Elektronika MK-52

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Elektronika MK-52.JPG
Elektronika МК-52 Calculator
Elektronika MK-52 Calculator PCB

The Elektronika MK-52 (Russian: Электро́ника МК-52) was an RPN-programmable calculator manufactured in the Soviet Union during the years 1983 to 1992. Its original selling price was 115 rubles.

The functionality of the MK-52 was identical to that of the Elektronika MK-61, except that the MK-52 had an internal non-volatile EEPROM memory module for permanent data storage, a diagnostic slot, and a slot for ROM modules. The programming language and functionality of the MK-52 and MK-61 calculators were extensions of the earlier MK-54, the B3-34, and B3-21 Elektronika calculators. The MK-52 is the only calculator known to have internal storage in the form of an EEPROM module. As with many Soviet calculators, the MK-52 had a number of undocumented functions.[1]

The MK-52 was used as a backup to onboard computers of the Soyuz spacecraft during the Soyuz TM-7 mission to the Mir space station.

Basic operations[edit]

The MK-52 has two main modes of operations: automatic mode and programming mode. General calculations and operations are performed in automatic mode while programs are fed as input in the programming mode. The key [F] [CHS] (looks like [/-/]) switches the MK-52 to automatic mode, while [F] [EE] (looks like [Bn]) switches it to programming mode.

Basic operations in automatic mode were conducted in accordance with Reverse Polish Notation logic. For example, to evaluate 2+3, the following keystrokes are required: [2] [enter] (looks like [B^]) [3] [+].


The MK-52 had 105 steps of volatile program memory, an internal EEPROM module (with 512 bytes of memory) and 15 memory registers. It used four AA-size battery cells or could be plugged into a power adapter. It had a relatively dim, ten-digit (8 digit mantissa, 2 digit exponent) green vacuum fluorescent display. The MK-52 had an expansion port to which various ROM (Read-only memory) modules could be attached. Its system clock speed was approximately 75 kHz (derived from a phases generator chip), and it weighed approximately 400 grams.


It has simple programming, commands are typed into the MK-52 in programming mode and are then executed in order. The MK-52 is fully capable of memory management and both conditional and unconditional branching, but these and more advanced capabilities are beyond the scope of this article (for the moment).

In programming mode, the screen displays information about the program in memory. For example, if '10 01 0E 03' is displayed, then this means that '0E' is stored at program step '00', '01' is stored at program step '01', '10' is stored at program step '02' and the machine is currently prompting for data to be input for program step '03'. Individual program operations are represented by two-digit operation codes in programming mode.

Saving to EEPROM[edit]

Note that before entering a program to volatile memory with the intention of saving this program to EEPROM memory, the EEPROM program space to be saved to must be cleared first, as performing the clearing operation clears the volatile memory as well as the selected area of the EEPROM memory.

Each program step requires 1 byte of memory and each register requires 7 bytes of memory.

When clearing, reading or writing to the EEPROM memory, the 'address' and 'range' are specified in the form of a six-digit number, preceded by a non-zero number (which is ignored) in automatic mode, i.e. '1aaaadd' means 'dd' bytes, starting at memory address 'aaaa'. A two-position data/program switch controls whether data (from the registers) or program memory is transferred; a three-position switch is used to select read, write and clear operations.

Additional information[edit]

Bitwise/binary operations[edit]

The MK-52 is fully capable of performing binary number Boolean operations. The following example demonstrates the OR logical operation between the binary numbers '111000' and '100001':

First, the numbers are made into groups of four digits, adding leading zeros if necessary, i.e. making '111000' into groups of four gives '0011' and '1000'.

The equivalent decimal values of each of these four-digit binary numbers are '3' and '8', which gives a hexadecimal number of '38', equivalent to the binary number '111000'. Similarly, '100001' is equivalent to '21' in hexadecimal.

Binary numbers are input into the machine as hexadecimal numbers prepended by an '8.'.

So, the numbers '8.38' and '8.21' are entered into the MK-52 and the OR operation is performed on them. The OR operation is achieved by pressing [K], then [CHS] (which looks like [/-/]).

The result displayed should be '8.39'. This translates to the two binary number groups '0011' and 1001 and, hence, the binary number '111001', which is the result of the OR operation performed on the two binary numbers '111000' and '100001'.

The following list details the MK-52's graphical representation of hexadecimal numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, -, L, C, Г, E, (blank). Normal hexadecimal representation is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E.


There are a host of games available for the MK-52. The MK-52's undocumented functions tend to be heavily used in the games due to their use in producing unusual calculations and specialized displays. A simple example of the modification of the display may be observed by the repeated squaring of, say, 1 x 10^50 (ignoring error messages).


The MK-52 was available in a variety of colors, including black/grey, turquoise/blue, white/grey and orange.


In what would be considered an unusual practice today (but was common for Soviet electronics), technical schematics were provided for the MK-52 when it was purchased, prompting user modification and repair of the machine.


When an error was encountered on the machine, the display produced a message similar to the English word "error". The word, written in this fashion, cuts down on the number of display segments used to display the error message. In Russian, this spelling is not pronounced "error", but "eggog".


There is currently only 1 known bug in the MK-52. That bug is that the MAX function gives a result of zero if one of the two arguments of the function is zero.


  1. ^ Frolov, Sergei. "Undocumented functions of Soviet Calculators". www.leningrad.su. Retrieved 2017-02-06. 

External links[edit]