Texas Instruments TI-86 ViewScreen™

Date of introduction:  1997 Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
New price:  ($140.00 in 2001)  Display size:  8 * 21 characters
Size:  7.2" x 3.2" x 0.95"
 182 x 81 x 24 mm3
Weight:  6.6 ounces, 186 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*AAA + CR1620 Date of manufacture:  
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  Taiwan (I)
Precision:  14 Integrated circuits:  CPU: Toshiba T6A43
 ROM: AT29C020 (Flash)
 RAM: TC551001
 Display: T6A40,
Program steps:  96k Bytes Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

The TI-86 ViewScreen Calculator (VSC) is the teacher version of the standard TI-86. It connects with a special port to a ViewScreen panel via a cable. Placing the panel on the overhead projector enlarges the image of the handheld screen so that each student can follow along. 

The display of the TI-86 VSC sports 64 * 128 dots compared with the 64 * 96 dots of e.g. the TI-83. As a consequence introduced Texas Instruments different ViewScreen panels. 

Four ViewScreen panels were available in 2008:

Panel 1: TI-73 VSC, TI-73 Explorer VSC, TI-80 VSC, TI-82 VSC, TI-83 VSC,
   TI-83 Plus VSC, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition VSC, TI-84 Plus VSC,
   TI-84 Plus Silver Edition VSC
Panel 2: TI-89 VSC, TI-89 Titanium VSC, TI-92, TI-92 Plus, Voyage 200
Panel 3: TI-85 VSC (2nd design), TI-86 VSC
Panel 4: TI-Nspire, TI-Nspire CAS, TI-Nspire Touchpad, TI-Nspire CAS Touchpad

As an alternative the TI-Presenter video adapter connects to a TV or other projection device with a video input port. 

From a technical point of view the TI-86 VSC is almost identical with the students TI-86. The first difference you notice is a slightly changed bottom shell of the calculator housing to accommodate the ViewScreen connector.

Dismantling the TI-86 VSC reveals a total of three printed circuit boards (PCBs).

The main PCB is identical with the TI-86 and makes use of the Z80 compatible CPU Toshiba T6A43, known already from the TI-85 surrounded by a SRAM for user program/data and a ATMEL AT29C020 Flash ROM for the Operating System. Learn more about the Hardware Architecture of TI’s Graphing Calculators.

Even the display board of the TI-86 VSC is identical with the TI-86 but sports an additional connector for the third PCB. If you compare the PCB with the student TI-86 you'll notice that the layout of the PCB is identical, only the connector itself is either assembled or not in place. 

A third PCB is connected with a short piece of flat-cable to the display board. This PCB basically buffers the signals of the LC-Display and feeds them to the external ViewScreen connector.

A deeper exploration of the display board shows the unbelievable high density of electrical connections between the Toshiba T6A23 display driver and the graphics screen.

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.

Don't miss the colorful slide cases developed for the TI-83 Plus, they fit on the TI-86 ViewScreen, too.



TI-86VSC_OS.jpg (45776 Byte)0.2026

You can check the ROM version of your TI-86 VSC using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:

[2nd] [MODE] [ALPHA] [S]

Information provided by and Xavier Andréani.

Exam acceptance:

The TI-86 VSC is permitted (as of September 27, 2007) for use on SAT, ACT, PSAT and AP exams.

Obsolete / Discontinued Products:

The TI-86 VSC Graphing Calculator has been discontinued (as of June 8, 2008) and is no longer available at most retail locations. 


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© Joerg Woerner, September 5, 2007. No reprints without written permission.