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Thread: Recommend me a *sensible* scientific calculator

  1. #1

    Recommend me a *sensible* scientific calculator

    Right, I'm not a scientific chap. I have managed perfectly well in recent years with the scientific calculator on iOS. However, I have an upcoming exam where I will need a scientific calculator and phones are not permitted.

    I have in front of me two Casios: fx85WA and fx83ES. Both are driving me to distraction and I yearn for my venerable, dearly-departed fx115N. I can't see any new equivalent on Amazon etc, but perhaps someone here has a suggestion that would fit the bill?

    Required specs:
    • hard keys for: 1/x; M+; MR
    • answers expressed as decimals instead of chuffing fractions
    • a normal, old-school lcd display instead of chuffing pixels


    Yes, I'm aware that this is a bit ranty, luddite, and that I'm probably no more than a couple of clicks away from finding out how to operate all the joypads and other toot on the calculators I have to hand. But I don't want to; I just want a proper old school chuffing calculator. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    I have a Casio fs-85B - sent you a pm. - (not dot-matrix). Fired it up tonight and works fine! (Dual power source)

    Looks like this:

    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 22nd October 2020 at 22:58.

  3. #3
    Certainly close. I do dislike those dot matrix displays though....

  4. #4
    Master
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    Something like this?



    It's 35 years old and still works on its original battery!

  5. #5
    There seem to be a plethora of fx115N calcs on eBay. Top one on the list was £8.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dkpw View Post
    There seem to be a plethora of fx115N calcs on eBay. Top one on the list was £8.
    I'm leaning towards the eBay route, in the apparent absence of any current model meeting the spec.



    Martyn - have replied to your kind PM thanks.

  7. #7
    I'm running a Casio FX-3600Pv, got to be at least 20 yrs old, still works a treat.



  8. #8
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Would pressing two buttons for the inverse function be OK? See:


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PickleB View Post
    Would pressing two buttons for the inverse function be OK?
    For any right thinking reasonable person, prolly. For me - I really want the 1/x. Canít overstate how much I will be using it!

  10. #10
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Recommend me a *sensible* scientific calculator

    What about an old fx-39?


    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/233754416182


    Or an fx-451?

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/164454245466

    I donít need a calculator but Iím tempted myself!


    Put ďcasio scientificĒ in the eBay search bar and thereís thousands to choose from! And a proper trip down memory lane.
    Last edited by Dave+63; 23rd October 2020 at 09:11.

  11. #11
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Amazon again...only MR is two button presses.

  12. #12
    Craftsman Paradiddle's Avatar
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    I'm guessing graphical calculators are not allowed? Otherwise I'd recommend the legendary TI-83 Plus. Massively screwed me over learning statistics as I took lots of shortcuts using the calculator

  13. #13
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    Googling Casio fx115N doesnít half bring back school memories, happy times! Thatís now got me wondering where my old calculator is, canít imagine it would have been thrown away.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by SimonH View Post
    Something like this?



    It's 35 years old and still works on its original battery!
    I had one of those, excellent calculator. More geared to stats than modern school calculators and useful constants for chemistry/physics. Nowadays they're more geared towards graphing - maybe useful for A' level maths if at all.

    Still need 2 keys for reciprocals though!

  15. #15
    Craftsman Kris's Avatar
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    Before buying a new calculator, its worth checking with the uni or exam board that you are sitting with, what calculators are permitted for the exam.

    Most uni exam boards have limited the models that are allowed due to cheating and the rules are very strict.

    If it's not one of the listed models then it can't be used (even if its a very basic office model that only adds up, subtracts, divides and multiplies) then it can't be used, and any attempts to use a non approved calculator is instant disqualification

  16. #16
    Master petethegeek's Avatar
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    I'm sure this chap would be happy to quote you for a bespoke model to your personal specification.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Handmade-...y/222647253093


  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave+63 View Post
    Put ďcasio scientificĒ in the eBay search bar and thereís thousands to choose from! And a proper trip down memory lane.

    Thatís probably what Iíll end up doing, but was hoping to buy new.

    Even just aesthetically though, those of 25-30 years ago are so much prettier than the current crop from Casio et al...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paradiddle View Post
    I'm guessing graphical calculators are not allowed? Otherwise I'd recommend the legendary TI-83 Plus. Massively screwed me over learning statistics as I took lots of shortcuts using the calculator
    Unfortunately not.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    Before buying a new calculator, its worth checking with the uni or exam board that you are sitting with, what calculators are permitted for the exam.
    Good shout; I have done and am comfortable with the range Iím considering...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by petethegeek View Post
    I'm sure this chap would be happy to quote you for a bespoke model to your personal specification.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Handmade-...y/222647253093

    Thatís class, thanks for sharing :)

  19. #19
    Craftsman
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    I've still got a couple of Casios lying around. Must have a play with them! I was an early adopter of the Sinclair Scientific in the mid 70's which cost about £500 in today's money. It was a step up from entering calcs in reverse Polish notation in the early basic version I had.

    I remember buying a slide rule in WH Smiths to take to the calculator shop as they were offering a trade in deal at the time.

  20. #20
    Grand Master GraniteQuarry's Avatar
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  21. #21
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    So many options, you just need to have a look around. E.G. this one at £8 (https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Helect-2-Line-Engineering-Scientific-Calculator/dp/B01MCQMORK).

    Personally I use Hewlett Packard - I prefer the more robust build and keys.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by GraniteQuarry View Post
    58008918
    Mine says 14 :)

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by jukeboxs View Post
    So many options, you just need to have a look around. E.G. this one at £8 (https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Helect-2-Line-Engineering-Scientific-Calculator/dp/B01MCQMORK).

