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Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
06-04-2018, 12:57 AM (This post was last modified: 06-04-2018 11:48 AM by Ask Mait.)
Post: #1
Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Hello everyone,
I am a structural engineer and need your help in choosing a calculator for my work. My use is often limited to general math and unit conversions, neither I need to graph anything nor I need to program something in a calculator. Those needs are best served with commercially developed softwares installed on desktop and laptop. So far I have used some models of Casio scientific and also the HP-35s, but one day I tried my daughter's 83+ and immediately fell in love with that because of its ergonomics, feel of the keypad, and the multiline display. I find that TI graphing don't have as many direct mathematical operation keys as I can get with Casio (a big drawback) but it saves my work before auto-power-off, has rubber studded base that hold it in its place on my desk and doesn't tend to slide off when in use.
So I started finding the most suitable TI calculator for me, I learnt about more advanced models like 84+, 84+CE, Nspire CX and 89. I even bought a used 89T but didn't like because it has even fewer direct math operation keys, probably it is for dedicated programmers which I am not. Saw the 36Pro at staples but with its galvanized keys and roundish corners, found it is too ugly to my taste. Came across this (attached) comparison chart from TI website but could not understand few things on it. Wondering if some of you could help me understand by answering these questions:

1) why are 83+, 84+ not advised for any engineering applications?
2) why is 84+CE not suitable for Electrical Engineering, but good for other eng. decisplines?

If this is only due to the compatibility with running some apps, then any of these could be ok for me because the only app I could use is the unit conversion from imperial to metric and vise-versa.

Much appreciated is your patient reading and your advise if I could get.
Thank you very much

Mait


Attached File(s)
.pdf  Graphing Calc comparison.pdf (Size: 264 KB / Downloads: 34)
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06-04-2018, 06:19 AM
Post: #2
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
[Image: burn_him.png?1495326797]

Big Grin

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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06-04-2018, 07:17 AM
Post: #3
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Dare I suggest a frontal lobotomy?


Pauli
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06-04-2018, 08:33 AM
Post: #4
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Mait,
Despite the fact that this is primarily an HP calculator enthusiast forum, a number of members here have experience with the TI models you are asking about. I suspect they will show up sooner or later to chime in on your questions. You might also consider posting your questions on a TI calculator forum as well. Keep in mind that this comparison chart was prepared by TI marketing with the goal to help sell as many calculators as possible.
"You bought a TI-84 in High School because it was required by the curriculum. That's great but now that you are studying electrical engineering in college you should really also buy a TI-89. It will be a big savings in the long run."
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06-04-2018, 10:17 AM
Post: #5
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
I'm a physics teacher rather than an engineer, but I do own several of these TI calculators. If you like the TI-83+ you'll probably love the TI-86: well out of production but still available on various auction sites. It's got the multi-line display that you like, and a two-line menu on the screen gives access to lots of functions. There is full support for complex numbers (no "complex mode" needed) and it is easy to program, even if you don't want to at the moment.

(The TI-85 has almost exactly the same functionality, but less memory (still plenty if you aren't programming) and a lower-contrast display.)

It will do plenty of unit conversions; what it doesn't have (I think) are unit objects, which the TI-89 and several HP calculators have. Conversions may be all that you need; I think you can define your own if you want to.

The TI-85 and TI-86 feel as though they have been designed for people who are actually going to use them, rather than principally for students.

Nigel (UK)
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06-04-2018, 12:22 PM (This post was last modified: 06-04-2018 12:23 PM by Ask Mait.)
Post: #6
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Thank you Nigel, Steve, Paul and Massimo for your time and kind words. You have a wonderful day.
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06-04-2018, 03:13 PM
Post: #7
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Mait,

I know you're asking about TI calculators, but I thought I'd offer you my thoughts. I'm a practicing civil engineer (surface water hydrologist) and my "grab-it" calculator was an HP-11C (vintage) that stays on my desk. That unit will be replaced by an HP-41CX (just acquired) and I'm learning its keyboard now.

The 11C has gone with me to many meetings and is a great form factor for carrying. It's plenty capable for routine calculations. The 41CX is only slightly larger and brings a lot more capability in only a slightly larger package. It will carry well in my travel kit.

