Perkins Brailler FAQ

Where can I buy a brailler?

Choose your brailler

Classic Perkins Brailler

How do I load the paper into the brailler?

It is important to load the paper properly into the brailler, otherwise it will appear to be jammed and will not work.

  • Move the carriage lever to its the left hand side of the brailler (starting position)
  • Depress the line spacer until it will not depress anymore
  • Pull the pressure roller levers towards you to open the drum
  • Insert the paper from the back into the rounded roller drum and ensure that the paper is aligned to the left hand side of the brailer
  • Push the pressure roller levers away from you to secure the paper
  • Roll the paper all the way in till the feed knobs stop turning
  • Hit the line spacer once
  • Begin to braille
I have heard that the Perkins Brailler is not made in the United States anymore. Is this true?

Almost all the components of the Perkins Brailler are designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States at Howe Press. The components are then assembled at the Howe Press plant or shipped to assembly plants in India and South Africa. Quality standards are developed and overseen by Howe Press and implemented equally across all Perkins Brailler locations. All braillers are guaranteed for one full year and we expect them to last for decades if properly maintained.

SMART Brailler

How do I get started creating files for what I Braille?

From the Braille Entry screen, push the small circular menu button, use the down nav key to select File, then New file. You will be returned to the “Braille Entry” screen and whatever text is brailled into the first line will become the filename.

How do I save files?

There are two ways to save files. To save a file on the internal drive of the SMART Brailler, press the Main Menu button (the small green button on the upper left side of the navigation buttons), then scroll down by using the 'down' navigation button to 'File'. Select 'File', and then select 'Internal Files'. Once the 'Internal File' menu is opened, select 'Save File'. The name will be stored as the first few letters of the document.

To save a file to a USB drive, first insert the USB into the USB port on the right side of the display. Go to the Main Menu button, then scroll down by using the ‘down’ navigation button to 'File'. Select 'File', and then select 'USB Files'. This will bring you to the USB Files Menu. Select 'Save File'. The name will be stored as the first few letters of the document.

How do I erase a mistake? How does the erase feature work with the display screen?

Use the Backspace key 2 times to position the black button of the erase assembly over the correct cell on the paper. When you press that black button down to flatten the paper it will also be erased from the electronic file and display screen and confirmed via TTS voice saying the letter and “erased”.

I want to make a change to a previous line in my file when I’m already on a line further down the page.

On the SMART Brailler, you can only go back and edit the current line you are on. Once you hit the Line Space key the only way to edit the line is by saving the file to a USB and editing the file on a computer. New lines can be appended to an existing file, but no previous lines can be edited on the SMART Brailler itself.

How do I transfer files from a SMART Brailler to a PC?

The files saved by a SMART Brailler are .txt text files that can be opened on any computer and edited there by any text editing software. If you want to transfer them back to the SMART Brailler, you need to make sure the output is a *.txt file. The SMART Brailler doesn’t open Microsoft Word doc files, you need to “save as” a *.txt file from Word if you want it to be read by the SMART Brailler.

How do I transfer files from a PC to a SMART Brailler?

The files must be .txt text files to be read and opened by the SMART Brailler.

How do I change the language back from one that I don’t read/understand?

No matter what language the SB has been saved in, you can switch it back to English by hitting the circular menu button and then counting down to the 4th menu option from the top (Settings in English), then selecting the top menu option from the next menu (Voice in English), then selecting the top option from the next menu (American English).

I am having problems charging my SMART Brailler.

If you are having problems charging your SMART Brailler, and it was purchased between July of 2014 and January of 2015, please telephone us at 1-617-972-7308 so we can solve the problem for you.

Why does the battery not display 100% even if I have been charging the battery for a long time?

The SMART Brailler only shows battery power in increments of 25%: 25, 50, 75, and 100. 100% is only shown if the actual raw battery reading is above 94%. So the battery could be 94% charged while still showing 75% on the screen. The number isn’t as important as the actual battery life you get while using the SMART Brailler, which is at least 1 day of teaching use.

How do I change the screen color?

Go to Menu/Settings/Color and select a color combination that is preferred.

Can I use the Guest user or do I have to create a new user?

The Guest user is intended to allow you to get started quickly and can be used all the time if you wish. We have ability to add users so that each user can save their own files and settings without disturbing other users preferences. If the SB isn’t shared, there is no real reason not to use the Guest account all the time.

Where can I get an introduction to what the buttons on the SMART Brailler do?

Use the Audio Tour that can be accessed from the startup Welcome Menu by using the down navigation button on the right side of the display screen.

How can I tell which version of software is loaded onto my SMART Brailler?

It is useful to know what version of software is on your SMART Brailler so you can determine if an update is necessary. You can do this by hitting Menu button, then selecting Settings/System/System Info and scrolling down to the App Version on the last line. This should give you a number to record and report.

What is recommended format for starting a new Braille file?

The first line of the file becomes the filename, so you should Braille a name and date that will allow you to tell the difference between all of your files/assignments.

How do I extend the battery life?

There are a number of ways to extend the battery life. The biggest power drain is the screen on the front of the SMART Brailler. You can turn off the screen by pressing the top Quick Start Button on the left side of the screen. Or, turn the brailler off entirely by pushing the On/Off button on the bottom right of the brailler. Other options are:

  • Adjust the brightness by going to the Main Menu button, press ‘Settings’, select ‘Brightness’, and then adjust the brightness downward.
  • Adjust the Screen Timer to dim the screen after a shorter time than by default. Select Meny/Settings/Power/Battery/Screen Timer and choose a shorter option.
When I Braille past the 28th cell on a line, the cursor on the display screen jumps back to position 4. Is this a problem?

Some SMART Braillers have a “29th” cell due to mechanical tolerances. With these units, brailling past the end of the line can create a situation where the SMART Brailler cursor “jumps” back to position 4. This is not a problem, using the BS key once will put the cursor back on cell 28, and hitting LS key and moving carriage to the left will also solve this visual issue.

Unimanual Brailler

What is a unimanual brailler?

A unimanual brailler is designed for someone with the use of only one hand. On this brailler, the keys will remain depressed on the left hand side and not spring back until each braille letter is complete (there is a locking mechanism which holds the keys down).

Electric Perkins Brailler

Why would I buy an electric brailler

There are a number of advantages offered by an electric brailler.

  • It is significantly faster to produce braille on an electric brailler than on a standard brailler
  • It is much easier to depress the keys, so it is easier to braille for a longer period of time.

Therefore, a child or adult who has weak fingers, whose hands are not fully functional or who has arthritis will braille quicker and more comfortably on an electrical brailler.

Will the electric brailler work as a manual when it is not plugged in?

No, the keys will not depress when it is not plugged in.

How is the new electric brailler different from the old one?

The new Perkins Light-Touch Electric Brailler now operates on universal power and can utilize the electrical current in many parts of the world. It also comes in blue rather than gray.

Is the electric brailler covered under the US federal quota system?


Does it work on any type of electrical power in every country?

Yes, with the correct adapter.