12C vs 17bii


I'm looking to buy a HP financial calc. I was wondering what people out there think would be a better purchase at this time. I definitely need RPN since I grew up on a 15C.



Hi, I would definitely go for the HP-12C. I know there are
currently other HP financial calcs with greater functionality, but there are many strong reasons in favour of buying an HP-12C, namely:

1) Even in its latest incarnations, it has that legendary high-quality of all Voyager series HP calcs: good keys, slim horizontal design, utmost elegance, golden, very good display, ultra long life quality, extremely robust.

2) It also has time-honoured, classical RPN, with all stack functionality available instantly on primary keys.

3) It has all necessary advanced financial functions, and lots of support in the form of many specialized application books and programs available for it. You'll also easily find support in the millions of users worldwide.

4) of course, it's programmable, with up to 98 steps that, in classic RPN, allow a lot of useful things to be done, believe me.

5) you can get it new from HP (and it will help to increase sales, so further convincing HP that making the HP-12C and calculators like it makes financial sense [pun intended])

6) or you can get one, used or sealed new, for peanuts in eBay, where dozens and dozens of HP-12Cs are offered for sale at prices as low as $30 for a new sealed one.

Myself, I've bought no less than three HP-12Cs lately: one for my collection, one for my daughter, one for a close friend. And intend to buy more.

Just my two cents. Hope it helps.


So you'll like the 12C;-)

Try to get an older one from USA, Brazil, or maybe Malaysia,
not from Indonesia (if any) or China.

The recently produced 12C's seeem to lack some quality,
as usual these days;-)

In another thread here the differences were explained.

On the other hand, the 17BII is a great machine.
is programmable indirectly through expressions,
and can be used as an alarm clock.

IMHO the keyboard of the 17BII is somewhat better,
especially the horizontal ENTER bar,
which needs somewhat more pressure on the voyagers than on the pioneers.
This is my experience with US made voyagers and pioneers.

Both the voyagers and pioneers run on the same batteries for years. I think the voyagers even run decades on the same set;-)

BTW: As you may have seen, the voyagers (10C - 16C)
are a bit smaller than the pioneers, so slightly more suitable for pockets;-)




I have both of them (and both were picked up very cheaply second-hand in charity shops (thrift stores?)).
The 12C is a more traditional RPN machine with financial functions, and it is a true programmable (you can enter a program using just about any of
the functions on the machine, you have conditional and uncoditional branches, and so on. It is a fairly limited programmable (no subroutines, no indirect addressiong, branch to step number, not labels) but...
The 17BII is really a non-programmable machine. It does have an RPN mode (which I use exclusively) and it has the solver, which lets you enter an equation and solve for one of the variables. I guess about 90% of programms on the 12C, etc really were used to do
something like that, so the solver is a reasonable replacement for programming, but it is not the same as having a programmable calculator.
Against that, the 17BII has a clock (with alarms) and, IIRC a few fucntions that aren't on the 12C.
Which do I use more? The 12C, no contest.


You are underestimating the power of the Hp17. It has two not well documented functions (and not mentioned in the owners manual anyway). Let and Get are available for branching and conditionals that allow for limited programming in the solver application. With this and the ease of use of the solver, I would say 98% of all Hp12 programs can be implimented on the Hp17. And the Hp 17 is 10 times better in all other areas other than the basic voyager vs pioneer layout. I concede, the 12c voyager layout is superior the Hp17's and I too would tend to use the 12c over the hp17 for a standard financial TVM calculator.
But the stats and ease of adding functions via the solver are way much greater in favor of the hp17.

Certain financial exams only allow the Hp12 and exclude the Hp17. If you are taking a financial or real estate exam, check before you buy a calc you cannot use on the exam.


The HP17BII would not be allowed.


From a collector-tinker pont of view, the 12C has screws (you can open it), the 17BII is sealed (you *may* be able to open it, but...)


Yes, but the latest 12C (the ones from China?) that I've taken apart have one custom chip and not much else inside. Gone are the separate Nut CPU and R2D2 chip.
While you can easily take the back off a 12C, there's not a lot you can do to repair it unless you have another machine for parts.
The Pioneers are not that hard to open either, but yes, the Voyagers are easier.


The successful installation of a 32K memory chip in an HP-42S suggests that the -17B and -27S could be so upgraded as well.
Would those upgrades make sense?
If so, would it change anyone's mind concerning the relative value of the -17BII vs. the -12C?


7k beats 100 steps tens of times over. The 17 is already clearly superior, from a functional aspect it is a lopsided comparision.

However, from an aesthetic and needs based comparision, well the 12c is still being made and has outlasted all other calculators in production. Not much more needs to be said.

Also, your use of Financials doesn't bother or hurt my feelings, so I won't rush out and upgrade my 17 just to have the extra RAM (Oh, I will upgrade my 17 to 32K though, and I will do it first, not because I love its features, but because it will be my test subject prior to expanding my 42.)

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  17BII & 17BII+ Discounted Payback Period Revisited Tom Neudorfl 8 1,662 11-25-2013, 10:28 AM
Last Post: Don Shepherd
  Ranking HP 17BII, HP 17B, HP 12C against one another? Peter Murphy (Livermore) 7 3,145 08-24-2012, 07:10 PM
Last Post: Peter Murphy (Livermore)
  HP 12C, 12C Platinum & 15C iOS App Walter Lam 2 800 06-02-2011, 01:25 PM
Last Post: Andrés C. Rodríguez (Argentina)
  Kitchen timer on 17B/17BII/17BII+/19B/19BII/27S y.miyata 1 630 03-04-2010, 12:18 PM
Last Post: Martin Pinckney
  Reasons for choosing a 12c Platinum over the 17bII+? Jorge M. Treviño 13 1,948 04-02-2008, 10:31 PM
Last Post: Ron G.
  12c vs 17bii+ comparison? Bruce Bergman 18 2,477 02-17-2007, 01:13 PM
Last Post: Les Wright
  HP-12C or HP-17BII George Rose 8 1,108 02-22-2006, 09:20 PM
Last Post: Dennis
  12C vs 12C Platinum Cash Flows Katie Wasserman 10 1,576 12-28-2005, 10:12 PM
Last Post: tony(nz)
  HP CBT modules online for the 39g+, 10bII, 17bII+ and 12c platinum Gene 2 621 11-03-2004, 04:34 AM
Last Post: Mike (Stgt)
  Normal Distribution and Black-Scholes for HP 17B, 17BII, NEW 17BII+, 19B, 19BII Bob Wang 0 561 09-24-2004, 02:25 PM
Last Post: Bob Wang

Forum Jump: