macOS 10.13.5 And Braille Displays, USB vs. Bluetooth Connection

Braille on Apple Products

Hi, I hope this is the right place for this, as I was debating whether to go here or to the OSX forum. Anyhow, my primary Braille display is a Focus 40 Blue, but I have a HandyTech Actilino as well. I've been able to connect the Focus to my Mac Mini and MacBook Air using both USB and Bluetooth jus tine up to about a month ago. I had to send my Focus in for repair, so I went to the Actilino to satisfy my Braille needs. The Actilino connected via USB just fine, but not when I used Bluetooth. Sorry for the length of this, but here's what happens:
1. Open VoiceOver utility.
2. Select Braille from the categories list.
3. Select Displays tab.
4. Choose Add display.
RESULT: Actilino shows up on the list of displays, and you have the option to pair it.
5. Select Pair.
RESULT: VoiceOver announces a pairing code, that code also appears on the Actilino, and the Actilino asks if you want to accept the connection (Y/N).
6. Select Y on the Actilino.
RESULT: VoiceOver indicates the connection was successful and the Actilino shows connected, but within a couple of seconds, the status changes to not connected, and the only choice I have is remove. I CANNOT reconnect or use it at all via bluetooth.

I sent these steps to Apple Accessibility, and after thanking me for the detailed explanation, they told me that the Actilino wasn't in the list of supported displays on Mac OS, which isn't entirely true if you can connect via USB. so the issue still stands.

Now, this morning, I get my Focus 40 Blue back, and this display now, too, won't connect by Bluetooth. So I'm guessing we have a problem with 10.13.5? Is anyone else having this problem? Does anyone have any workarounds?

Thanks for reading, and again, apologies for it being a bit lengthy.



Submitted by Tarja on Friday, July 6, 2018

I have same problem. I’m using Alva BC640. My Bluetooth also tells me that Bluetooth is busy.

Submitted by Cliff on Friday, July 6, 2018

Hi! There is a limitation for connections' with bluetooth on' braille displays, so that you can only have 1 braille display connected via bluetooth at the same time.
I have seen this problem happen if VO still thinks the old braille display is the one that should be connected.
Have you checked under System Preferences > Bluetooth, to see what braille displays shows up under your connections? I would suggest that you remove every display listed here, just to start fresh on connecting your' display.
Remember, you can't connect and pair a braille display from the bluetooth' pane in system preferences, even though it will show up there and you can remove current and old paired braille displays there.
But a new connection needs to be initialized from VO utility, as you probably know.
Also, if this doesn't work, you can try this:
1. Turn bluetooth off, wait for 15 seconds and turn back on again, then retry pairing.
2. Reboot the Mac and try again.
3. Repair discpermissions, either from discutility or from the terminal.
If I remember correctly, and I might not, the right terminal command for repairing permissions is:
sudo diskutil repairPermissions /
Or perhaps you can try switching out "repairPermissions" with "repairDisc". Can't make up my mind which one is right :)
You will have to enter your user password to execute the command.
4. Google "reset bluetooth terminal mac" and see if you find a terminal command' to reset the bluetooth tranceiver.
5. I believe I previously some time in the past have reset all bluetooth settings by deleting a few preferences files somewhere in the /Application Support folder. Be aware that all previous connections then will be reset and lost. You will have to sign out of your user account and then sign back in again for Mac OS to create new bluetooth preferences files, that are fresh and restored to default.
Can't exactly remember the location and names of these files, but your friend google will probably have the answer! :)
Take care, and hope one of these solutions will fix your connection issues! :)

Submitted by Pete De Vasto on Friday, July 6, 2018

In reply to by Cliff

Thanks for your suggestions, Cliff. So far, I double-checked to make sure there's no trace of the Focus 40 Blue both in VO Utility and in Bluetooth System Preferences. I then turned Bluetooth off, and before turning it back on I decided to go ahead and reboot. Same result, unfortunately. I'm quite comfortable with Terminal, but am hesitant to try the repair permissions option, as I'm not sure what that would accomplish.
Meantime, Apple Accessibility and I are going back and forth, and they are doing the standard troubleshooting thing where the latest is to make sure the Focus pairs with an iOS device, which it does just fine thank you. I'm going to hang out now and see what their next move is.

Submitted by Tarja on Friday, July 6, 2018

Gladly I’m not alone with my problem.