First Impression of the New Caso Fx-CG10



#29

Hi All,

Two weeks ago, I received the new Casio Fc-CG10 color graphics calculator. This machine enhances on previous models, the Casio fx-9860G and the Casio fx-9860GII. The main enhancement, as the brief model name may hint at, is the addition of colors. This new features allows you to plot graphs in colors and even list data by varying the color of each list of columnar data.

Like its predecessors, the CG10 uses an menu of icons and each icon leads to a multilevel set of menus. The Exit button serves to go up one level and you get used using the Exit key very quickly.

The calculator supports lists and matrices. You can have up to 26 numbered lists (1 to 26). Also you can store up to six sets of lists internally. The CG10 supports up to 26 matrices, named A to Z.

From programming aspect, the CG10 supports programs only. You can have a program call another as a subroutine. There are no parameters. The single-letter variables, 26 lists, and 26 matrices are accessible to all programs. So the programming model kind of resembles programming in GW-BASIC minus the line numbers. The CG10 supports For-Next loops, While loops, Do-While loops, IF-ELSE-THEN constructs, GOTO and labels, and also the ISZ and DSZ statements. The ISZ and DSZ statements will skip the next statement if the targeted counter (a variable) is zero. In addition to numeric variables, the CG10 programming commands also support a descent set of string operations.

I wrote a few programs to solve for the root of an equation, calculate the square root using Newton's method, and perform multiple linear regression. Emulating functions by calling subroutines was basically programming with a global-only scope of data. You have to choose your variables carefully. The CG10 supports user prompt input and display output statements. The regression program exercised common matrix operations line transpose, invert, and multiply. As I worked with that program I realized it was easier to separately enter the matrices using the matrix editor and then run the program (especially for the sake of debugging and learning how to navigate with the CG10 commands). As I dug into the list of CG10 commands I was able to edit the regression program and make it run smoother and make it easier to use.

The CG10 aalso supports spreadsheets that accepts numeric input or use formulas to calculate the contents of a cell.

The Csaio Fx-CG10 calculator comes with a CD. You can load the Screen Receiver program. When you plug in the USB cable into the calculator and PC, you get a menu giving you options for how to proceed. I used the USB option to have the laptop view the Casio as a drive. This allows me to browse through the different folders and see the various data, graphics, and program files. You can backup these files into your PC. I was able to copy a CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file from the PC into the CG10 and then read that file as a set of list and also as a single matrix. This means that you can start with data in Excel, save the data as a CSV file, and then read it into the Casio. Using the lists you can then perform single or double variable statistics and regression (you can do linear and polynomial regression, sinusoidal, and other types of regressions).

If you choose the screen receiver option while connected to the PC and while running the Screen Receiver software on the PC, then the PC will echo the screen that appears on the CG10. You can then capture screen to your heart's contents. The software does other things, but I only focused on screen capture in my brief overview of the CG10.

Overall the Casio FX-CG10 is a nice machine with nice computing power. The programming features are OK--not too bad and not spectacular. The ability to connect to a PC and swap data is nice (and is also supported by programmable commands!).

Namir


#30

Nice review, Namir! I've been wondering about that unit since I saw it a few months back. One of the things I was excited about was the ability to take a picture, upload it, and then plot a curve on it. Did you try anything like that?

Thanks!

Bruce


#31

Mo, but you are right! The CG10 can display pictures.


#32

One thing that isn't clear to me from the manual is whether you can put your own pictures onto it, or whether you are stuck with pictures that Casio supply. The picture format is something like .g3p, which I haven't come across elsewhere. Do you yet know whether adding your own pictures is possible?

Nigel

#33

I haven't seen the machine yet but what you explain about the Casio programming language resembles very much the legacy of the earlier models.

What Casio always messes up between generations of graphics calculators is communication. It's neither reliable nor comfortable nor compatible. The Classpad can't read fx-9860G files and cannot be connected directly to it despite the presence of a three pin port on both machines. The first generation machines (CFX-9800G for example) can only talk to the PC via the unreliable 16 bit program FA-121. No way to communicate between a CFX-9800G and its successor CFX-9850G. Why? Import of first generation *.cas files in the newer comm software works but is one way and well hidden. Neither can an Algebra FX 2.0 communicate with a fx-9680G because of a different baudrate. FA-124, the PC software, regularly fails in saving data from the Algebra FX 2.0 calculator. {EDIT: FA-124 didn't like my combination Casio RS232 cable-prolific USB adaptor. A pure USB cable (by Yellow Computing, Germany) works better.} As said before, a total mess.

What you explain about the new CG10 seems to follow the same rules. You're even left without a comfortable way to edit programs on the PC. Can a fx-CG10 talk to a fx-9860 or a Classpad? I doubt it.

