Types of Calculators 

Objectives:
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to: 
1. Choose an appropriate
calculator.
2. Describe the difference between standard algebraic notation and Reverse Polish Notation. 



Introduction
A calculators can be a terrific timesaving tool, but only if the operator is skilled at using their particular calculator to perform the particular calculations needed. Therefore, it is essential to both select an appropriate calculator, and to gain a measure of skill and familiarity with that particular calculator.Selecting an Appropriate Calculator College students are often asked to purchase a particular make and model of calculator by their professors. There are also some instances where a calculator could be so powerful that a teacher or test proctor would not allow a student to use it. 

Handheld calculators often perform basic operations, and have a memory feature. These are wonderful tools, but of limited use in many scientific, technological, and engineering applications. 
TI501 Handheld Calculator 

Graphing calculators, however, are more powerful and versatile, often with special features for solving engineering problems. In addition to displaying graphs, they are often programmable. Here are some examples from three of the most popular manufacturers. Click on the hyperlinks to visit manufacturers' Websites. 

Texas Instruments has a variety of models.
Some interface with a computer, and with a calculator based laboratory
(The entire guidebook for the TI89 is available for free download here.) 
TI89 Graphing Calculator 

The TI92 Plus, though costly and larger than most graphing calculators, is one of the most powerful. 
TI92 Plus Graphing Calculator 

HewlettPackard is another popular manufacturer. Some HP calculators feature Reverse Polish Notation, mentioned below. 
HP 49g Graphing Calculator 

Casio is a successful competitor in many consumer electronics areas. Casio offers an array of graphing calculators. 
Casio ALGFX2.0 Graphing Calculator 

Criteria for selecting a calculator
should include cost, features, ease of use, durability, documentation,
expandability, and support. Some students are glad they had asked their
teachers for their recommendations of specific calculator models.


Reverse Polish Notation  Some find it more convenient to enter formulas as algebraic equations, using an "equals" key to submit an expression and get an answer. An alternate system commonly used by HewlettPackard and some other manufacturers is Reverse Polish Notation (RPN).  
If you wanted to find out
the value of 53 cubed using a standard algebraic notation calculator, you
might enter:
www.hp.com/calculators/techsupport/manuals/49g/english/AppendixE.pdf to find the value of 53 cubed using an RPN calculator you might enter:
Endnote Whichever calculator you choose, be sure to read through the owner's manual thoroughly. Practice with a variety of different problems. You may find that "playing with a calculator" is a terrific way to review and learn mathematics. 



All information
is subject to change without notification.
© Jim Flowers Department of Technology, Ball State University 