For anything a little more challenging, I have an HP-48GX in its case on my desk. I have written a number of programs for it that will solve problems that are not amenable to hand calculations (solve Mannings equation, energy equation, specific force equation, etc). I don't care for it as much because it is so much larger and doesn't really fit in the hand like the other calculators do. It is a beast, though, and it is one I bought new back in the early 90s when my HP-28C decided to drop memory routinely.

I had a TI-59 many years ago (couldn't afford an HP) in graduate school. I had many programs for that calculator (some I wrote; others were shared). It was a good calculator, but nothing like the HPs that were available.

I have no experience with Casio calculators. They never appealed to me.

In any event, I hope these musings help you along your way to a new calculator.

Good luck!
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06-04-2018, 04:17 PM
Post: #8
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
The 86 was one of the last times TI designed a calculator for engineers rather than students. I suspect you'll find it a nice upgrade from an 83, as long as you don't mind the lack of more modern features like Math Print.
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06-04-2018, 10:07 PM
Post: #9
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
(06-04-2018 10:17 AM)Nigel (UK) Wrote:  you'll probably love the TI-86: well out of production but still available on various auction sites.

That is true, the only problem with TI85/86 it is impossible to find one which have no LCD problem (because of poor quality of LCD/motherboard connection) - which as I know hard to fix by yourself.

I really like my TI83+, because it is easy to programming and very handy to store few equations and type in measured data and store it into a list and do what you want in statistics on the data. Maybe the TI-84+ is better, because you can make your programs on PC and you can upload to the calculator.

The big drawback is the one character long variable names. It is terrible if you want to make programs on these units.

Mait, if you want a really good calculator for engineering, that is one HP-48xx or maybe a 49G. These units are the typical do-anything calculators but they are really slow machines.

Or you can select a powerful CASIO from the 80's AND another TI. As I guess, you will use the little CASIO frequently and sometimes the big one.

I am a mechanical engineer and I need to store lots of equations during my work, therefore I use a simple machine with a powerful solver for that. Currently my loved HP32SII, but my equations are stored in my 35S and in my 48GX also (and in my 49G, 39GS, 17BII, TI-83+, TI-84+, etc...)

Csaba
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06-05-2018, 02:05 PM
Post: #10
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Csaba Tizedes
Nigel (UK)
Dave Britten
Dr. D.B.Thompson
Steve Simpkin,

I appreciate your time and sharing your experiences. Here is the summary of what I could learn from you and also, what I plan doing on it:

1) HP-48xx/ 49xx/ 39/ 42/all other HP calculators - Typically these are engineers' best friends but after using 35s almost exclusively in rpn mode for 9 years I have come to the conclusion that those are not my thing. I have found that I miss strokes (with 35s) and while rpn requires fewer key strokes, the extra force needed to push a key accompanied by the need to continuously check the screen for missed strokes slows me down. So for calculator/s I would like to stay away from HP however HP is my good books. My desktops have always been HPs, their website gives comprehensive information about all their product and they provide very good customer service here in Canada.

2) Casios - They have been my buddies since 1983, no complaint with keyboard, I can key in a lengthy equation without looking at the screen, they have maximum number of math. operatior buttons....but do not save the work before auto power-off, I lose my work if I attend a phone or reply to an email in between. Also, they are light weight and don't come with non-slip rubber pad. These are great to carry in a hip pocket and used handheld on sites but not as stable on a desk with one hand operation. Sorry Casio but I will have to let you go after 3-1/2 decades of sincere service.

3) TIs - I find that I am liking the feel of their keys, (compared to HP) it saves my work before power off, stays where I place it on the desk, has multi line display. Although it doesn't have as many math operator keys but I will learn to live with that. Now I know that some discontinued models like 85 and 86 were even better than 83/ 84, I will keep this in mind when I am visiting neighborhood garage-sales, but won't jump to buy today off of e-bay. I got worried when I saw that chart on TI website calling 83+ unsuitable for any engineering application and 84+CE useless for electrical engineering. Seems that it is more of a sales gimmick. I plan to use 83+ exclusively from today for my work. I have ordered the fancy TI-graphlink usb cable that could connect it to my desktop and then I would even be able to download and install unit conversion app from TI website.

Once again my sincere thanks for your advises, I might not be taking them as is but these were very useful in my decision making.

