ENTER key on HP 33S

I think HP has revised the 33s again and is now getting away from using an "ENTER" key. I just bought a backup 33s and it has an "ENTFR" key. That's right, ENTFR. Serial number CNA 524xxx. Quality control appears to be an on-going struggle, but at least the key responds no matter how off-center I hit the key. The typo isn't too big of a deal, since I certainly do not appreciate the 33s for its looks but for its function. Oh well. Bought it at Wal Mart, and there were still lots of older CNA 4xxx units on the shelf with the old bad display.

If it wasn't for this forum, I would never have known that HP had fixed the display on the newer 33S's, and I would have written it and HP off forever after getting my first 33s with the bad display and bad keyboard.

Thank you HP Forum!


I have an HP33s wth SN CNA527xxx and the ENTER key is spelled correclty. Care to post an image of your HP33s?


Mine is spelled correclty too :^)


I wonder if this will suddenly make it more of a collector's item!


Same here - CNA527XXXXX.


I'd really like to see a picture. I do have my doubts about the typo.


This is yet another sad example showing that the good old days in personal electronic equipment may be gone and that, in denial of their tradition, HP makes no exception in this respect. The scale and severeness of the problems with the 33S as I got to know them from this forum is truly unprecedented in the history of HP calcs. Although the role of the handheld calculator may be different than, let's say, 20 years ago, this may not be an excuse to bring products on the market that are simply mediocre and sometimes even bad. HP are you listening! I even wonder if the new corporate "philosophy" of HP supports the manufactoring of professional products at all as they did in the old days. Being the true heirs of the old company that Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded, maybe Agilent could find itself a market for calculators for the professional. After all, these profs know who and what is behind the brandname Agilent and what this company stands for. They don't need a well known name from a once great company to make up their minds about which product to buy as long as the product is excellent, so from the marketing point of view I see no objections, just benefits.


I assure you that it is spelled ENTFR on my calculator. I'm at work and really can't take a picture and download it because I keep this calculator at home. Please take my word for it that the lower horizontal leg of the E is not present and the result is ENTFR. The word is not blurred or off-center on the key. The other letters look fine.


The quality of current HP calc's is no match for the "old days" to be sure. I also think the cosmetics of the 33s are seriously flawed, and the fact that the 33s was released for sale with a horrible display and keyboard is outrageous. However, now that the display and keyboards have been fixed, I am satisfied with the functionality of the 33s. I still don't like the cosmetics though. In its current form (with the fixes) it is an acceptable calculator. Since it's based on the 32sII it almost has to be. I'm not saying that it's perfect by any means, but I think the quality problems it had with the initial models have poisoned many people against, understandably so. Once I accepted that the HP that we knew and loved is gone for good I was able to appreciate the fixed 33s for the qualities that it does have. It is still the only programable RPN scientific on the market. Hopefully HP will address some of the continuing shortcommings in a latter version.

If you need a basic RPN scientific with some programming capability, and don't want to pay over $150 for something for an old 32sII on ebay, then I recommend the 33S. Just make sure that you get one that has a serial number CNA 5XXXX or latter. I think that the one I just purchased is just a manufacturing fluke. Although the older HP's were designed much better, I'm sure that occaisionally a lemon slipped through the cracks. However, I agree that in the old days they would never have released a calculator for sale that had an unreliable keyboard or had a dsiplay with a decimal point that was indistinguishable from the number 2. I still find that mind boggling.


I am asking you to confirm it visually, so I can look for that typo when I visit WAL-Mart and other stores that carry newer versios of the HP-33s.

What you have in your possession sounds like a spcific batch with a typo-error key, since many of the newer HP-33s have ENTER spelled correctly. Kinpo has corrected the dislay to make the decimal more visible.


Edited: 25 Jan 2006, 10:27 a.m.


I agree with both the preceeding posts: I wish Agilent would make a 33sii (Voyager layout, 33s display and functionality, and some kind of I/O -- SD card?), but I have actually been enjoying my 33s in the few short days I've had it.

Yeah, the 33s is ugly. The keyboard is Good Enough(tm), though, and RPN programming is a boon. I don't mind the limited number of labels as long as I have a lot of memory to burn on strings of X=0? or FS? statements.


I don't know about a typo. Isn't more likely that, in silkscreening that particular calculator's key (or batch of calculators' keys), the ink didn't stick on the lower leg of the "E"?

I believe I could make my 33s' ENTER key read all sorts of weird ways, using my Swiss Army Knife (and maybe some sort of clear-coat paint).

(It could be that the ink was worn off by people pressing through the clear plastic packaging, trying to test the display!)

Edited: 25 Jan 2006, 11:34 a.m.


your last sentence made me laugh. I could tell that the corner of the blister pack had stress lines in it at the corner where the ENTER key is, apparently from people (like me) turning it on to check the display.

