Texas Instruments MATH MAGIC

Date of introduction:  1977 Display technology:  LED-stick
New price:   Display size:  8
Size:  5.0" x 3.5" x 1.1"
 127 x 89 x 29 mm3
Weight:  3.5 ounces, 99 grams Serial No:  8499159
Batteries:  9V  Date of manufacture:  wk 26 year 1977
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  USA (MTA)
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TMC0907/ZA0379
Memories:   Displays:  DIS713
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Texas Instruments introduced with the beautiful MATH MAGIC educational toy a variation of the Little Professor. The Little Professor gives you one of ten-thousands pre-programmed math questions and you have to type the correct answer. The MATH MAGIC works different: You have to enter the math question and its answer! The wizard then gives you a visual feedback if the entered answer was correct with a "flashing" display or not with an "EEE" display.

Dismantling the featured MATH MAGIC with Date code 2677 MTA and manufactured in June 1977 in Midland, Texas reveals an internal construction already known from the original Little Professor. The single-sided printed circuit board (PCB) is centered around a TMC907/ZA0379 single-chip calculator circuit and powered by a 9V alkaline battery. The keyboard with 5 rows of keys is borrow from the Little Professor although the MATH MAGIC is using only 4 rows of keys. The PCB itself is identical to the later models of the original Little Professor but lacks the sliding switch to adjust its 4 grade levels.

The TMC0907/ZA0379 chip is a member of the TMS0970 Product Family introduced in March 1976 with the TI-1200 and based on the TMS1000. The TMS0970 integrated both segment and digit drivers to the TMS1000 feature set allowing for highly cost-optimized designs and paving the way of four-banger calculators with 4-key memory selling below the magic $10 threshold. While the original TMS0970 chips were housed in a standard 0.6 wide 28-pin DIP (Plastic Dual In-line Package with a 0.1 / 2.54 mm lead pitch), started Texas Instruments in 1977 to use a smaller 0.4 wide 28-pin SPDIP (Shrink Plastic Dual In-line Package with a 0.07 / 1.778 mm lead pitch) design. The marking TMC0907NL ZA0379 BSP 7723 on the chip of the featured MATH MAGIC indicates Metal Mask (ROM, Output PLA and Instruction Decoder PLA) Version ZA0379, Die Version B, 28-pin SPDIP package, Production year 1977 and Production Week 23. The Manufacturing Site Singapore is printed on the backside of the chip.

The MATH MAGIC was soon replaced by the cute WIZ-A-TRON. Everything except the design of the frontplate and the color of the housing was kept identical.

Similar educational products are known from National Semiconductor with the Quiz-Kid and Radio Shack with the wonderful Monkey See. Both use simple green and red indicators to state correct and wrong.

Don't miss the rare Battlestar Galactica introduced in 1979 - an almost perfect copy of the MATH MAGIC.

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If you have additions to the above article please email:

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