Replace venerable TI-36X Solar Calculator

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After 30 years or so, I gave my TI-36X solar calculator a [too] hard drop and now I'm missing a few segments.  :(

 

From http://www.datamath.org/Sci/Mode...

Texas Instruments changed in 1996 the design of the scientific calculators to a smoother design and replaced the TI-35X and TI-36X SOLAR models. ...

For occasional desktop use, its importance to me is the hexadecimal feature.  So when deciphering AVR "memory dumps" I can put it into hex mode and then convert back-and-forth with base 10.

 

Now, there is the TI-36X Pro replacement at a reasonable price.  But the hex feature is multiplexed with the regualr keypad so a mode change needed with each digit entry (I assume):

 

I found the Casio fx-115ES Plus that is inexpensive and appears to have a hex mode:

Casio FX115ESPLUS Scientific Calculator

Any other suggestions?

 

Sharp EL-520xbwh 10 bucks:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Scientif...

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

Last Edited: Tue. Aug 16, 2016 - 03:08 PM
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theusch wrote:
Any other suggestions?

I have an sporadic habit of buying/collecting calculators. A few years I stopped doing that as I realised that there were 100's of different ones I could download/try out on my Andoird smartphone. These days I pretty much always use the registered version of RealCalc on my phone. If I could be moved to do it one day I may download the Android dev kit and implement my own dream calculator with exactly the functions I'd like to see on one.

 

I just took this screenshot on my phone...

 

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Not a bad idea.  But sometimes us old guys just like buttons. ;)

 

And yes, I could put up a calculator on my PC screen...

 

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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I'm with you - I like something in my hand that I can prod (oo-err missus!). But after a while I find the Android touchscreen no more difficult than spring loaded buttons really.

 

Anyway, aren't there some phones that have screens that can actually provide haptic feedback so it feels like you really are pressing buttons - maybe a bit extreme but one could track something like that down and it really would "feel" like a real calculator.

 

Needless to say that because the majority of Android developers are nerds you will find endless examples of weird RPN calculators replicating HP and TI in the collections available. Again, on previous phones I have had 10 or more installed but in the end I realised that the majority were just a 5 minute wonder and then sat there eating my flash space - so last time I reinstalled a phone I got very selective about what I would install and, as I say, RealCalc turned out to be my calculator of choice. 'Course things may have moved on by now and perhaps there are all sorts of "better" options available.

 

Google tells me there are endless sites with the best 10/14/15/... android calculators" listed - though looking at some of them it seems many developers have forgotten what's important in a calculator and have gone over-board with "grpahing functions" and the like at the cost of a simple to use interface. All anyone really wants is a few big buttons they can prod at to do a few simple sums.

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You can find the real thing on Ebay from $2 and up

 

 

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If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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ki0bk wrote:
You can find the real thing on Ebay from $2 and up

Indeed.  But even if "lightly used" they are 20 years old.  So I'm leaning toward new.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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My SHARP EL-506P is going on 30 years old and I am thinking about buying a second one on Ebay...it does exactly what I want and I am used to it.

 

You kids that need to replace something only 20 years old I cannot understand.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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jgmdesign wrote:
You kids that need to replace something only 20 years old I cannot understand.

Umm---

theusch wrote:
After 30 years or so, I gave my TI-36X solar calculator a [too] hard drop and now I'm missing a few segments. :(

The particular >>model<< has been obsolete since 1996 [apparently]. ;)

 

Indeed I thought of doing the eBay thing.  But the possible replacements I listed are $10-$20 and readily available in local stores and such.

 

jgmdesign wrote:
You kids that need to replace something only 20 years old I cannot understand.

My unit has been "repaired" a couple times for a missing segment via dissection and cleaning connections.  But it was decided that 30 years was enough...after all, in the new millennium it is a disposable society.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Yeah, we have become a disposable society for sure.

We are also a society of "is there an app for that" as opposed to doing something for ourselves too.

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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I still use my HP 11C. It's 32 years old this fall.

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

"The trouble with finding a clever quote on the internet is you never know if it's real." -- George Washington

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I use my HP 16C which is....wow...30 years old. Crap. Old tech. Oh wait, "I" am old tech! Whew. I feel better now. My HP 41C croaked a few years back and I had to get an HP49g and a HP50g. (This is what I told my wife and am sticking to it.) 

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$10 and a new Sharp is on its way.  Fair reviews on Amazon.  So I should be good for another 30 years, right?  Then I'll be 95 and won't care.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/14164391...

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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I'm surprised Cliff hasn't seen the rest of the thread and said "Four Yorkshiremen"...

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Gotta laugh.

 

I have a TI-36 Solar (not a 36X) sitting at my computer.

 

Like Lee, I use it for the Hex mode!

 

On the bookcase is a TI-25X solar, with missing segments.

Since Lee has experience repairing them perhaps I should send it his way?

 

And no, you can't have my TI-36, I use it waaaay to much to let go of it.

 

My favorite calculator ever was the HP-45.

