I recently asked a software recommendation question for a TI-83 series emulator and TI-Basic interpreter. Are questions about calculator hardware, software, and programming languages on-topic for Retrocomputing?

2 Answers 2


I would say most definitely, if the calculator has a microprocessor in it. The early days of home and small business computing included calculators, many of which were home-built kits like the Science of Cambridge Mk14.

Programming, and maintenance of systems like the HP calculators with little magnetic cards for the programs would definitely come under the scope of computing. Also, questions about Reverse Polish Notation.

The TI range falls well within this ambit.

Whether mechanical calculators are on topic would, I think, be a separate question.

  • 2
    Agreed... mechanical computers/calculators would be a tricky one but we can cross that bridge when/if we come to it.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Jun 30, 2016 at 13:53
  • 3
    If someone presents good questions about mechanical computers I think it fits well with the zeitgeist here. Maybe we'd have to draw the line at those mechanical automata that have been around since forever, but almost certainly mechanical computing devices from the last century are a good fit here.
    – user12
    Jun 30, 2016 at 15:32
  • @jdv. Don't get me wrong. I said it's another question, not that I'm against them. We may well see some good questions on mechanical or analogue machines. But yes, I can't see us explaining the Antikytbera mechanism.
    – Chenmunka Mod
    Jun 30, 2016 at 17:14
  • @Chenmunka I was just saying that I see the rationale for those sorts of questions being on-topic.
    – user12
    Jun 30, 2016 at 18:04

Yes - but only if they're not still in production. The Z80-based TIs are still commercially available. The defining consensus in What constitutes “retro”? was that the device or technology had to be off the market.

So Saturn-based HP calculators would be on-topic, but newer ARM-based ones would not be.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .