Hand-held Calculators

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Casio Mini Card LC-78

Casio Mini Card LC-78

Casio Mini Card LC-78

Distinctive features: The first credit card-sized calculator.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits, yellow LCD.

4-function, %, memory.

Integrated circuit - NEC D896G3 (here date coded 1978).

Batteries - 2x AG10 Silver button cells.

Credit card size (but a little thicker) - 91 x 55 x 5 mm (3.6 x 2.2 x 0.2").

Was the first credit card-sized calculator (though a little thicker), introduced in 1978. Cost 17 GBP (about US$34).

Made in Japan.

Casio Mini Card LC-78

Side view showing how thin the calculator is.


The other side of the circuit board and the integrated circuit.

Circuit board

Removing the rear cover reveals the circuit board, with the integrated circuit mounted in a hole in the board.

By 1978 the use of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and C-MOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) integrated circuits with their very low power consumption allowed the production of a very small and thin calculator powered by two button cells giving a quoted life of 1000 hours. See the bottom of this page for a comparison with one of the first hand-held calculators, the Sharp EL-8.

Casio Mini Card LC-78G

Casio Mini Card LC-78G

The LC-78G shown here looks identical to the LC-78.

Comparison of the Casio Mini Card LC-78 with the Sharp EL-8 hand-held calculator of 1970/1.

It is interesting to compare the size, electronics, battery life and cost of the Casio Mini Card LC-78 with the Sharp EL-8 below, one of the first hand-held calculators from just 7 years, or so, earlier.

This shows the incredible advances in electronics over these years.

Casio Mini Card LC-78

Casio Mini Card LC-78.

Sharp EL-8

Sharp EL-8

Comparison with the Sharp EL-8 hand-held calculator of 1970/1.


  • EL-8 - 4 function.
  • Mini Card - 4 function, %, memory.


  • EL-8 - 6x AA rechargeable Ni-Cad cells giving 3 hours use.
  • Mini Card - 2x Silver button cells giving 1000 hours use.


  • EL-8 - $345 (about 145 Sterling).
  • Mini Card - about $34 (17 Sterling).
Sharp EL-8

Sharp EL-8 with the back removed showing the rechargeable battery pack containing 6x AA NiCad cells.

Sharp EL-8 board
Sharp EL-8 board

The display board of the Sharp EL-8 with the vacuum fluorescent display tubes and the display driver chips.

The calculating circuit board of the Sharp EL-8 with the 5 chips then required to give the standard 4 functions.

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Hand-held Calculators

TI Cal-Tech
Canon Pocketronic
Sanyo ICC-0081 & ICC-82D
Sharp QT-8B
Busicom LE-120A & LE-120S
Sharp EL-8 & Facit 1111
Minolta Minolcom
Brother PRO-CAL 408
Walther ETR3
Bowmar 901B
Ragen Microelectronic
Compucorp 324G
Sharp EL-811 & derivatives
Royal Digital III & IV
Busicom LE-100A handy
Busicom LE-80A handy
Hewlett Packard HP-35
Canon LE-10
Rapidman 800
Texas Instruments 2500
Lloyd's Accumatic 100
Sinclair Executive
Casio Mini
Sanyo ICC-809
Sharp EL-801
Texas Instruments SR-10
Sperry Remington 661D & 661
Olympia CD 81
apf Mark V
Ramsgate M-11
Olivetti Divisumma 18
Iain Jones International Mini A
Hewlett-Packard HP80
Litronix Checkmate
Heathkit IC-2009
MITS 150
Summit Ko9V, K16 & SE88M
Unicom 102
Victor 85 "Tallymate"
Elka 101
RFT minirex 75
Sharp EL-120
Sharp EL-805
Bowmar MX-55
Atlas-Rand, Berkey, & Keystone
Hewlett-Packard HP-65
Casio fx-10
Casio AL-8 & family models
Commodore 776M & 796M
Novus 650 "Mathbox"
Rockwell 8R
General Instrument EZ3000
Check, billfold, wallet calculators
Monte Carlo
Texas Instruments Spirit of '76
Pulsar Calculator Watch
Compuchron Calculator Watch
Adler Lady & Sir
Elektronika B3-18A & C3-15
Commodore S61
"Standard Type 1"
Sharp EL-8026
Texas Instruments TI-30
Canon Multi 8
Casio ST1
Wrist Calculators
Kosmos I & Kosmos Astro
Hanimex Calculator-Recorder
Navigation Calculators
TI58 Special Function Calculators
Sandvik 842S Coromant
"Standard Type 2"
Panasonic Electronic Ruler
Teal Photon
Casio Mini Card LC-78
Feet & inches calculators
SCAT Specialist Calculators
Sharp EL-826
Sharp EL-825
Sanyo CX-1
Elektronika MK-33 etc
Sharp PC1211/Tandy TRS80 PC1
Slide Rule
Otis King L

Vintage Calculators

© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2015 except where noted otherwise.