# TI-83/84 Troubleshooting

Revised 13 Jun 2014

Copyright © 2001–2014 by Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems

**Summary:**
Some common problems on the TI-83 or TI-84 calculator look
intimidating because the messages are strange, but they’re easy to
fix. This page helps you with the TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver
Edition, TI-84 Plus, and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.

- Error Messages
- List Troubles
- Graphing Troubles
- My screen is blank, except maybe for the axes and the grid.
- My screen is covered with horizontal or vertical lines.
- My screen is completely dark, every pixel filled in.
- There are no tick marks on my graph.
- An extra line or curve appears on my graph.
- I can’t graph more than one equation at a time.
- My normal distribution from
`ShadeNorm`

looks wrong.

- Other Troubles
- What’s New

**See also:**
Web pages for my students include lots of
how-tos for the
TI-83/84 and TI-89/92 families.

**See also:**
Texas Instruments pages on the
TI-83
and
TI-84
family (accessed 2014-06-13).

**General advice:** Most messages give
you a choice of `Quit`

and `Goto`

. If it’s
available, always pick `Goto`

: the TI-83/84 will show you the
exact spot where it found something wrong. That’s usually enough of a
clue that you can figure out what’s wrong.

Press [`2`

] for `Goto`

and recheck your
equation on the `Y=`

screen.

Make sure you pressed the
[`X,T,θ,n`

] key for *x* and not the [`×`

]
times key. Also, make sure you distinguished between the minus key
[`−`

] and the change sign key [`(-)`

]: the
change sign key makes a shorter minus sign than the minus key.

Press [`1`

] for `Quit`

and then press
[`WINDOW`

].

Make sure your `Xmax`

is greater than
`Xmin`

and `Ymax`

is greater than
`Ymin`

.

**Are you doing a scatter plot?**

Press [`Y=`

] and check that
only one of `Plot1`

, `Plot2`

, `Plot3`

is highlighted.

Then press [`2nd`

] [`STAT PLOT`

] followed
by the number of the active plot. ([`STAT PLOT`

] is
the shifted [`Y=`

] key.)
Check which list numbers are mentioned.

Press [`STAT`

] [`ENTER`

] and make sure that you have equal
numbers of entries in the two lists.

**Are you doing regression analysis?**

Note the two lists mentioned in your regression command,
`LinReg(ax+b)`

or similar. Press [`STAT`

] [`ENTER`

]
and make sure that you have the same number of entries in the two
lists, at least two rows.

