**Retro Review: Texas Instruments TI-36X Solar**

Continuing on the Labor Day 2018 of posts, I now present a
retro review of a scientific calculator I couldn’t put down as a young student:
the TI-36X Solar. For the class of non-programmable solar scientific calculators
back in the day, the TI-36X was the one of the high end calculators.

If you are expecting a review of the multi-line (and
current) TI-36X Pro, then please click here:
https://edspi31415.blogspot.com/2011/04/

**General Information**

Company: Texas
Instruments

Type: Solar
Scientific Algebraic (postfix)

Display: 10 digits
with 2 digit exponents (power of 10)

Power: Solar

Memory: 3 (store,
recall, sum (M+), exchange)

Years: 1991 - 2011

Original Cost: $15 - $20

Documentation:
Manual, Quick Reference Card

Texas Instruments no longer manufactures new TI-36X Solar calculators,
so if you want one, pawn shops or internet websites such as eBay would be the
place to get one.

**Features**

* Logarithmic and trigonometric calculations

* Base conversion and Boolean logic

* Linear Regression (intercept is labeled ITC, slope labeled
SLP, correlation labeled COR)

* Fractions with conversion and improper fraction conversion
(automatic simplification)

* Combinations and permutations

* Eight Scientific Constants and Ten Metric-US Conversions

**Scientific Constants**( [3rd], (CONST),

*appropriate key*)

C: speed of light

g: Earth’s
gravitational constant

me: Mass of an electron

e: electron charge

h: Plank’s constant

Na: Avogadro’s
constant

R: Ideal Gas Constant

G: Universal
Gravitational Constant

**Metric-US Conversions**

Centimeters/Inches (1
in = 2.54 cm)

Liters/Gallons (1 gal
= 3.785411784 L)

Pounds/Kilograms (1 lb = 0.45359237 kg)

Fahrenheit/Celsius Temperature

Grams/Ounces (1 oz = 28.34952313 g)

**The Exchange Key ([x<>y]) key does a lot**

The TI-36X makes good use of the exchange key, and it is a
non-shifted key which facilitates easy operation. In addition in allowing users to interchange
arguments (i.e. switching the subtrahend and minuend in a subtraction
calculation), the exchange key allows for:

* Entering n and r in combination and permutation calculations

* Entering x and y in Rectangular to Polar conversions

* Entering r and θ in Polar to Rectangular conversions

* Entering x and y in paired-data statistics (linear regression)

**Modes**

DEC: Decimal representation,
floating decimal mode, normal calculations

BIN, OCT, HEX:
Binary, Octal, Hexadecimal integer modes, respectively. Boolean functions such as AND, OR, and NOT
only work in these integer modes

STAT 1: 1 Variable
Statistics

STAT 2: 2 Variable Statistics/Linear
Regression

TI-36X Solar: 1991 keyboard, 1996 keyboard, 2004 keyboard |

**Keyboard Design and History**

The design of the keyboards of the TI-36X Solar evolved over
the years. The first major design was rectangular,
most of the keys were black with light font.
The arithmetic keys were at first dark gray, then blue. This was the shortest keyboard in length. The calculator had a slide hard case.

Then in 1993, the TI-36X Solar had a keyboard with a rounded
edge at the bottom of the keyboard. The
1996 version is slightly longer in size, with the yellow 2nd key and blue-purple
3rd key. Constants were labeled in
green.

The final design of the TI-36X came in 2004, with an even
bigger keyboard. This time the keyboard
was silver with the royal blue 2nd key, lime green 3rd key, and constants
marked in maroon. This is the most
readable keyboard, however the 2004 version needs more light to operate than
its previous versions. This version also
had a snap on case.

With the exception of the 1993 revamp, the keys were plastic. The 1993 version had rubber keyboards. The keys generally had a good response to
them.

Of the three TI-36X Solar calculators I have now (just
purchased one with the 1991 original style keyboard), the manufacturing dates
where 12/1990 (1991 keyboard), 6/2000 (1996 keyboard), and 6/2010 (2004
keyboard).

TI-35X, the battery operated version of the TI-36X Solar, 1993 keyboard with rubber keys |

The TI-36X Solar had a battery operated version, named the
TI-35 Plus. I have a TI-35X in a 1993
version keyboard with the rubber keys.

The TI-36X Solar was itself a successor to the TI-36
Solar. The TI-36 Solar lacked constants,
English-US conversions, fractions, and linear regression, but had complex
number arithmetic.

The successor the TI-36X Solar is the TI-36X Pro, which has
a multi-line screen, adds among other things, integration, derivatives, function
tables, textbook input/output, matrices, and additional regression types.

My introduction to the TI-36X Solar was when in I was in
middle school back in the early 1990s. I
couldn’t put this calculator down. I
wished I remembered to use the hard cover because one day I had the TI-36X Solar
in my pocket with a pencil. The pencil
poked through the solar panel and it was the end of it.

**Verdict**

The TI-36X Solar is a feature rich scientific calculator and
as I said before, one of the line non-programming solar scientific calculators at
the time. The keyboard is responsive, you
have a nice set of common constants and conversions. I like the layout of the keyboard. This is a good calculator to pick up, even if
it is just for collection purposes. For a retro calculator, the TI-36X Solar is a
definite recommend from me.

Source:

Eddie

All original
content copyright, © 2011-2018. Edward
Shore. Unauthorized use and/or
unauthorized distribution for commercial purposes without express and written
permission from the author is strictly prohibited. This blog entry may be distributed for
noncommercial purposes, provided that full credit is given to the author. Please contact the author if you have questions.

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