I agree that it's not a typo but a manufacturing defect


Why in the world should HP produce quality calculators when they can stamp their logo on cheap chinese calcs? They seem to sell. I mean have a look at the various comments in this forum. No one (ok, few are) is really satisfied with the product but since it is RPN and has the HP logo on it, they buy it. I certainly would buy one if it weren't for this terrible keyboard arrangement. I even bought a pioneer (48G) despite the fact that keyboards and displays fail quite often in pioneers and I knew about it. HP quality is gone since around 1985 IMHO and still, the company can safely rely on their brand name. Sometimes I can feel the hook in my cheek but not for very much longer>:(.



I do sometimes get tired hearing about how wonderful HP calculators were in the good old days.

I bought a new HP33E in 1979 and it was a dog. It frequently failed during examinations and after 4 unsuccessful attempts to have it repaired, I bought a TI58 which worked fine for the rest of my university career. We now know that the early Spice design had a fundamental problem but it clearly wasn't tested adequately before it was released. The after sales service wasn't great either.

I have owned several HP calculators since then and they have been lovely machines to use. I would not use any other. However, the past just wasn't always that good and at least we can still buy an RPN calculator.

(p.s.- possibly I'm completely wrong and 33 is just an unlucky number for HP !)


Thomas posted,

...HP quality is gone since around 1985 IMHO...

I suppose that year would separate the HP-71B from the HP-28C, making a reasonable distinction. However, the fine Pioneer line was introduced in 1988. These models featured fine engineering (if not in every aspect), but all were well-made. They were also fast, with the Saturn processor.

-- KS


I do sometimes get tired hearing about how wonderful HP calculators were in the good old days.

And I get tired hearing about how wonderful new junk like the 33S is.


The 33s is neither junk or wonderful. It is ugly, but it is also useful and functional.


It isn't useful or functional for me, because under no circumstances would I allow anyone to see me using one or taking an interest in it.


But Wayne, we already know that about you :-)


You did, but maybe e.young didn't. :-)


I understand now


Another fashion victim. :-)

Seriously, though, I would probably feel the same way about your choice of hand tools (anything cheaper than Snap-On isn't usually worth the time), test equipment (get that B+K crap off my bench!), loudspeakers (Dynaudio: you must be deaf to tolerate anything else), operating systems (only a cretin would run anything but Free/Open/NetBSD or a close cousin like Mac OS X), microcontroller architecture (Harvard is just better) ... the list goes on.

Fortunately for you, I'm not the Supreme Arbiter of Taste.

Smileys implied throughout.


I am a big fan of snap on as well, though I only own 1 17 mm wrench. I did a break job on my pick up (about ten years ago) and had a bunch of lesser quality tools for the job. I broke every 17 mm wrench and socket in my home (and my breaker bar and two ratchets), and then went to the local Auto Zone about 6 miles away twice, buying life time warrented 17 mm tools each time until the third trip when I bought the sleek looking smooth finished (and much thinner) Snap On 17 mm wrench for 2-3 times the price of the previous wrenches (which I also expected to break with my pipe extension). It was really a job for pneumatic tools but since I did not have any air tools, I didn't buy them.

Well I broke that 17mm bolt loose (with a 3 foot pipe extension) and I finished the job. My mainstay tools are craftsman and they are okay for the amatuer, but I readily admit, if I worked as a mechanic, the Snap ons would be the better buy. Actually Craftsman only warrents their tools for the homeowner and not the professional and probably for that very reason.


My sister got some Sears Craftsman barbeque utensils for Christmas. Imprinted on each handle opposite the Craftsman logo is a notice: "This is not a tool".

After a bit of cogitation, we agreed that this is meant to explicitly exclude the utensils from Sears' tool warranty.


The ghost of Andy Warhol is giggling uncontrollably over that, I'm sure.


Ron Ross posted,

...I did a break job on my pick up ...

...I broke every 17 mm wrench and socket in my home (and my breaker bar and two ratchets)...

...and then (twice bought) life time warrented 17 mm tools each time until (I bought a Snap-On wrench), (which I also expected to break with my pipe extension)...

...Well I broke that 17mm bolt loose ...

Now, that's a real "break job"!

Er, or was it a successful "brake job" after breaking warranted wrenches?

-- KS


Hi Wayne.

It isn't useful or functional for me, because under no circumstances would I allow anyone to see me using one or taking an interest in it.

In other words, using a 33s is similar to riding a moped... they are both fun but you don't want your friends to see you using them ;-)




Actually, I don't think I'd mind that much being seen on a moped, as they carry rather a "geeky" image that doesn't bother me. It might be fun to ride one, whereas I don't think I'd have much fun with a 33S whether anyone saw me or not, simply because I'd have to look at the blasted thing. My 41CX and 16C provide plenty of good, clean RPN fun and I don't have to use them with my eyes closed to avoid nausea. :-)

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