Hand-held Calculators

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Sanyo ICC-0081 "Mini Calculator"
Sanyo ICC-82D

The Sanyo ICC-0081 "Mini Calculator" and Sanyo ICC-82D were two of the first hand-held calculators, being launched in Japan in Spring 1970. They are both similar electronically, but the ICC-0081 has a built-in AC battery charger for the rechargeable cells, and so is a little larger.

Sanyo ICC-0081 "Mini Calculator"

Sanyo ICC-0081 cover on. Sanyo ICC-0081 in use

With cover on and carrying handle raised.

With cover removed, hood raised, and powered up.

Sanyo ICC-0081 "Mini Calculator"

Distinctive features: One of the first hand-held, battery powered calculators. Has built-in battery charger.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits amber gas-discharge tubes.

Four-function. Fixed decimal point, with settings at 0, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8.

Main integrated circuits - Sanyo LM8001J, LM8002F, LM8003G, LM8006 (date coded to end of 1971).

6v sealed rechargeable battery and built in AC adaptor/recharger.

140 x 246 x 60 mm (5.5" x 9.7" x 2.4").

Launched in Japan in Spring 1970[1]. Cost in U.S.A. in June 1971 was US$425[2].

Made in Japan.

This is an unusual machine with its rechargeable batteries and built-in AC adaptor/ recharger. It also has a battery-level meter (just below the display on the right) and a flip-up display cover/hood.

Inside Circuit board

With the keyboard raised showing the circuit board and display, and the the underside of the cavity, at the bottom, that takes the rechargeable battery unit.

The circuit board with the 4 Sanyo LSI chips and the display tubes. The AC power supply / recharger is at top right, and the power cord packs into the recess at top left.

Integrated circuit

As well as having Sanyo markings, two of the white integrated circuits also have General Instruments "GI" markings on one corner - these were made by Sanyo under lisence from General Instruments.

This one is date-coded week 36 of 1971.


The amber gas-discharge display tubes.

Battery pack

Here the cover over the rechargeable battery pack has been removed.

Battery pack

The rechargeable battery pack removed has now been removed.

Sanyo ICC-82D

Sanyo  ICC-82D

Sanyo ICC-82D

Distinctive features: One of the first hand-held, battery powered calculators.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits amber gas-discharge tubes.

Four-function. Fixed decimal point.

Main integrated circuits - Sanyo LM8001J, LM8002F, LM8003H, LM8005B (here date coded week 16 & 17 of 1971).

6.6v & 7.3v sealed rechargeable battery.

133 mm x 210 mm x 50 mm (5.25" x 8.25" x 2").

Launched in Japan in May 1970[1], and the U.S.A. in September 1970 (see photograph below).

Made in Japan.

Has a battery-level meter (just below the display on the left) and a flip-up display cover/hood.

As well as being sold under the Sanyo label, some were also labelled for the Dictaphone company and sold as the Dictaphone 1680.

Sanyo  ICC-82D
Inside Sanyo  ICC-82D

Sanyo ICC-82D in its plush-lined hard carrying case.

Pressing the button to the lower right of the display allows the display hood/cover to flip up and switches the calculator on.
Closing the hood also switches the calculator off.
On the left below the display is the battery level meter.

With the cover removed, revealing the gas-discharge display tubes and the circuit board with the four Sanyo integrated circuits.


This is a photograph sent out when the Dictaphone version of the Sanyo ICC-82 was launched in the U.S.A. The caption says:
9/8/70 [September 8th 1970] - New York: This 40-ounce calculator just introduced by Dictaphone is the smallest [calculator with a] visual display in the U.S. It is powered by self-contained rechargeable batteries, but can also operate on AC using its recharging cord. It's 8.5 by 5 inches, has 16-digit capacity, and adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides in milliseconds."

The ICC-0081 and ICC-82D are based on the same electronics, which was the leading edge of technology at the time. The development of the electronics was reported in the electronics technical magazines:

In April 1969 Electronics reported that[3] "Sanyo Electric Co. is counting on an LSI miniature calculator with a built-in power pack in an effort to gain ground on Hayakawa [Sharp]. Sanyo says it will start sales this fall, just a few months after Hayakawa goes to market with its LSI - but line-powered - machine. The battery pack - four nickel-cadmium rechargeable "C" cells - can run the calculator for three hours before it needs a recharge. Power drain is a mere two watts - 1.2 watts for the two-phase logic circuits and 0.8 watts for the display and its drives, according to Sanyo. Sanyo's cordless machine has 13 different MOS arrays in its logic circuits, plus four transistors, eight resistors, and four capacitors in the clock circuits. The company stoutly insists it will produce the MOS packages itself; insiders in the semiconductor business, though, maintain the Sanyo has had trouble producing bipolar IC's at a reasonable cost and almost certainly will have to turn to U.S. suppliers for MOS arrays."

In a follow up in Sepetember 1969 Electronics reported[4] "Japan's Sanyo Electric Co. is seeking government approval of a licensing arrangement reached with General Instrument Corp. Under the arrangement, Sanyo will at first import and then manufacture the U.S. firm's metal, thick-oxide nitride silicon LSI circuits for use in the Japanese company's new miniature desk calculator. The calculator is expected to go on the market early next year. Terms of the 10-year licensing arrangement call for General Instrument to receive an $80,000 initial payment and a 3.25% royalty. Although Sanyo will be allowed to sell the LSI circuits separately, the company didn't win an exclusivity clause. Sanyo is investing $4.17 million in new production facilities to manufacture the circuits. Domestic production is expected to start in June; the company's initial goal is 70,000 circuits. The calculator itself has been redesigned so that each machine will require only four or five LSI circuits."

The development problems with the ICs appear to have delayed the introduction of the Sanyo miniature hand-held calculators until about the same time that competitor calculators from Canon (Canon Pocketronic) and Sharp  (Sharp QT-8B) appeared. Sanyo was then never quite at the forefront of calculator development. The miniature calculator emerged as the Sanyo IC-82 and the Sanyo 0081 "Mini Calculator", above, using integrated circuits marked with the "GI" logo of General Intruments Microelectronics of the U.S.A.


These models are hand-holdable, but definitely not a pocket calculators.

The state of development of electronics at this time required four large-scale integrated circuits (LSI) for the calculating functions.

Several early calculators were supplied with an expensive-looking hard fitted carrying case. This was appropriate at that time since these were very expensive instruments.



  1. Advertisement in Nihon Keizai Shimbun 1970 April 30. On Dentaku Museum site at http://www.dentaku-museum.com/.
  2. "Microelectronics Shrinks the Calculator", Popular Science, June 1971, p74.
  3. "... as Sanyo tries to top Hayakawa with battery pack ...", Electronics, Apr. 14 1969, p219.
  4. "Japanese calculator gets U.S. circuitry", Electronics, Sep. 15 1969, p221.
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© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2015 except where noted otherwise.