[UPDATED] Got an original TI-30; Wikipedia article



#2

I received an eBay-purchased original LED Texas Instruments TI-30 today -- just like the one I got for Christmas in 1977 or 1978, and whose circuitry I accidentally fried a few years later.

Aesthetically, it's quite pleasing. I'd forgotten how light and wide it was -- bigger than an HP-35, HP41, or HP-34C. (The latter looked to me like an ueber TI-30 when I first saw it.)

The TI-30's respectable level of quality, however, does not match that of HP's much-costlier models of the era.

GOOD STUFF:

  • No-nonsense 40-key grid with clear legends on a backplate with eye-soothing gold and brown colors. Much more handsome than the HP-35!

  • (8-digit) display angled for easy viewing at desk.

  • Degree/radian/grad mode with annunciators. (The HP-35 didn't have the modes; the HP-34C didn't have annunciators.)

  • Logical functional groupings. Here's something I noticed 30 years ago: Keys inside the light-brown background are for data entry. Keys inside the dark-brown background are for arithmetic (/, *, -, +, =, K [constant-term]). Keys with blue legends can be used with the blue-legend "INV" key.

SHORTCOMINGS:

  • Stiff keys that suffer from non-response and bounce (perhaps worsening over time).

  • Accuracy not fully justified by its three guard digits. Example: [1][INV][lnx] = 2.7182818 is displayed. Subtract 2.71 and multiply by 100: .82818301 is displayed; .82818284 are the correct digits. Why compute three extra digits that are not quite accurate?

  • Lack of rigor in display format: pi / 10 displays .31415927. pi / 1 [EE]1 displays "3.1416 00" (3.1416 x 100). Now, just try to get out of scientific-format display mode! Move the decimal place repeatedly to the left using [INV][EE], and watch the mantissa be obliterated, as significant digits fall into the "bit bucket" until "0 06" ( 0 x 106) is displayed. Not good. Perhaps TI's youthful customers didn't care, but HP's professional customers certainly would have.


I googled "ti-30" and found several dedicated pages, notably the somewhat-opinionated TI-30 Wikipedia page that could use some improvement. Here are several quotes:

Quote:

It could do just about all the log and trig functions of an HP-35

Actually, it does everything the (five years older) HP-35 does, and then some -- e.g, x[super]2[/super], 10x, y1/x, % -- but with slightly lower computational accuracy.

Quote:

It pioneered algebraic notation with precedence and parentheses which is now favored by all but the most die-hard RPN fanatics, and takes significantly more logic to implement. A user could type in (2 + 2) + 3 * 3 = and get the correct result, where an HP user would need to strategize and do 2 enter 2 + 3 enter 3 * +.

Hmm, how about "2 ENTER + 3 ENTER * +" for a 'strategy' that obtains the correct answer of 13 in three fewer keystrokes, while showing the other intermediate result? Maybe not the best example...

Here are several other useful links:

RSKEY

Vintage Calculators

-- KS


Edited: 18 Jan 2007, 11:46 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#3

Hello!

Quote:
... Here are several other useful links: ...

You certainly know Jörg Woerners super-mega-excellent Ti-Page already, but just in case, here it is: http://www.datamath.org

I didn't check now, but if I remember correctly from my school days, the SR-50 came before the Ti-30 and had parantheses and most of the other functions of the Ti-30.

Greetings, Max

Just verified: The first "full algebraic" model with parentheses was not the SR-50 but the SR-52, still an earlier model than the Ti-30.


Edited: 18 Jan 2007, 7:57 a.m.


#4

My father had an SR-52 back in the 70s. It was the 1st calculator I ever used. We used it a lot, too! By the early 80s it suffered terribly from TI-itis (push 9, get a string of 9s). This is why my father bought me an 11c in 1982.

#5

He he, if you want to stretch the memory, can you tell if there was ever a TI model with logs but no trigs ? If yes, which one ?

(easier one) : same questions on the HP line

(harder one) : same for Casio


#6

I believe my SR-16 has only logs and no trig. The SR series was much better made than Ti's later Ti series calculators.

#7

Yes, the SR-16 had exponentials and logs but no trigs.
It also had a memory, which the SR-11 did not have.
Oddly enough, it did not have PI, which the SR-11 did have.

