Early 70s Calculators

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martinw
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Postby martinw » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:22 pm

1024MAK wrote:Browsing eBay, as you do, somehow I found myself looking at calculators (I blame this thread).


Charming :shock: :lol:

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flaxcottage
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:40 pm

I like the 70s calculators. They are so simple to work and generally do not have the complexity overhead of modern calculators.

My first calculator was a Sinclair Scientific, which I build from a kit. I think it cost me £19.99. Construction was easy but it lived up to the Sinclair mantra of 'cheap and nasty'. It worked, was not very accurate but easily fitted in a shirt pocket and looked cool with purple LED digits. It had so much use that it just wore out and dropped to bits.

I lusted after the SR-52 but just could not afford it. :( I was lucky enough to get the smaller SR-56 in 1977 and this has been my mainstay calculator up until recently. The SR-56 was programmable and an amazingly powerful piece of kit in the days before affordable personal computers. Programming the SR-56 made the transition to 6502 code easy. :D

Now my favourite calculator is the SR-51A. It is not programmable (I would use BBC Basic or use a spreadsheet for complicated calculations that needed programming.) but has all the functions I need easily at hand. For a quick day-to-day calculation, though, I use the TI-66, a LCD calculator which is similar in some ways to the TI-58C

A few weeks ago I bought my first graphing calculator (TI-85) , which is an amazing piece of kit. However, using one of these for mundane scientific calculations is really difficult compared to the calculators of the 70s. One has to work out HOW to do the calculation before trying to input it into the calculator. For example, enter 29 and then find the sine, cosine of the result followed by the tangent of that result and then go back with Atan, Acos and Asin, is really horrible on the graphing calculator - it has to be done in one operation - Asin(Acos(Atan(tan(cos(sin(29)))))). With a 70s calculator the operation is 29 Sin Cos Tan Atan Acos Asin; the intermediate results appear in the display between pressing buttons - much simpler to my feeble mind.

Mind you, a calculator I'd really like is the HP-16, the programmer's calculator but they are so darn expensive. :( :shock:
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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BigEd
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Postby BigEd » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:05 pm

I'm with you on that - I don't like having to consider and type lots of parentheses for a chained calculation. You can sometimes use an Ans button, as a variable which holds the last value calculated.

The only graphing calc I have is a Sharp, and although it's quite featureful, it's big and heavy and very modeful. I was quite pleased when I bought it (1992 or so) but never use it now.

If you like the HP-16C, and if you have spare cash for these purposes, you might have a look at SwissMicros' product line: by year end they should have a new top of the line model, the DM42, so look out for that. They already do a 16C, in both credit-card size and full size, for £100 or so. http://www.swissmicros.com/order.php

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flaxcottage
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:13 pm

Yes, I have seen the Swiss Micros stuff before. They are good but they don't fit the 'retro feel' of the originals; they are also very much smaller.
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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BigEd
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Postby BigEd » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:48 pm

I get the impression their large models are much more faithful than their credit-card sized ones. I haven't yet put any money down...


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