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Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus

Date of introduction:  January 11, 1999
 Available: May 1999
Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
New price:  $104.99 (SRP 1999)
 $99.99 (SRP 2008)
 $129.00 (SRP 2013)
Display size:  8 * 16 characters
Size:  7.2" x 3.2" x 0.80"
 182 x 81 x 20 mm3
   
Weight:  6.4 ounces, 182 grams Serial No:  10424145
Batteries:  4*AAA + CR1620 (35mA) Date of manufacture:  mth 07 year 1999 (A)
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  Taiwan (I)
Precision:  14 Integrated circuits:  CPU: Zilog Z84C0008
 ASIC: TI REF 9815455
 Flash: AM29F400
 RAM: SRM2B256
Display: Toshiba T6A04
Memories:      
Program steps:  24k Bytes, 160k Bytes Flash-ROM Courtesy of:  Mark Bollman

The TI-83 Plus added Flash technology to the TI-83 Graphing calculator. This technology gives you the flexibility to add calculator software applications and additional functionality beyond math and science, providing long-term value. 

These reasons and more have made the TI-83 Plus the best selling graphing calculator in the US and Canada. In the year 2000 more than 2,000,000 units were shipped! Already on July 22, 2003 reported Texas Instruments an accumulated shipment of 25,000,000 graphing calculators since the introduction of the TI-81.

The hardware of the TI-83 Plus is similar to a lot of other products: An 8-bit microprocessor of the Z80 family, a huge Flash-ROM of 512k Byte capacity, a RAM of 32k Byte size and a driver for the LCD display. You'll find similar architectures with just another balance of RAM and ROM capacity:

Product ROM-size RAM-size Example
Spell-Checker 128k Byte 2k Byte RR-1
Data Bank 64k Byte 64k Byte PS-6700
Graphing calculator 64k Byte 8k Byte TI-81
Modern graphing calc 512k Byte 32k Byte TI-83 Plus


If you compare the hardware of the TI-83 Plus introduced in 1999 with a TI-83 manufactured in the same year you’ll notice a considerable increase in the bill of material (BOM):

The Toshiba T6C79 Application Specific CPU was replaced by a two-chip approach 
    based on a discrete Zilog Z-80 CPU and a Texas Instruments TI REF 9815455 ASIC.
The Macronix TI-883-08 ROM was replaced by a expensive AMD AM29F400 Flash-ROM.

Manufacturing several millions calculators every year justifies even minor changes of an existing design to lower the BOM or raise the profit. We noticed several changes in the hardware of the TI-83 Plus between its introduction in 1999 and the current (2007) production following a simple pattern:  

Higher integration: Two generations of ASIC’s combine the Z-80 CPU, support ASIC, discrete logic and RAM.
Shrink chip size: Three generations of display drivers in just 8 years of manufacturing.
Optimize manufacturing technology: Use of chip-on-board technology instead of traditional IC packages.
Reduce printed circuit board (PCB) size: In 2006 the display PCB of the TI-83 Plus was omitted.
Promote competition between contract manufacturers: While the original TI-83 Plus was manufactured by Inventec Corporation in Taiwan, do we know in 2007 with Nam Tai Electronics, China a second manufacturer. Inventec moved production long time ago to its Shanghai factory to be more competitive.

The table below summarizes the seven known versions (by March 24, 2009) of the TI-83 Plus:

Year Date code Manufacturer CPU/ASIC Flash-ROM Display Driver
1999 I-0799A Inventec, Taiwan ZILOG Z84C00 
TI REF 9815455
AMD 
AM29F400
Toshiba T6A04
plus PCB
2002 S-0402C Inventec, China Inventec 6SI837 (TQFP100)
plus discrete logic
Macronix
MX29LV400
Toshiba T6A04A
plus PCB
2004 S-0504E Inventec, China Inventec 6SI837 (TQFP100) Fujitsu
29LV400
Toshiba T6K04
plus PCB
2006 N-0306I Nam Tai, China ZILOG Z84C00 
TI REF 9815455
Macronix
MX29LV400
Toshiba T6A04A
plus PCB
2006 S-0806K Inventec, China TI REF TI-738X  (QFP80) Spansion S29AL004 Toshiba T6K04
2007 S-0407K Inventec, China TI REF TI-738X  (QFP80) Spansion S29AL004 Novatek NT7564H
2007 N-0407 Nam Tai, China TI REF TI-738X (COB) Spansion S29AL004 Novatek NT7564H
           
           

If you need more than 160k Byte Flash-ROM view the TI-83 Plus S.E. (Silver Edition).