Marcus

Edited: 12 Dec 2010, 5:07 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#34

I don't get the impression from the documentation and the connection interface that you can communicate between the CG10 and any other different model. The machine came with a cable that looks like you can connect two CG10 machines.

According to the documentation, you can edit a program on your PC, but you have to follow closely the conversion table listed that shows how math symbols, special symbols, and Greek letters translate into plain text. It seems to me that typing a program on the machine is the easier choice.


#35

So they implemented the escape syntax used in their transfer software on the calculator platform instead. Thats a possible way to go but a specialized editor makes life easier. It might be possible to implement such a software in Java to make it platform independent. Unicode should provide the symbols needed but you need the right fonts installed.

Where did you get your sample from and at what price?

#36

Namir,

I read the manual on the fx-CG10 and saw that the functions are almost identical to the fx9860g family with the addition of color, a better PC-based editor, built-in metric conversions and a few other things. What they don't mention in the manual is anything about speed. Is it any faster than say the fx-9860gii in native mode?

-Katie


#37

Katie,

I got an fx-9860gii SD version but I have not opened yet to compare it with the CG10.

I am not surprised that the CG10's programming commands are a somewhat modest superset of the fx-9860gii.

Namir

Edited: 12 Dec 2010, 7:41 p.m.


#38

Speed comparison can be done by playing around with the dynamic graph feature. All pictures are precomputed before the animation starts. This takes considerable time. OTAH, this is very much dependent on the screen resolution. The 2nd generation calcs have a screen of 128x64 pixels (127x63 are used by the graphics.) What does the CG10 provide?

Edit: I've just stumbled across the manual. Screen resolution is roughly 9x the 128x64 of the older models (3x in each direction). But user memory is just the same 64KB as its predecessors if I understand the comparison sheet correctly. Here is the info:
http://edu.casio.com/products/cg_series/fxcg10_20/. The calc has a 3pin port which is compatible with the older calculators (fx-7400G+ onwards).


Edited: 13 Dec 2010, 8:12 a.m.


#39

Some comments:

Quote:
Speed comparison can be done by playing around with the dynamic graph feature.

I guess so, but I'm more interested in the speed of programs. A simple FOR-NEXT loop would likely be a good enough comparison since they apparently made minimal changes to the programing language.

The manual states that you can use the built in images or download additional content from the Casio website, it makes no mention of being able to import your own image (g3p, g3b) files. I'll guess that someone will figure out the format of those sooner or later and it will become possible to download your own images.

The manual provides a detailed description of what data/programs can be transferred back and forth between the CG-10/20 and earlier models which include the 9860 series, 9850, 9750 and 7400.

Screen resolution is indeed much greater on the CG-10 than previous models. You can now plot points in a 187 x 379 area (almost 1/4 VGA). However, you're still limited to 7 lines of 21 characters of text, very disturbing.

-Katie

Edited: 13 Dec 2010, 12:41 p.m.


#40

One slightly worrying fact is the absence to date of an SDK for this new calculator. Does anyone have any knowledge of Casio's intentions here?

Nigel


#41

ive been wondering if the 9860g SDK will work on the cg10. basically, you have the same code model.

hitting the screen and reading the keyboard might be different. if i get one, i'll have a go.

anyone know where i can get on in the uk?


#42

Check TAS, at least one major seller will ship anywhere.

#43

Quote:
I'm more interested in the speed of programs

simple prime factorization program:
number = 12,501,317 (a prime number)
Prizm: 13 seconds
9860g slim: 6 seconds

Disappointing.

Don


#44

HP 30b: 1.08 seconds...

Not at all disappointing!

Cheers!

Mark


#45

Oh, and the 24-year-old HP32sii, using this algorithm: 57 seconds!

#46

Don, can you post the program used to do the factorization?

Edited: 15 Dec 2010, 7:26 a.m.


#47

Yeah, this is what I used. It is a slight modification from the example program shown in the Prizm (and 9860g slim) manual:

ClrText
"Input Number"?-->A
2-->B:1-->C
Do
While Frac (A/B)=0
B trianglesymbol
A/B-->A
WhileEnd
B+C-->B:2-->C
LpWhile BxB<=A
If A =/= 1:Then A trianglesymbol
IfEnd
"END"

where --> is the right-arrow "assign to" symbol
and trianglesymbol is Casio's funky output symbol

#48

Hi Don,

on my OS 2.0 fx-9860G Slim I get 9 seconds, not six. Do you still have the older OS on your machine? I'll have to test on my other Casios when I'm back from holidays.


#49

It is certainly true that VER 2.0 is much slower than VER 1.0, but I cannot determine exactly why that is so. This upgrade added a lot of features, see
here

I can only imagine that the large difference in the speed of operations is somehow related to complex number support. Pure speculation on my part though.

