Back in the summer of 1987 or 1988 or so, my family took a road trip across the country. This was a painful prospect, I couldn’t possibly bring my computer with me, and it wouldn’t be a lot of good anyway for the car. Fortunately, a business colleague of my mother’s had a programmable calculator to lend me for a couple of weeks. This was the Casio FX-730P.
I played a lot with this on that trip, although I don’t really remember what exactly I was doing with it, just remembered the ability to program on the road fondly. But now, 25 years on, I wanted to get one again. I didn’t know the model number of course, and looking around now, it turns out that there were many of this type of programmable calculator made at around that time. But, although perhaps it is just the fact that this was the one I learned on as a child, I find most of the other ones kind of ugly by comparison. I really like the colorful function bars, the placement of the keys. It’s one of the nicest looking in its class I think.
The FX-730P has 8K of memory built in, although it can be expanded to 16K with an additional RAM module, and it has a connector in the back for connecting peripherals such as a printer and a tape recorder for loading/saving data and programs. A little while back I tried to get a Raspberry Pi to communicate with the FX-730P, although I didn’t really get off the ground. It is not easy at all to find the peripherals for this thing now, though, so trying to do some kind of modern interface is probably where the future lies.
I do however have the box and manuals, which I’ve scanned. There is an existing scan of the manual out there, but it’s pretty low-quality. This one is much better, though it’s bigger. I may re-scan a couple of pages of the manual at some point, but for now:
- Casio FX-730P owner’s manual
- Ad for the FX-7000G that came in the box
- Casio warranty card
- Casio FX-730P box scans
I haven’t really done much with this yet, apart from typing in some of the example programs from the manual, but I am looking forward to playing with this more. The inability to load and save things might drive me to resume the tape interface project again sometime soon, we shall see. More as it develops.