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    RAM vs. ROM for Celestial Calculators
    From: Luis Soltero
    Date: 2000 Jan 04, 3:10 PM

    Hi Everyone,
    This is my first posting so I hope it goes well.   A few weeks ago while
    perusing the
    roninhouse navigation list archive I ran into a series of postings concerned
    with the
    RAM vs ROM issue in celestial calculators.  At the time I was not a member
    the mailing list so I sent the following e-mail to Bill Murdoch.  Anyway, I
    my mail mesg to Bill is of general interest so I include it here.
    Hi Bill,
    This is Luis Soltero the author of the Starpath StarPilot.
    It was fun discovering a fellow navigator who has implemented
    celestial stuff on the TI calculator series.  Prior to my most recent
    search on the net I was under the impression that I had been the
    only one.
    I started the StarPilot project in the summer of 96 and implemented
    early versions on the TI-80, TI-81, TI-82 and TI-83.  At one point I
    released into the Share Ware domain a preliminary version called NavTI-8X
    which ran on both the 86 and 82.  These products have both been
    retracted from the SW since I no longer have time to support them.
    Anyway,  There are a few items in your e-mail
    ( http://www.i-DEADLINK-com/lists/navigation/1999/0918.html) that I would like
    to clarify.  Since I dont know how to subscribe to the navigational
    e-mail list I thought I would write directly to you.  It would be great
    if you could post this for me.
    The key sequence for finding the version number on the 86 is
    if at this time you hit [enter] the memory will be erased.  It is very
    unlikely that anyone will hit this sequence by accident.
    Unlike the 82, the 86 will print a mesg on the screen when the 4AAA
    batteries get low.  Like the 82 the screen gets dimmer as the batteries
    loose charge requiring you to increase the brightness of the display
    with [2nd][up arrow].  When the brightness level hits 8 or so the
    calculator will print a mesg on the screen to tell you to change out
    the batteries.  The unit will not run on the lithium battery alone. The
    lithium battery is strictly used to backup the memory if the main
    batteries go dead.  The battery systems are totally independent and
    the AAAs can be left out of the unit for an extended period without
    impacting the charge of the Lithium backup battery or loosing memory.
    As you know the 4AAA batteries last for ever.  I purchased my
    TI-86 in 1997 have used it extensively in the development of
    the StarPilot product and on average change out the AAA batteries
    once a year.  Only 3 sets of batteries have been used in the complete
    development of the product and I use my unit A LOT!
    To reset the memory on the calculator you must execute
    Again unlikely to happen by accident.
    Starpath encourages customers to buy the Ti GraphLink cable by selling them
    at a reduced price ($19.95)  In the very unlikely event of memory loss you
    can reload the software from any computer.  This could be done from an
    cafe any where in the world by simply hooking up the cable to the system.
    TI Graph Link software as well as the StarPilot is available for download
    the internet at NO cost i.e. for Free.
    AAA batteries are readily available world wide unlike the CR... Li batteries
    exclusively in some of the ROM based celestial calculators) which
    can be difficult to find in the 3rd world.  I have even purchased batteries
    in Kuna Yala
    San Blas Panama where roads, electricity and the wheel have not yet been
    Another strong point for the 86 is that it is readily available world wide.
    So, if you happen to
    drop the thing in the water during the Americas Cup 2000 in Australia,
    simply walk down
    to the local TI reseller buy a new one, stop by the Internet cafe on the way
    back to your
    boat and you are in business.   Needless to say this mode of recovery is not
    available from manufacturers
    of ROM based systems.
    Please keep in mind that the TI-86 is designed for high school kids and is a
    robust durable
    unit.  I have launched my 86 across the boat during a particular rough
    passage cracked the cover and
    continued doing sight reductions with out a problem.  Replacement covers in
    a multitude of
    colors are available directly from TI and their distributors and an
    indestructible padded water proof
    box is available for the StarPilot from Starpath if you wish to take better
    care of your unit
    than I do mine.
    Finally, StarPilot updates are available for free over the internet.  As new
    features are added
    to the software customers can easily update their units by simply
    downloading the latest
    software over the internet.  If you feel that a feature is missing in the
    StarPilot simply send
    us an e-mail.  If we feel that the feature is useful to the public in
    general we will implement
    it and make it available to every one.  We have done this for customers
    several times
    already.  For example, The original StarPilot did not implement Sun
    Amplitudes or a comprehensive
    ETA function.  It now does thanks to our users and these features are
    available via
    download over the internet as version 1.53.
    The StarPilot web page has come a long way since its initial release Nov 5.
    I invite you
    to browse the StarPilot page at
    Thanks for our consideration and your e-mailed comments are welcome.
    Luis Soltero, Ph.D.
    StarPilot development team
    Starpath School of Navigation

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