Photo of a BrailleSense Polaris - a 32-cell braille notetaker - and text

BrailleSense Polaris: Troubleshooting Tips from Tech Support

Having problems? Check out these tips!

This month, I attended a training presented by Jonathon Taylor, Tech Support Specialist from HIMS Inc. about braille devices. The TVIs at the organization where I work learned about a variety of braille displays, including a line of braille displays by Help Tech, a German based company.  We also learned about the BrailleSense Polaris and Polaris Mini braille notetakers.

The TVIs enjoyed having hands on opportunities to use the braille displays when paired with a laptop or iOS device, as well as exploring the many features of the Polaris when used as a standalone device. Personally, the most beneficial part of the training was learning troubleshooting tips for the BrailleSense Polaris. This helped affirm many of the things I already do as a Technology Consultant, as well as provided me new strategies when troubleshooting with students and teams. 

Here is a list of troubleshooting tips for the Polaris from Tech Support.

If the Polaris is not receiving keystrokes 

There are two reasons:

  1. Is it locked?
  2. Is it in one handed mode?

Use the command Backspace + L to toggle one handed mode on and off to allow you to type using the Perkins keyboard. 

If there are issues with the battery life 

It is recommended that battery be recalibrated. To recalibrate the battery, fully charge up the device and let the device completely drain. Do these two or three times.

If the speech isn’t on or you are having other issues with the device

Perform a complete a soft reset. To complete a soft reset press F2 + F3 + Dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 at the same time. This should unfreeze the device. 

When a soft reset doesn’t fix the device

Take out the battery and put it back in. This completely powers down the device. Next, to reset all the settings in Global Options, press the Fast Forward and Power Button at the same time while the device is still off. For simplicity’s sake, it is best to press and hold the fast forward button first, then, while maintaining this key press, activate the power button. You will hear it beep twice and it will reboot.

If you are having an issue with Google Applications

Make sure you are using the correct Launcher. Occasionally, an incongruity can be introduced regarding the Polaris Launcher. This may require re-initializing the Polaris launcher. To reload the Polaris Launcher, press F2 + F3 + Dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.                         

When Google Apps or the Google Integration are not refreshing or updating

I would also recommend signing out and back into your Google account from Android System setting and the Google Integration.

When you recently update your Polaris and it is not working correctly

Make sure you recover native apps by pressing Backspace + Space + Enter + F from the Main Menu. This will recover the native Android apps on the Polaris.  

If a factory reset needs to be completed

Call tech support. 

It is strongly recommended that school districts to do not add security features to the Polaris or use a mobile management system with it. Security features added by the school’s IT department most likely will alter the permission for various third-party apps, such as the Google Play Store. This can create incongruities between the Polaris’s programming and the Android side of the device. If needed, tech support can assist a TVI and school teams to disable certain features on the Polaris without compromising its ability to be used by students. Call tech support if the school needs to use security features with the Polaris to comply with FERPA laws. For example, if you go to Utilities  and the Menu Manager, you can see what items can be viewed. A “lock mode” can be set up so students can’t complete specific actions or access specific features/apps. 


By R Saladino

Cartoon caterpillar on a half eaten leaf reading a book.

Butterflies part 1: Caterpillars

Monarch multiline braille display

Graphing with the Monarch and Desmos

Cartoon lion sitting beside wrapped gifts, holding balloons and wearing a pointy hat.

Inference activities part 2: Pictures and alt text image descriptions