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BrailleSense Polaris 32-cell notetaker

Polaris Fall 2018 Firmware Upgrade

HIMS is thrilled to announce firmware version 3.0 for the BrailleSense Polaris!

Introducing Polaris Math, a new Notepad and an improved Word Processor experience. Polaris Math is a graphing calculator allowing users to create and paste graphs into their Word Processor documents, save them as Braille files and emboss hard copy for review.

New Notepad: streamlines editing, spellchecking and embossing of Braille files — also supports EPUB and PDF files. New Word Processor streamlines creation, editing and printing of Word formatted documents, and viewing of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. General bug fixes and enhancements deliver greater stability and responsiveness.

Important Notice for updating to the Fall 2018 Polaris Firmware

Within this firmware release we are implementing a much more efficient upgrade process, starting with the next release. In order to prepare the system, the upgrade process this time will be a bit more complex than usual. Please read the instructions carefully.

You can update the Polaris either via an Internet connection or from external media containing the upgrade files. Regardless of how you choose to do it, for this upgrade, you will need to perform the installation twice. You can do both upgrades offline, both online, or the first offline and the second online.

You may wish to do this combination as, if you do both upgrades online, you will go through the entire long process twice. If you install offline, the first time, you will install a small file, and the upgrade time will be short.

Regardless of how you do it, after the first upgrade, you will be presented with an abbreviated version of the software, and will need to upgrade again to perform a complete installation. The second time will follow the usual process.

Polaris Fall 2018 Firmware Highlights

This upgrade introduces several exciting changes to the Polaris including the addition of two major additions; Polaris Math and Notepad.

Polaris Math

Polaris Math makes creating and adding advanced graphs into the Polaris Word Processor quick, easy, and effective. Graphs can be embossed, saved as braille files, and much more.

Notepad

Our new Notepad is our latest text editor that works with text, Braille, EPUB and PDF files with a highly stable and responsive experience. Our updated Word Processor creates DOCX files and can edit both DOCX and DOC, and can view PowerPoint presentations.

Polaris Firmware Upgrade Instructions

The Polaris Fall 2018 Firmware Upgrade includes significant improvements to math and word processing with the additions of the new Polaris Math and Notepad applications. The following instructions only apply to the Polaris Fall 2018 Firmware Upgrade with the firmware version ending in 29140. Other firmware upgrades follow the standard firmware upgrade procedures found in the Polaris manual.

Getting Ready

There are two methods for upgrading your Polaris to the latest firmware. The first method is upgrading with the Polaris offline or without an internet connection. The second method covers upgrading the firmware using the internet. Please note that upgrading your Polaris using the offline method takes the least amount of time.

For both methods you will want to begin by ensuring your Polaris is turned on and is receiving power from your AC power adapter. Before installing the firmware upgrades you will want to close all open applications then use the Backup utility to ensure that your current settings are saved in case the firmware overwrites them. To do this, begin at the main menu by pressing F1 to navigate to the main menu then press F1 and F4 together to open the Task List. Press F3 to tab to the “Close All” button and press ENTER.

Next, from the main menu, select “Settings” by pressing S, then press K to open the Backup/Restore Polaris Settings option.

With the Backup/Restore Polaris Setting open, you have a list of items that can be included in the backup. Tab down until you reach “Select All” by pressing F3, then press ENTER. With everything selected press ENTER + B to backup. Next, toggle the default path to /flashdisk/database by using the SPACEBAR then hit ENTER to start the backup process. Creating a backup can take a couple of seconds or longer depending on how much information is on your device.

Prerequisite Firmware

Next, you will want to ensure you have the prerequisite firmware on your Polaris. To check if you have the prerequisite firmware, begin by pressing F1 if you aren’t at the main menu, then H to open the Help menu, and I to open the Information option. With Information menu open, press the Scroll Down button to move down the list until you find a “Rev” number. If the number ends with 25436 then you have the prerequisite firmware and you can skip to Upgrading Offline or Upgrading Online.

Installing Prerequisite Firmware

If your Rev number does not end with 25436, then it is highly recommended that you upgrade your firmware to this version. This must be done using an offline method. To install the prerequisite firmware, first you must download the firmware using the following link.

Download Link

IMPORTANT: Some versions of Windows may rename the file with a .zip extension. Do not extract this file. Simply rename the extension back to .bin file extension.

Copy the file to an SD card or USB thumb drive. With the SD card or USB inserted into your Polaris, press U to open the Utilities menu then press U again to open the “Upgrade Polaris Firmware” option. Next, press Space + 4 to change the option to “Upgrade: Offline” and press ENTER. The upgrade process will begin.

