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  • Introduction
  • Getting the Right Cable
  • Getting the Right Software
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    TI's graphing calculators come with short cables to link one calculator to another, but you may need to obtain a separate cable to connect your calculator to your computer, depending on the model. Users of the TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, TI-89 Titanium, Voyage 200, and TI-Nspire have a computer cable included with their calculator. Otherwise, you can buy such a cable from Texas Instruments. You have two options, a serial or USB cable. Of if you'd like to save money and have the expertise, you can build your own homemade cable. If you are still confused, TI has an informative page.

    Serial TI Connectivity Cable
    Commonly referred to as the "black link" or "TI Graph Link", the serial TI Connectivity Cable is the classic link cable and works with every calculator. Since it is one of Texas Instruments' official link cables, you will be able to use TI's supported software and be guaranteed that you will be able to transfer data to current and future TI calculators from your PC or Macintosh. For more information on this cable and a list of vendors who can ship you a TI-Graph Link, see Texas Instruments' TI-Graph Link page. Note that this cable also comes in a gray-colored version ("gray cable") which is less common and has slight technical differences. With the decline of the serial port on modern computers, the serial cable is now being replaced by the USB cable.

    USB TI Connectivity Cable
    Termed the "Silver Graphlink Cable", the USB TI Connectivity Cable is the model currently found in most stores. It works on both the PC and Macintosh and plugs into a USB port. The only official TI software to support this cable is TI Connect. TI Connect was supposed to be the successor of TI's original TI-Graph Link, and in many ways it is. It has a much faster transfer rate than TI-Graph Link; however it does not support the 82 or 85 for the Windows version. The TI Connectivity Kit comes with a cable and computer software, both of which work with your computer, TI handheld, data collection technology and TI-InterActive! The software includes a Data Editor, Screen Capture, OS Downloader, Group Explorer, and the Device Explorer. Many calculators that TI sells today come with this cable and the software you need for all these features. This is the best choice of linking cable for most users.

    Mini-A to Mini-B USB Cable
    Also called the "direct USB cable", the "TI Connectivity Standard Mini-A to Mini-B USB Cable" is packaged with the TI-84 Plus series, the TI-89 Titanium, and the TI-Nspire series. These calculators have a mini USB port in addition to the traditional I/O port, and in the case of the Nspire, only a mini USB port. The direct USB cable connects the calculator and the computer together via USB. This cable requires TI Connect software to operate and works on both the PC and Macintosh. You cannot buy this cable for any other calculator models.

    Homemade Cables
    The more adventurous (and thrifty) may prefer to build a link cable from parts or buy a pre-built homemade cable. Most of these cables are not compatible with the TI-Graph Link and require third-party software, but can suit the needs of most users. Please see the Link Cables area in our Hardware section for help making your own cable. Most homemade cables and linking software are for older models such as the TI-85 and homemade cables have generally fallen out of use in favor of the official cables listed above.

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