New Feature: Now you can upgrade Orbit Reader 20 firmware directly from the SD card. You no longer need a Windows PC to upgrade firmware!

Orbit Reader FAQs

Orbit Reader FAQs 2018-12-06T05:17:07+00:00


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).

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.


SD cards should be formatted with 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. This means that a user can have files with long file names and short directory path or short file names with longer directory paths. 

When a file is created or edited, the Orbit Reader 20 applies a fixed date and time, i.e. “1-Jan-2017 00:00:00”.

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

The txt, .brl and .brf file formats are supported in Local 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 the user attempts to perform these operations on a non-empty folder, then the system generates an error message.

Text files are encoded with ANSI, UNICODE-LE16, UNICODE-BE16, UTF8 format only. Other encoding formats are not supported.

The system is unable to identify the files deleted from outside the device environment. The device will display the message “File not found” for that particular file when reached during navigation.

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


A maximum of 5KB (approximately 5000 characters) of file content can be copied at a time. If the user attempts to mark data above this limit, then an error message is generated.

The maximum number of bookmarks that can be set in a single file is 100. If a user attempts to set more bookmarks than the allowed limit, then an error message is generated.

The Menu text formatting options are applicable for Reader only. The Editor always shows non-formatted characters.

The Cut/Copy block operations can be performed only in Editor. To perform these operations in Reader, the user should first open the current file in Editor and perform the desired operation. Closing the editor will take the user back to the reader.

It is highly recommended not to remove the SD card while editing. Editor applications will shut down and edited data will be lost if the SD card is removed while the Editor is running.

A file is automatically saved on exiting the Editor. A file is also automatically saved while editing or navigating 1KB data within the file.


Pairing requests are accepted automatically if the pairing method is” Just Works”. If the pairing mode is set to “Confirm Code”, then the 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 current 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 Orbit Reader 20 device puts Bluetooth connection on highest priority. Whenever there is any activity on Bluetooth channel, the display is taken over by messages from the Bluetooth. If you need to work in local mode, put the Bluetooth device on standby when you are working on mobile or turn off Bluetooth from the preference menu when you are working on a PC or a Laptop.

The Orbit Reader 20 keys cannot be used to wake up a mobile from standby, 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 messages are shown for incoming calls. For message notifications, it does connect on receiving a notification, but the contents are not displayed. The display shows contents of the screen which is usually the clock.

For Android phones, on receiving a call, the device displays contents of the screen. The exact content may vary depending on the make of 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 always 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 with previously connected device on being powered on. If the connection was lost when the device was ‘on’, then the connection needs to be re-established manually. There are some simple ways to do his. They are as follows:
a. Lock the screen of the phone and unlock.
b. For Android, go to Settings->Accessibility->Brailleback->Setting and click on the tatus or turn off the Brailleback and turn it on again.
c. 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.
d. If nothing works, unpair the braille device and pair it back.

When the Emulation mode is changed, the “connected device list” does not show that change. However, the current session works fine without any issues. Unpairing the Orbit Reader 20 and pairing it again with the host will show the changed name in the “connected device list”.

If the android device is in sleep mode, then there is a chance that it may connect to the Orbit Reader 20 in the wrong emulation mode on waking up. Here, the user can
disconnect (forget) the device 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/Bluetooth 2017.2
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation Bluetooth 2017.2 or earlier
1 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB HID/ Bluetooth 18.0.2945
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID/USB Serial/Bluetooth Not released yet
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB Serial/Bluetooth and earlier
System Access      
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID 3.7.88
2 Refreshabraille18 Emulation USB HID/ 3.6.136
Voiceover (Mac)      
1 Orbit Reader 20 USB HID/Bluetooth Mac OS-10.12.1 sierra
2 Refresh braille Emulation Bluetooth MacOS 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

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-
a. Automatic switching does not happen while working with Android Devices. 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 mode is switched to active USB mode automatically. This automatic switching does not happen for Android devices.
b. When you type text messages on the Android device, corresponding text does not get displayed on the device.
c. It is not possible to enter the ‘screen unlock’ password of the phone from the Braille keypad of the device.


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 default language can be changed though device localization. Please see the Language Options (Localization) section of the user manual for details.

Loading loc file before lan file can cause garbage display. It is recommended that you load lan file first, and then load the loc file.

Back translation is supported if one braille symbol indicates one/multiple ASCII or Unicode value. A character which represents multiple braille values is not supported. Multiple occurrence of a single Braille value within the table is also not supported.

The maximum length of a system message that the Orbit Reader 20 supports is 20 characters. Characters beyond the 20th character are chopped off automatically by the Orbit Reader 20 system software while loading localization.

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


Single line edit box is the editor prompt you get while performing operations such as “rename”. Cut/Copy operations cannot be performed on single line edit box.

Orbit Reader 20 can be put into light sleep mode only when the device is in Stand-Alone mode.

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

At this moment, Orbit Reader 20 supports grade 1 only.

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 being sent by the host application as it is. In local mode, the Orbit Reader 20 supports only 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.

For technical support you may contact your local distributor of OR-20. You can email the details at

Additionally, you can post your queries on our forums available on our website here

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:
    • Paper towels, cotton swabs or materials that can release fibers
    • Alcohol or ammonia based cleaners
    • Canned or compressed air