Texas Instruments WIZ-A-TRON (Version B)

Date of introduction:  1977 Display technology:  LED-stick
New price:   Display size:  8
Size:  5.0" x 3.5" x 1.1"
 127 x 89 x 29 mm3
Weight:  3.5 ounces, 99 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  9V  Date of manufacture:  wk 26 year 1978
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  USA (MTA)
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TMC0907/ZA0379 BSP
Memories:   Displays:  DIS713
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual:   (US: 1.2M Bytes)

The WIZ-A-TRON was introduced soon after the rare MATH MAGIC. The only difference is the design of the keyboard plate and the color of the housing, from the technology both toys are identical. The WIZ-A-TRON might have been exclusively manufactured for retailer Sears. 

The beautiful WIZ-A-TRON educational toy is a variation of the Little Professor. The Little Professor gives you one of ten-thousands pre-programmed math questions and you have to enter the correct answer. The WIZ-A-TRON works different: You have to enter the math question and its answer! The wizard then gives you a visual feedback if the entered answer was correct with a "flashing" display or not with an "EEE" display.

Dismantling the featured WIZ-A-TRON with Date code 2678 MTA and manufactured in June 1978 in Midland, Texas reveals an internal construction already known from the Little Professor. The single-sided printed circuit board (PCB) is centered around a TMC907/ZA0379 single-chip calculator circuit and powered by a 9V alkaline battery. The keyboard with 5 rows of keys is borrow from the Little Professor although the WIZ-A-TRON is using only 4 rows of keys. The PCB itself is identical to the later models of the original Little Professor but lacks the sliding switch to adjust its 4 grade levels.

The TMC0907/ZA0379 chip is a member of the TMS0970 Product Family introduced in March 1976 with the TI-1200 and based on the TMS1000. The TMS0970 integrated both segment and digit drivers to the TMS1000 feature set allowing for highly cost-optimized designs and paving the way of four-banger calculators with 4-key memory selling below the magic $10 threshold. While the original TMS0970 chips were housed in a standard 0.6 wide 28-pin DIP (Plastic Dual In-line Package with a 0.1 / 2.54 mm lead pitch), started Texas Instruments in 1977 to use a smaller 0.4 wide 28-pin SPDIP (Shrink Plastic Dual In-line Package with a 0.07 / 1.778 mm lead pitch) design. The marking TMC0907NL ZA0379 BSP 7823 on the chip of the featured WIZ-A-TRON indicates Metal Mask (ROM, Output PLA and Instruction Decoder PLA) Version ZA0379, Die Version B, 28-pin SPDIP package, Production year 1978 and Production Week 23. The Manufacturing Site Singapore is printed on the backside of the chip. We located in a WIZ-A-TRON manufactured in December 1978 a chip with a slightly different marking and we named the WIZ-A-TRON accordingly Version B and Version D.

Preparing our DCM-50A Platform to allow the Characterization of Single-Chip Calculator Circuits of the TMS0970/TMC0900 Family, we studied a TI-1270 calculator manufactured in July 1976 and this WIZ-A-TRON educational toy assembled in June 1978. Learn more about the Bearcat 210 Computer Radio Scanner unleashing the potential of the TMS0970 chip.

Similar educational products are known from National Semiconductor with the Quiz-Kid and Radio Shack with the wonderful Monkey See. Both use simple green and red indicators to state correct and wrong. 

Don't miss the similar Mickey Math Adventure introduced in 1993 and the rare Battlestar Galactica  - an almost perfect copy of the WIZ-A-TRON.

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If you have additions to the above article please email:

Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.