**Are you doing anything else?**

Press [`1`

] for `Quit`

and then press
[`Y=`

].
Make sure that there are no highlights on ```
Plot1 Plot2
Plot3
```

at the top of the screen. If one is highlighted, cursor
to it and press [`ENTER`

] to deactivate it.

This message has several possible causes.

- If you get this when making some kind of plot, you probably
forgot that you have one of
`Plot1 Plot2 Plot3`

turned on, and it refers to two lists that don't have the same length. The cure is to press [`Y=`

] and turn off the unwanted plot. - If you’re actually doing something that needs lists, such as
a regression, but your lists don’t have the same length, you get
this message. Press [
`STAT`

] [`1`

] and check your lists. - You also get this message when you give the TI-83 a list or
matrix where it expected a variable or number, or vice versa.
For instance, on the STAT PLOT screen, you may mean to press
[
`2nd`

] [`L1`

] but if you miss the [`2nd`

] you actually type a Y. In the same way you might type a Z where you intend to type L2. - Karl Wein offers another possibility. You can
create a list called
`L1`

, but that is not the same as the predefined list called`L1`

(note the small-capital L), and of course similarly for lists 2 through 6. If you accidentally delete a predefined list from the editor, make sure to bring it back with the`SetUpEditor`

command.

In general, when you see this message you need to check carefully through what you’ve done to make sure that you used lists where you were supposed to, and nowhere else.

A TI-83 (not Plus or Silver) is trying to receive something that it can’t handle. If what you’re trying to transfer is a program, these features work in the TI-83 Plus and all later TI-83s and TI-84s, but not in the orignal TI-83:

- archiving operations
- two-character labels that start with a letter
- any lower-case text in strings
- the Greek letters ρ (rho) and σ (sigma) in strings, but the statistics variable σx can be used

You’ve passed an incorrect argument to a function, such
as cos^{-1}(2) or pxl-on(160,160).

It’s easy to hide one without intending to, just by pressing the
[`DEL`

] key while positioned on a column head.

To bring back L1 through L6 in that order, press
[`STAT`

] [`5`

] [`ENTER`

]. This runs
the `SetUpEditor`

command; you will not lose any numbers
from any lists.

Use the arrow keys to move to the column heading, not the
first number of the list. Then press [`CLEAR`

]
[`ENTER`

]. All the numbers from the list will be erased,
and the cursor will move to the first row so that you can begin
entering numbers.

No, you don’t have to re-enter the whole list. Use the arrow keys
to move to the number just *after* where the missing number
should go. Press [`2nd`

] [`INS`

] (the shifted
[`DEL`

] key) and a space will open up in the list.

**Are you plotting specific points?**

Press [`ZOOM`

] [`9`

], which is `ZoomStat`

. That
tells the TI-83/84 to adjust the window to show your points or histogram
with maximum detail.

**Are you plotting one or more functions?**

If you don’t see your function graph anywhere, your window is probably
set to a region of the *xy* plane the graph just doesn’t
happen to go through. Depending on the function, one of these
techniques will work:

`ZoomFit`

is a good first try. Press the [`ZOOM`

] button, then [`0`

] (zero). (Thanks to Marilyn Webb for this suggestion.)- You can try to zoom out (like going higher to see more of the plane) by
pressing [
`ZOOM`

] [`3`

] [`ENTER`

]. If you need to, press [`ENTER`

] again to zoom out further. - Finally, you can directly adjust the window to select a
specific region. Set
`Xmin`

and`Xmax`

so that they include the*x*domain you’re interested in, and`Ymin`

and`Ymax`

to include the*y*range you want to see.

**Are you plotting a histogram?**

Press [`WINDOW`

]. Set the X’s in terms of your
class limits, as follows:

`Xmin`

= one class width less than the smallest class mark`Xmax`

= one class width more than the largest class mark`Xscl`

= the class width

Set the Y’s in terms of your frequencies, namely:

`Ymin`

= 0`Ymax`

= the highest frequency (if it’s a relative frequency histogram, you can use 1)`Yscl`

= some convenient fraction of`Ymax`

**Are you plotting a distribution using ShadeNorm?**

Please see that section of this page.

This sometimes happens after zooming, or if you manually alter some window parameters. What happens is that the tick marks are so closely spaced that they merge together visually.

Press [`WINDOW`

] and adjust the
`Xscl`

or `Yscl`

or both.
Tick marks will appear every `Xscl`

units left and right,
and you want that to be a reasonable fraction of the range between
`Xmin`

and `Xmax`

.
Tick marks will appear every `Yscl`

units up and down, and
you want that to be a reasonable fraction of the range between
`Ymin`

and `Ymax`

.

This means *both* your `Xscl`

and
`Yscl`

values
