Well for starters I have a scientific calculator el-556g. The number 2 key doesn't work any more. I thought maybe the little keypad carbon was rubbing off or something. I opened it up poked around and then put it back together. still doesn't work. Any thoughts on what the problem could be -
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Mmmm... it sounds like the calculator has been dropped or possibly gotten wet - maybe with something wet & sugary, which when it dries leaves behind a sugar deposit that won't allow enough electrical connection for the keys to work.
At this point, you've got very little to lose - if you suspect that it may have gotten wet, you could pull it apart (carefully) and rinse it out inside - very thoroughly - with distilled water, then let it dry for about a week before you put it back together.
If it's been dropped, it's probably not worth repairing; even scientific or statistical calculators are inexpensive compared to the cost of repairs.
Try cleaning the keypad. Reset the calculator. When you press the EXP key or the 2ndF +EXP key try pressing firmly the calculator between your thumb and index (left hand).
To work around this defect (due to the venerable age maybe)
enter the approximate value of PI=3.14159265359 on your calculator and store it in one of the available memory locations. When you need use PI just recall the value to the display.
The EXP key is just a short cut for *10^(exponent). You can explicitly use the general power key.
If you are averse to using this workaround consider acquiring another calculator.
Are you entering any number before pressing the minus, add, multiply, or divide key? Those operations require two numbers; if you don't supply the first one then the calculator will supply the previous answer, which was zero.
For example, to add 2 and 3, press 2 + 3 = and you'll see 5. Now to add 4 to that, press + and the calculator will automatically supply the 5. Press 4 = and you'll see 9.
You need to select the number of decimal places you would like, or if you would like the calculator to behave as normal. Press SET UP and select FSE (press 1) . You now have 5 options.
0: FIX means you can choose a fixed number of decimal places for every calculation.
1: SCI means scientific notation and choose the number of significant values you would like to deal with.
2: ENG means engineering and the power goes up in multiples of 3.
3: NORM1 and 4: NORM2 are the usual or normal settings on the calculator. Most school calculations will use NORM1 mode.
I don't know about this specific calculator, but there is probably a button on your calculator that has a "y" with an "x" as a superscript (exponent). Or is could be reversed. But you wanted 2^8, you would push the 2 first, then the exponent button, then the 8, and there's your answer.
Not knowing what to do, I tried anything that could possibly help: I installed fresh batteries and I pushed the reset button on the back of the calculator (Sharp EL-546L) and finally, it work all right after more than 5 years I own the calculator and where it did work correctly for 5 minutes. I tried the reset button in the past (long time ago) and it didn't work. This time it worked because, maybe, I've used fresh batteries. Marcello