Elite S 2003

S 2003
S 2003


The Elite S 2003, which came from my relatives into my collection and started it many years ago, is a very typical, simple calculator, which was made around 1976 and sold over the large german store chains such as Karstadt or Kaufhof.

This calculator is quite impressive because of its size and weight, mostly due to the four(!) AA cells, the quite large and round VFD tube and the shape with the slighty angled display. Certainly not suitable for a shirt pocket.


On the rather small mainboard, a NEC µPD946C works as CPU. This chip is rather highly integrated, so only a small number of discrete elements have to be used, mostly for feeding the display with high voltage.

As modern the CPU is, as anachronistic is the round display tube, which has got a large number of tiny cables coming out at both sides. This is a killer for automatic assembly and therefore not much longer found in calculators.

An noteworthy detail is the power switch: It has got three positions. In the middle, the calculator is simply turned off. In the left position, the calculator is turned on, and in the right position, the calculator is turned off, but a connected mains adapter loads the (hopefully NiCD or NiMH) batteries. Not really high-tech and not foolproof, but quite useful.

inside (2)
inside (2)

The large, rather spongy working and not always realiably working keyboard is connected with fifteen wires in a row.

back side
back side

The calculating functions of the Elite S 2003 are contemporary. It has got the four standard calculation functions, is able to do percent calculators, square and square root and can invert. A calculating memory (addition, subtraction, readout and delete, the latter ones by pressing "RM" once and twice) is integratedm too.

If the memory is used, on the rightmost display position (actually the ninth position) an "M" is displayed; on overflow and errors, an degree sign "°" is used, and negative numbers always get their minus sign on the right:

(almost) fully loaded display
(almost) fully loaded display

On overflow, only the most significant eight digits are displayed, while the position of the decimal point denotes, how many digits on the right are missing.
99999999 + 1 results in 1.0000000°, which means, that the ninth digit on the left is missing.
Interestingly, although the calculator is overloaded, you can still continue to work, so that ...
... 1.0000000° * 10 results correctly in 10.00000°. The second position of the decimal point denotes, that the rightmost two digits are missing.
With that in mind, you can extend this 8-digit calculator to an 16-digit capable calculator! Other calculators with exponential display don't work much differently, they only have a larger working range!

Technical data

ModelS 2003
Yearsee text
Display8 digit VFD
Number of keys 25
Functions+ - * / INV SQR SQRT % M
Entry logic (classificationALG (GBA)
1 + 0.000 = 1.
0 / 0 = Error
sqrt(-1) = -1 (should have produced an error)
sqr(sqrt(2)) = 1.9999998
Power supply 4xAA
Size13,2 x 8,4 x 3,0 cm
Serial Number512 16495

Vintage Technology: Elite S 2003 (en) (Very interesting description)