[Athen] Alva Braille Display questions

Pielaet, Jon jon.pielaet at mso.umt.edu
Thu May 13 06:15:33 PDT 2010


Let me preface this by saying I have only setup a few Braille displays
and most of them have been older serial ones.

On the Alva 570 Satellite Pro I would look in the device manager (in the
Windows control panel) to see if the USB device is being assigned a COM
port correctly.

If you can find what COM port the display is using then you should be
able to add it to the Braille Manager in JAWS.

Generally, it's been my experience that no additional drivers should be
needed because JAWS has scripted support for all of the supported

With the Alva Delphi 440, my guess is the static Braille appearing on
the display is a startup message like "Braille Display Ready"

If you have added the display to the Braille Manager and configured it's
COM port number properly then you may need to restart JAWS before it
recognizes the display.

It is important to have the display powered up before the serial cable
is plugged in or JAWS is running otherwise it won't be able to find the

Good Luck,


Jon P. Pielaet
Program Assistant for Instructional Materials
Disability Services for Students
Emma B. Lommasson 154
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812


406-243-2243 Voice/Text
406-243-4461 Direct Line
406-243-5330 Fax

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Sean J Keegan
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:00 PM
To: altmedia; athen
Subject: [Athen] Alva Braille Display questions

Hello all,

I have been trying to get two Alva Braille displays working and not
having any success. I am working with an Alva 570 Satellite Pro and an
Alva Delphi 440. Both are at least several years old.

With the Alva 570 Satellite Pro - I am connecting it to a Windows XP
machine via the USB cable. I am unable to get ANY of the pins to
respond. The display makes a noise when I turn it on or off, but the
pins all stay flat (note - it is not the usual noise I remember with
this display, but rather just a flat chime). If I plug or unplug the
USB cable, Windows responds with its own notification that a USB device
has been unplugged or plugged-in. I included the display for JAWS 11
and checked via Options > Braille and it does show up as the default
braille device. No matter what I have done, all the pins stay flat. In
all honesty, I am a bit stumped as my previous experiences with this
display is that it just worked with Windows XP (yes, there was a bit of
configuration necessary with a screen-reader, but the Braille display
itself functioned).

With the Alva Delphi 440 - I am connecting it to the same Windows XP
machine, but via the serial cable (does not offer USB). I do get some
Braille characters when I turn on the device, so that is a minor
improvement, but the text is static. I also went into JAWS 11 and added
this Braille display, but it did nothing for actually changing the
content in the cells. I did find the floppy disk that specifies the
drivers, but I am dealing with a computer with no floppy drive, so I
need to find a portable drive before I can actually try that option.

At this point, the only thing I can think of is to get a portable floppy
drive and try to install the drivers for both Braille displays. I can
understand this may be the case for the Delphi 440, but the fact that
there is no response from the Satellite Pro has me a bit concerned that
even adding the drivers may not elicit a response (and that is *not* a
cheap display).

I searched the Web to see if I could download the drivers, but did not
have much success (I only looked for about 20 min. though). If anyone
has been down this road, I would appreciate any thoughts or ideas.

Take care,

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Athen at athenpro.org

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