Texas Instruments SR-11 Version 1 (Display 2)

Date of introduction:  September 11, 1973 Display technology:  LED modules + lens
New price:  $119.95 Display size:  8 + 2
Size:  6.3" x 3.1" x 1.5"
 158 x 78 x 38 mm3
Weight:  9.2 ounces, 262 grams Serial No:  SR-11 055674
Batteries:  3*AA NiCd Date of manufacture:  wk 06 year 1974
AC-Adapter:  AC9200, AC9130 Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:  8 Integrated circuits:  TMS0602, 2*SN75493, 2*SN75494
Logic:  Chain Displays:  DIS115F (12*DISXXX)
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual:   (US: 5.2M Bytes)

The SR-11 calculator added a constant-switch and PI to the wedge shaped predecessor SR-10. More notable was the new layout of the keyboard, with the SR-11 Texas Instruments introduced the smaller keys known from todays calculators. Compared to later models the keyboard was colorful arranged, the last calculator with blue and orange keys was the SR-50.

Texas Instruments announced on September 17, 1971 with the TMS1802NC the first available standard calculator building block on a chip, it was later renamed into TMS0102. The chip integrates 3,520 Bits Read-Only program Memory (ROM, 320 Words x 11 Bits), a 182-bit Serial-Access Memory (SAM, 3 Registers * 13 Digits, 2 * 13 Bit-Flags) and a decimal arithmetic logic unit as well as control, timing, and output decoders but no drivers for the display. These function blocks of the chip add up to an overall complexity of roughly 5,000 transistors and marked in 1971 with its die size of roughly 230 mils * 230 mils (6 mm * 6 mm) the limits of a chip for commercial manufacturing.

While the 3-Register Serial-Access Memory of the TMS0100 series of single-chip calculator circuits is large enough to realize a basic four-function calculator with independent memory, couldn't the engineers fit the necessary code into the 320-Word Read-Only program Memory of the device and Texas Instrument started to manufacture in 1973 calculators like the Montgomery Ward P8M with chips from their competitor Western Digital.

With the the numbers of transistors in Large-scale Integration (LSI) chips roughly doubling every two years, Texas Instruments decided for the successor of the TMS0100 family to expand  into three different branches:

• TMS0600: Increased ROM (384 Words x 11 Bits), Identical SAM (13 Digits Registers), external display drivers. Process shrink, higher functionality
• TMS0700: Identical ROM (320 Words x 11 Bits), Identical SAM (13 Digits Registers), external display drivers. Process shrink, identical functionality, cost reduction of IC
• TMS0800: Identical ROM (320 Words x 11 Bits), Reduced SAM (11 Digits Registers), integrated segment drivers. Process shrink, reduced functionality, higher integration

The first two designs using the TMS0600 single-chip calculators with its additional 64 Words of program code can be found with the TI-2550 (TMS0601) adding both a 4-key Memory and percent function to the TMS0100 based TI-2500 Datamath and this SR-11 (TMS0602) adding a Constant switch and a [pi] key to enter the value of pi to 8 significant digits (3.1415927) to the TMS0120 based SR-10 calculators.

Dismantling the featured SR-11 manufactured in February 1974 by Texas Instruments in the United States reveals a complex design with three printed circuit boards (PCBs) for main electronics, display, and keyboard powered by three AA-sized rechargeable NiCd batteries. The Main-PCB sports not only five familiar looking Integrated Circuits (ICs) but a myriad of discrete components in a from the Datamath well known arrangement:

• Calculating Unit - TMS0602 single-chip calculator circuit
• Display Driver - 2*SN75493 Segment Drivers and 2*SN75494 Digit Drivers
• Clock signal generation for TMS0602 with discrete components
• Power converter with discrete components and transformer
• 21-pin connector to the Display-PCB
• 15-pin connector to the Keyboard-PCB

Calculating Unit: The SR-11 makes use of the TMS0602 single-chip calculator circuit derived from the TMS1802, better known as first "calculator-on-a-chip" but with a Read-Only program Memory increased from 320 Words to 384 Words x 11 Bits.

Comparing the feature sets of the TMS0119 (TI-2500), TMS0601 (TI-2550), TMS0120 (SR-10) and TMS0602 (SR-11) shows the limitations of the TMS0100/TMS0600 and explains the move from Texas Instruments towards architectures with scalable ROM configurations like the TMS0200 Building Blocks for Desktop Calculators introduced in 1973 but most important to the TMC0500 Building Blocks for Scientific and Programmable Calculators introduced with the "Slide Rule" calculator SR-50 in January 1974 and leading all the way to the legendary TI Programmable 59 and the amazing SR-60A Prompting Desktop calculator:

[+] [−] [Χ] [χ]
[+/−] [C] [CE] [CONST] [F/2/4] [%] [Memory] [EE] [1/x] [x2] [sqr X] [pi] Display
TMS0119 * *   * * *               E88888888
TMS0601 * *   * * * * *           E88888888
TMS0120 * * * *         * * * *   E88888888-88
TMS0602 * * * * *       * * * * * E88888888-88

Display: With the TMS0100 and its successor TMS0600 originally developed for portable and desktop calculators supporting either an 8-digit or 10-digit output with a leading negative sign/overflow indicator, these chips consequently support only 11 digit outputs for the display but the SR-11 obviously uses a 12-digit display for:

• 1: Overflow indicator, negative sign Mantissa
• 2-9: 8-digit Mantissa
• 10: Negative sign Exponent
• 11-12: 2-digit Mantissa