    Personally I use Hewlett Packard - I prefer the more robust build and keys.
    Many thanks for posting that link, but it is no different from the two machines I have on hand. Surprisingly, there arenít many options, when you look at my required spec. Seems like there was a shift about 25 years ago, and most of the stuff I need on primary keys was pushed to secondary keys....

    Itís looking increasingly like an eBay job I think.

  24. #24
    Master petethegeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGJG View Post
    Surprisingly, there arenít many options, when you look at my required spec.
    Perhaps not so surprising when you consider that those which do will likely be utilising the same underlying bought in processor chip from a previous generation. (The production cost of VLSI components is massively front loaded, hence also the plethora of budget/generic offerings now it has been superseded.)

  25. #25
    You make a good point.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    I had one of those, excellent calculator. More geared to stats than modern school calculators and useful constants for chemistry/physics. Nowadays they're more geared towards graphing - maybe useful for A' level maths if at all.

    Still need 2 keys for reciprocals though!
    So for reasons I won't bore you with I decided to take a "gap year" in the middle of my degree at LSE, ended up working for an insurance company, the mundanity of the work being made up for by having some money for lots of partying!

    Anyway, when I left the job I decided to go back to LSE and my leaving present was this calculator which I chose due to the amount of stats I had to do...got a 2:1 in the end so all ended well!

    I found this when clearing out some stuff a couple of years ago and was amazed to find it still works, so it sits in my desk drawer for basic calculation duties.

    TBH, I have no idea what most of the stuff it does means anymore

    Good luck OP in finding what you need

  27. #27
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGJG View Post
    Even just aesthetically though, those of 25-30 years ago are so much prettier than the current crop from Casio et al...
    I'd go back a tad further.



    It don't mean a thing if it ain't got RPN
    My old clock used to tell the time and subdivide diurnity; but now it's lost both hands and chime and only tells eternity. PH

  28. #28
    Craftsman
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    I must confess this was not a thread I was expecting to see! But strangely, it has put a smile on my face.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  29. #29
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    I'd go back a tad further.



    It don't mean a thing if it ain't got RPN
    Funny this. I still use my 11C and the keys are perfect. I remember though my frustration at not being able to afford the 15C when I needed to buy a calculator.
    It is funny because I was never, ever in a position where my 11C couldnít do something a 15C could have done. Fabulous little machine.
    There was also the previous generations, with a beige plastic case and LEDs display. The 41C, wasnít it?
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  30. #30
    Master Man of Kent's Avatar
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    You are welcome to have my fx-570c if it works for your needs. Not getting any use anymore here.

  31. #31
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Funny this. I still use my 11C and the keys are perfect. I remember though my frustration at not being able to afford the 15C when I needed to buy a calculator.
    It is funny because I was never, ever in a position where my 11C couldnít do something a 15C could have done. Fabulous little machine.
    There was also the previous generations, with a beige plastic case and LEDs display. The 41C, wasnít it?
    15C was the one, but as you say...

    I tend to think of the 34C as the LED predecessor, but it wan't in a beige case. 41C is more computer like, and has a fancy alphanumeric LCD.

    https://www.hpmuseum.org

    http://www.vcalc.net/hp.htm

    © Rick Furr
    My old clock used to tell the time and subdivide diurnity; but now it's lost both hands and chime and only tells eternity. PH

  32. #32
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Thank you for that. I was thinking of the HP25/25C.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  33. #33
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Thank you for that. I was thinking of the HP25/25C.
    A Squash and a Squish. Sounds like a Julia Donaldson children's book.
    Last edited by Mr Curta; 24th October 2020 at 16:12.
    My old clock used to tell the time and subdivide diurnity; but now it's lost both hands and chime and only tells eternity. PH

  34. #34
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    Does anyone know if the HP 35s is any good? My 28s is dying - battery cover very dodgy - and the 12c doesnít does scientific functions. I donít want a Prime as it is beyond overkill for me.

  35. #35
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thenikjones View Post
    Does anyone know if the HP 35s is any good? My 28s is dying - battery cover very dodgy - and the 12c doesnít does scientific functions. I donít want a Prime as it is beyond overkill for me.
    It is fabulous... But lacks a card reader to save your programs if that is something you need.
    I believe it can switch between RPN and algebraic... but if you prefer the latter Casio has calculators that are scientific, graphic, and cheaper...
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    It is fabulous... But lacks a card reader to save your programs if that is something you need.
    I believe it can switch between RPN and algebraic... but if you prefer the latter Casio has calculators that are scientific, graphic, and cheaper...
    Thanks S-J. I love RPN, had my 28 since 1991 from memory but the battery cover is one knock away from breaking - common on this model.
    RPN on an iPhone never felt right, the physical keys make a huge difference.

    Iíll give the 35 a try.

  37. #37
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Thank you for that. I was thinking of the HP25/25C.
    Look what I spotted whilst exploring the fabulous History of Science Museum in Oxford on Tuesday.

    My old clock used to tell the time and subdivide diurnity; but now it's lost both hands and chime and only tells eternity. PH

  38. #38
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    Look what I spotted whilst exploring the fabulous History of Science Museum in Oxford on Tuesday.

    Thank you. I do not need the temptation, I already started looking at the bay
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  39. #39
    Journeyman
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    i remember this from my maths A-level!

    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    I have a Casio fs-85B - sent you a pm. - (not dot-matrix). Fired it up tonight and works fine! (Dual power source)

    Looks like this:


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