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Texas Instruments TI-36X Pro

Date of introduction:  May 16, 2011 Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
New price:  $25.00 (SRP 2011) Display size:  4 * 16 characters
 (5 * 19 for menus)
Size:  6.8" x 3.2" x 0.6"
 172 x 83 x 15 mm³
   
Weight:  4.2 ounces, 120 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  Solar cells + CR2032 Date of manufacture:  mth 03 year 2011 (A)
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  China (K)
Precision:  13 Integrated circuits:  
Memories:  8    
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Texas Instruments announced in May 2007 with the TI-30XS MultiView the successor of its long lasting TI-30X IIS introduced already in 1999 and slightly redesigned in 2004. In February 2008 followed with the TI-34 MultiView and TI-Collège Plus the successors of the TI-34 II resp. TI-Collège. And another two years later, in May 2010, we heard about the TI-30X Pro MultiView and thought immediately about the TI-36X II. We received the first TI-30X Pro MultiView in October 2010 and have to admit: This scientific calculator is the real successor of the TI-68! Even the keyboard is similiar cluttered, but the new multi-tap feature avoids at least a [3rd] or even [4th] key to access the zillions of functions implemented in the single-chip calculator circuit.

It's difficult to understand why the amazing TI-30X Pro MultiView was available only in a few countries in Europe but it was a wise decision. The calculator had some serious bugs in its software and was withdrawn from the market within a few weeks. In April 2011 the TI-30X Pro MultiView was re-launched and in May 2011 it hit the shelves in the United States as TI-36X Pro. And yes, the bugs are fixed.

Instead of the then novel 2-line display of the TI-36X II, its successor TI-36X Pro features a dot matrix display with 31 * 96 addressable pixels allowing the calculator to display equations as they would be printed in a text book. 

In addition to this so called "MathPrint" mode the calculator sports a TI-36X II compatible "Classic" mode.

Compared with the original TI-36X II, in the US the quasi-standard for pupils, we notice a huge variety of functions:

• Classic (compatible with TI-36X II) and MathPrint Mode 
• EOS with 8 pending operations and 23 levels of parentheses
• 8 memory variables x, y, z, t, a, b, c, d
• Data editor and list formulas:  3 lists, each up to 42 items
• Function table
• Toggle key fractions and decimals
• Equation entries up to 80 digits
• Complex numbers
• HEX, BIN and OCT logic and conversions
• Least common multiple, Greatest common divisor, Prime factors
• Numeric derivative
• Numeric integral
• Matrices, Vectors
• Numeric equation solver
• Polynomial solver
• Expression evaluation
• 20 physical constants and 20 conversions

 

Dismantling this TI-36X Pro  manufactured in March 2011 reveals a pretty common construction with two printed circuit boards (PCB's). The main PCB hides the single-chip calculating circuit under a small protection blob of black epoxy and drives the graphing display with a heat sealed fine-pitch connector. The keyboard makes use of a much simpler second PCB and a heat sealed connector, too. The prominent SR-21 designation on the main PCB proves that this calculator was manufactured by Kinpo Electronics, Inc., a famous company located in Taiwan and doing calculator production for well established companies like Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Casio, Canon and Citizen.
 

Fixed Software

Texas Instruments announced the TI-30X Pro MultiView in May 2010 in some European countries and it finally hit the shelves in September 2010. Only a few weeks later, early in October 2010, the German website of Texas Instruments' calculator division announced an important information for customers of the calculator. The 2-page document describes a serious problems of the new equation solver and a minor problem with the Planck's constant.

Cubic Equation Solver

The TI-30X Pro MV and its US twin TI-36X Pro feature different "Solvers", a numeric equation solver and a polynomial solver for quadratic or cubic equations. Wikipedia (German division) reported already on September 24, 2010 a problem with the cubic equation solver with a very simple example:

[2nd] [poly-solv] [2]: ax³+bx²+cx+d=0 with a=2, b=1, c=-1, and d=0 reports three solutions:
x1=0.5, x2=-1, and x3=2. The correct answer is x1=0.5, x2=-1, and x3=0!

Constants

The TI-30X Pro MV and TI-36X Pro store for 20 physical constants both NAMES and UNITS. The Planck's constant, denoted h, sports two errors: The name of Max Planck, one of the founders of quantum theory, is spelled Plank in the English manual and the unit is given in Joule per second (J/s) instead of Joule seconds (Js) on the calculator.

[2nd] [constants] [3]:

 

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

© Joerg Woerner, June 2, 2011. No reprints without written permission.