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Backlit calculators with list-based stats
04-11-2017, 02:22 PM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2017 02:23 PM by Dave Britten.)
Post: #1
Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Oddly specific, I know, but I'm wondering what's out there for data collection in poor/no lighting.

These are the ones I know of at the moment:

Casio fx-9860GII, fx-9860G Slim (Is the original fx-9860G backlit?)
Casio Prizm
TI Nspire (Assorted models are color and/or backlit)
TI-84 C and CE
HP Prime

And of course an assortment of various computing devices with spreadsheet programs, for cases where said spreadsheet is fully-featured enough for the task at hand. What else am I missing?
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04-11-2017, 05:42 PM
Post: #2
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Does it have to be battery powered?
A Keysight 34970A works pretty well stand-alone.

You can roll your own with a TI MSP432 Launchpad and KS3500 touchscreen:
http://www.ti.com/tool/msp-exp432p401r
http://www.ti.com/tool/BOOSTXL-K350QVG-S1
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04-11-2017, 05:59 PM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2017 06:23 PM by Chasfield.)
Post: #3
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
The original Casio fx-9860G has no screen back-light but it does have an amazingly crisp LCD - the best of any calculator in my collection.

What about a Psion Workabout MX, or even some other pro. grade hand-held data gathering device that has a good numeric key board and decent connectivity? A back-light looks to be a standard feature of the Psion Workabout. Older models can be bought for little money and I think that they had the Psion spreadsheet built in. Also, you can whip up your own data gathering apps in OPL.
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04-11-2017, 06:21 PM
Post: #4
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-11-2017 05:59 PM)Chasfield Wrote:  The original Casio fx-9860G has no screen back-light but it does have an amazingly crisp LCD - the best of any calculator in my collection.

What about a Psion Workabout MX, or some other pro device with a good numeric key board and decent connectivity? A back-light looks to be a standard feature of the Psion. Older models can be bought for little money and I think that they had the Psion spreadsheet built in and a backlight. Also, you can whip up your own data gathering apps in OPL.

Yeah, I have a couple of Psions. I believe the 5 is the only one I've got with a backlight. Too bad the Organiser II doesn't have one; I could grab the spreadsheet ROM for that one.
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04-11-2017, 06:29 PM
Post: #5
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
This looks like a good tool for the job:


http://blog.compuseum.de/pda-nr-231-psion-workabout-mx/
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04-11-2017, 06:29 PM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2017 06:30 PM by Garth Wilson.)
Post: #6
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Does it matter, if you can't see the keyboard? For the HP-41, there used to be a light that plugged into one of the ports at the top which worked kind of like a light on a music stand. I never saw one in person, but in the catalog pictures, it looked like the goose neck might have been a couple of inches long. Unfortunately, today's white, super-efficient LEDs did not exist yet, and I'm sure the tiny incandescent bulb was pretty hard on battery life. You might as well use one of those LED lights you strap on your head; then you can see the rest of your work too.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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04-11-2017, 06:48 PM
Post: #7
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-11-2017 02:22 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  for data collection in poor/no lighting.

...

for the task at hand.

Astronomical observations in the night?

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04-12-2017, 12:02 AM
Post: #8
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-11-2017 06:48 PM)pier4r Wrote:  
(04-11-2017 02:22 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  for data collection in poor/no lighting.

...

for the task at hand.

Astronomical observations in the night?

That's definitely one possibility. My wife and I do a lot of camping, so if I need to record zoological/ecological/medical/astronomical data, it's handy to have.
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04-12-2017, 09:16 AM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2017 09:34 AM by StephenG1CMZ.)
Post: #9
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-11-2017 02:22 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  Oddly specific, I know, but I'm wondering what's out there for data collection in poor/no lighting.

These are the ones I know of at the moment:

Casio fx-9860GII, fx-9860G Slim (Is the original fx-9860G backlit?)
Casio Prizm
TI Nspire (Assorted models are color and/or backlit)
TI-84 C and CE
HP Prime

And of course an assortment of various computing devices with spreadsheet programs, for cases where said spreadsheet is fully-featured enough for the task at hand. What else am I missing?