Sincerely'
Mait
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06-05-2018, 03:03 PM
Post: #11
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
(06-05-2018 02:05 PM)Ask Mait Wrote:  1) HP-48xx/ 49xx/ 39/ 42/all other HP calculators - Typically these are engineers' best friends but after using 35s almost exclusively in rpn mode for 9 years I have come to the conclusion that those are not my thing. I have found that I miss strokes (with 35s) and while rpn requires fewer key strokes, the extra force needed to push a key accompanied by the need to continuously check the screen for missed strokes slows me down. So for calculator/s I would like to stay away from HP however HP is my good books. My desktops have always been HPs, their website gives comprehensive information about all their product and they provide very good customer service here in Canada.

Please don't mix post-Fiorina's devices with an earlier, much more glorious, age.
You simply couldn't express such a thought if you would have used one of those HP calculators that had a proper keyboard. In your list it means, at least, 48 and 42 (but I didn't miss keystrokes on any 49, too).

You were only exposed to a 35s, bad luck. Please don't generalize.

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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06-05-2018, 03:20 PM
Post: #12
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
(06-04-2018 12:57 AM)Ask Mait Wrote:  Saw the 36Pro at staples but with its galvanized keys and roundish corners, found it is too ugly to my taste.

Once you get past the silver-on-silver key coloring, it's quite a nice calculator to use. I have to look twice at the silver-on-silver keys, because the ÷,×,+,− keys are one position higher up than I'd expect them to be!

Unlike the Casio calculators in the same price range, it doesn't lose its history when it powers off.
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06-05-2018, 03:23 PM
Post: #13
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Hello!

And yet another view on the subject which of course has intersections with previous posts: I am an engineer by training and during university and post-graduate studies used Ti calculators exclusively (simply because at that time - 1980ies - HP calculators were unaffordable for me as a student). I never found anything wrong with AOS :-) But I also had access to HP calculators and am somewhat familiar with RPN. To this day I have no clear preference. At work in engineering I hardly ever needed a pocket calculator because the problems to be solved required something way more capable. No I work in a different field (aviation) and do not need a calculator at all. But I collect calculators and own about every single model mentioned in that thread.

- HP48 and similar: I you don't like RPN much as wou write, stay well away! They are programmed in RPL which is about the most horrible thing I have come across in computers. And additionally they have an awful display (extremely low contrast LCD) and frequent keyboard issues. When I got my first HP-48 (an SX variant if I remember correctly) I played a little with it and then laid it aside in disgust and didn't ever touch it again.

- If you have a sweet spot for collectible yet usable calculators then you might look at HP classics (especially the "Woodstocks" HP25C, 29C and 19C and their modern "Woodstock low power" conversions and the wonderful HP-67). They have the best keyboards of all calculators ever made - you really do not need to look at the display whilst typing numbers and can perform most mathematical calculations an engineer would do on a pocket calculators. (Show me one single engineer who is paid for doing efficient work for a company and who uses a pocket calculator for matrix operations with complex numbers!!!)

- Ti graphic calculator models: I own many of them for the sake of an extensive collection and have played with them to some degree. I absolutely fail to see why some would be useful more for engineering work whilst others would be for students mainly. With the exception of the latest nSpire models maybe which are really a bit clumsy for being used as "simple" calculators. The Ti86 you mention is a good tool for the job, but personally I prefer the Ti89 or 89 titanium. Simple because their screen is better. Or, if size doesn't matter, a Ti Voyage 200 which is a Ti89 with a larger screen and a proper QWERTY keyboard.

Regards
Max
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06-05-2018, 04:17 PM
Post: #14
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
(06-05-2018 02:05 PM)Ask Mait Wrote:  2) Casios - They have been my buddies since 1983, no complaint with keyboard, I can key in a lengthy equation without looking at the screen, they have maximum number of math. operatior buttons....but do not save the work before auto power-off, I lose my work if I attend a phone or reply to an email in between. Also, they are light weight and don't come with non-slip rubber pad. These are great to carry in a hip pocket and used handheld on sites but not as stable on a desk with one hand operation. Sorry Casio but I will have to let you go after 3-1/2 decades of sincere service.

If you are going for the size of the ti 80 series (81, 82, etc..) then the 9860G or 9860GII series would work too and they save the state at poweroff. Same for fx-CG series and 9850 / 9750 series.

