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Sharp EL-5030 - powerful but unknown
06-27-2020, 08:54 PM (This post was last modified: 06-27-2020 09:00 PM by Vincent Weber.)
Post: #1
Sharp EL-5030 - powerful but unknown
I recently bought on eBay this little wonder.
I am surprised it had so little success.
This is a direct competitor, probably released circa 1987, to the Casio fx-4000p (1985), but with 3 times the memory, and a very original formula programming model that accepts up to 99 named formulas (compared to the simple prog 0...9 slots on the Casio); up to 10 internal subroutines per formula (as opposed to external on Casio, which severly restricts the number of subroutines); looping (not with labels and gotos, but with more concise loop start / loop end constructs); powerful and elegant conditionals that emulates IF...THEN...ELSE with -Y->[] and -N->[], avoiding the use of multiple labels and gotos. And last but not least, I believe this is the only non-graphing alphanumerical Sharp calculator (not BASIC pocket computer) to feature indirect register addressing, with dedicated arrays that do not share the same A...Z space with normal variables (as opposed to the Casio). This is therefore a Turing-complete machine.

The model also has its limitations, not found on Casio: conditionals cannot be nested; subroutines can't feature loops nor conditionals; and each formula is limited to 160 characters, which seems severe but actually not so much, since the tokenization is quite efficient: Altough you can insert a space between 2 steps for clarity, it is actually not mandatory since the syntax is unambiguous, so you can save a lot of memory (as opposed to the Casio mandatory ":" separator which costs one step every time).

All in all this is a marvelous, powerful little calculator, and I wonder why the somewhat lesser fx-4000p is so well known, whereas this one is not known at all.

Any idea ?

Cheers,

Vincent
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06-28-2020, 04:07 PM
Post: #2
RE: Sharp EL-5030 - powerful but unknown
The YES and NO loop should have been featured on more calculators. The only calculator I have with a built in YES/NO loop is a TI-95 Procalc.

My guess is that Sharp is lesser known than Casio or the EL-5030 didn't sell well?
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Yesterday, 06:22 PM
Post: #3
RE: Sharp EL-5030 - powerful but unknown
I like the EL-5030 too, but it's interesting programming model makes it a bit awkward to handle with on more complex tasks.
The same programming model is present on the EL-512H, EL-566, EL-566E, EL-5050, EL-5150 and EL-9000. Only the EL-5030 and
the EL-9000 have indirect addressing. As Vincent already mentioned, the EL-5030 is the only non BASIC programmable and non
graphical calc with indirect addressing. The EL-5030 is almost twice as fast compared to the EL-9000 on the n-queens test,
because it uses the 4 bit SC61720 @ 1.024 MHz vs. the 8 bit SC61860 @ 0.768 MHz. These CPUs are well known from the
SHARP BASIC pockets (not PC-1210/1500/1600/Exxx/Gxxx).

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Yesterday, 09:36 PM
Post: #4
RE: Sharp EL-5030 - powerful but unknown
(Yesterday 06:22 PM)xerxes Wrote:  As Vincent already mentioned, the EL-5030 is the only non BASIC programmable and non
graphical calc with indirect addressing.

It may be the only Sharp with indirect addressing but the SR-52, SR-56, HP-67, TI-58/59 all had indirect addressing both for register storage and branching.

Tom L
...other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?
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Yesterday, 09:50 PM
Post: #5
RE: Sharp EL-5030 - powerful but unknown
There are many more such calcs with indirect addressing Smile but what I mentioned was *alphanumerical* such calcs. This narrows down the set to: HP-41C/CV/CX, 42S, 32S/32SII/33S/35S,.Casio fx-602p/601p, 4000p, 4500p, 4800p, 5800p, TI-66, Ti-88 (never released), TI-95 procalc, and Sharp EL-5030.
If you narrow this down to actually produced calcs featuring I/O, only the HP-41, the Casio fx-602p and the TI-95 (but is this a calculator ? so huge !) remain.
The 1981 fx-602p is a wonderful machine. Less powerful overall than the 41, but faster, slimmer, cheaper, more precision, classy and strongly built, cheaper I/O (ordinary tape), the only one that could rival it without being a BASIC computer !
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