Waste Time With a Calculator

Ever been stuck somewhere (Waiting room, waiting on food, math class) and only had a calculator to play with? It happens to me all the time.

At first you may type out some stuff like 99999 X 1.0012874, but stuff like that gets boring very quickly.
Then you may begin to spell stuff like hEllO, but you run out of things to do after that.

I'll do my best to show you how to do some various things on a calculator.

Step 1: My Calculator

My main calculator is a CASIO fx-300MS. They are common (Got mine at Walmart for $10) and have quite a few functions, but are cheap and are usually allowed to be used in the classroom because they are not graphing calculators.

As you can see, mine is beaten and mistreated, bestickered and drawn on, but it still keeps going.

Sorry about the terrible pictures, using the flash made it over-exposed looking, but not using it makes it look fuzzy.

Step 2: The Basics

We probably all know that a calculator can be used for writing certain words.

Many of you have typed 0.1134 into a calculator to get "hEllo".

Pretty much any word with I, S, L, Z, E, O, B, G, and H can be spelled.
This gives many more possibilities than you might expect. Did you know that Eloise can be spelled,
and so can "hobo" and so can "BIOS" (If you're a geek).

I found This site, which has tons of words you can spell on a calculator.

Some calculators have some special letters. Mine has the letters A-F, plus X, Y, and M. I found out that I could get a "P" by pressing shift+nCr. Pi (the symbol) can be substituted for "n".

Though remember, doing math on a calculator can still be fun...

Step 3: Press the Buttons

If you have a slightly more advanced calculator, like mine, lots of fun can be had just pressing buttons to see what they do. That's what they're there for.
It was an entire year after I had gotten my calculator that I found the Ran# function, which generates a random number between 1 and 0. Plenty of fun can be made from this button, which I'll get to later.
I STILL occasionally find new things on this simple calculator.

Step 4: Make Up Games

You can make up simple games for a calculator.

1:Guess a number
I like to key in "Ran# x 10 + 1"

That gives me a random number between 1 and 10, including 10. I then try to guess the number that will come up next.

Key in 6 random two digit numbers, and then cover them up so that you can't see them.
Try to remember all of them. It's extremely difficult because the brain can only easily remember 5 numbers at a time. Check your guess.

3:Pi attack
Type out pi as best you can. Press enter and then press the pi button and then enter. Did your answer change? Did you mess up or did you BEAT the calculator? (I already know pi to 21 digits, so I beat it every time.)

4:High score
This one can be done on most calculators.
Type 1, and then press equals. type +1 and press equals as many times as you can. See how high you can get the number to go. In a half hour you can get 5,000 or more.

Step 5: Push the Boundries

Us on Instructables know that the best use of an object is the one it's not designed for.

I like to push calculators to their limits. Some ideas:

Do arithmetic on system messages. I've heard that on some calculators you can do arithmetic on system messages like ErrOr to get things you couldn't make usually. Try using the memory recall just after you turn your calculator on. I've heard that you can get some values from the "boot up" of the calculator. This would give you weird symbols and letters unavailable elsehow. I've never gotten this to work on all of the two calculators I've tried it on. I can put letters and numbers to either side of the message, but never inside it, and I can't change it in any way.

Check the accuracy. I don't know how. You'll have to find out on your own.

Hit it. I don't recommend this on anything you care about. Try hitting the calculator against something until the screen shows all eights or something.

Touch the screen. This one is the easiest. Turn the calculator on and press firmly on the LCD screen. All sorts of pretty colors and lines will appear. Contrary to what some of you might say, I have never had a calculator break or have the screen be damaged by this.

Find the screen checker Soobs told me about this one! On some calculators it is possible to go into a screen testing mode that they use at the factory. My Casioo will do it if I press shift, 7, and on
ALL AT THE SAME TIME. After that keep pressing shift to cycle through them all.

Step 6: A Final and Unavoidable Use

Hitting people. Not hitting to damage, just a quick painful tap on the head.

1-Select victim (someone you don't know)
2-grasp the bottom half of the calculator firmly between the thumb and index finger, as in holding a pencil, not picking up a coin.
3-Hold calculator over victim's head.
4-Using only the wrist tap your victim (hard)on the head with the top corner of the calculator.

Step 7: The End

That was my first instructable. Constructive criticism welcome.
That calculator has saved my life from death by boredom. Give me a calculator and I'll never be bored.



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    60 Discussions


    2 months ago

    Good ideas.


    7 months ago

    Nice ideas :). I like them :D


    9 months ago

    Press K and then a random number (2nd - Clear on my calculator)
    now if you type 1+1 for example it will automatically stick the number(s) you chose after the last number of your calculation

    so if i chose 42 it wil say 1+142

    pretty good way to amaze or bully your friends


    Reply 10 months ago

    Aww damn I got up to 3.14159265358979333846264338327950288419716939937510582


    10 months ago

    This didn't have any actual games on it but I have one my Mum taught me. Get someone to type in a number then get them to press ÷ twice then = they then tell you how many digits the number was and give you the calculator. You then type in a number with that amount of digits and press = a decimal will come up on the screen, if its above one the number you typed was too big, below one too small. You keep guessing until the number that dhows up on the screen is one. You can also play by yourself by closing your eyes and typing the number then covering the calculator screen with your hand and press ÷ ÷ =
    Thanks and hope you like my game!


    2 years ago

    This site is awesome. Now I won't be bored out of my mind when I have my calculator with me.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    So when we clicked on "this site" it is no longer. It needs to be translated, and the games or word setup for the calculator is not there.


    To use the lowercase r you have to set your calculator to REG mode. Press "Mode" then "3" and finally select any that you want (I use "Lin" becouse it is the number 1 and is more on hand) Then you press "Shift" and "2" you go sideways and you find "a" "b" and "r". You also have a "n" letter on "shift" "1".


    6 years ago on Step 2

    the first ever word i knew in calculator is:
    A girl wears 69 bra. She thinks it's 222 much. So she went to 51 street and she met doctor X and after 8 months of operations she ends up(press = and invert the calculator)

    dr. richtofen

    7 years ago on Step 4

    I know this ible is old, but I have another game:
    In my maths book from previous year, I and the person who was next to me, found an monopoly bord in an photo in the book. I took my calculator, he some paper houses, and set ran# to 6, with full numbers (1, 2 etc, not 1.1243) and we played monopoly

    Pretty stupid, but for those calculators without the 'off' button, if you press 2,3, and on at the same time or 5,6, and on.. it'll turn off! Woah, didn't see that coming did cha? Aha! Anyways, pretty sure it works on all calculators :D


    8 years ago on Step 3

    If you enter a number before Ran# it will be from 0 and the number that you typed


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Try 2000 - 866 and turn it upside down :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Calculators don't have pixels, because pixels are way to small to see. The LCD screen is different, I am not sure what the segmentsare called, but they are not pixels.