TI-59 magnetic card

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File Format
Name TI-59 magnetic card
Released 1977

The TI-59 was a programmable calculator from Texas Instruments which was available from 1977 through 1983. It supported the ability to load and save programs using a magnetic-stripe card reader. The TI-58 model was also available at the same time with similar programming features but no card reader. An earlier TI-57 model was also programmable but with more limited features and memory and no storage device to permanently save the programs.

If you ran out of magnetic cards for it, it was apparently possible to make new ones by cutting up floppy disks.

The TI-59 had 120 storage registers, divided between program and data memory. They were divided into four banks of 30 registers, and one bank could be stored on a side of a magnetic card, for a total of two banks per card if both sides were used. Thus it took both sides of two cards to store the entire contents of the calculator. Each storage register could hold one floating-point numeric value or 8 program key codes.

The card reader used a four-track head designed to function at a speed between 2.0 and 2.5 inches per second. Track one is closest to the edge of the card. The write signal is a square wave of ± 1.5 V.

The TI-59 also had a place to insert firmware chips which contained library routines which could be used in programs.

Character/Key Codes

Each key, character, or function on the calculator corresponded to a numeric code of two decimal digits. (How, exactly, this translated into particular magnetic pulses on the card is uncertain.)

Code Key Description
00 0 Number keys
01 1
02 2
03 3
04 4
05 5
06 6
07 7
08 8
09 9
10 E' Function keys
11 A
12 B
13 C
14 D
15 E
16 A'
17 B'
18 C'
19 D'
20 2nd CLR Clear All?
21 2nd Shift to alternate function
22 INV Inverse
23 LNx
24 CE Clear entry
25 CLR Clear
26 2ND
27 INV Inverse function
28 LOG
29 CP Clear Program
30 TAN Tangent
31 LRN Learn
32 X:T Exchange X with T
33 X2
34 √X
35 1/X
36 PGM Program (followed by 2-digit number of library program, stored in 1 item)
37 P/R Polar to Rectangular
38 SIN
39 COS
40 IND Indirect (followed by 2-digit memory location, stored in 1 item; uses contents of that as memory location to finally access)
41 SST Single-Step
42 STO Memory store (followed by 2-digit memory location, stored in 1 item)
43 RCL Memory recall (followed by 2-digit memory location, stored in 1 item)
44 SUM Memory sum (followed by 2-digit memory location, stored in 1 item)
45 YX
46 INS Insert program line
47 CMs Clear data memory
48 EXC Memory exchange (followed by 2-digit memory location, stored in 1 item)
49 PRD Memory product (followed by 2-digit memory location, stored in 1 item)
50 |x| Absolute value
51 BST
52 EE Enter exponent
53 (
54 )
55 ÷
56 DEL Delete program line
57 ENG Engineering notation
58 FIX Fix decimal
59 INT Integer
60 DEG Degrees
61 GTO Goto (followed by two-digit label number, stored in one position)
62 PG*
63 EX*
64 PD*
65 ×
66 PAU Pause
67 X=T
68 NOP No-Op
69 OP Special operations (followed by two-digit function code, stored in one position)
70 RAD Radians
71 SBR Subroutine
72 ST*
73 RC*
74 SM*
75 -
76 LBL Label (followed by two-digit label number, stored in one position)
77 X≧T
78 ∑+
79 X-bar Mean
80 GRD Grads
81 RST
82 HIR
83 GO*
84 OP*
85 +
86 STF
87 IFF
88 D.MS Degrees/Minutes/Seconds
89 π Pi
90 LST List data registers on printer
91 R/S Run/Stop
92 RTN Return from subroutine
93 .
94 +/-
95 =
96 WRT Write to magnetic card
97 DSZ Decrement and skip at zero
98 ADV Printer paper advance
99 PRT Print


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