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Busicom LE-80A "handy"

Busicom LE-80A “handy”

Busicom LE-80A "handy"

Distinctive features: The always innovative Busicom showed just how small a calculator could be made in 1972.

Technical details:
Display is 8 digits red LED.


Integrated circuit - Texas Instruments TMS0105 (here date coded week 47 of 1972).

Batteries - 6v, 4x N cells.

55 x 81 x 21 mm (2.2" x 3.2" x 0.8").


Made in Japan by Nippon Calculating Machine Corporation.

This is one of the Busicom "handy" models (the first was the LE-120A) which were the first pocket-sized calculators.
This model achieves an incredibly tiny size for this year by using a Texas Instruments plastic packaged "calculator on a chip", an 8-digit display, and small size N batteries.

Busicom LE-80A “handy”

This calculator was incredibly small for 1972. No other calculator remotely approached its small size.


The battery cover has been removed to reveal the four size N cells (which are about half the size AA cells).

With case

At this time the LE-80A was expensive, since the LED display and the integrated circuit were newly developed and were still very costly.
It came with a very stylish, hard, leather covered, protective case which springs open and shut with a delightfully smooth yet positive action.


Removing the back shows that the batteries take up the space behind the keyboard and the electronics is squeezed into the remaining space.

Circuit boards

This demonstrates what was possible with the availability of "calculator on a chip" electronics and small low-voltage LED displays. The pocket calculator had now really arrived.

The introduction in late 1970/early 1971 of the Mostek MK6010 "calculator on a chip" integrated circuit combined with the use of 7-segment LEDs made it possible to fit all of the electronics of a calculator into a very small space, so producing the first truly pocket-sized calculator, the Busicom LE-120A "handy".
In the Busicom LE-80A "handy" everything was squeezed into an even smaller space, partly by using a display reduced to 8 digits and partly by the use of smaller batteries.

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© Text & photographs copyright Nigel Tout   2000-2017  except where noted otherwise.