DATAMATH CALCULATOR MUSEUM
Texas Instruments Spelling B
|Date of introduction:|| June 11, 1978
Available: Sept. 1978
|New price:||$30.00||Display size:||8 alphanumeric|
|Size:|| 6.2" x 3.4" x 1.1"
157 x 86 x 29 mm3
|Weight:||5.4 ounces, 153 grams||Serial No:|
|Batteries:||9V||Date of manufacture:||wk 49 year 1978|
|AC-Adapter:||Origin of manufacture:||USA (ATA)|
|Precision:||Integrated circuits:||TMC0272, TMC1984|
|Program steps:||Courtesy of:||Joerg Woerner|
(EU: 6.6M Bytes)
(EU: 3.9M Bytes)
The Spelling B educational toy is preprogrammed to teach the spelling of simple words through different games using a pictured booklet. In this booklet a lot of things are numbered and Spelling B asks you to type the corresponding word. A nice feature of this game is an added buzzer to give some noisy feedback.
The Mr. Challenger was one of three similar games:
Math Marvel: Basic mathematics
• Mr. Challenger: Word games
• Spelling B: Spelling games
products use the same housing featuring a colored key plate to
cover some unused keys of the matrix. The display is either numeric for the
Math Marvel or alphanumeric for the two word games.
The Spelling B was introduced together with the Speak & Spell toy and the First Watch.
Spelling B manufactured in December 1978 by Texas Instruments
in their Abilene, TX facility reveals a very clean design based on a
double-sided printed circuit board (PCB) and powered by a 9V alkaline battery.
From a technical point of view the toy makes use of the technology introduced in 1978 with the Speak & Spell:
The TMC0272 microcontroller is derived from the TMS1000 series and adopted to control both the keyboard and the display.
A second microcontroller with the TMC1984 designation is used as an "external" memory. The TMC1980 series was used in other educational toys, e.g. the Math Marvel and DataMan.
The unusual concept of a Master/Slave design with two microcomputers was later revised, the 2nd generation of the Spelling B uses a TMC0355 Voice Synthesis Memory (VSM), known as "128kBit Speech-ROM" of the Speak & Spell family. The Spelling B was a very successful product in the late 70s and Texas Instruments manufactured them even in El Salvador. We discovered no differences between a Spelling B assembled in San Salvador and this Abilene, TX built model.
In the United Kingdom we noticed the two different versions of the Spelling B, too. The early Spelling B (UK) uses the electronics of the original Spelling B, while the later Spelling ABC (UK) is based on the revised electronics.
Explore The Spelling ABC sold in Germany is based on the 2nd generation but uses another language VSM.
All models were later replaced with a product using a LC-display. View them here.
|TI Talking Learning Aid Sets Pace for Innovative CES Introductions
DALLAS, June 11, 1978
Innovative learning aids for children, including one that
talks, compact powerful calculators for home and office, and multi-function digital timepieces with long life batteries for men and women were among a dozen products introduced by Texas
Instruments Incorporated at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show, June 11-14.
The complete press release could be found here:
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© Joerg Woerner, October 26, 2007. No reprints without written permission.