DATAMATH CALCULATOR MUSEUM
Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Solar School Edition (Virgina 1st edition)
|Date of introduction:||2005||Display technology:||LCD|
|New price:||$11.99||Display size:||10 + 2|
|Size:|| 5.9" x 3.0" x 0.50"
150 x 75 x 13 mm3
|Weight:||2.9 ounces, 82 grams||Serial No:|
|Batteries:||n.a.||Date of manufacture:||mth 05 year 2004 (B)|
|AC-Adapter:||Origin of manufacture:||China (N)|
|Precision:||12||Integrated circuits:||Toshiba T6M79|
|Program steps:||Courtesy of:||Joerg Woerner|
At first glance this TI-30Xa Solar School Edition looks like the TI-30Xa Solar introduced already in 1996. If we trace back the "School Edition" calculators we recognize:
The TI-30Xa SE introduced in
1995 with its tamper proofed
molded keys instead
of the rubber keys and an extra window above the display and solar cells.
• The TI-30Xa SE introduced in 1999 and sporting the robust housing of the
TI-32 Explorer Plus with the electronics of the TI-30Xa Solar.
But the story of this TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia is much more interesting.
Everything started when the Department of Education, Virginia released October 1, 2004 its MEMO NO.201. This memo announced a field test with scientific calculators instead the common four-function calculators starting in 2004-2005 for Grades 6 and 7 mathematics Standards of Learning assessments. Only three scientific calculators were approved:
Casio fx-260 Solar
• Sharp EL-501V, in the meantime replaced with the EL-501WBBK
• Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Solar School Edition
Department of Education, Virginia requested Texas Instruments to disable the
decimal-to-fraction key. But in January, Dakota Brown, a 12-year-old at Carver Middle School in suburban Richmond’s Chesterfield County, figured out that by pressing two other keys on his state-approved TI-30 Xa SE
for Virginia, he could change decimals into fractions anyway.
Knowing the standard TI-30Xa Solar the trick is easy: Texas Instruments disabled only the [a b/c] key but kept the function of the [<-] key. As a result the key sequence [2nd] [<-] still converts between decimals and fractions.
Texas Instruments recalled 160,000 calculators and replaced them with the TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia 2nd edition.
Dismantling the calculator is not as exciting as expected. The TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia (1st edition) makes use of a printed circuit board (PCB) known already from the TI-30 Xa Solar. We assume that the contacts of the [a b/c] key are removed but we couldn't proof it.
+++ Update January 8, 2022: Fellow collector Geoffrey Wang opened his broken TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia and confirmed the missing contact on the keyboard mat. Thanks! +++
Funny to know that this TI-30Xa Solar School Edition approved in 2005 still carries an algorithm problem known from the TI-35X introduced in 1991. Read more about the Logarithm Bug and its side effect on the related yx function present in this calculator.
Don't miss the TI-30 Xa Solar (H.K.E.A.) and the Casio AL-8.
In the United States different terms are used for the Grades:
|Elementary School||or||Primary School||ages 5 to 10/11||Kindergarden plus Grades 1 to 5 or
Kindergarden plus Grades 1 to 6
|Junior High School||or||Middle School||ages 11/12 to 13/14||Grades 6 to 8 or
Grades 7 to 9
|Senior High School||or||High School||ages 14/15 to 18||Grades 9 to 12 or
Grades 10 to 12
|Secondary schools = Junior High Schools (or Middle Schools) and Senior High Schools|
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© Joerg Woerner, March 6, 2006. No reprints without written permission.