Author Topic: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?  (Read 6051 times)

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Offline Fireicee1

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Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« on: February 09, 2013, 12:06:28 am »
Any suggestions how to perform such a task?
What sort of screwdriver would I need to unscrew those screws along the edge of the back of the calculator (the ones that are in really deep holes)?
I think I read somewhere a Torx T4 screwdriver would do the trick?

The screen is messed up and won't work.  When you turn it on, it appears that there is a completely blank screen, but pressing a few random buttons shows random vertical lines and random pieces of characters along these lines. 

This actually happened a long time ago, I believe it (may) have been dropped?
The calculator itself is also a few years old. 

I had gotten an Nspire CX CAS but have found out it's disallowed from an exam I'm going to need to take at the end of the school year (due to its CAS capabilities).  I don't want to return it, and I don't want to purchase a new $100 graphing calculator for this one exam, so I thought maybe it might be possible to repair my old one.

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 02:18:04 am »
I believe you need a Torx screwdriver (star with 6 points instead of 4. Not sure which size). I managed to remove those screws with a 4 star one once, because Torx-6 is impossible to find anywhere here, but you need the exact right size and even then this can damage the screws badly, so I would avoid such solution. Try to find a Torx screwdriver somewhere and if you can't, you could try finding one online.

Did you try removing the batteries then putting them back in while holding down CLEAR, though? This lets you force a RAM reset. You can also try DEL which forces a OS re-install prompt. If the screen remains that way, then it might be the screen itself. I am not experienced in that stuff, though, so hopefully someone can help.

My TI-80 did similar stuff before when I last tried it. I didn't drop it, but it always remained somewhere in a huge stash of calculators, so maybe it broke it after a while. Dropping a calc might have damaged the screen too.

As for the CAS' do you absolutely need one? WOuld a regular TI-Nspire CX do the job? It's allowed at exams, unlike the CAS model, so you could try to get that in exchange.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 02:22:47 am by DJ_O »

Offline Sorunome

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 02:20:21 am »
Remove the batteries and the back up batteries and wait for a week or even longer and your calculator maybe will suddenly work again :D

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Offline DrDnar

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 02:23:55 am »
If the screen is cracked, replacing the whole screen is the only option. It's possible the ribbon cable attaching the screen is damaged, but even Kerm (who has a master's degree in electrical engineering) had trouble fixing that.

The screws are indeed Torx-style. I have a set from Radioshack. Maybe they're hard to find in Canada, but there are a few stores selling them here in the US (subject to regional variation).
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Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 03:13:19 am »
Here RadioShack no longer exist, since Circuit City bought the entire Canadian branch in 2005 and renamed them The Source by Circuit City. I couldn't find such screwdriver there D: (plus even if I managed to get one at RadioShack before the rebranding, they forced you to give them your underwear size, your social security number, your phone number, your sexual orientation and every single thing even if you were just buying a pencil (well, maybe not that bad, but close), so I avoided shopping there at all cost.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 03:13:44 am by DJ_O »

Offline willrandship

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 03:28:11 am »
Kerm doesn't have trouble replacing Ribbon cables on the 83+. He fixes those all the time. It's the 84+ he has trouble with, since the cable is much smaller. It's about 30 AWG wire spacing, from what I understand.

See this post on cemetech.

DJ, you can use standard flat screwdrivers inside the torx set.

Oh, by the way, that's almost definitely a ribbon cable problem. Doesn't sound like a cracked screen at all. Cracked screens are more easily identified by the fact that they leak fluid. It's a fairly distinctive effect.

What you're seeing, from what I understand, is a communication problem between the LCD's driver and the display itself. (Well, sort of, the hardware is kind of complicated) Point is, the symptom you describe is a classic example of ribbon cable failure.

Offline Fireicee1

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 10:03:09 am »
Yeah, I think it is a ribbon cable problem.  Definitely not software; I've tried all those button combinations as well as random button mashing with no success.

As for the CAS' do you absolutely need one? WOuld a regular TI-Nspire CX do the job? It's allowed at exams, unlike the CAS model, so you could try to get that in exchange.

I guess if repairing the old calculator fails, I'll have to return my CAS and get the plain CX.
I'll also try Sorunome's advice and see if that works. 
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 10:04:11 am by Fireicee1 »

Offline floris497

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Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 10:09:23 am »
This actually happened a long time ago, I believe it (may) have been dropped?

didn't know that was even possible to break such a calc, mine survived many drops also a two story fall at school and still working oke. (not that i did those things intentionally to my calc)

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Re: Re: Taking Apart a TI-83 Plus?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 10:42:29 am »
I think it depends in which direction the impact is. If the top of the calc, especially corners, hit the floor first vertically, I heard that the screen was more at risk of getting damaged.