Differences between first, second and third generation displays

If you just purchased your Refreshabraille 18 from APH, you can be assured that you have the latest generation display. But how about those of you who purchased it from someone else, or who acquired it through an agency or organization?

Here are some of the differences:

The first and second generation displays basically look the same, but the second generation display introduced a new way to communicate between the display and user device via the USB port. USB HID mode was added to the USB Serial mode supported by first generation displays.

What does that mean? Most earlier screen reader programs require a serial protocol setting. However, newer versions also support HID, which it could be a better choice.
The advantage is that HID does not require additional external drivers and, if you have the USB mode set to HID, Windows installs the drivers without the included CD. If the USB mode
is set to serial, Windows requires the CD the first time you connect to your PC so it can find the USB serial drivers.

Another advantage is that in August of 2015, APH released a firmware upgrade for the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator that includes support for refreshable braille displays that use the HID protocol. If you have a second or third generation display, you could, For the first time ever, use this advanced calculator and get output in both UEB and  raille. For more information see:
http://tech.aph.org/Orion%20TI-84%20Plus%20Documents/gc_res.htm for more information.

You can find out easily if your device include the USB Mode option by exploring the Refreshabraille menu. Here’s how:

USB Mode Video


In November 2015, APH released the 3rd generation of this device. The “facelift” included enhancements such as a better USB connection, improved navigation control,
2 options for Bluetooth pairing, and more ergonomic keys.

Software changes:
• The Refreshabraille’s menu now lets you choose between secure or simple Bluetooth pairing. Simple pairing lets the Refreshabraille automatically pair with any device you initiate pairing. Secure requires that a code be confirmed on both devices before pairing can take place
• The Refreshabraille now uses new PC software that makes updating and using the Refreshabraille 18 via USB easier

Hardware changes include the following:
• A Directional pad replaces the smaller size directional button or joystick. This allows for one hand operation and ease of use
• The display has now a more ergonomic ridged space bar
• A Micro USB cable replaced the Mini USB, which many people had a hard time connecting to the device. The micro USB is easier to plug in and also to replace if lost

Watch this video to see the hardware differences:
Hardware differences video