The Casio AL-8 was an early handheld calculator released in 1976. It measured approximately 82mm x 140mm x 25mm and weighed 175g with batteries. Power came from two AA batteries or an optional AC adapter. The calculator had a smooth plastic case in burgundy and white with a tilted neutral display filter over the 8-digit blue vacuum fluorescent display (VFD). The keys used Casio’s typical squishy rubber design.
The AL-8 featured the standard four functions – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – along with percentages, square roots, an automatic accumulator for running totals, remainders, fractions, conversions between hours/minutes/seconds and degrees/minutes/seconds, statistics functions and a four function memory. It offered selectable fixed or floating decimal point math, with rounding off to two decimal places.
Some key specifications and features:
- 8 digit blue VFD display
- Plastic case in burgundy and white
- Powered by 2x AA batteries
- Optional AC adapter
- Standard math functions plus square roots, percentages, accumulator, remainders
- Fractions, HMS/DMS conversions, statistics
- 4-function memory
- Floating or fixed 2-decimal math
The logic and operation of the Casio AL-8 included:
- Separate clear last (C) and clear all (AC) keys
- Overflow suppressed, 9th digit ignored
- Selectable automatic constant via double operators
- Overflow error flagged with E, not recoverable
- Divide by zero error also flagged with E
- No indication of memory store
- Square roots of negatives allowed but caused errors
- Fractions used inverted L, DMS used upper o
- Negatives shown by – in leftmost digit, limited to 7 digits
The Casio AL-8 was an early handheld calculator that introduced helpful functions like fractions, statistics, and HMS/DMS conversions not seen in basic four-function models. It also allowed more flexible math with memory, percentages, and selectable fixed/floating decimal points. The plastic case and rubber keys made it durable and portable. While it had some logic limitations, the AL-8 expanded capabilities compared to basic calculators of the time.