#50

Yeah, I'm still running OS 1 on my slim. Katie said that OS 2 is slower, I guess that explains the time difference.

Sometimes older is better (or at least faster!).

Don

#51

Quote:
According to the documentation, you can edit a program on your PC, but you have to follow closely the conversion table listed that shows how math symbols, special symbols, and Greek letters translate into plain text.

If you have a program you developed on the calculator and you want to edit it on the PC, you must first SAVE AS a .txt file on the calculator. That's easy. Then, when you connect to the PC via the USB cable, the contents of the calculator memory shows up just like on a USB drive, and you don't need any special software installed on your PC to do this; that's nice. You can use Notepad to edit the .txt file. And, yes, you must be careful to use the right character combinations for the special symbols in your program, such as "Disps" for the funky triangle output symbol, and "(CR)" for a carriage return, and "->" for the assignment arrow. That will take some getting used to, but if you do it enough you will remember them. Then, when you terminate the USB connection, the updated .txt file is written back to the calculator memory and the program is automatically updated from the .txt file. It's somewhat labor intensive, but it does work.

Overall, this is much better than the Casio FA-124 software from before, which I never could figure out, frankly. But it is much more work than updating TI-BASIC programs on a PC for the TI-8x series, where the special characters are handled in a much better way and you can check syntax on the PC prior to downloading to the TI calc. Let's hope Casio develops something better in the future for those who want to write programs for this calc.

Edited: 17 Dec 2010, 8:14 p.m.

#52

To answer my own question:

Quote:
Can a fx-CG10 talk to a fx-9860 or a Classpad? I doubt it.

Yes it can without any hazzle. This time I'm a bit impressed. ;) With the 3 pin cable, you can link the Prizm to a fx-9860G (OS 2.0) and move back and forth programs, graph data (even dyna graph data from the CG10 to the 9860, the precomputed images are discarded but the setup is preserved.)

Next thing I have to try is connecting the Prizm through FA-124. USB will not work, but probably my 3 pin USB cable will.

Here is a sample animation I wrote for the fx-9860G. The code here was transferred to the Prizm, converted to TXT format (SAVE-AS) and then transferred to the PC:

'ProgramMode:RUN
ClrGraph
ViewWindow (-)5,5,1,(-)6,4.1,1
Y=Type
"1/X*(1-_cos _A)*(.5-(A>2_pi_))+(X_^2_-4)(1+_cos _A)*(.5-(A>_pi_)*(A<3_pi_))"->GraphY7
D SelOn 7
"_(-)_1/X*(1-_cos _A)*(.5-(A>2_pi_))-(X_^2_-4)(1+_cos _A)*(.5-(A>_pi_)*(A<3_pi_))"->GraphY8
D SelOn 8
D Var A
0->D Start
2pi->D End
pi/4->D pitch
DrawDyna

Since the functions are stored as strings, tokens like 'cos' are escaped: '_cos _'. This is only done in strings, not in normal code.


#53

Quote:
Next thing I have to try is connecting the Prizm through FA-124. USB will not work, but probably my 3 pin USB cable will.


Marcus, I could never understand that FA-124 thing with my fxCG9860g slim, but I could easily connect the Prizm to my PC with the supplied USB cable. The Prizm essentially shows up as a disk drive, and after connecting you can edit any of your programs (you have to save them on the calc first using "save as" which saves them as an invisible .txt file). When you click the icon at the bottom right (on the PC) to "disconnect USB device", it automatically updates calculator memory and compiles any .txt program into the real program.

I also found that, on the calc, when you "reset main memory", it does not delete the .txt program files, because the next time you connect to the PC the .txt files are still there in the PROGRAMS folder, which is rather convenient. If you really want to get rid of the .txt files on the calc you would have to remove them from the PROGRAMS folder after connecting to the PC, then they will be gone from the calc as well once you disconnect the USB connection.

I find this USB connection, which does not require any Casio software on your PC, to be great. As I said, I gave up on that FA-124 thing, just too confusing.

I haven't decided yet if I will buy a Prizm (I have one for 30 days through the teacher loaner program). That color screen is very nice!

Don


#54

The USB connection works flawlessly with my Mac. That's a real advantage over the Win only implementations "of old". I used the "save as" feature to present the little program in my previous post. One time, I'll probably write a comfortable editor for the internal files of type g3m that show up on the connected device.

What made me smile is the ability to connect the Prizm to the older devices. I've yet to test with some older implementations like the fx-7400+ or the CFG-9850G. Transferring files back from the Prizm to the fx-9860G is also on my to do list. They probably did it right this time. :)

#55

Hi,

can anyone tell the difference between Fx-CG10 and Fx-CG20?

Thanks.

-- Antonio


#56

I believe Katie said one is US and the other non-US.


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