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Logic system. Does your calculator use algebraic or RPN (reverse Polish notation) logic? How do you tell? An algebraic calculator has an = key; An RPN calculator has an ENTER key. To add two numbers (say, 2 & 3) on an algebraic calculator, you type the keys "2 + 3 =". On an RPN calculator, you type "2 ENTER 3 +".
|Algebraic or RPN?||Algebraic|
|Algebraic calculators can be further subdivided into AOS and DAL. If you know which type yours is, you can write that here. Otherwise, you will figure that out later on the form.||DAL|
Shift keys. Shift keys are used to get the second (or third) function for a particular key. If there are two shift keys, list both.
|What is the label on the "shift" key(s)||SHIFT|
|Where is the shift key?||top left|
Scientific notation; entering. Identify the key used to enter the exponent. (It is usually EE or EXP, or similar.)
* A special case concerns entering a number that starts with 1x in scientific notation: do you need to enter the 1? Try it... Calculate 1x1012 * 2. Do it twice, once with the first 1 and once without it. Do you need to enter the 1 to get the correct answer, 2x1012?
* The key for making an exponent negative is the same key used for entering negative numbers.
|What is the label on the key for entering exponents?||EXP|
|Where is that key?||bottom row, center|
|When entering a number that starts with 1x in scientific notation, do you need to enter the 1? (e.g., 1x1012)||no; just enter EXP 12|
|What is the key for making an exponent negative?||(-) (or use the regular minus key)|
|Where is that key?||(-): far left column, 2 keys above the 7|
Scientific notation; display.
| Most scientific calculators allow you to "force" the display to use (or to not use) scientific notation.
Many calculators allow you to set the number of decimal places displayed.
(Some calculators also have an option for "Engineering notation", which is a variation of Scientific notation. Not important for most people.)
Press MODE key repeatedly until it shows you the screen for Fix/Sci/Norm. Choose as shown there, 1 = Fix, 2 = Sci, 3 = Norm. (The MODE key is next to ON, near upper right.)
If you choose Fix, you will be asked to choose the number of decimal places. If you choose Sci, you will be asked to choose the number of significant figures.
Logarithms (and anti-logs). In intro chem we most often use base 10 logs (log10), for example with pH. The log10 is the power of 10 of the number. For example, the log10 of 1000 is 3; and then the antilog10 of 3 is 1000.
* On some calculators, you press the LOG key before the number, and on some you press the number then the LOG key.
|How is the log10 key labeled?||log|
|How is the base 10 antilog key labeled?||10x. It is Shift log.|
|To take the log10 of 1000 which do you enter first, the number or the LOG key?||The log key. That is, enter log 1000.|
|The preceding step serves to distinguish AOS and DAL calculators. If your calculator uses algebraic notation, and if you enter the number first, then it is AOS; if you enter the LOG first, it is DAL. The same pattern holds for other one-key functions, such as antilog and square root.|
Base e logs (loge or ln) are called natural logs. We do not use these in intro chem, but you are likely to use them if you go much beyond that.
|How are the keys labeled for natural logs and antilogs?|| ln
anti-log: ex. It is Shift ln.
Miscellaneous. These are functions we do not use in intro chem, but which you are likely to use in other math and science courses. Briefly noted here.
| Angles: degrees or radians
(Some calculators also have an option for "grad". The grad is 0.9 degree, so that a right angle is 100 grad. Not commonly used.)
|Press MODE key repeatedly until it shows you the screen for Deg/Rad/Gra. Then press 1 for degrees, 2 for radians, 3 for grad.|
|Polar vs rectangular coordinates|
You. Please provide your name and e-mail, so I can check back with you if there are questions (and maybe have you proofread the web page for your calculator). We will not list your name at the web site without your explicit permission. We will not make your e-mail available in any case.
| May we list your name in the collection (at the web site), to give you credit for providing this information?
If yes, how would you like your name listed? ("handles" ok.)
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Last update: April 9, 2015