones with Google’s BrailleBack does not support this functionality.

This behavior is controlled by the screen reader applications running on the mobile device. Below are our observations.

For iPhones, there are no messages shown for an incoming call. For message notifications, it connects upon receiving notifications however doesn’t display notification contents. The display shows the content of the screen which is usually the clock.

For Android phones, upon receiving call, device displays the content of the screen. Exact content may vary among different manufacturers of the mobile devices. It may or may not display the number for incoming call. The device doesn’t display anything for incoming message notifications.

This depends on the screen reader application running on your mobile phone.
Our observations are as follows:
For iPhones,
No notifications are shown for incoming calls. For phone messages, only notifications are received, and not the content of the messages. The display usually shows the contents of the screen.
For Android phones,
On receiving a call, the device displays contents of the screen. The content may vary depending on the mobile phone. The device may or may not display the number for an incoming call. The device does not display anything for incoming message notifications.

Note that iOS is paired through settings->General->Accessibility->VoiceOver->Braille->Choose A Braille Display and not through Settings->Bluetooth->Devices.


The Orbit Reader 20 works as an 18-cell device when it is emulated as Refreshabraille 18. The last two cells remain blank.

The Emulation mode can be changed only when there is no active screen reader connection. If the user attempts to change emulation during an active screen reader connection, the system will give an error message.

The Orbit Reader 20 resumes connection when you unlock the previously connected device from standby.
If the connection was lost when the Bluetooth device is active, then the connection needs to be re-established manually.
There are some simple ways to do this. They are as follows:
1. Lock the screen of the phone and unlock.
2. For Android, go to Settings->Accessibility->Brailleback->Setting and click on the status or turn off the Brailleback and turn it on again.
3. For Ios, go to Settings->General->Accessibility->Voiceover-> Braille and double click on the name of the braille device, or turn off the voice-over and turn it on again.
4. If nothing works, unpair the braille device and pair it back.

When the Emulation mode is changed, the “connected device list” will not show that change unless Orbit Reader 20 unpair and pair with the host. However, there is no disturbance in the current work.

If the Android device is in standby, then there is a chance that it may connect to the Orbit Reader 20 in the wrong emulation mode when wake-up the phone. Here, you can disconnect (forget) the Orbit Reader 20 and pair it again.
The current active connection (USB or Bluetooth) will be reset and re-initialized.

Refer to the table below for details

# Connection mode Supported Channels Screen Reader Latest Version verified
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit/Bluetooth 2017.2
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation Bluetooth 2017.2 or earlier
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit/ Bluetooth JAWS 2018.1803.24
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB HID Orbit/ Bluetooth 18.0.2945
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit/USB Serial/Bluetooth Not released yet
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB Serial/Bluetooth and earlier
System Access
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit 3.7.88
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB HID Orbit/ 3.6.136
Voiceover (Mac)
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit/ USB HID Braille/Bluetooth Mac OS Mojave Version 10.14.5
2 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit/Bluetooth Mac OS-10.12.1 sierra and onward
3 Refresh braille Emulation Bluetooth Mac OS 9 and earlier
Voiceover (iOS)
1 Orbit Reader 20 Bluetooth iOS10.3.2
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation Bluetooth iOS9 and earlier
1 Refreshabraille18 Emulation Bluetooth 0.95.1-Prod or earlier
Windows Narrator
1 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB Serial/Bluetooth Windows10
1 Orbit Reader 20 Bluetooth 5.5
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation Bluetooth 5.5
ChromeVox (Chromebook)
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID Orbit 61.0.3163.120
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB HID Orbit 61.0.3163.120
Voiceview (Amazon Tablet)
1 Orbit Reader 20 Bluetooth
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation Bluetooth

You might have enabled a status cell on the right-hand side. You can turn it off in Braille settings.

The following issues have been noted while working with Android-
• Automatic switching does not happen. The Orbit Reader 20 has a feature wherein, if USB and Bluetooth both are active at the same time, Bluetooth takes over the connection and in the event of the phone being locked the USB mode automatically gets activated.
• When you type text messages on the Android device, it does not get displayed on the device.
• It is not possible to enter the ‘screen unlock’ password of the phone from the Braille keypad of the device.
• While using the Brailleback, you cannot type with Grade – 2.


If you are using firmware upgrade utility version v00.00.12 or an earlier version, Install VC++ redistributable from here and run it again.
For Utility version v001.00.13 and onwards, these dll files are merged with the main application and no installations are required.


