Texas Instruments TI-81 ViewScreen™ (1993)

Date of introduction:  October 1993 Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
New price:  ($120.00 in 2001) Display size:  8 * 16 characters
Size:  6.8" x 3.1" x 0.85"
 172 x 80 x 32 mm3
Weight:  7.7 ounces, 218 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*AAA Date of manufacture:  year 1993
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  Taiwan (I)
Precision:  13 Integrated circuits:  CPU: Toshiba T6A43
 ROM: LH5359©1991
 RAM: LH5160
 Display: 2*T6A39, T6A40
Memories:  0-27    
Program steps:  2,400 Bytes Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Texas Instruments changed in 1993, together with the introduction of the TI-82, the design of the TI-81 slightly. Please notice the position of the TI-logo, it moved from the upper right position to the upper left of the screen.

The TI-81 ViewScreen is the teacher version of the standard TI-81. It connects with a special port permanently to a ViewScreen panel via a flat-ribbon cable. Placing the panel on the overhead projector enlarges the image of the handheld screen so that each student can follow along. From a technical point of view the TI-81 VSC is almost identical with the students TI-81. The main difference you notice is a two piece bottom shell of the calculator housing to accommodate the ViewScreen electronics.

Dismantling the TI-81 VSC reveals a small printed circuit board (PCB) with one driver chip connected in a piggy back manner to the display board of the calculator. The main electronics of the TI-81 VSC is identical with the students model TI-81. Don't miss the similar TI-85 ViewScreen connected to the first generation TI-85 VSC.

Texas Instruments revised the concept of the ViewScreen in 1994 and even 15 years later were four ViewScreen panels available:

Panel 1: TI-73 VSC, TI-73 Explorer VSC, TI-80 VSC, TI-82 VSC, TI-83 VSC,
   TI-83 Plus VSC, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition VSC, TI-84 Plus VSC,
   TI-84 Plus Silver Edition VSC
Panel 2: TI-89 VSC, TI-89 Titanium VSC, TI-92, TI-92 Plus, Voyage 200
Panel 3: TI-85 VSC (2nd design), TI-86 VSC
Panel 4: TI-Nspire, TI-Nspire CAS, TI-Nspire Touchpad, TI-Nspire CAS Touchpad

As an alternative the TI-Presenter video adapter connects to a TV or other projection device with a video input port. 



You can check the ROM version of your TI-81 VSC using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:

[2nd] [TEST] [ALPHA] [S]

Information provided by and Xavier Andréani.

Exam acceptance:

The TI-81 is permitted (as of September 27, 2007) for use on SAT, ACT, PSAT and AP exams.


horizontal rule

If you have additions to the above article please email:

© Joerg Woerner, June 7, 2020. No reprints without written permission.