Elektronika MK-61

Datasheet legend
Ab/c: Fractions calculation
AC: Alternating current
BaseN: Number base calculations
Card: Magnetic card storage
Cmem: Continuous memory
Cond: Conditional execution
Const: Scientific constants
Cplx: Complex number arithmetic
DC: Direct current
Eqlib: Equation library
Exp: Exponential/logarithmic functions
Fin: Financial functions
Grph: Graphing capability
Hyp: Hyperbolic functions
Ind: Indirect addressing
Intg: Numerical integration
Jump: Unconditional jump (GOTO)
Lbl: Program labels
LCD: Liquid Crystal Display
LED: Light-Emitting Diode
Li-ion: Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Lreg: Linear regression (2-variable statistics)
mA: Milliamperes of current
Mtrx: Matrix support
NiCd: Nickel-Cadmium rechargeable battery
NiMH: Nickel-metal-hydrite rechargeable battery
Prnt: Printer
RTC: Real-time clock
Sdev: Standard deviation (1-variable statistics)
Solv: Equation solver
Subr: Subroutine call capability
Symb: Symbolic computing
Tape: Magnetic tape storage
Trig: Trigonometric functions
Units: Unit conversions
VAC: Volts AC
VDC: Volts DC
Years of production: 1983-1992 Display type: Numeric display  
New price: SUR 85.00   Display color: Green  
    Display technology: Vacuum fluorescent display 
Size: 6½"×3"×1½" Display size: 8+2 digits
Weight: 8 oz    
    Entry method: Reverse Polish Notation 
Batteries: 3×"AA" alkaline Advanced functions: Trig Exp 
External power: D2-10M adapter (5VDC 0.1A)   Memory functions:  
    Programming model: Partially merged keystroke 
Precision: 8 digits Program functions: Jump Cond Subr Ind  
Memories: 15 numbers Program display: Keycode display  
Program memory: 105 program steps Program editing: Overwrite capability  
Chipset:   Forensic result:  

mk61.jpg (27073 bytes)Even more than its predecessor, the B3-34, the Elektronika MK-61 was a Soviet calculator whose design was clearly inspired by Hewlett-Packard's highly successful line of programmable calculators. The MK-61 is a Reverse Polish (RPN) calculator, with a four-level stack and a fairly well designed keyboard that includes a gold and a blue shift key. If this isn't enough, the overall appearance and feel of the calculator is somewhat similar to Hewlett-Packard's Spice series of calculators such as the HP-33C.

I used the word "inspired" intentionally: while there are many similarities between the MK-61 and HP calculators, the MK-61 is clearly not a copycat clone. Despite the similarities, the MK-61 is most definitely not an HP calculator, as evidenced by its different programming model, unique features, and function set.

That said, the MK-61 is a surprisingly well-designed calculator. Its display accuracy is limited to an 8-digit mantissa, but within those 8 digits, the calculator delivers accurate results; the manual, in fact, (just like HP calculator manuals of the same vintage) does include a discussion of the expected accuracy of all built-in functions. This is in stark contrast with Western calculators such as the National Semiconductor NS 4525, or the Sinclair Cambridge Programmable, both of which have built-in functions that are laughably inaccurate, sometimes delivering results with only 4 digits of precision.

The construction of the MK-61 is also fairly good. Judging by its external condition, one of my MK-61s has seen some rough times, yet it remains perfectly functional. The documentation is low quality in appearance, but high quality in content and thoroughness.

The calculator has a reasonable storage capacity: 105 merged program steps and 15 memories are sufficient for many tasks even in the absence of permanent storage or continuous memory.

There's one thing, however, that this calculator isn't: it is certainly not a fast one! The display goes blank after every keystroke for a noticeable fraction of a second, and a simple operation, such as taking the exponential of 1, takes more than 2 seconds to complete! Programs of a similar design take up to five times as long to execute on the MK-61 than on my HP-65, which happens to be more than ten years older.

Its crawling speed notwithstanding, I found the MK-61 a very pleasant calculator. Despite the unusual cyrillic nomenclature, it didn't take long to get used to its keyboard, and within no time, I was writing short programs on it without even glancing at the manual. Perhaps the most striking "feature" is the seemingly arbitrary keycodes in program memory; unlike the case with most Western keystroke programmables, keycodes on the MK-61 do not appear to be related in any way to key positions on the keyboard.

I am sure there are many mysteries that I haven't discovered yet, but I have already been able to port my Gamma function implementation to this beast. This is yet another one of those implementations that requires several constants to be placed in memory after the program is keyed in. To calculate the Gamma function of any argument (including negative non-integers) enter the number and hit the C/П button. The program demonstrates the use of indirect addressing and loops, two of the advanced features of the MK-61.

M2: 76.180092
M3: -86.50532
M4: 24.014098
M5: -1.2317396
M6: 1.208651e-3
M7: -5.3952394e-6

00    0E    B^
01    01    1
02    14    <->
03    5C    x<0
04    15    15
05    0E    B^
06    25    \(\circlearrowright\)
07    12    ×
08    25    \(\circlearrowright\)
09    25    \(\circlearrowright\)
10    25    \(\circlearrowright\)
11    01    1
12    10    +
13    51    БП
14    03    03
15    49    x-П 9
16    14    <->
17    48    x-П 8
18    06    6
19    40    x-П 0
20    08    8
21    41    x-П 1
22    01    1
23    Г1    K П-x 1
24    69    П-x 9
25    61    П-x 1
26    10    +
27    01    1
28    11    -
29    13    ÷
30    10    +
31    5Г    L0
32    23    23
33    02    2
34    20    π
35    12    ×
36    21    √
37    12    ×
38    69    П-x 9
39    13    ÷
40    18    ln
41    69    П-x 9
42    05    5
43    0-    .
44    05    5
45    10    +
46    18    ln
47    69    П-x 9
48    02    2
49    23    1/x
50    10    +
51    12    ×
52    10    +
53    69    П-x 9
54    11    -
55    05    5
56    0-    .
57    05    5
58    11    -
59    16    ex
60    68    П-x 8
61    13    ÷
62    50    C/П
63    51    БП
64    00    00