Glitter-packed and translucent, this is how Texas Instruments described the wonderful TI-83 Plus Silver Edition in its press release dated June 19, 2001. Already for the Back-to-School campaign 2001 retailed Target started to sell the TI-83 Plus Cool Blue, in 2002 the TI-83 Plus Ultra Violet and in 2003 the TI-83 Plus Blue. In 2004 we got from Staples the wonderful TI-83 Plus Lime Green and a Blue version. In 2007 Target introduced a nice looking TI-83 Plus Light Blue. Texas Instruments surprised the French market in 2006 with a translucent TI-83 Plus Cool Blue, changed the design in 2007 and introduced a strange looking TI-83 Plus Pink. Starting in 2004 six different Color Slide Cases were sold for the TI-83 Plus and compatible calculators TI’s Education Technology Store.

A serial port of the calculators allows the connection to the Calculator-Based Laboratory system CBL, its successor CBL 2, the Calculator-Based Ranger CBR and its successor CBR 2. Texas Instruments announced June 2002 an optional full-sized QWERTY Keyboard for a more convenient entry of notes into the handhelds.

Don't miss the TI-73 - obviously based on the TI-83 Plus. We prepared together with fellow collector Xavier Andréani a comprehensive comparison of entry level graphing calculators, to shed some light on the different specifications of the TI-82 and TI-83 / TI-83 Plus based products.

The TI-83 Plus traces back to the Casio fx-7000G, the world's first Graphing calculator.

Texas Instruments announced January 7, 2004 with the TI-84 Plus the successor of the TI-83 Plus. Main differences are:

More stylish housing
Integrated USB port for computer connecitivity
Internal clock
Three times of user memory
15 MHz CPU clock instead 6 MHz
Advanced display
13 pre-loaded software applications

The TI-83 Plus was mentioned in TI's press release dated August 15, 2002 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its invention of the electronic calculator.


ROM-Versions:

1.03 (March 17, 1999) 
1.06
1.08
1.10
1.12
1.13 (April 2001)
1.14 (December 16, 2001)
1.15 (August 26, 2002)
1.16
1.17
1.18
1.19 (January 16, 2006, actual in February 2008)

You can check the ROM version of your TI-83 Plus using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:

[2nd] [MEM] [1]

Information provided by ticalc.org and Xavier Andréani.

Exam acceptance:

The TI-83 Plus is permitted (as of September 27, 2007) for use on SAT, ACT, PSAT and AP exams.

 

Find here the original press release dated January 11, 1999:

Texas Instruments introduces upgradable graphing calculator for high school and university markets

DALLAS, January 11, 1999

Texas Instruments today introduced the TI-83 Plus, an upgradable graphing calculator designed for high school and lower level university math and science courses. The TI-83 Plus features all the functionality of the TI-83 - TI's most popular graphing calculator - enhanced with FLASH™ ROM technology for electronic upgradability, new applications and six times more user available memory. The announcement was made at the American Association of Physics Teachers conference in Anaheim , California .

"Teachers and students indicated a real need for a calculator that can be updated as new applications are developed and the curriculum evolves," said Tom Ferrio, vice president of Texas Instruments. "We've taken our most popular graphing calculator and made it even better. The TI-83 Plus, with its additional FLASH™ ROM memory, can be electronically upgraded and customized to better fit changing classroom needs. This technology will provide teachers and students more flexibility in exploring mathematical and scientific concepts."

"TI has done a really good job of designing the TI-83," said Allan Bellman, mathematics instructor at Blake High School in Montgomery County , Maryland . and one of the teachers involved in the design of the TI-83 Plus. "TI has taken a calculator that many teachers already use and extended the life of the product through additional future functionality."

Same Functionality and Compatibility:

The TI-83 Plus includes all of the TI-83 capabilities but with a change in only two keyboard placements. The similarity in design will enable the TI-83 Plus to work side-by-side in the classroom with the TI-83. In fact, the TI-83 Plus can receive all data types - such as lists, programs and matrices - from the TI-83 and send all common data types to the TI-83.

Upgradability and Additional Applications:

The TI-83 Plus uses FLASH™ ROM technology, which allows users to install software upgrades through the communication port. The latest software version can be downloaded from the TI website to the user's computer, then to the TI-83 Plus via a TI-GRAPH LINK™. Instead of having to buy an entirely new calculator, users can simply buy the software upgrade, which will cost less than the price of a new machine.