One idea: If there is no lighting and you don't want any lighting, have you considered sound output? Synthesised speech? Such devices might also have a more tactile key board.

I don't know of any specific products.
I imagine the Royal National Institute for the Blind would have or know of a a simple 4-function calculator, or a laptop could offer full speech synthesis. There is even a graphic calculator:
http://www.orbitresearch.com/orion-ti-84_details.php is a talking version of the TI84.

Stephen Lewkowicz (G1CMZ)
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04-12-2017, 02:50 PM
Post: #10
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Sorry, when you said data collection, I was thinking data acquisition.

What about an iPad or Nook?
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04-12-2017, 03:31 PM
Post: #11
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-12-2017 02:50 PM)KeithB Wrote:  Sorry, when you said data collection, I was thinking data acquisition.

What about an iPad or Nook?

Yeah, I've got my iPhone and iPad at my disposal, but most spreadsheet/data entry apps I've tried are varying degrees of cumbersome and unpolished (and Apple just released an update for Numbers that made data entry pretty awful).
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04-12-2017, 03:56 PM
Post: #12
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Apple has *never* understood spreadsheets.
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04-16-2017, 05:57 PM
Post: #13
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Looks like the Casio fx-9860g Slim is the best option, particularly if you can get ahold of the contraband 2.0 update for it. If you have it at a sharp enough angle, the display throws plenty of light on the keyboard to use it comfortably (it's even better than it looks in the picture; the camera didn't really handle the high contrast well).

It's just a shame that Casio BASIC is so clumsy.

   
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04-16-2017, 06:31 PM
Post: #14
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-12-2017 03:56 PM)KeithB Wrote:  Apple has *never* understood spreadsheets.

They don't appear to understand the work flow of many things either. The latest Music app on iOS is a disaster.
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04-17-2017, 02:17 PM
Post: #15
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Just looked at the 9860g slim (due to the results here) , the design is not bad! I'm interested now.

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04-17-2017, 03:01 PM
Post: #16
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-17-2017 02:17 PM)pier4r Wrote:  Just looked at the 9860g slim (due to the results here) , the design is not bad! I'm interested now.

It's probably my favorite Casio. With the 2.0 update, it's nearly identical to a 9860gii, but with a much more convenient form factor. The other cool thing about the Slim is the built-in help system that none of the other models have. It has a help menu you can browse through, and you can enable in-line command help that pops up parameter info when you type a function.
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04-17-2017, 03:21 PM (This post was last modified: 04-17-2017 03:23 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #17
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Good to know. So maybe I will consider it along with the hp prime, nspire family, for this.

Hmm, but it does have "only" 64 Kbyte of ram (here 64 Kbyte are a lot, in a normal context with computers people would look at you like you are crazy).

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04-17-2017, 04:01 PM
Post: #18
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Hey, you changed the subject! Now my first answer looks really dumb!

Anyway, Swift or Objective-C are not that hard to program in. You might be able to create your own custom data collector on an iPad. If you pay Apple $99 you can even put it on the app store in case there are others with the same need.
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04-18-2017, 02:49 PM
Post: #19
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
(04-17-2017 04:01 PM)KeithB Wrote:  Hey, you changed the subject! Now my first answer looks really dumb!

Anyway, Swift or Objective-C are not that hard to program in. You might be able to create your own custom data collector on an iPad. If you pay Apple $99 you can even put it on the app store in case there are others with the same need.

The idea of creating a proper iPhone/iPad app has crossed my mind now and then, but there are two big drawbacks that I can see:

1. You need a Mac.
2. All the development happens on the Mac, so any "in-the-field" adjustments to the software aren't practical. That's the biggest reason I like to use devices that can be programmed from the device itself (calculators being a chief example).
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04-18-2017, 03:14 PM
Post: #20
RE: Backlit calculators with list-based stats
Personally I would prefer always something with real numeric keyboard rather than a touchscreen. Maybe because I'm not so precise.

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