 

JC

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DocJC wrote:
favorite calculator ever was the HP-45
Yup, made to be extremely rugged. I even added the crystal to have accurate timer/stopwatch. Got it in '73 and still going strong... (except for the battery).

Edit: Also still using my Casio fx-115 solar.

Last Edited: Wed. Aug 17, 2016 - 03:14 AM
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theusch wrote:

I'm surprised Cliff hasn't seen the rest of the thread and said "Four Yorkshiremen"...

I own two of these...

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/userdata/images/large/PRODPIC-2695.jpg

Dates from 1975, 41 years old - So claim ownership of the Four Yorkshiremen thing as much as anyone else here ;-)

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clawson wrote:

I have an sporadic habit of buying/collecting calculators. A few years ago I stopped doing that...

 

Same here until I read this topic...

pragmatic - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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For the REAL info on calculators, go to youtube and type in numberphile calculator unboxing.

 

Hmm. Thought you could embed youtube videos here.

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

"The trouble with finding a clever quote on the internet is you never know if it's real." -- George Washington

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theusch wrote:

Indeed.  But even if "lightly used" they are 20 years old.  So I'm leaning toward new.

 

My HP-45 and 41cx are older than that and still work like new.

 

 

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and what's wrong with calc.exe in windows ?

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chartman wrote:
and what's wrong with calc.exe in windows ?

Is this a trick question? Err ...  it involves running Windows? :-/

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I like the idea of having a decent calulator on my phone, so that's one less thing to carry around.  When I was using a Palm Treo my calculator of choice was NeoCal, hex support, conversions, all the things I wanted.  Had to retire the Treo and got an iPhone. Soon after I was thrilled to see that NeoCal was in the appstore and it's been on my phone ever since.  Here's the Hex/Octal page, one of 8 different pages that cover different functions.

 

 

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I have an HP-11 program in my droid. It has one bug though: A real HP-11 can calculate up to 69! but the program in the droid goes WAY beyond that. "That's a bug?" you ask: Well, I've worked in software for 35 years and if the new version successfully does something beyond the ability of the old, somebody is going to be on the phone yelling, emailing everybody in authority and calling for a meeting of the UN general assembly. (all over some golf course tee sheet program)

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

"The trouble with finding a clever quote on the internet is you never know if it's real." -- George Washington

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I still use my TI Programmer II  ...    Lee it has buttons

 

http://www.datamath.org/Sci/Slan...

Will be sad the day it gives up , as i think it went out of prod in the late 80's

 

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Question. Was anyone here ever lucky enough to use or even see a Casio PB2000C?

 

Yes there were other calculators in this form factor that offered to let you program them in BASIC but as far as I know this is the only production calculator ever produced that could be programmed in C ....

 

For me I think this might represent the pinnacle in calculator development - wish I had been able to find one!!!

 

Last Edited: Fri. Aug 19, 2016 - 05:10 PM
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Now appearing on my desk:

So I should be good for another few decades.

 

NB:  I'm suspecting that the problem with the TI36X might be related to the solar panel.  After cleaning the "bad" segments usually fire in decent light.  So it hasn't been thrown out yet.

 

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Nice,  what are the "(" ")" keys used for, my calc doesn't have those? 

 

 

 

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Parenthesis should be familiar to any C programmer! They do exactly what they say on the tin. Try something like (5-3)*(8-4)

I have to say that's one of the "sexiest" looking calculators I've seen in a long time!

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clawson wrote:

theusch wrote:

I'm surprised Cliff hasn't seen the rest of the thread and said "Four Yorkshiremen"...

I own two of these...

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/userdata/images/large/PRODPIC-2695.jpg

Dates from 1975, 41 years old - So claim ownership of the Four Yorkshiremen thing as much as anyone else here ;-)

 

Cliff , can you add to this ?

https://hackaday.com/2013/08/30/...

 

/Bingo

 

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Wow that's an amazing piece of detective work! 

 

PS I think I may have met Nigel Searle in a lift once ;-) 

Last Edited: Sat. Aug 20, 2016 - 03:08 PM
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How do you copy/paste from a hand-held calculator into a document?  Or source code?

 

Hmm. Thought you could embed youtube videos here.

Yes, but not naturally.

  1. Visit the YT page, click Share, click Embed, copy to clipboard
  2. Switch to AVR Freaks
  3. Disable Javascript
  4. Paste into editor
  5. Post
  6. Re-enable Javascript.

 

Gross, I know.  And editing your post will break the embedded link.  You need to re-embed as above after each edit.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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When I'm doing any programming stuff there is a pretty big chance I'm working on few GHz+ calculator.

Although I'm a RPN fan from the first day I tried an RPN calculator I hardly ever use my HP48G any more.

 

Just typing (pasting) stuff into a python text window is often a lot more convenient.

You can cut and paste from & to text editors, ide's, previous calculations, etc without typing errors.

Python defaults to printing numbers in decimal, but there is a built in hex() function.