The TI-83 Plus comes with a built-in application to collect and analyze data from the Calculator-Based Laboratory™ (CBL™) and Calculator-Based Ranger™ (CBR™) accessories. This allows users to quickly and easily conduct real-time, interactive data collection experiments with time, distance, temperature, light intensity, voltage, velocity and acceleration. Applications to be made available include language localization, an application that allows users to select what language the calculator will operate in, and an Interactive Graphing application that will enable users to visualize how changing a mathematical function's parameters affect its graph. Vernier Software will also convert two of its popular, multi-purpose CBL programs -- CHEM/BIO and PHYSICS -- to FLASH™ ROM applications programs for the TI-83 Plus, allowing users to record and analyze two times more real-world data than the TI-83. Applications will be made available via the World Wide Web as TI and other leading software developers create them. "The sky is the limit on the possible applications that can and will be developed," added Bellman.

Increased Memory:

TI-83 Plus has six times more user memory than the TI-83. The calculator includes 24K of RAM, but also includes 160K of data archive memory used to store data, programs and additional applications that can be recalled later but which are not stored in the active user memory. "The additional memory will allow me to store a lot of information as I teach different courses throughout the day," said Bellman. "If I have done a data exercise with my first period algebra class and want to continue the discussion the next day, I can save all my work by going to the memory manager and selecting the "group" option, thus saving me from a lot of rework."

In addition to the data and program storage, the 160K user data archive can be used to store and execute up to 10 calculator software applications, giving users control over how the memory is used. They can choose how much is used for applications and how much is used as personal storage.

Suggested courses for the TI-83 Plus include algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, physical science, physics, chemistry and biology.

The TI-83 Plus comes with a unit-to-unit link cable to connect it with another TI-83 Plus or TI-83. The TI-GRAPH LINK™ accessory cable, which may be purchased separately, allows connection of the TI-83 Plus to a computer.

The TI-83 Plus will be available in the U.S. during the second quarter of 1999 through retail and instructional dealers at a street price of under $100.

 

Find here the original press release dated July 22, 2003:

TI Has Screenagers Screaming for More With the Sale of its 25 Millionth Graphing Handheld

Most pervasive form of technology in today's classrooms provides educational value and enhances "cool" learning for teens around the world

DALLAS, July 22, 2003

Just how much is 25 million? To put it into perspective, you'd have to circle the earth more than 1,000 times to travel 25 million miles, or walk up and down the Empire State Building 6,720 times to take 25 million steps. Or you could count the number of graphing handhelds that Texas Instruments, the leader in handheld educational technology, has put into the hands of teachers and students around the world. TI has sold its 25 millionth graphing handheld, reflecting the popularity and longevity of these learning devices.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 Census, there are approximately 24.3 million people between the ages of 14 and 19 in America today. These Generation Y teens, also known as screenagers due to their heavy use of technology, have a large appetite for the "cool factor" and are demanding maximum versatility and power from their handhelds.

Since their introduction into the classroom in 1990, TI's educational tools have evolved to meet students' needs both in and out of the classroom. They are customizable to fit teens' individual styles and tech preferences, and they pack more speed and functionality than ever before. Above all else, these devices continue to enable students to gain a deeper understanding of concepts as they learn and provide them a visual representation of lessons and curriculum.

"TI's commitment to providing true educational value has driven us to expand the handhelds use beyond traditional math and science into other subject areas such as English and Social Studies," said Tom Ferrio, vice president of Texas Instruments Educational & Productivity Solutions. "Similarly, the graphing handheld has evolved over the years, with teens' passion for technology driving the visual appearance and lifestyle applications. Our technology has impacted teens across the world by helping them learn and understand academic concepts, as well as familiarize them with technology in general."

Educational devices that used to be just for school have made a strong foray into the cool realm. For example, the TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI's newest graphing handheld, comes preloaded with software applications such as a periodic table of elements, spread sheet application, electronic study cards for self quizzing, and an organizer and address book. Teens can personalize their handhelds with color cases, add-ons such as a full-size keyboard for note taking and downloadable software from the Internet.

TI graphing handhelds are applicable in a variety of subject areas spanning math and science to language arts, history and world languages. They are available at discount, electronics and office supply stores nationwide.


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If you have additions to the above article please email: joerg@datamath.org.

© Joerg Woerner, February 3, 2002. No reprints without written permission.