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Victor MEC calculators from the early 1970's
08-29-2015, 10:20 PM
Post: #14
RE: Victor MEC calculators from the early 1970's
(08-29-2015 06:58 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  
(08-29-2015 06:23 PM)Gene Wrote:  Here's a version that's green. Notice the column of missing buttons!

Yeah Gene, I saw that one. That's the model without memory.
....................... Which raises the question, if you removed the caps and put something you could press in their place, would the memory functions then work (in other words, maybe both use the same firmware)? ......................................

Interesting question. With the high price of memory in '72 it could be doubtful.

For example, if the program/data memory used in the machine had leftover capacity for the microcode and register, possibly. You'd think blank keycaps would save production costs over using different PCB/components just to market a lower-cost model. Adding memory in order to make the internals between models identical in order to save production line costs seems unlikely.

My feeble recollection of calculators in the early 70's is a calc with a "big brother" simply adding a memory register could easily cost $50-$150 more, retail. Assumption being with no real/significant manufacturing costs some manufacturer would sell big brother for the same price and watch them sell like hotcakes. At least until other vendors decided to follow suit.

Other vendors jumping on the band-wagon might not have readily occured. People were delighted with these new "wonder tools" but electronics were foreign to the every-day-joe. Seems I remember a general attitude of mistrust due to "I don't understand how they work." So vendors who catered to traditional sales channels, like office equipment stores (remember those?) with a polished, in a suit salesman claiming higher cost due to better quality, lasts longer, etc. might have charged more with no manufacturing cost variance. With the relatively high price of calcs back then who'd want to spend "that kind of money" on something cheap. I remember sales pitches like those. Probably meaning they weren't selling their new (came out by the month) models until they there was some older inventory reduction.

However, your question is still interesting. I'm no memory expert but memory internals was often configured in "page" sizes, with 1 to N number of pages per memory unit. i.e. memory manufacturing wasn't down to order by the bit; be it separate chips or onboard memory of some sort.

Would be interesting what someone older & wiser than me would have to say.
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RE: Victor MEC calculators from the early 1970's - Duane Hess - 08-29-2015 10:20 PM

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