Reverse-engineering the SR-11 schematics reveals a simple trick used by Texas Instruments to control its 12-digit display with only 11 digit outputs of the TMS0602 and known already from the second version of the SR-10: The unused "H" segment available on the TMS0602 was repurposed for the minus sign of the Exponent in the pictured (pictures on the left) way. Every time the "H" segment output of the TMS0602 is activated, some additional circuitry on the PCB will enable both the digit driver for the negative sign of the Exponent and the segment driver for the "G" segment of Digit 3 (counted from right to left) of the DIS115F Twelve-Digit display module while the "G" segments of all other digits are activated by the "G" segment output. Hence you'll find 21 connections between the Main-PCB and the DIS115 Display-PCB:

• 12 connections for Digit 1 to Digit 12
• 1 connection for Segments G of Digit 3
• 1 connection for Segments G of Digit 1, Digit 2 and Digit 4 to Digit 12
• 6 connections for Segments A, B, C, D, E, and F of Digit 1 to Digit 12
• 1 connection for Decimal Point of Digit 1 to Digit 12

The featured SR-11 manufactured in February 1974 uses a DIS115F Twelve-Digit display module with 12 individual DISXXX Seven-Segment displays and an integrated magnifying lens.

Display Driver: The Main-PCB of the featured SR-11 manufactured in February 1974 makes use of a total of four Display Drivers. The two SN75493 Segment Drivers for four segments, each and the two SN75494 Digit Drivers for six digits, each are improvements of the original SN75491/SN75492 chips introduced with the TMS1802 but allow for operation at lower voltages.

Clock: While the nominal clock frequency of the TMS0600 single-chip calculator circuit is specified with 250 kHz, uses the SR-11 a slower pace to reduce overall power consumption of the product slightly. The astable multivibrator using two discrete transistors operates at a frequency between 150 kHz and 250 kHz, we observed with the featured SR-11 manufactured in February 1974 a clock frequency of 244 kHz.

Texas Instruments introduced in August 1973 with the TI-2500 Version 3 the approach of a dynamic switching of the clock frequency for the TMS0100 single-chip calculator circuit to conserve power between calculations. The astable multivibrator idles at a frequency of around 50 kHz but increases with the detection of a depressed keybutton for a short time to about 200 kHz to reduce execution time of the operations. Two diodes are connected between the keymatrix inputs KN (numbers) and KO (operations) and the oscillator to catch every entry of a number or function keys for a impressive reduction of power consumption.

Power Supply: The SR-11 is powered by three AA-sized rechargeable NiCd batteries resulting in a typical voltage between 3.0 V (completely depleted cells) and 4.5 V (while charging full cells). The Main-PCB hosts a power converter circuit centered around an astable multivibrator, step-up transformer and various diodes and capacitors to generate the supply voltages for the TMS0602 chip and the clock oscillator. We observed in the featured SR-11 manufactured in February 1974 rather high output voltages of VSS = 8.4 V and VGG = -9.0 V for the electronics.

Battery Saver Circuit: To save battery power the LED display turns off automatically between 15 and 60 seconds after the last keyboard entry, except for the first digit (Digit D3 of TMS0602, LSD of Mantissa). If the display turns off while entering a problem, the display turns on automatically with the first keyboard entry. Depressing the [=] key brings back the last calculated display. Three diodes are connected between the keymatrix inputs KN (numbers), KO (operations, [pi]) and KP ([1/x], [x2] and [sqr X]) and a simple monoflop to catch every entry of a number or function keys to keep the Digit Drivers enabled. If the monoflop time expires, the Digit Drivers sans Digit 3 are disabled for an impressive reduction of power consumption:

Mode Display Current
VBAT = 4.5 V
Clock Frequency
Calculating 0 62 mA 244 kHz
Power Save 0 62 mA 244 kHz
Calculating E88888888-88 138 mA 244 kHz
Power Save 8 74 mA 244 kHz

Keyboard: The Klixon™ type keyboard uses much smaller keys than the SR-10 calculator in the same extreme wedge-style of the housing that was adopted for the scientific desktop calculators SR-20 and SR-22, too. The last portable scientific calculator with this wedge-design was introduced in October 1974 with the SR-16.

The appearance of the SR-11 changed during the life cycle (around May 1974) of the calculator slightly and together with a change of the twelve individual Seven-Segment displays used for the DIS115 display module, we differentiate between three different SR-11 Versions manufactured in the United States between September 1973 and October 1975:

Version Display
for DIS115
Constant Switch
SR-11 V1D1 single modules
 with lens
DIS279 Small Cap
SR-11 V1D2 single modules
 with lens
DISXXX Small Cap
SR-11 V2D2 single modules
 with lens
DISXXX Large Cap

Here at the Datamath Calculator Museum we classify the featured SR-11 as Display Type 2 and Small Cap for Constant Switch.

SR-11_Proto_DISP.jpg (24266 Byte)While Texas Instruments prototyped some SR-11 calculators with two LED-modules (Light Emitting Devices) known already from the Datamath calculator, are all known series SR-11 using twelve individual Seven-Segment displays for the DIS115 display module. 

The SR-11 was not only manufactured in the United States, but in Italy and Spain, too.

It took 12 years and a similar scientific calculator with just the [1/x], [x2], [sqr X] and [pi] keys appeared, don't miss the unusual TI-18 SLR.

Press the X-RAY button and view the internals of a SR-11 calculator.
 (Pictures provided by Edward Soudentas)

horizontal rule

If you have additions to the above article please email:

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