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Tomasz Grysztar
Assembly Artist


Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 7721
Location: Kraków, Poland
Tomasz Grysztar
Today I found a website with materials about a great collection of old Soviet calculators, and among others I've found the one I've been using for many years (I had two of them; one broke, but the other one I still have at home working flawlessly), the Elektronika MK 61. It has a fluorescent display, which I consider a great thing and it was quite a powerful machine for me in the days when I haven't had any PC yet (though the calculations were slow - I recall that computing the sine took several seconds). The best thing about it was that it was RPN.
Is there anyone but me here that had used any of such calculators?

There's also other interesting model shown on that page - the MK 98 (and some other very similar ones), which appears to have x86-compatible assembler! I regret I never had a chance to play with such machine in old days. Smile
Post 22 Sep 2008, 15:36
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ender



Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Posts: 11
Location: London, UK
ender
God, this is marvelous! I immediately get freaky when it comes to such things like old good calculators. It started when I was given my first one - Citizen SRP-45. It was given to me by an aunt.
Several years later I decided to buy a more powerful version - SRP-175, as the previous one lacked some function important when I tried to "program" this tiny little bit and I didn't imagine that more powerful machines then Citizen exist (even if I did, I couldn't have afforded any of them).
Unfortunately I've lost both of those pieces of hardware - that's really a pity and I regret it very much.
Anyway: Now I own only(?) two of such ones: The first is TI-86, probably the second calulator that was able to be programmed in Assembly language. The first one was TI-85, a bit less powerful older brother. Assembly programming in that model required to use a small hack however. Both of them run on Zilog Z80 processor, clocked at 6MHz and advanteges of Assembly have started to be used so often, that, releasing TI-86, Texas Instruments decided to make this hack a feature in fact.
But I also decided to buy another one, that I have lately found on Allegro (kind of Polish eBay). The model is HP-48GX and this one is really, really cool! Though it runs only on 4MHz Saturn processor, what something makes it work definitely more slowly (also because some higher level aspects like symbolical integration etc.), I find it more versatile than TI.
It has more memory in comparison with TI (and much more than my first PC, Commodore-64). Saturn itself is also quite interesting - it's 8bit processor, but sits inside of additional logic layer that translates all addresses and data to 4bit, a nibble. Despite it, however, it has a RS232 and IR ports. Oh! I forgot to mention - it's main data input format is Reverse Polish Notation. I was really sick to have at least one. Finally - I have and it really makes me just happy. Well, I don't know why, but - who cares...

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Last edited by ender on 22 Sep 2008, 16:49; edited 1 time in total
Post 22 Sep 2008, 16:34
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Tomasz Grysztar
Assembly Artist


Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 7721
Location: Kraków, Poland
Tomasz Grysztar
Thanks for those links, I found out that they have Elektronika MK 61 reviewed there, too.
Post 22 Sep 2008, 16:47
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vid
Verbosity in development


Joined: 05 Sep 2003
Posts: 7105
Location: Slovakia
vid
Now I feel like too young... that happens rarely on this forum Smile

I had 286 since i was about 8 (my father worked in one of first companies that imported PCs), and I remember throwing together some "line" and "?plot/pixel/putpixel?" commands trying to "draw" something in Basic.
Post 22 Sep 2008, 22:04
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tom tobias



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 1320
Location: usa
tom tobias
Keep in mind, in 50 years, the computer you are using to view this webpage will be landfill, but your trusty slide rule will just be nicely broken in!

Smile
Post 23 Sep 2008, 03:17
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
Right on tom! Slide Rules,... well, rule! As you know, I collect them and I recently purchased a rare Russian aviation slide rule. I really like this one because it's well used and for some reason I like the cyrillic notations on it.
I really enjoyed looking at those calculator pages. I've been using my trusty HP 41-CX (RPN) for over twenty years now ... in fact I used it just about an hour ago (to calculate bills ... Mad ).
I found some Elektonika MK 61 calculators on ebay .... tempted, but I don't need another hobby just now. Very Happy
Post 23 Sep 2008, 12:50
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Madis731



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 2141
Location: Estonia
Madis731
http://geofix-computer.de/pc-e500s.jpg
Still have it. I coded in BASIC and even in machine code in it. There was no assembler Razz

I even made a game for it. "Dungeons"-like. There was an autogenerator for rooms and doors, which were connected. It was blazingly fast Smile
Post 24 Sep 2008, 08:36
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ender



Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Posts: 11
Location: London, UK
ender
Oh, maybe calling this a hobby is too much, but slide rules are also things that I'm keen on - I own only four (there should be the fifth one somewhere in my hometown Smile ) and I like them for... well call it elegance in simplicity.
HyperVista: Isn't RPN beautiful? Smile
Madis: This SHARP Pocket Computer is really nice thing. But... if really true, it's a pity one couldn't use machine language.
Post 24 Sep 2008, 10:27
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madmatt



Joined: 07 Oct 2003
Posts: 1045
Location: Michigan, USA
madmatt
I bought a slide rule at my local goodwill store, I've had it for over a year now and still haven't figured out how to use it. It doesn't look as fancy as those on the "slide rule universe website". Were these things actually better than using the old mathbook lookup tables? Confused
Post 24 Sep 2008, 15:35
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
madmatt - yes, the slide rule actually is better than looking up mathbook tables, and more fun too! While this link is specific to the Castelle brand of slide rule, you should get the idea on how to do calculations on your slide rule. It's fun to play around with them when you have some idle time.

ender - YES, RPN is a beautiful thing indeed. But I can't tell you how many times I've begun RPN calculations on an ad hoc handy calculator (not RPN) and have had to start over again when I realize the calculator available doesn't do RPN ... Confused
Post 24 Sep 2008, 20:53
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shoorick



Joined: 25 Feb 2005
Posts: 1605
Location: Ukraine
shoorick
i got my first calculator at 1984 - it was B3-34 (Б3-34 - previus to Elektronika MK-61). it was stolen once at 1998, but later i got another one of same 1984 - it still works. also i have MK-52 - same as MK-61, but have 1kb eeprom inside.

ImageImage
as we have no pc available that time, games on programmable calculators were very popular. they were printed mostly in "Technika for youth" (техника - молодёжи) magazine. my most favorite was Lunolet-3 (moon shuttle) - the program of 97 steps emulates movement of shuttle around air-less planet in order to main laws of phisic.

a funny case was with it: calculator was very slow, so, after entering step parameters it was calculating next shuttle position and speed some time. this was used at school: teachers were not known on these games yet, so, calculations were not prohibited... but once a literature teacher asked us: what are you calculated there at literature lesson??? and told us not to keep calculators at the desk at her lessons anymore Very Happy

++++++++++++++++++++++++

btw, when these calculators were popular, they were often called as "calculator without '='" - because of RPN they have button with arrow upward - to push number into stack, while result have been displayed after operation pressed, thus there were no "=" button, and this was main reason so people were look stupid pressing "2 + 3" and then searching for "=" as at traditional calculators Very Happy
it has to be "2 | 3 +" here ("|" means button with arrow)


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Post 25 Sep 2008, 09:31
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madmatt



Joined: 07 Oct 2003
Posts: 1045
Location: Michigan, USA
madmatt
HyperVista wrote:
madmatt - yes, the slide rule actually is better than looking up mathbook tables, and more fun too! While this link is specific to the Castelle brand of slide rule, you should get the idea on how to do calculations on your slide rule. It's fun to play around with them when you have some idle time.


I took a look at the webpage you posted, I don't know if I'd have the patience to learn something that complicated but, fortunately, my slide rule isn't as "feature rich" as the one shown on the website. Smile I don't know how much "fun" it would be, kind of like playing with an old Commodore Vic-20 computer. In its day it was fun, but I don't want to ever go back to the days 4kb of memory, 1-mhz processors, and 8 color, lores, ugly blobs of pixels. I'd learn it from historical perspective only, and I guess it would be nice to know when the power goes out and the calulator batteries die out. Very Happy

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Post 25 Sep 2008, 16:39
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shoorick



Joined: 25 Feb 2005
Posts: 1605
Location: Ukraine
shoorick
there is a lot of places where you can see these calculators foto. but do not know inner views are same available Smile
so, just for your interest - mine b3-34 inside:

Image

Image

regards!

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Post 23 Oct 2008, 05:08
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shoorick



Joined: 25 Feb 2005
Posts: 1605
Location: Ukraine
shoorick
another alive caclulator which i have - mk-52 - has eeprom inside, complex schema because of it as it is old technology and requires ~ -30V (or so, do not remember), also 145 series (used in all calculators) has negative logic: 0 = 0V, 1 = -15V. because of this has complex power generator (not present on foto) and eats batteries too fast, esp. when eeprom operations provided.

these calculators have serial circular data bus, because of it they appeared noticable slow, but they were great for that time! Smile

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Post 27 Oct 2008, 14:44
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