Texas Instruments TI-30xa scientific calculator

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The calculator.

  TI-30xa
Brand name Texas Instruments
Model number TI-30xa

Logic system. Does your calculator use algebraic or RPN (reverse Polish notation) logic? How do you tell? Typically, an algebraic calculator has an = key, used to find a result; an RPN calculator has an ENTER key, used for an initial entry. 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 +". The sequence is what matters, not the key name; some algebraic calculators (especially the more complex, graphics calculators) use ENTER instead of =.
  TI-30xa
Algebraic or RPN? Algebraic.
Algebraic calculators can be subdivided into AOS and DAL. If you know which type yours is, you can write that here. If not, you will figure that out later on the form. AOS

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.
  TI-30xa
What is the label on the "shift" key(s) yellow-shift: 2nd
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.

  TI-30xa
What is the label on the key for entering exponents? EE
Where is that key? middle
When entering a number that starts with 1x in scientific notation, do you need to enter the 1? (e.g., 1x1012) yes
What is the key for making an exponent negative? +(arrows)-
Where is that key? bottom right

Scientific notation; display.

  TI-30xa
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.)
FLO, which is 2nd-shift 4, for floating point;
SCI, which is 2nd-shift 5, for scientific notation.

FIX, which is 2nd-shift "decimal point". Then enter the number of decimal places you want.

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.

  TI-30xa
How is the log10 key labeled? LOG (black key, top middle)
How is the base 10 antilog key labeled? 10x. It is 2nd-shift LOG.
To take the log10 of 1000 which do you enter first, the number or the LOG key? the number. That is, enter 1000 LOG.
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 (black key, top right)

anti-log: ex. It is 2nd-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.

  TI-30xa
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.)
DRG key (black key, top left, next to the yellow "2nd" key). Toggles among degrees, radians, grads.

2nd-shift DRG allows you to convert an angle from one measurement unit to another. Toggle among the options.
Polar vs rectangular coordinates The R-P key is the 2nd-shift function of the - (subtraction) key, a green button on the right side.

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.)
no

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Last update: September 25, 2011