IMPORTANT: Do not disconnect the Polaris from power and attempt to use the device until the upgrade is complete. When upgrade is complete you are returned to the main menu and “File Manager” is displayed.

Now that you have the prerequisite firmware installed, you now should install the latest firmware to your Polaris.

Upgrading Firmware Offline

To upgrade your firmware offline, you will use a computer to download two files from the HIMS. The first file is small and will take a short time to install while the second file is the full upgrade. Use the following two links to download the firmware files.

IMPORTANT: You will need both files to complete the firmware upgrade.

Download Link 1

Download Link 2

Once the two firmware files are downloaded insert your SD card into your computer then copy both files from your computer to the root of your SD card or without placing them in any folders within the card. You can recognize these files as they are named selvas_system_28745.bin and selvas_system_29140.bin.

IMPORTANT: Some versions of Windows may rename the file with a .zip extension. Do not extract this file. Simply rename the extension back to .bin file extension.

Once your files are copied to your SD card, then move the SD card to your Polaris. If you aren’t in the main menu, press F1 to get there. You will also need to close all apps, so press F1 and F4 together to open the task list. Tab down to “Close All” and hit enter. If a task list doesn’t open that means you have no open apps.

With the SD card inserted into your Polaris, press U to open the Utilities menu then press U to open the “Upgrade Polaris Firmware” option. Next, press Space + 4 to change our option to “Offline” and press ENTER. The upgrade process will begin.

IMPORTANT: You must not touch the Polaris until the upgrade is complete, as pressing keys, resetting, or unplugging the unit can interrupt the upgrade process, thus resulting in an incomplete installation.

To install the second file, we will repeat the process. The Polaris will know which firmware version to install first so you do not need to select a specific file. Press U to open the Utilities menu then press U again to open the “Upgrade Polaris Firmware” option. Next, press Space + 4 to change our option to “Offline” and press ENTER. The upgrade process will begin again.

After you have installed the second firmware update and the Polaris has rebooted, press BACKSPACE + SPACE + ENTER + F to begin the recovery of default apps. If you skip this step you may be missing some apps, or some apps may not be acting correctly.

After entering this keystroke, your Polaris has successfully upgraded the firmware to the latest version. If you want to check if the update was successful, you can check the firmware version. Press F1 if you aren’t at the main menu, then H to open the Help menu, and I to open the Information option. With Information menu open, press the Scroll Down button to move down the list until you find a “Rev” number. If the number ends with 29140 then you have confirmed the upgrade.

Upgrading Firmware Online

To upgrade your firmware online, make sure your Polaris is plugged into an AC power adapter and you have backed up your Polaris. You will also want to make sure that you have an internet connection.

To begin, you will need to close all apps. To do this, press F1 and F4 together to open the task list. Tab down to “Close All” and hit enter. If a task list doesn’t open that means you have no open apps.

Press F1 if you are not in the main menu, then press U to open the Utilities menu then press U again to open the “Upgrade Polaris Firmware” option. If the upgrade option is set to “Offline”, press Space + 4 to change it to “Online”. Once the option is set to “Online”, press Enter.

Your Polaris will begin to download and install the first of two updates. The upgrade is around 1.3 GB. Thus, depending on the speed of your Internet connection, it may take a long time to download. Your Polaris will reboot, and you will find yourself in the main menu.

IMPORTANT: You must not touch the Polaris until the upgrade is complete, as pressing keys, resetting, or unplugging the unit can interrupt the upgrade process, thus resulting in an incomplete installation.

Once in progress the Polaris will reboot, and the system files will be upgraded. During this process, there is no speech, but the progress will be shown in Braille as a percentage.

When the system files have been upgraded, the software will load and boot. During this process, the Polaris displays “Starting BrailleSense” in Braille, but no sound or speech is heard. This process can take many minutes; do not be surprised if nothing happens for 30 minutes or more.

When the firmware boots, the unit will then proceed to upgrade any applications with updated programming.

Finally, the system reboots again. If there are no new or changed setting values in the firmware, the Main Menu loads, and your settings are restored. If setting values have been changed, all Polaris settings are initialized, and the system boots and runs the Quick Guide.

After the first upgrade is complete, repeat the process by pressing U to open the Utilities menu then press U again to open the “Upgrade Polaris Firmware” option. Once again, if the upgrade option is set to “Offline”, press Space + 4 to change it to “Online”. Once the option is set to “Online”, press Enter.

After the second upgrade is complete and the Polaris reboots, press BACKSPACE + SPACE + ENTER + F to begin the recovery of default apps. Once you have recovered your default apps then your firmware will have been upgraded.