How to Use a TI-36X Solar Calculator

by Anthony Prechtl

Scientific calculators are an excellent compromise between cost and functionality, usually resulting in an excellent overall value. They can be purchased quite inexpensively but offer many of the same features found in more expensive graphing calculators. This makes them excellent candidates for students and professionals in a variety of fields. The TI-36X is a robust scientific calculator fitted with a solar panel so that you will never need to worry about running out of batteries in the middle of an experiment or test.

Charge the battery for a few minutes by flipping around the TI-36X in its case so that the solar panel is exposed to sunlight. The calculator does operate in low-light situations, but it is worth getting a decent charge on its first use for the battery's sake. Note that there is no need to turn on the TI-36X in order to charge it.

Turn on the TI-36X by pressing the "AC/On" button. The calculator may display incorrect numbers when initially exposed to sunlight, so make sure you don't forget to actually turn it on. The "AC/On" button also clears the calculator's memory of any previously entered data.

Enter the data and the function you would like to perform on it. Most buttons on the TI-36X are outfitted with three functions. The primary function is displayed in the middle of the button, the secondary function is displayed in the top of the button, and the tertiary function is displayed directly above the button. In order to access the secondary and tertiary functions, press the "2nd" or "3rd" buttons (respectively) before pressing the button with the function you desire.

Turn off the calculator by simply flipping it around and reinserting it face down in its cover. It will hold a small charge for use in low-light situations, but be wary of using it in low light for too long.


  • Consult the manual that came with your TI 36X for more specific function information. There is also a quick reference sheet on the inside of the cover.