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Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Printable Version

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Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Scott Blakely - 07-21-2007

Hi all,

What I mean by my question is this: Does the HP-50G run RPN as the default and is the documentation written primarily for the RPN user?

I have a HP-49G (one of the very first, with all of the issues). Frankly I didn't use it much at all because I quickly tired of beating my head against trying to parse the algebraic manual into the RPN key stroke equivalents.

I don't have the time to "argue" with my calculator. If the HP-50G makes using a graphing calculator in RPN essentially transparent to the RPN minded-user, then I will consider purchasing one (if I can find one *anywhere*).

I own 2 HP 32SII and a HP 20S, I don't use the 20S much either because it isn't RPN. It was a gift, and it is too good of a calculator to just toss. It stays in my truck to do quick calculations as I am very protective of my 2 32sIIs.

Alternately, if someone knows of a site where the HP 49G manual has been translated into RPN, then I would be interested in that as well. Although my HP-49G has the bad display, etc. An unfortunate result of my not using it enough to keep aware of the revisions and HP offerings early on.

Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Matt - 07-21-2007

The 50G is in algebraic by default.
The 'manual' is horrible, IMO.
Some funtionality is described for ALG only, some for RPN only. It really is very poor.
You get a printed user manual, which is full of typo's and is only 184 pages. If you hate trees, the 'proper' manual is nearly 900 pages.
You can download the manuals here

Link to manuals

If you can put up with those frustrations it's actually pretty good in RPN, but some inconsistencies in menu display do remain.

Edited: 21 July 2007, 1:34 p.m.

Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - John Keith - 07-21-2007

Hi Scott,

The HP 50g does default to algebraic mode (a marketing decision no doubt) but is easily changed to RPN via the MODE key. The paper manual that comes with it is pretty useless, but the Advanced User's Manual, available from HP or hpcalc.org, will have all the information you need.

There are some differences between the 50g and traditional HP calculators, mainly due to the 50g having an unlimited-depth stack, but most HP users have no problem adjusting.

You can get them from many on-line retailers including Amazon, or from hpcalc.org, which is a great site worth supporting. Of course, if you want a more traditional RPN calc, there's always the new HP 35s, which has been the subject of much recent discussion on this site.


Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Scott Blakely - 07-21-2007

Thanks all,

So let me ask, as an example, how easy is it to convert units if the 50G is in RPN mode. The 49G really gave me a headache when it came time to do things like this.

I am often teaching and/or demonstrating and need to quickly access the built in functions. The 49G was a real bottle-neck for me in this area. Would you say the 50G is improved in this regard?



Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Matt - 07-21-2007

It's really nice to do this in RPN.
(Assuming you have soft menus enabled)
R-shift 6 (to get the units menus)
Put '10' on the stack, then choose a unit to attach to it (eg, inches)
You would then see

1: 10_in

To convert to, say, metres, you just press...
L-shift F1
To get the conversion

1: .254_m

And thats it.
Much easier than doing it in ALG.

You might like to try this 50G emulator (for Windows)


Edited: 21 July 2007, 4:35 p.m.

Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Scott Blakely - 07-21-2007

That looks nice.

Also, a quick look through some sections of the user manual pdf show that there are dual instructions for ALG and RPN. That looks really good.

So I found one at a local Circuit City. A bit more that Amazon, but when you factor in shipping and sales tax is is not so bad.

I think I will go and get it tomorrow.

So that leave the question of is there anyone out there that would like to buy a HP49G (early version) all docs and cable, but no cover - it went missing some time ago.

Thanks for all of the feed back.


Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Scott Blakely - 07-21-2007

Okay, one more question,

Will most 48 and 49 programs run on the 50G?

Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Bruce Bergman - 07-21-2007

HP *really* did an awesome job with the units conversion functionality in the 48/49/50 family. I haven't seen a better implementation of that since it first came out in the late 80's. As with the example given above, you enter a value, then the units, and then convert to the other unit you want. You can even do math on the units (like taking cm and making cm2 or that kind of thing). You won't be disappointed, I think.

As for programs, I'd say 70%-80% of the 48/49 programs will run on the 50. Where you have to be careful are compiled SysRPL programs and libraries, or where certain SYSEVALs are used -- those are all different per machine. User RPL programs will run with almost no problem though. Out of about 30 programs I found on the web for the 48/49 family, all but 3-4 worked fine on the 50. The ones I had problems with, I *really* had problems with (like locking up the calc, erasing memory, etc). As long as you're careful, and make backups from time to time, you can try just about anything.

James M. Prange (Michigan), who posts on this board, probably knows more about the 49/50 family than anyone I've ever met. Every post of his is comprehensive, enlightening and rock solid accurate. He can probably tell you exactly what to watch out for when considering 48/49 programs to run on the 50. He's truly a guru of this calc.


Edited: 21 July 2007, 7:15 p.m.

Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Scott Blakely - 07-22-2007

Very good.

Last (hopefully) question

It is a bit confusing from reviews I've been reading. You can upload programs to the 50G via the USB, correct?

Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"? - Matt - 07-22-2007

Yes, you can use the USB cable for uploading, downloading, screenshots, etc.

50g on sale! (Was: Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"?) - Bruce Bergman - 07-22-2007

You can use the USB, but the SD card is easier. Buy a $9 512MB card, put your stuff on there and use it or install it that way. It's much easier, IMHO.

BTW, I see that Circuit City has the HP-50g on sale this weekend, at a low price of $129. That's $10-$40 lower than other places, depending on where you buy it from. It's a great price.


Re: 50g on sale! (Was: Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"?) - Scott Blakely - 07-22-2007

Actually the Circuit City website has them for 124.99.

I called the store and spoke to the manager. He said that if I bring a printout of the website, they will match the price.

I also have to pick up an SD card reader for my computer....

Edited: 22 July 2007, 8:58 p.m.

Re: 50g on sale! (Was: Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"?) - Dave Johnson - 07-22-2007

Well you can get them through Walmart for $120 + tax

But I would use hpcalc.org myself....

Edited: 22 July 2007, 10:07 p.m.

Re: 50g on sale! (Was: Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"?) - Olivier (Wa) - 07-22-2007

Actually $117.99 at Buy.com, with free shipping...

Re: 50g on sale! (Was: Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"?) - Bruce Bergman - 07-23-2007

WoW! Okay, so can anyone beat $117?? :-)


Re: 50g on sale! (Was: Re: Hp-50G- is it RPN "native"?) - Alex - 07-26-2007

$117.99 at Amazon, and their customer service is far superior to any other mass-marketer, in my experience!

ooh, so tempted...

- Alex