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 FAQs FOR TI GRAPHING CALCULATORS (Basics)

CONTENT: Answers to a variety of problems with TI-82, TI-83 Plus, TI-89, and Casio graphing calculators.
There are several FAQs on scientific calculators.

How to search for  an answer on this sheet: In order to make maintenance of this sheet easier, I designed it so that you can use your browser to locate an answer. After you've located the FAQ number that you want,  just use the Find and enter the index number.  Be sure to enclose the number in parentheses or you'll not find the answer quickly.  The start point for the search should be below the listing in the index.

Index: (There are more FAQs on pages 1 and 2.  Those FAQs usually give more detail and many are more advanced that those on this page.  Under the TI FAQs heading, click "More Detailed Page 1" or "More Detailed  Page 2"  in the navigation panel to go there.)
Index:

(1)  How can I make the display brighter on a TI-82/83 series calculator?
(2)  How do I enter an "x' in an equation on a TI-82/83 series calculator?
(3)  How do I raise "x" to a power on my TI-82/83 series  calculator?
(4)  How do I change from degrees to radians on a TI-83 Plus?
(5)  Can the TI-83 Plus use a split screen to display two different methods such as TABLE and GRAPH?
(6)  Can you do financial functions on the TI-82/83 series of calculators?
(7)  Do the TI-82/83 Plus calculators do complex numbers?
(8)  My TI-83 Plus won't work right.  What can I do?
(9)  I keep getting the wrong answers when I do exponents.  How do I know when to use parentheses?
(10)  I often have trouble when I enter complex fractions for graphing.  Any ideas?
(11)  How do I find the solution to an equation with one independent variable?  (This is also known as 
        finding the roots or x-axis intercepts.

Answers:
1)  How can I make the display brighter on a TI-82/83 series calculator?
 Press 2nd; then press the "up" arrow to increase brightness or press the "down" arrow to decrease brightness.
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 2)  How do I enter an "x' in an equation on a TI-82/83 series calculator?
At the place where you want to enter "x," press the key with the [X,T,0,n] label.
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3)  How do I raise "x" to a power on my TI-82/83 series  calculator?
You can enter any exponent after a variable by first pressing the caret symbol, this ^; then entering the exponent you want.  For fractional exponents, enclose the whole fraction in parentheses.  As a special case, to get  the "2" for x2, press the let labeled x2.
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4)  How do I change from degrees to radians on a TI-83 Plus?
Press the mode key and select and highlight radians.  To leave that screen, press 2nd, [QUIT].
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5)  Can the TI-83 Plus use a split screen to display two different methods such as TABLE and GRAPH?
Yes, press the MODE button and highlight G-T.  If you then graph, you'll have both a graph and a table displayed on the screen.
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 6)  Can you do financial functions on the TI-82/83 series of calculators?
The TI-83 Plus can do financial functions.  Press APPS and select Finance.
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7)  Do the TI-82/83 Plus calculators do complex numbers?
The TI-83 Plus does, but the TI-82 does not.  To set the TI-83 Plus for complex numbers, press MODE and select "a+bi" instead of REAL.
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8)  My TI-83 Plus won't work right.  What can I do?
I suggest you try to find a friend who knows a lot about calculators.  If you can't find anyone  to solve the problem, and you must solve it, you can reset the memory to the factory default settings.   I suggest you do this very carefully.  Here's how to do it:
1)  Press 2nd, MEM, 7.  The "Archive All" menu will be displayed.
2)  Select "2: Default", and press enter.  When the "Reset RAM" menu appears, select "2:Reset" and press ENTER.
Be careful not to select 1:ALL RAM.  This can delete your APPS and programs.
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9)  I keep getting the wrong answers when I do exponents.  How do I know when to use parentheses?
A good rule of thumb is to always use parentheses if there's an arithmetic operation in the exponent.
Examples:  In 3^(1/2), the operation in the exponent is divide;  for e^(2*4), the operation is multiply;  x^(4-2), etc.
That includes operations such as 16^(3/4), and implied operations such as  3^(2x), which is probably more often used in graphing.
The applicable rule here is the order of operations: PEMDAS.  In the expression 16^3/4, the order or operations says raise 16 to the third power and multiply the result by 4.  Whereas, in 16^(3/4), both 3 and 4 are exponents.   Bottom Line:  If you want something different from the order of operations, use parentheses to tell the calculator exactly what you want.
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10)  I often have trouble when I enter complex fractions for graphing.  Any ideas?
 
I suggest you read item #9 above for the basic idea behind using parentheses.  A good rule of thumb is the same as the one for exponents in item #9 above:  If the denominator contains a math operation, then enclose the entire denominator in parentheses.  Examples:  2x/(3x+4);  2x/(x-1); 2/(3*4); and others of similar structure.
Notice that 2x + 3/3x is different from (2x+3)/3x, and that's different from (2x+3)/(3x).  In the last example, since I wanted the "x" in the term "3x" to be in the denominator, I had to force it into the denominator by grouping with parentheses.  For these subtle reasons, I always tell students, when in doubt, use parentheses.  Of course, in an expression such as y = 2x + 3, there's no need to enclose 2x in parentheses.
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(11)  How do I find the solution to an equation with one independent variable?  (This is also known as finding the roots or x-axis intercepts.
        a) Enter the function and graph it.
        b) Press 2nd, CALC.
        c) Press 2 to select root from the menu.
        d) Move the cursor to the left of the intercept and press ENTER.
        e) Move the cursor to the right of the intercept and press ENTER.
         f) Move the cursor to the point where you guess the intercept is and press ENTER again.    
           (NOTE: locating the exact point is not at all critical.  Just anywhere between the upper and
            lower bounds.)
        g) The root wilI appear at the bottom of the screen.

Revised:  11/10/04