#8

Quote:
He he, if you want to stretch the memory, can you tell if there was ever a TI model with logs but no trigs ? If yes, which one ?

(easier one) : same questions on the HP line

(harder one) : same for Casio

My SR-16 II offers ln, log and e^x but not trigonometric functions..

The following TI's in my collection offer ln and e^x but do not offer log or the trigonometric fuynctions.

BA-55

Business Analyst

Business Analyst - I

Money Manager

MBA

My HP 17B-II offers ln, log, e^x and 10^x but does not offer trigonometric functions.

The following HP's in my collection offer ln and e^x but do not offer log or the trigonometric functions:

HP-10B

HP-12C

HP-22

HP-38E

TI and HP seem to agree that business people don't need trigonometry, and with the exception of the HP-17B-II business people don't need 10^x. The idea that business people don't need trigonometric functions on their calculating machines was not new with electronic hand-held calculators but appeared much earlier in the slide rule technoilogy. For example:

The K&E 4095-3 Merchant's Duplex in my collection was originally made available in 1927. It is a duplex configuration but it carries only four scales on rhe front (DF, CF, C and D) and two scales on the back (CI and D).

The K&E 4094 Merchant's Mannheim in my collection was originally made available in 1936. It is a closed frame configuration but carries only five scales on the front (DF, CF, CI, C and D). There are no scales oin the back of the slider.

I also have a Faber-Castell 67/22R which is a closed frame slide rule with an Addiator on the back. I believe these became available in the late 1960's or early 1970's. It has five standard scales on the front (DF, CF, CI, C and D.) It has three additional scales on the front of the frame. One can be used to find per cent. The other two provide monetary conversions.

Finally, I have a Picket 400-H Business which is a duplex slide rule with with seven standard scales on the front (K, A, B, CI, C, D and L.) The back has four standard scales (DF, CF, C and D) plus three per cent scales.

#9

Hello!

Quote:
He he, if you want to stretch the memory, can you tell if there was ever a TI model with logs but no trigs ? If yes, which one ?

(easier one) : same questions on the HP line

(harder one) : same for Casio

Regarding Ti and Hp, the questions have been answered already :-) and Casios I don't know much about.

But I have a Compucorp "pocket" calculator with this feature...

Greetings, Max


#10

Congratulations gentlemen, I am impressed !!

I was thinking of the SR16 of course, and for HPs the answer are semi-well known. For Casio I honestly don't know.

And what is that Compucorp pocket calculator ? Never heard about a smallish Compucorp machine. Regards.


#11

Hello!

Quote:
And what is that Compucorp pocket calculator ? Never heard about a smallish Compucorp machine.

Smallish for Compucorp standards, that's why I put the "pocket" of "pocket calculator" into hyphens :-)
They made real big desktop calculators (*) and battery powered portable calculators (that are still bigger than most desktop calculators). The one with logs and exponentials but without trigs is the "Statistician" (344).

Greetings, max


(*) We had one at school, this was actually the first calculator into which I was allowed to enter a program, under supervision of our math teacher, Newton's method for root-finding if I remember correctly, as that was nearly 30 years ago...

#12

I have 28 Casios but not one of them has the characteristic.

My Sharp EL-733A Business/Financial Calculator has e^x and ln but no trigonometric functions -- further support for my idea that the characteristic is associated with business-oriented machines. I immediately thought of the NOVUS 6020 Financier which has a lot of business functions, but to my disappointment, no e^x or ln.


#13

Yes, I have some Casios too but none with that strange trait. The fx11 has logs and trigs, but no reverse trigs, that's the weirdest I found about Casios.

Congratulations on the mention of Novus, that was a nice brand. Seems we all chase on the same woods.

#14

I have a TI in my collection which has has the trig functions but no exponentials or logs!

It is the TI-Collège. It is especially designed for french middle school kids.


#15

Hello!

Quote:
I have a TI in my collection which has has the trig functions but no exponentials or logs!

It is the TI-Collège. It is especially designed for french middle school kids.


Now that you wrote it, I pulled another one out of the drawer with trigonmetric (even inverse trigonometric) functions, but no logarithms and such: The Tamaya NC-77 astro-navigation computer. What a pity that the ephemeris data of these machines expire this year ... not that I really use it for naviagtion, but it is a bit like a hp-65 with a non-working card-reader.

