Texas Instruments TI-15 Explorer

Date of introduction:  October 7, 1999
 Available: Feb. 2000
Display technology:  LCD
New price:  $14.99 (SRP 2008)
 $19.95 (SRP 2020)
Display size:  11 +11 characters
Size:  6.8" x 3.2" x 0.50"
 172 x 82 x 13 mm3
Weight:  4.1 ounces, 117 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  CR2025 (60A) Date of manufacture:  mth 12 year 2004 (I)
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  China (N)
Precision:  13 Integrated circuits:  
Memories:  1    
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Texas Instruments introduced with the TI-15 Explorer Elementary Calculator in 1999 a product to encourage students in the third through sixth grades to develop their problem-solving skills and begin connecting mathematical concepts. It combines the fraction capabilities of the Math Explorer with a 2-line display for problem solving, place value and more.

In 2002 the features of the MathMate were combined with the 2-line display of the TI-15 Explorer, don't miss the TI-10 targeting grades K-2. In 2006 production of both the TI-15 Explorer and its sibling TI-10 was shifted from Nam Tai Electronics an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for Texas Instruments to Kinpo Electronics, another major OEM in China.

Dismantling this TI-15 Explorer manufactured in December 2004 by Nam Tai Electronics in China reveals a clean design centered around an unknown single-chip calculator circuit mounted in Chip-on-Board (COB) technology on a double-sided printed circuit board (PCB) and powered by 4 solar cells and a CR2025 backup battery. Please notice that the TI-15 Explorer manufactured by Kinpo is using a larger CR2032 battery. A second PCB is used for the keyboard and connected with a short flat flexible cable (FFC to the Main-PCB. While Nam Tai is using for the keyboard a single-sided phenolic resin PCB, chose Kinpo a more expensive solution based on a double-sided epoxy resin, but could manage to integrate the battery holder, too. We discovered already with the TI-30X IIS completely different designs among the OEMs.

The TI-73 Explorer added even a graphics screen to the Explorer line of calculators.

Stokes Publishing Company, Inc. based in Sunnyvale, California sold a companion for the teacher, view the wonderful TI-15 Overhead Calculator.

Math Explorer and MathMate are trademarks of Texas Instruments.

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If you have additions to the above article please email:

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