VarioUltra Tips and Tricks

Thank you for your interest in VarioUltra. We have provided this page as a convenient resource for customers and prospective customers alike.

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Frequently asked questions follow below:

VarioUltra FAQ

  1. Can I use a QWERTY keyboard with VarioUltra?
    We have had some success using a basic, external USB QWERTY keyboard with VarioUltra. While it’s good for typing into a document in the Word Processor application, there is no ability at present to enter commands from the QWERTY keyboard. We’ve had less success with advanced or high-end keyboards that feature programmable keys and things like that. The cheapest USB QWERTY keyboard usually works best. We found one in a local Staples store that is compatible.
  2. Can I charge VarioUltra using an external battery pack, or through a car’s 12V adaptor?
    Yes. Charging of VarioUltra takes place whenever you connect the micro USB cable to VarioUltra, and connect the standard USB end of the cable into a computer, USB plug or adaptor for connecting to a car charger (cigarette lighter connection), or to portable battery packs. While we encourage you to shop around, we have seen 20,000 mAh portable chargers on Amazon.com for less than $40.
  3. Is VarioUltra water resistant or waterproof?
    Mixing water with electronics never ends well, and the same is true with VarioUltra. Keep it clear of liquids, and take special care when traveling outside where rain storms might cause the unit to get wet. In the unfortunate event that your VarioUltra becomes wet, do not under any circumstances attempt to power it on, or worse, connect it to power. Besides the obvious risk of electric shock, you might cause VarioUltra to short circuit and damage internal components.
  4. My VarioUltra isn’t connecting to my iPhone, although it used to do so. What’s wrong?
    It is important to first know whether your VarioUltra is not paired, or not connected. To determine this on your iPhone, go to Settings > General >Accessibility > VoiceOver > Braille, and swipe right, (assuming you are in portrait mode), until you hear the name of your braille display, VarioUltra 20 or VarioUltra 40 and your serial number. If it says “Not connected”, double tap and then switch your unit to braille display mode and the appropriate channel and your VarioUltra should connect. If you hear “VarioUltra not paired”, please refer to section 2.3.5 VarioUltra with an iOS Device (Bluetooth) in the manual for instructions on how to pair your device.
  5. What types of devices can VarioUltra connect with?
    VarioUltra is compatible with computers with Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. It is also compatible with mobile devices running iOS or Android operating system.
  6. How many devices can I connect to VarioUltra?
    VarioUltra supports simultaneous connectivity with up to 5 devices. Connections are possible via a single USB connection, or via four channels of Bluetooth. If using Bluetooth, pairing is accomplished via the Settings in Braille Notetaker Mode. Thereafter, connections are activated inside the Braille Display Mode. Switching between connected devices is achieved through the press of a button on the braille keyboard while in Braille Display Mode.
  7. What screen reading programs are supported?
    VarioUltra is compatible with all popular screen reading applications, including COBRA, WindowEyes, VoiceOver, NVDA, and JAWS.
  8. Does VarioUltra have speech output?
    No, there is no speech output option with VarioUltra; it is a braille-only device. While there is a tone option for alarms and confirmation sounds, there is a user-selectable Vibrate feature for quieter operation, and/or for use by people who are deaf and blind.
  9. Can I play MP3 audio files on VarioUltra?
    No, the playback of audio files is not supported on VarioUltra.
  10. How do I transfer files to and from VarioUltra?
    There are two options for copying files to and from VarioUltra.
    The first option is to connect a standard USB memory stick. When this is done, you will see “Stick” listed as a save or open location.
    The second option is to connect VarioUltra to a Windows computer using the supplied micro USB to standard USB cable. Once connected and recognized, VarioUltra will appear as an external storage device in Windows Explorer. You can then copy and paste documents and folders to and from VarioUltra.
  11. How much internal storage space does VarioUltra have?
    VarioUltra includes 32 GB of flash storage.
  12. Does VarioUltra have an SD card slot?
    No, there is no SD card slot in VarioUltra. You can access SD cards by using a commercially available SD card to USB adaptor. There are many options available for purchase online that cost around $10.
  13. Does VarioUltra have Wi-Fi capability?
    No, there is no Wi-Fi on VarioUltra. To access the internet or email, you would first connect to a computer or mobile device that has Wi-Fi or cellular access, and use the applications those devices have for accessing web-based information or services.
  14. Can I read Braille files with VarioUltra?
    Yes, files saved in BRF and BRL are supported.
  15. What file formats are supported with VarioUltra?
    The Word Processor application allows you to open and edit text (TXT), Rich Text Format (RTF) documents, and Word documents, which includes documents with the file extension .DOC, or .DOCX. Note that if you edit Word documents, they can only be saved in Rich Text Format (RTF). PowerPoint files (PPT and PPTX) are also supported for viewing.
    When creating documents you get to decide at the beginning whether your document will be a text or braille based document. Text documents are saved as Rich Text Format (RTF) and braille files are saved as Braille Ready Format (BRF).The Spreadsheet Viewer application allows you to open and read Excel documents, which means documents with the file extension .XLS or .XLSX.
    The PDF Document Viewer application allows you to open and read PDF documents.
  16. Does VarioUltra support Unified English Braille (UEB)?
    VarioUltra version 1.4 supports UEB. This soon-to-be-released version is presently in Public Beta, and is expected soon.
  17. What is the Device Lock switch for on VarioUltra?
    If you are traveling and plan to place VarioUltra in your pocket or a bag, set the Device Lock switch to the Locked position to prevent accidental use of the device.
  18. Is it possible to copy content from one connected device and paste it into another connected device, using VarioUltra?
    This is not presently possible, though it is on our list of development priorities. We hope to make such a feature available in the future. With the new version 1.33, it is now possible to copy text from VarioUltra Braille Notetaker, and then paste that content into a Bluetooth connected device such as an iPhone.
  19. I have heard that VarioUltra software updates are free. How are updates installed?
    Correct, software and firmware updates for VarioUltra are free of charge. The update is made available as an archived ZIP file, which you download from the support pages of our web site.
     Once downloaded, copy the file to the flashdisk of VarioUltra and then enter the keyboard command to activate the update process. The update typically takes 1 to 2 minutes to complete. 
  20. Can I print or emboss files that I have open in VarioUltra?
    No, printing and embossing from VarioUltra is not supported. It is on our list of development priorities and may become available in the future.
  21. Can the user replace the rechargeable battery?
    No, the battery is not designed for removal or access by the end user. If replacement of the battery is required, work should only be performed by a BAUM authorized service technician.
  22. What is the warranty for VarioUltra?
    VarioUltra is covered by a 2-year factory warranty, which covers everything including the battery and the included carry case.
  23. Do you offer an extended warranty for VarioUltra?
    Yes. An extended warranty is available at a cost of $495 per year for VarioUltra 20 and at a cost of $595 per year for VarioUltra 40. Some restrictions apply in cases where a product is not immediately covered at the conclusion of the factory warranty, including our right to first inspect the device you wish to cover. The extended warranty includes optional cleaning of your braille display and replacement of the battery once every three years. The device needs to be sent to us for either of these two services. Note that the carrying case, carry strap, and USB cable/plug are not covered under the extended warranty.
  24. How can I obtain Technical Support?
    We provide free technical support between 8:30am and 4:30pm, eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding national holidays. Technical Support can be reached via toll free telephone (855) 620-7985, and email to
    support@baumusa.com.
  25. What should I do if my VarioUltra needs to be repaired?
    For customers in the USA, all requests for service and support are managed by BAUM USA. The first thing to do is call us toll free at (855) 620-7985 and choose the option for Technical Support. If we’re unable to fix an issue over the phone we may suggest returning the device to BAUM USA. Note that if we determine that your VarioUltra requires repair during the 2-year factory warranty period, or while covered by an Extended Warranty, BAUM USA covers the cost of shipping the device to and from our offices in Massachusetts
  26. What’s included with the purchase of VarioUltra?
    For customers in the USA, whether you choose the VarioUltra 20 or the VarioUltra 40, your purchase includes:

