Rapid Data Rapidman 800 

Date of introduction:  February, 1972 Display technology:  LED-modules
New price:  $99.95 Display size:  8
Size:  5.5" x 3.2" x 0.95"    
Weight:  5.1 ounces Serial No:  405517
Batteries:   Date of manufacture:  mth 12 year 1972
AC-Adapter:  9V Origin of manufacture:  Canada
Precision:  8 Integrated circuits:  Mostek MK5010P
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Canadian based Rapid Data Systems & Equipment Ltd. introduced with the Rapidman 800 the first portable electronic calculator selling below US$ 100. 

How was this possible - a similar Bowmar 901B was about US$ 240 ? We disassembled a Rapidman 800 for you and found the answer. Just take your time and watch the next four pictures carefully.

The internal construction is based on a rigid plastic frame holding all mechanical and electronic components. Instead using a lot of screws the parts are simply folded together. Rapidman800_1.jpg (71663 Byte)
The electronic circuit uses a "Basic 1KS" Klixon™ keyboard without the usual keycaps. The display is a Litronix type with discrete instead integrated drivers. And the calculator chip is a Mostek MK5010 type instead the usual TMS0100.

Rapidman800_2.jpg (109374 Byte)

Instead expensive housing parts we notice a cheap looking and cheap feeling mold made of a single piece. Even the On/Off-switch is avoided and a simple slider pushes on of the keyboard contacts down. Rapidman800_3.jpg (111230 Byte)
The Mostek MK5010 looks expensive with its 40-pin ceramic housing. But expect that they offered a really good price to be compete with the market leader Texas Instruments and the famous TMS0100. MK5010P.jpg (18493 Byte)

Rapidman800_wh.jpg (41561 Byte)
The next calculator in the Rapidman line was introduced one year later with the Rapidman 801. It uses a much more conventional approach than this unique Rapidman 800. Sandwiched between these two calculators was a small series of Rapdman 800 in a white housing.

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© Joerg Woerner, May 7, 2003. No reprints without written permission.