Greetings all, I'm starting back to school this fall for a degree in EE and I'm wondering what calc the majority of you prefer, used as student, or use in your daily work. I currently have a Ti-85 which has served me well for many years, but after doing a little checking, it seems that it's way outdated compaired to what high end calcs can do today. I'll be starting in Calc 2 this fall and a clac based physics course to give you an idea of what my immedite needs are. Money isn't much of an issue, I'm set finacually for the fall and I can pretty much get as much OT as I need between now an then. Thanks for any help.
I really like my HP48GX. However, they are no longer made. Currently, HP makes the 49G+. It has amazing CAS capabilities, has flash rom (for updates), a card slot for memory storage, etc. Keep in mind that all of the highend calculators (including your TI85) are no longer allowed on the FE and PE (engineering licensing exams). HP has come out with a new calculator that is approved, the 33S. It is a pretty good calc but does not do any symbolic algeabra or calculas (CAS). It is only a number cruncher. I never used the limited CAS capabilities of my 48, so that limitation does not bother me. What does bother me with the 33S is the lack of matrix support. The 48, and now 49G+ supports calculations with matrices (including complex matrices) which can be very handy in some EE classes (particularly power classes). Thats the HP story as I see it. You will have to find someone else to discuss TI. I haven't used an algebraic calculator since 1987 when I bought my first HP. I converted to RPN in about a week and never looked back.
FWIW I had a graphical calculator during my undergraduate time in EE and I never used it for any course. It just wasn't needed. Personally I used a simple "scientific" calculator, and that was all I ever needed. Basically any calculator that can do imaginary numbers and such stuff is good enough IMHO. Plus remember, many courses don't allow fancy calculators. TTYL
Aren't there any other HP calculators that do matrices that are approved for the FE exam. I was getting ready to take the test and then found out my 48GX wouldn't be allowed. Really upset me since I was so used to it. Don't want to waste a lot of time on matrices during that test.
I think the 15C is still OK. It will do a 3x3 I think. The 15C may not be allowed soon. The NCEES is working on creating a list of approved calcs and likely only current production models will be included. The state licensing boards are asking for this because they do not want their proctors trying to determine if a calc should be allowed or not. Also, they want to better be able to communicate with exam takers prior to the test date so they know for sure what is allowed.
Currently, if you want HP, the only sure thing is the new 33S.
Thirty years ago the TAM (Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) department refused to allow calculators until the orders-from- headquarters (the head-honcho' Dean of Engineering) ordered differently. Calculators are a fact of life. The problems got much more "interesting" when they didn't have to make the numbers come out "right".
BTW, the HP-45 was the first that could do imaginary numbers, but even HP didn't realize that fact at the time.
You are absolutely right- in addition the old slide rules forced you to make an estimate to determine the decimal place- this also eliminated a lot of wrong answers. Modern calculators have the disadvantage that users tend to believe the results whether or not they make sense - after all they are using a "modern, accurate digital device" I used to "offer" students an engineering converter for their calculators- $5 would get you a kit and instructions. The "kit" was a piece of masking tape to cover all the extra digits. Never made any sales, though. I should have offered it to the government.
Good point. When we do training on power quality I always discuss something similar. If you record something really unusual on a power quality monitor (or any meter for that matter) the first thing you do is question the monitoring device. Every meter out there has "holes" in its algorithms, and then there are the problems with CTs and PTs (resonance, etc). I am always amazed at the people who have no idea how the meter they are using works who record something unusual and think it is gospel because it came out of a $20k meter. Sorry, got on my soapbox for a minute.
I majored in physics. The first two years I used nothing but a round Pickett for problem solving - even in finals. Our profs said no to calculators "until we learned to think". I doubt they do it that way any more. If I need to do any serious calculations I use Mathematica now but I'm kinda glad we didn't have that when I was in school.
Years ago, I was a big fan of the slide rule. But in a field exercise during my officer's training in the Corps of Engineers, I was asked by a civilian instructor to tell him how many yards of fill would be needed to raise a particular road above the flood plain.
I told him I needed my slide rule and he said you already have a good calculator in your head. And he was right! Most of the simple multiplication and divide problems can be done "In your head." With a slide rule you have to carry around the exponents in your head.
IOW: the slide rule is overkill for "back of the envelop" or "quick and dirty" estimates and just isn't accurate enought for "real" calculations.
But the sliderule was a very good training aide. It is a set of "training wheels" for working out problems in your head. At some point, you don't need the training wheels.
LMAO, it drives me nuts during group projects when I ask for a value for time and not only do I get a negative value, but it's 9 times larger then it could possibly be. Then to make matters worse, it's given to an insane accuracy that our starting figures could never justifie. Makes me wonder if they even understand what they are doing or did they just memorize a formula and where to apply it.
I am not sure what engineering you were trained in but most engineering calculations require much more capability than multiplying and dividing. The log - log deci-trig slide rule had all of the functions that the many of the current calculators do. Please resolve the following calculation in your head or on the back of an envelope:
1.45 x e (exponent 1.76) x cosine (86.5 degrees)x log (base 10 of
4.56) x ln (566) x cot (5.60) x 123 (exponent 2.3).
This calculation takes less than a minute on a slide rule and the beauty is that with a slide rule, the significant digits are kept correctly . For example, 2.00 x 2.523333 does not equal 5.046666 but
5.05 in the scientific world. Respectively, this is the answer you would get with a calculator compared with a slide rule and has nothing to do with accuracy. If you do not understand this, you are not a graduate engineer.
For automatic field measurements .1% accuracy is very good in many cases. To use this measurement and perform a calculation that has a result of 8 significant digits does not increase the accuracy of the exercise but it reduces the competence of the engineer in the eyes of his peers. The slide rule eliminated this consideration and three or four significant digits were fine for most engineering applications.
"George Westinghouse was, in my opinion, the only man on this globe who could take my alternating-current system under the circumstances then existing and win the battle against prejudice and money power. He was a pioneer of imposing stature, one of the world's true nobleman of whom America may well be proud and to whom humanity owes an immense debt of gratitude."
(BTW: I was an EE major iwth emphasis on solid state work.)
Unless you are a "plug it into the equation" engineer, you might spend quite a bit of time working out the formula for, say, current distribution in a fuel cell. Having a "slap stick" at my side would not help at all in that effort. When it came time to plug in the numbers, soory, but the slip stick just ain't "good enuf."
See, you are being sily. .While I might, if stuck on a train or bus without my "aides" decide to "guestimate" the answeers (and it's not that hard: raising to the 2.3 power can even be "guestimated") I would wait until I had a calculator or a table of functions. But for "ball park" you can even do stuff like that in your head. Try it!