Greetings, Max

#16

May be a bit off topic, but although I had a HP21 in school (and all other kids had TI-30) I always admired the funny "LED slightshow" the TI-30 had when working hard on trigs and logarithms...

The question that bugs me since then is: was it just a "feature" caused by the TMS1000 LFSR instruction sequencer or intentionally designed in to amaze kids ?

regards,
Bernie


#17

I am not sure about the TI-30, but some calculators were using the storage of the display register also during computation, and therefore any intermediate "result" would show up as well.

But that is just a wild guess.

Regards

Peter

#18

So, Karl: Are you going to submit a modified Wikipedia article? (One could grant the increased functionality, mention the quality differences, and cast the ALG / RPN difference in a more neutral light.)

A mean, that is what Wikipedia is all about, right?


#19

Hi, Paul!

Good point. I've seen a few articles that could use some editing, but I want to register before I contribute in any manner. (One can contribute without registering, but the contributor's ISP address will be revealed.)

All in all, though, I'm quite impressed with the quality of the available articles in Wikipedia, which were prepared gratis. I never would have believed that such a model would be so successful. Granted, some articles are slanted or opinionated, others are commercial, and others need editing, but there's a lot of real good stuff on the site.

There's always the potential for abuse. One American political candidate posted his own glowing Wikipedia article. His opponent then edited the article to make it very pejorative, calling the original candidate a "douchebag". The article was removed. Too bad -- it would have been fun to read. :-)

-- KS


#20

If you go to the page in question, at the top there's a tab called "history". You can recall any version of the page. This is one of those things that's both a blessing and a curse; reverting to remove vandalism is fairly easy, but finding a particular version is (at least to me) a pain. I left a note on the TI--30 articles "talk page", where people talk about changes that need to be made. No one has replied yet.

Registering is about as painless as it can be.


#21

Hi, "htom"

Long time no see post(?)

Thanks for pointing out the History. (I only dabble in Wikipedia.)

It looks as though the RPN/AOS misinformation was the fault of user "Wiarthurhu", and that we in the HP Forum excised it as a tumor. Heh, heh...

The article still needs editing, though. Maybe I should step up.

-- KS

Edited: 20 Jan 2007, 12:36 a.m.


#22

I don't post much here, as I find this a place where I learn a great deal more than I could contribute. I have a "rescued" HP-48 that was dosed with CocaCola and then refused to work. I'm going to remove the batteries, and try the water soak and air dry.

#23

The page has been updated with a less confrontational description.


#24

The article says 15 000 000 TI30 were sold (is that only counting the original ? probably not), and Casio just sold its 1 000 000 000th calculator recently.

As about 5 000 calculator models were ever issued (roughly based on Serge Devidt's listing), and estimating the total number of calculators ever sold at 3 billion, can we say that the TI30 can be reasonably said to be the best-selling calculator ever ?

My guts feeling is yes, anyone care to discuss this ?


#25

If Ti gets to count all the variations of the Ti-30, yes, I believe it is the most sold calculator EVER! However, I feel that is cheating. Every major change ie LED to LCD should be counted as two seperate models. In that case, the Ti-30 LED or the Ti-30 LCD model still might be the most sold EVER, but the Hp 12c may have a chance of claiming to be KING due to its longivity in the market (and again, if Ti gets to claim the same model, the Ti-30 actually has been in production longer than any other calculator). But even the Ti-30 LCD model has been through several revisions that would have been called model changes by any other company.


#26

Hi, Ron --

Quote:
If Ti gets to count all the variations of the Ti-30, yes, I believe it is the most sold calculator EVER! However, I feel that is cheating. Every major change ie LED to LCD should be counted as two seperate models.

A similar issue arose a few years ago, when total sales of all Toyota Corollas finally surpassed those of Volkswagen's original "beetle" or "bug" sedan. Toyota trumpeted this fact, calling the Corolla the "best-selling car of all time".

Of course, there have been many incarnations of the Corolla since about 1971, and the older models have nothing in common with the newer ones, save the manufacturer and model name. The VW, however, was fundamentally unchanged from its German origins in the late 1930's to its final end of production several years ago.

A more-apt statement might be that the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling nameplate, while the original "VW bug" is the best-selling car.

-- KS

A moe


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