Texas Instruments TI-5050

Date of introduction:  March 1975 Display technology:  
New price:  $199.95, DM 748.00 Display size:  n.a.
Size:  8.6" x 3.9" x 2.5"
 218 x 98 x 63 mm3
Printer technology:  Thermal TP-20225
Weight:  28.2 ounces, 802 grams Serial No:  71809
Batteries:  6*AA NiCd Date of manufacture:  wk 43 year 1975
AC-Adapter:  AC9170 Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:  10 Integrated circuits:  TMC1014, TMS1214
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual:   (US: 2.3M Bytes)

Yes, this calculator is called the first handheld printing calculator by Texas Instruments. There are great differenced between the first calculator based on TI's thermal printer technology - the Canon Pocketronic - and the TI-5050. The first one used a serial printing method, writing one digit after the other, this one writes the results in a parallel manner.

The TI-5050 uses internal NiCd batteries to support the printing head with enough power. With the external charger alone you can't get the calculator to work.

Dismantling this TI-5050 manufactured in October 1975 by Texas Instruments in the USA reveals a designed centered around two members of the famous TMS1000 Microcomputer family. The first chip labeled TMC1014 is manufactured in PMOS (p-channel metal-oxide-semiconductor) technology similar to the original Canon Pocketronic and features 1k*8 Bits ROM plus 64*4 bits RAM in a 28-pin DIP (Dual In-line Package) housing while the second chip labeled TMS1214 adds to identical specifications two extra Output lines in a 40-pin DIP housing.

The TI-5050 was replaced soon with the TI-5050M sporting an additional memory and cutting the chip count into half. Interesting to learn that the TI-5050M uses different algorithm for basic math functions, a simple division of [2] [÷] [3] returns 0.666666667 instead 0.666666666.

The first really handheld printing calculator was introduced two years later with the TI-5025.

Don't miss the first printing desktop calculator, the TI-500 introduced already in 1974.

The TI-5050 is featured in the Texas Instruments Deutschland GmbH leaflets ER-1975 and ER-1976 dated 1975 resp. 1976.

horizontal rule

If you have additions to the above article please email:

Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.