Early 70s Calculators

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martinw
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by 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

Post by 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
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BigEd
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by 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

Post by 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
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BigEd
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by 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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flaxcottage
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by flaxcottage » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:18 pm

Really got the bug for collecting 70s calculators. :?

I just love the clicky feel of them (Texas and HP only, I'm afraid)

I recently acquired a Texas MBA calculator from the USA. It is not rare or anything but it is unusual. It is a 70s brown colour. :D It came without a charger so I just HAD to buy a TI-51-III in order to get a charger for the battery pack.

The TI-51-III is an improved version of the SR-51A that I bought earlier. Improved in that it is programmable, accepting a 32 step linear program.
MBA.jpg
MBA
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SR-51A
SR-51-III.jpg
SR-51-III
- John
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martinw
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by martinw » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:39 pm

Not strictly early 70s, more late 60s, introduced around the year I was born, 1967 and made in Rome, a place I love to visit. An IME 26 :!:

It’s full of PCBs, which are full of transistors. An excellent example of the way ICs revolutionised electronic equipment :shock: I can only just lift it :!:
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The IME 26 is full of transistors, the Busicom Junior is full of MSI ICs, the Sharp EL-8 has four LSI ICs in it and the Sinclair Executive Memory has one LSI IC in it ... marvellous 8)

Martin
Last edited by martinw on Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:53 am, edited 5 times in total.

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BigEd
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by BigEd » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:48 pm

Very nice!
"The 24 logic boards have a total of 424 Germanium transistors and 1074 Germanium diodes. It has a magnetic core memory."
- http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/ime_26.html

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martinw
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by martinw » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:54 pm

Cheers BigEd, it was working perfectly, but the longer it was turned on it started to display strange numbers on the Nixie tubes. Not sure if it’s the drivers of the tubes or the tubes themselves. The right numbers are in there, they’re just covered with other numbers. Still a nice piece of kit though :D

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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by martinw » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:48 pm

7022 - earlier than my previous earliest LSI IC, woohoo :D

Sharp Micro Compet - Working =D>
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Martin

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BigEd
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by BigEd » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:32 pm

Very nice! That looks rather like a Rockwell logo on the chips, which is interesting. I wonder if NEC and Hitachi were up to speed at that time.

I was lucky enough to get a 72 or 73 calculator as a present - the Sperry Remington 661D, a six-digit wonder. (Same design as the Casio Mini CM-602, so I'd suppose Casio were the original.)
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martinw
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by martinw » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:05 pm

Sweet :D

Yup Rockwell, 22nd week of 1970 for the oldest, stoked 8)

http://www.chipsetc.com/sharp-electronics.html

Martin

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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by fordp » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:57 pm

1024MAK wrote:
BigEd wrote:My perception from BITD:
  • Sinclair: remarkable
    Commodore: affordable
    TI: capable
    HP: unattainable
For some reason, Casio and Sharp didn't pique my interest much. Later on, I came to like Sharp.
From my perspective, it was rather different...
At school when I discovered that electronic calculators existed, I had never heard of Sinclair, let alone Commodore.

So my first calculator was this one:
IMG_5393.JPG
My parents gave it to me, but IIRC they already had it, so it was not new when I got it. I used this one for years.

But later on, I needed a calculator that could do more than add up, subtract, multiple and divide. So I looked through what was in the shops, and asked my parents for this one:
IMG_5394.JPGIMG_5395.JPG
Which could also work with binary and hexadecimal, just right for someone doing computer studies :wink:
This was my second calculator, and as it happens, the first new and the last new calculator that I have ever had. Well, that's not quite true, I did buy a cheap calculator watch when at school. A bit of cheap junk. And I got a small basic calculator free with something once.

TI looked too complicated and were not cheap and I don't remember HP, but that may be because they were too expensive or not on sale in our local shops. The shops being WH Smiths, Boots, Woolworths, Argos and Dixons.

But in the later years at school, or it may have been at technical college, I wanted a calculator that could run BASIC programs. Like the 'rich' kid had (I have no idea if he was rich...).

Browsing eBay, as you do, somehow I found myself looking at calculators (I blame this thread). So of course, when I saw a Casio PB-410 going for a reasonable price, well...
IMG_5396.JPG
I have no idea what model I played with when I was younger, but it does not matter.

Excluding mains powered computers, my next step, was Psion Series 3...

And they all still work, as you can see in the photos :D

Mark
I had a Fx-451 at sixth form. Very good except the Flexi to the fold out keyboard breaks after a while.
FordP (Simon Ellwood)
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1024MAK
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Re: Early 70s Calculators

Post by 1024MAK » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:34 am

fordp wrote:I had a Fx-451 at sixth form. Very good except the Flexi to the fold out keyboard breaks after a while.
Yeah, as soon as I noticed signs of cracks appearing, I stopped folding it. It has laid open and flat ever since.

Mark
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