Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Solar School Edition (Virgina 1st edition)

Date of introduction:  2005 Display technology:  LCD
New price:  $11.99 Display size:  10 + 2
Size:  5.9" x 3.0" x 0.50"
 150 x 75 x 13 mm3
Weight:  2.9 ounces, 82 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  n.a. Date of manufacture:  mth 05 year 2004 (B)
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  China (N)
Precision:  12 Integrated circuits:  Toshiba T6M79
Memories:  3    
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

At first glance this TI-30Xa Solar School Edition looks like the TI-30Xa Solar introduced already in 1996. If we trace back the "School Edition" calculators we recognize:

The TI-30Xa SE introduced in 1995 with its tamper proofed molded keys instead 
    of the rubber keys and an extra window above the display and solar cells.
The TI-30Xa SE introduced in 1999 and sporting the robust housing of the 
    TI-32 Explorer Plus with the electronics of the TI-30Xa Solar.

But the story of this TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia is much more interesting.

Everything started when the Department of Education, Virginia released October 1, 2004 its MEMO NO.201. This memo announced a field test with scientific calculators instead the common four-function calculators starting in 2004-2005 for Grades 6 and 7 mathematics Standards of Learning assessments. Only three scientific calculators were approved:

Casio fx-260 Solar 
Sharp EL-501V, in the meantime replaced with the EL-501WBBK
Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Solar School Edition

TI-30Xa_Solar_SEVA_2.jpg (39567 Byte)The Department of Education, Virginia requested Texas Instruments to disable the decimal-to-fraction key. But in January, Dakota Brown, a 12-year-old at Carver Middle School in suburban Richmond’s Chesterfield County, figured out that by pressing two other keys on his state-approved TI-30 Xa SE for Virginia, he could change decimals into fractions anyway. 

Knowing the standard TI-30Xa Solar the trick is easy: Texas Instruments disabled only the [a b/c] key but kept the function of the [<-] key. As a result the key sequence [2nd] [<-] still converts between decimals and fractions. 

TI-30XA_Solar_SE_VA1.jpg (23626 Byte)Texas Instruments recalled 160,000 calculators and replaced them with the TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia 2nd edition.

TI-30Xa_Solar_SEVA_PCB.jpg (114128 Byte)Dismantling the calculator is not as exciting as expected. The TI-30Xa Solar School Edition for Virginia (1st edition) makes use of a printed circuit board (PCB) known already from the TI-30 Xa Solar. We assume that the contacts of the [a b/c] key are removed but we couldn't proof it. 

Funny to know that
this TI-30Xa Solar School Edition approved in 2005 still carries an algorithm problem known from the TI-35X introduced in 1991. Read more about the Logarithm Bug and its side effect on the related yx function present in this calculator.

Don't miss the TI-30 Xa Solar (H.K.E.A.) and the Casio AL-8.

Middle School

In the United States different terms are used for the Grades:

Elementary School or Primary School ages 5 to 10/11 Kindergarden plus Grades 1 to 5 or
Kindergarden plus Grades 1 to 6 
Junior High School or Middle School ages 11/12 to 13/14 Grades 6 to 8 or 
Grades 7 to 9
Senior High School or High School ages 14/15 to 18 Grades 9 to 12 or 
Grades 10 to 12
Secondary schools = Junior High Schools (or Middle Schools) and Senior High Schools


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© Joerg Woerner, March 6, 2006. No reprints without written permission.