I’ve learned a lot about Braille notetakers over the years, starting with the fact that they’re like primitive computers. I’ve had several over the years—most from a company called Freedom Scientific, but a few from one in California called Telesensory.
Of all my Braille notetakers, none has lasted as long at one time, without needing repairs, as the Pac Mate. I could never have guessed, in the summer of 2003, that this would be the case, as it seemed to break down as often as the equipment I had in high school. Then again, I was new to it—and the equipment still new itself—so, again, not very surprising.
But since I moved out on my own, I haven’t had to send the unit for repair once (which is good, as “sending it back” means paying shipping and other costs necessary to mai,l the thing back to the manufacturers in Florida.
I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that each unit houses two rechargeable batteries—the second one being a back-up in case the first one refuses to hold a charge.
Last week, the battery died (I try not to let the thing die completely, as in the past there’s been a tendency for it to not bounce back when I plug it in). Well, my worst fears were realized when the unit stayed unresponsive after being plugged in for hours.
The electric outlet I use is connected to a switch, so I can turn the flow on and off. So, after a time, I switched off the electric, waited a day or so, and tried to “jump-start the battery” by turning on the electric again after the battery wouled have died again (I only did this because, when the unit died, it was turned on—so, technically, it was still on even if I couldn’t see the display.
In essence, I attempted several times to force the Pac Mate to reset itself (it’s not supposed to, but has in the past when the battery is damaged.
I even made a third attempt when the second failed—leaving it plugged in overnight this time. And I tried to do “cold resets,” but nothing worked.
Now I’m at the point where I need to call the company for a Return Material Authoriazation (RMA) number so I can send it back to get a new battery—and whatever else that it may need. But I haven’t yet because:
1. The technicians have given me a hard time in the past—it’s like pulling teeth to convince them I know what I’m talking about.
2. I can’t afford to send it back myself (and, at present, I have no funding sources to help me).
A third reason is, simply, that I had other things on my mind that were more important (and, in fact, that’s still the case to some extent) than dealing with the stress of calling long-distance just so I can sit on the phone for hours, and then a technician and I can argue back and forth about whether the Pac Mate really needs to go back.
(1) Young I may be, but even young people are entitled to their opinions.
(2)Attempting to silence me doesn't hurt me, but the silencer.
(3) I must remain true to myself.