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Suggest Calculator For Electrical Engineering

  1. Aug 10, 2011 #1
    Which calculator do you think is suitable? I want Complex Matrix Solving and other aspescts of electrical engineering that requires handling complex numbers such as hyperbolic functions with complex arguments.
    Further more, Entering User Program (preferably through a computer) and a graphic Display would be nice.
    Budget upto 200$. (Don't means, it has to be 200$, lesser the better)
    Happy suggesting :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2011 #2
    Try MATLAB but i dont know the price. with MATLAB you can do a lot of different types of calculations in the field of engineering.
  4. Aug 10, 2011 #3
    I've used Casio scientific calculator throughout EE, it has been extremely handy, quick and very lightweight calculator, and it can do some complex numbers as well. Many students also used this calculator. I don't think there is a need for an advanced graphing calculator.

    The more advanced stuff is done in Matlab, so the extra time spend learning how to use it instead of using a graphing calculator is golden.

  5. Aug 10, 2011 #4


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    I had a TI-89--it's got a CAS (computer algebra system--i.e. can do symbolic math) and a really nice display that also does pretty print.

    And of course, it can easily handle the complex and imaginary stuff.
  6. Aug 10, 2011 #5
    TI-89. I can't recommend it enough. I graduated months ago and I still use it every day. The symbolic math (including complex math) is really great - and you can set it to output functions in a very readable format, like you'd write it on paper. You can easily store things in variables (both symbols and scalars).

    My favorite store sells it for $140 here: https://www.amazon.com/Texas-Instruments-Advanced-Graphing-Calculator/dp/B00000JF55/
  7. Aug 10, 2011 #6
    I am personally a big fan of the TI-89. I've owned them for 10 years, I have one sitting on my desk right now. The newer ones (Titanium Models) have a nice USB interface for uploading programs directly to the calc without having to use a serial port. I do think that its about time that Texas Instruments upgraded the design though. I mean, it hasn't changed in almost 15 years, and it is still the same price?

    It does everything you could need though. Very nice choice, the best one out there in my opinion. But a higher def screen would be nice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2011
  8. Aug 10, 2011 #7
    I think it's not a bad idea to have a calculator which has matrix functionality, for solving systems of linear equations. I made use of this functionality while I was taking the circuits course, and it saved me time an effort. For some circuits you may even use a technique for creating an augmented matrix without having to write any equations, and just taking values from the diagram.

    It is also nice to be able to view multiple line expressions, and a history. So I recommend a graphing calculator. If you'd rather something cheaper than the TI-89, I think the TI-86 served me well. It has been discontinued, but you should be able to buy it used.
  9. Aug 10, 2011 #8
    Although it may be obvious from your descriptions ("It can do everything you need"), but just to confirm, Does TI-89 do Complex Matrices?
  10. Aug 11, 2011 #9
    After some searching, I think "TI-Nspire CAS with touchpad" is better than TI-89. As anybody used that calculator
  11. Aug 11, 2011 #10
    MathCAD, I haven't used a hand-held calculator since.
  12. Aug 11, 2011 #11


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    Hey, I_am, have you already been accepted to engineering school, or at least know which school you will attend? If so, ask them for guidelines. Some very advanced calculators might lot be allowed for exams, and it would be a shame to waste money buying more calculator than you need, and then having to buy another one that suits their guidelines.
  13. Aug 11, 2011 #12
    In my EE program we are only allowed to use one specific calculator. Like Turbo mentioned, it would be a good idea to find out what the school allows before buying a $150 doorstop. Although I guess you could still use it, but you will want to be practicing on the recommended calc because thats the one you will be using for all your exams and quizzes. If you are curious, my school uses the sharp el-520w or the sharp el-w516.
  14. Aug 12, 2011 #13
    I dont care about exam acceptance. I am already into my final year in my ee so i have already passed much of the ocasions when advanced calculator would have helped me.they are mostly teaching theories and management now. Anyway i want it to help me in homework, selfstudy, and future. Matlab or mathcads are great But I dont like always carrying around netbooks.
  15. Aug 12, 2011 #14
    In that case get the TI-89 titanium. It can even be overclocked to make 3d graphing a little bit faster. Anything more and it's time to move to matlab.
  16. Aug 12, 2011 #15

    I haven't used it, but at least one gentleman on the internet recommends the former: http://www.techpoweredmath.com/review-ti-89-vs-ti-nspire-cas/" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  17. Aug 13, 2011 #16
    It may be funny for you seeing me switching decisions, but, After days of researching I am now almost about to buy Hp-50g, mainly because, it does Laplace Transform, has brighter Display, Unlimited Memory Due to SD card feature, Some say its CAS is more powerful, RPN feature, Some say it has better programming options (my main priority). I am putt-off by its reported battery life, But I am ready to compromise it. Further, its cheaper. 100$ in amazon.
    The downpoint I have heard is its lower resolution for graphs, But thats not my priority.
  18. Aug 13, 2011 #17
    Hey - that's good info. Sometime us old guys get stuck in our ways. Thanks for sharing.
  19. Sep 25, 2011 #18
    My school recommends the HP-50, but I've been using the TI-nSPIRE CAS, (and recently upgraded to the TI-nSPIRE CX CAS for the better display).

    With the release of the nSPIRE 3.0 operating system the main feature missing compared to the HP-50 is laplace transforms, but those can be added with the TAMUDFEQ 2.0 package from Texas A&M University.

    I used, and loved, my TI-89/Titanium, (but I always hated the display)... The new nSPIRE CX CAS does everything my TI-89 did, but on a crisp color display! (and with a rechargeable battery too).

    Find someone who has (and knows how to use) the nSPIRE CX CAS... Try it and then buy one for yourself!
  20. Sep 25, 2011 #19
    I like the HP-50 because of RPN mostly, but I've heard you can use rpn in the texas instrument...not sure how.
    I love calculators, too bad they become kind of useless after you finish college.
  21. Oct 2, 2011 #20

    jim hardy

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    i bought a HP 38G at a thrift store for virtually nothing.

    it appears less than intuitive what the keys do ........

    there's an "enter" key and no "equal" key so i guess it's RPN
    but it doesn't execute when hit an arithmetic key just writes it into a sequence on the screen.
    It looks as if hitting "enter" again executes whatever arithmetic sequence was keyed in...

    I sense this is a powerful machine that might replace my K&E mahogany slide rule
    so i am looking for a downloadable user manual.

    anybody have experience or opinion on HP38G ?

    right now i'd swap it for a 20 inch Decilon.

    old jim
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