    • The VarioUltra device
    • Micro USB to standard USB cable
    • USB plug adaptor for USA and other countries
    • Carry case and strap
    • Hardcopy braille Quick User GuideWe recommend that you keep the original packing materials in case you ever need to ship your VarioUltra back for service or repair.
  1. What languages are supported with VarioUltra?
    VarioUltra includes support for 17 languages. Besides English, support is available for German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Croatian, Kurdish, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Polish, and Eurobraille.
  2. How can I place an order?
    VarioUltra can be purchased directly through our web store, or by contacting BAUM USA via email or phone (855) 620-7985.  
  3. My state organization is paying for my VarioUltra. Are you an approved vendor in my state? Is BAUM (USA), Inc. a sole source provider in my state?
    BAUM (USA), Inc., is an authorized vendor in most states in the USA. In some cases, we may have an authorized reseller who is an authorized or approved vendor to the state or states where they are authorized to sell BAUM products. In all other states where BAUM (USA) sells directly, we are a sole source vendor. In most cases we are an approved vendor for the state or states in question.

  4. What are your payment terms? And, do you offer extended payment plans?
    For individuals and any other organizations, payment is required before a device is shipped to you. For credit card payment, which most customers choose, we generate an invoice using PayPal. The invoice you receive includes a secure link to PayPal.com, where you can enter your credit card number securely and pay the bill. PayPal.com also gives you the option of applying for PayPal Credit. If approved, PayPal Credit provides 6-months financing with 0% interest and zero payments SO LONG AS YOU PAY THE BALANCE IN FULL BY THE 6 MONTH ANNIVERSARY DATE.
    For qualifying organizations such as state and federal government, school districts, etc., we accept purchase orders. Terms are 30-days from the date we ship your device.
  5. What is your product return policy?
    We genuinely want you to be happy with your purchase and will do virtually anything to ensure your satisfaction. But in the extremely rare event that we or VarioUltra fail to meet your expectations, you may return the device within 30-days for a refund. Note that the VarioUltra should be returned in “as new” condition, with all accessories and in the original packaging materials. If a device or any of the included accessories are missing or damaged in any way, your refund may be less than the full purchase price to account for any repair or replacement. To learn more, read our return policy online.
  6. Will BAUM USA accept my older Braille device as a trade-in for a new VarioUltra?
    Not at this time. We can recommend a few places to advertise and/or sell your used Braille device to offset the cost of your new VarioUltra. Please contact us to find out what option are available in your state.
  7. Do you provide loaner units when a device needs to be shipped in in for service?
    As a general rule, no. Most repairs are done within a matter of days, so the cost associated with first maintaining loaner units and then shipping them back and forth is prohibitive. In the very, very rare instance that a unit needs to be send to BAUM Germany for repair, we might be able to assist with a loan unit, but no promises are made or implied. Note too that completion and/or email acceptance of a loan agreement are required.