are too small. Fix this on the `WINDOW`

screen, as
explained above, under
My screen is covered with horizontal or vertical lines.

**Is your grid turned on?**

Press [`2nd`

] [`FORMAT`

] (the shifted [`ZOOM`

]
key) and verify that `GridOn`

is highlighted. If not,
cursor to it and press [`ENTER`

].

**Check your X and Y scales.**

Press [`WINDOW`

] and look at `Xscl`

. It
should be greater than 0 and less than the range from
`Xmin`

to `Xmax`

. For instance, if
`Xmin`

is −20 and `Xmax`

is 20, the range is 40
and you might want `Xscl`

to be 2, 5, or 10.

Also on the `WINDOW`

screen, look at `Yscl`

.
It should be greater than 0 and less than the range from
`Ymin`

to `Ymax`

. For instance, if
`Ymin`

is −10 and `Ymax`

is 10, the range is 20
and you might want `Yscl`

to be 1 or 5.

Press [`Y=`

]. Look at `Y1=`

, `Y2=`

,
and so on. Cursor to the equal sign for each unwanted function,
and press [`ENTER`

]. You’ll need to cursor down to examine
`Y8=`

, `Y9=`

, and `Y0=`

, because the
`Y=`

screen shows only seven functions at a time.

Press [`GRAPH`

] to redraw the graph.

**Are there funny arrows at the left of your Y= screen?**

The illustration and solution are courtesy of Jesse Phillips, who cites a page from the Texas Instruments support site that has since been removed by TI for some reason:

In order to select additional graphs, the Transformation Graphing App will need to be uninstalled from the TI-83 Plus Family and TI-84 Plus Family. Uninstalling the App does not erase it from the calculator, it disables it from interfering with the normal graphing modes. Below are the steps to successfully uninstall the App.

- Press [
`APPS`

] key- Select
`Transfrm`

from the menu- Press
`1:Uninstall`

`ShadeNorm`

looks wrong.**Is too much shaded in for the limits you set?**

You need to clear each drawing before making the next.
Locate `DRAW`

as the shifted [`PRGM`

] key near
the middle of the keyboard. Press [`2nd`

] [`DRAW`

], then
[`1`

] to paste `ClrDraw`

to the home screen,
then [`ENTER`

].

Repeat your `ShadeNorm`

command.

**Does the distribution not appear at all, or only in part?**

You need to set your window parameters. Press [`WINDOW`

]
and then set them as follows. (The numbers in parentheses are for a
standard normal distribution, with mean=0 and standard deviation=1,
where you specify only two parameters to `ShadeNorm`

.)

`Xmin`

= mean minus 4 standard deviations (For standard ND, use -4.)`Xmax`

= mean plus 4 standard deviations (For standard ND, use 4.)`Xscl`

= standard deviation (For standard ND, use 1.)`Ymin`

= 0`Ymax`

= 0.4 divided by standard deviation—remember you can enter the expression and let the TI-83/84 do the arithmetic for you (For standard ND, use 0.4)`Yscl`

= 0.1 divided by standard deviation (For standard ND, use 0.1)

After setting the window parameters, press [`2nd`

]
[`QUIT`

]
to return to the home screen, then [`2nd`

] [`ENTER`

] [`ENTER`

]
to re-execute the `ShadeNorm`

command.

Many TI-83/84 owners don’t realize that the
**contrast is adjustable**.
Here’s how:

- Press and release the gold [
`2nd`

] button. Verify that the blinking up arrow appears in the display. - Press
*and hold*the blue up or down arrow key to increase or decrease contrast, until the display is to your liking. Be alert: the display will change quickly.

The calculator will remember your contrast setting; you don’t have to adjust it every time you turn the calculator on.

You’ve executed a regression from the `STAT CALC`

menu. You get the
slope and intercept all right, but where are r and r²?

For some reason, your TI-83/84 comes from the factory configured not to display correlation coefficients. You need to make a one-time mode setting so that these are displayed in future regressions:

- Press [
`2nd`

] [`CATALOG`

] (the shifted [`0`

] key). - To move to the beginning of the D’s, press the
[
`x`

] key. (A green D is printed above that key. Do not press the green [^{−1}`ALPHA`

] key first, because the`CATALOG`

command automatically puts the TI-83/84 in alpha mode.) - Use the arrow keys to move to
`DiagnosticOn`

. - Press [
`ENTER`

] to select the command, and [`ENTER`

] again to execute it.

You don’t need to re-enter your regression command. Just
press [`2nd`

] [`ENTER`

] and [`2nd`

]
[`ENTER`

] again
to recall it, then [`ENTER`

] to execute it.

**13 Jun 2014**: Re-verify the links to the TI pages.**26 Dec 2012**: The solution for I can’t graph more than one equation at a time, posted in 2004, cited a link from TI’s support page. But TI has removed that page, so I removed the link. Also, update three links to TI where TI did provide a redirect.**22 Dec 2010**: Add ERR:DOMAIN, which grew out of correspondence from Chris Chiles.- (intermediate changes suppressed)
**28 Oct 2001**: First publication.

this page: http://oakroadsystems.com/math/ti83oops.htm

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