The underscore (_) is used in python as "The result from the previous output).

So in the example below hex(_) prints the number 2346 in hexadecimal format.

 

paul@dualcore ~ $ python
Python 2.7.6 (default, Jun 22 2015, 17:58:13)
[GCC 4.8.2] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> 0x45
69
>>> 0xaa
170
>>> 0xff
255
>>> hex(34)
'0x22'
>>> 0x45 *34
2346
>>> hex(_)
'0x92a'

 

 

 

 

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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joeymorin wrote:
How do you copy/paste from a hand-held calculator into a document? Or source code?

Easy.  You take a picture with your smart phone, and forward the image in a text message or email to an account that your PC can reach. ;)

 

Or, you use the calculator only as an aid to ... calculate ... and then you expound on that in your document using the external device as a reference.

 

NB:  Indeed, the calculator is used much less than 30 years ago.  Once I figure out the equation I might want to use, I'll make a spreadsheet page with often a table of values.  That is easy to cut-and-paste.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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I usually frustrate myself with a spread sheet, abandon it and make up a program to figure what I want figured.

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

"The trouble with finding a clever quote on the internet is you never know if it's real." -- George Washington

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 I'll make a spreadsheet page with often a table of values

Gotta laugh.

 

I recall have log and trig tables, pages and pages of them, before I had my first scientific calculator!

 

JC

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DocJC wrote:
I recall have log and trig tables, pages and pages of them,

I guess we are all old enough had one of those books with printed log tables?

 

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/imgaug13/dwDSC02460.jpg

 

This was, of course, accompanied by:

 

http://www.hpmuseum.org/versa2.jpg

 

In fact when I did O level maths (1978/9?) ours was the first year where you could opt to take an electronic calculator into the exam. But you got additional merit for doing it without. So I did. Got 'A' anyway.

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Some older Casios have SI unit functions on their keys (p, n, u, m, k, M, G, P). I really like that, but only the graphic ones will actually use those symbols for display as well. The graphic ones are kinda expensive, but the displays are very nice.

 

Someone should kickstart the ultimate calculator. Nice screen, nice buttons, open source software. Printable overlays for the buttons so it can be tailored to different applications.

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mojo-chan wrote:
Printable overlays for the buttons so it can be tailored to different applications.

Or why not make the buttons "LCD" so you can change the symbols on them? How about also making them touch sensitive?

 

(oh wait a minute I think you just invented the Android phone!)

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Hey, I want to post a pic of my old calculator too! It's a Casio fx-115M from the late 80's. It has a bit of cosmetic damage to the solar panel area, from a chemistry lab accident involving a drop of acetone, but not noticeable from this angle/resolution. But still works 100%, these machines will still work long after we are all gone, I'd wager.

 

Casio fx-115M

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clawson wrote:

Or why not make the buttons "LCD" so you can change the symbols on them? How about also making them touch sensitive?

 

(oh wait a minute I think you just invented the Android phone!)

 

Because touch buttons suck. There are some good calculator apps for Android, but I prefer a calculator with real buttons.

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Not that I needed another calculator but reading this topic made me go look at eBay and I 'accidentally' pressed the 'Buy It Now' button on a new one.

 

The one that turned up was the one on the left, which wasn't the one I ordered so they gave me a full refund and let me keep it and as I now had money in my Paypal account the inevitable happened and I again 'accidentally' pressed the 'Buy It Now' button and the one on the right turned up.

 

pragmatic - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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Alright, I'll admit it.

 

When I was in college I had my HP45, it cost my entire summer job's earnings!

 

It was so expensive I wore the case on my belt, true nerd style, and never let it out of my sight.

 

Seeing the two calculators, above, made me think of the old Western movies where the people worn two 6-shooters on their belts, one on each side.

The nerd equivalent is an easy extension to the image.

 

JC

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
the one on the right turned up.
EL-500X, eh?  I ended up with the EL-520X (see above).

 

So, what's the difference?  (besides "20"...)  Google doesn't give any definitive hits.

 

 

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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theusch wrote:

EL-500X, eh?  I ended up with the EL-520X (see above).

 

It's actually the EL-506X; sorry, my photo isn't very clear.

 

 

theusch wrote:

So, what's the difference?  (besides "20"...)  Google doesn't give any definitive hits.

 

The difference is 50 (as in the number of extra functions the 506 has)! They were both around the same price so I simply picked the one with the 'most'.

 

 

It does have one annoying missing feature like many calculators. I use the various metric conversion constants quite a lot and very few calculators tell you what they are. You are simply expected to input a number to select the one you want; if you're going to memorise a table of which numbers to use then you may as well memorise the various constants. It seems daft that they don't use the multi-line screens to prompt you.

 

Nice looking calculator though.

 

pragmatic - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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hehe Dad used to wear his HP-35 case on his belt like a sliderule.

 

Can barely work one that isn't reverse polish.

274,207,281-1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

"The trouble with finding a clever quote on the internet is you never know if it's real." -- George Washington