For the TI. I guess if ordinary math is needed (I am not sure about units, neither for TI nor Casio), then the 82, 83, 84, 86 should be enough. The 89 has everything and then some in terms of solutions developed by the community.

The nspire is unknown to me, I got a model but I find it clumsy to use without Ti software.

Wikis are great, Contribute :)
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06-05-2018, 04:26 PM
Post: #15
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
(06-05-2018 03:20 PM)ijabbott Wrote:  
(06-04-2018 12:57 AM)Ask Mait Wrote:  Saw the 36Pro at staples but with its galvanized keys and roundish corners, found it is too ugly to my taste.

Once you get past the silver-on-silver key coloring, it's quite a nice calculator to use. I have to look twice at the silver-on-silver keys, because the ÷,×,+,− keys are one position higher up than I'd expect them to be!

Unlike the Casio calculators in the same price range, it doesn't lose its history when it powers off.

I had the same problem, but it was easily remedied with an ultra-fine-point Sharpie. Smile

   
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06-05-2018, 05:11 PM (This post was last modified: 06-05-2018 05:11 PM by ijabbott.)
Post: #16
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
(06-05-2018 04:26 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  
(06-05-2018 03:20 PM)ijabbott Wrote:  Once you get past the silver-on-silver key coloring, it's quite a nice calculator to use. I have to look twice at the silver-on-silver keys, because the ÷,×,+,− keys are one position higher up than I'd expect them to be!

I had the same problem, but it was easily remedied with an ultra-fine-point Sharpie. Smile

Nice! I wonder if black chinagraph pencil / china marker would work? Fill in the indentations and wipe off the excess. Or maybe india ink?
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06-05-2018, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 06-06-2018 06:39 AM by Manolo Sobrino.)
Post: #17
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
I subscribe to the TI-86 recommendation. It's a fine professional calculator with a more readable screen than the 89, it's sturdy and packages a lot of functionality that you can figure out easily with the occasional peep at the user guide. My favourite TI calc by far. I keep spares although my first one, which I bought used years ago, works and looks great.

Also recommended this one to a young engineer instead of the 50G. Yes I did that and I don't regret it, neither does she: she could focus on her degree instead of getting to know that beast, which was the general idea really.

I'm surprised at the "poor LCD connection quality" comment. Not my experience at all, that might be a problem with the 82 and 85 (bluish LCDs and heat seal connectors that are getting too old). There's a lot of garbage on ebay, but also lots of them in very good shape there and elsewhere. I've seen a few times vendors selling them as broken, "black screen", because they just pop batteries in and don't lower the contrast, it's funny.
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06-06-2018, 02:42 AM
Post: #18
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Oh, I neglected to mention that the Casio fx-9860gii is definitely worth a look. It's much faster than a TI-83 or 86, and the screen has much higher contrast, plus a backlight. And it does math print input, which you won't get on the older TIs.

It does have a couple of drawbacks vs. a TI, though:

- No multi-character variable names like the 86.
- Programming is a little obnoxious; there's nothing like the Disp command on a TI. If you want to show something on the screen, you can either write it to specific X,Y coordinates, or you can use the little triangle command that prints something terminal-I/O style, but also pauses the program until you hit Enter. The ? command for user input is similarly lacking in flexibility.

But the built-in software is excellent, and includes unit conversions, binary math, finance, statistics, plenty of graphing options, a pretty usable (if very basic) spreadsheet, etc.
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06-06-2018, 07:09 AM
Post: #19
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
I'll third the Casio fx-9xxx and CG series as worth a look. I have a CG50 myself.

You could also take a punt on one of the unofficial "ghost run" manufactured HP 39gs calculators available from Chinese sites such as AliExpress, and from Chinese sellers on eBay. They are fully working, without serial numbers. The keyboard seems to be the same quality as HP 50g, but the display is smaller and has fairly poor contrast compared to the 50g. They are available for nearly throw-away prices though, so if you don't get on with it, it's no big deal.
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06-06-2018, 03:18 PM
Post: #20
RE: Need advice from Engineers who are also TI users
Thank you members for your continuous support, I am grateful to you all.
Since some of you are suggesting Casio's graphing calcs, can I ask you to compare it with fx-5800P. this is programmable non-graphics I guess. I would like to know if the lid can be removed without breaking the hinge? or it just folds back.
Also I will try 39gs.
Thanks again
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