Yes. The language can be changed through the localization feature. Please see the Language Options (Localization) section of the user manual for details.

You can change the language to default English by pressing Dot 8 + Space Key + Dot 1 together then press down arrow key once and click Select key to apply the English language.

There are two methods
Method 1:
1. Download the desired language files from our website.
2. For example, you have downloaded the Spanish files “.OR20-es-ES.lan” and “.OR20-es-ES.loc”. Copy both the files to the “locale” folder available in the root of your SD card. In case, the folder is not available you should create it.
3. Go to the Menu by pressing command Space + Up. It shows the first Menu item “charging xx%” or “battery xx%”
4. Press Down arrow keys till you get the option “Load language”
5. Press Right arrow key to get sub-menu item “Load locale”
6. Press Select key to get “Default English”
7. Press Down arrow key to get “”. This message will be different for your language.
8. Press Select to apply the localization and It shows the message “Localización exitosa” (Localization OK in Spanish)
Method 2:
1. Download the desired language files from our website.
2. For example, you have downloaded the Spanish files “.OR20-es-ES.lan” and “.OR20-es-ES.loc”. Copy both the files to the “locale” folder available in the root of your SD card. In case, the folder is not available you should create it.
3. Press the shortcut key command Space + Dot 8 + Dot 1. It opens the load language menu and shows the message “Load Locale”
4. Now, press Down arrow key twice to get the local language name “.OR20-es-ES”. This message will be different for your language
5. Press Select to apply the localization and It shows the message “Localización exitosa” (Localization OK in Spanish)

These are the possible reason for the error
1. Make sure you have latest localization file and latest firmware version installed on your Orbit Reader 20. In case version of localization file and firmware version of your SD card does not match, it shows the localization error.
2. Make sure that localization file name is not changed. Some of the operating systems remove the full stop (.) from the beginning of the file name when you download the file to your PC. The full stop (.) is required to detect the language in OR-20.

No, you cannot edit the localization file available on our website. Please contact us our tech support team for more help.

Yes. It is recommended to load lan files first, and then the loc files.

The maximum length of a system message that the Orbit Reader 20 supports is 20 characters.

We post localization files that we receive on our website here.

We encourage you to share your localization files with others. You can send us your files via email at


Yes. You can read text files in any language on Orbit Reader 20. English text files are supported out of the box. For non-English text files, Orbit Reader 20 device needs to be localized.

Follow the below-mentioned steps to keep your Orbit Reader 20 clean:
Due to exposure to natural elements such as dust and oils, the Orbit Reader 20
should be cleaned periodically.
The following are some tips to keep your Orbit Reader 20 clean:
• Cleaning should be performed with the unit switched off and with all pins in the down position.
• Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft tip attachment to remove dust from the pin area.
• Use a lint-free cloth to wipe the cells.
• The cloth may be moistened with water.
• Avoid using the following:
           1. Paper towels, cotton swabs or materials that can release fibres
           2. Alcohol or ammonia-based cleaners
           3. Canned or compressed air

Orbit Reader 20 presents a text dialog or input field called an Edit Box when you want to find text or rename a file. The Edit Box permits only one line of text. Press Space + F to begin a search or press Space + R to rename a file. The only limitation is, the Cut/Copy operations cannot be performed on a single line edit box.

You can put your Orbit Reader 20 into sleep mode by tapping the power key once when it is in Stand-alone mode.

If you are working with screen reader applications in remote mode, it depends on the application you are using. Being a terminal display device, Orbit Reader 20 displays anything sent by the host application as it is. In local mode, the Orbit Reader 20 supports only 8-dot computer braille code.

The user may invoke mass storage mode for file transfers. Hot key for mass storage mode is Space + Dot 7 + Dot 5.

You can email us the details at Additionally, you can post your query on our forums available on our website here.

Orbit Research warrants the Orbit Reader hardware product against defects in materials and workmanship under Normal use for a period of ONE (1) YEAR from the purchase date, by the original purchaser (“Warranty Period”). If a hardware defect arises and a valid claim is received by the Orbit Research, within the Warranty Period, at its option and to the extent permitted by law, the defective hardware will be repaired or replaced. Extended one-year warranty can be purchased for $85.00 at the purchase time of the Orbit Reader 20 by the original purchaser.

For technical support, you may contact your local distributor of OR 20. You can email the details at
Or post your queries on our website here.