HP-97 and HP-42


I am really excited about some new calculators I got from that unmentionable website. I purchased an HP-97 which arrived today and I'm looking forward to using it. It works great and is just what the seller promised. When the 97s first came out arounf 1975, I couldn't afford one but I always wanted one. Finally, after some 30 years I actually have one in my hands. I've never seen a 97 in real life, only in pictures and it's not as big as I expected it to be.

It's funny how those desires stick with you through your life. It's a fond memory that's finally been fulfilled. Now I can see first hand how the 67/97s works and not just what I saw in the program translation firmware built into the 41C card reader.

Now, that I have it, I'll have figure out how I'm going to show my wife without getting shot. I know the first question she'll ask me, "How much?" But, she's also a good sport and will understand my need as long as it makes me happy.

I also purchased a HP-42 but I haven't received it yet. Being the successor to the 41, it will be interesting to see how different it is from the 41. I stopped collecting HP calculators after the 41 until the 48GX. It was such a change going from the 41 to the 48GX that it took me a long time to understand how the 48GX worked.

My first HP calculator was an HP-45 which I sold to buy an HP-55. I didn't get the 67/97 since it was too expensive but I ended up buying a 41C when they first came out. Then a 41CV and finally I bought a 41CX last year. After a long gap in my interest in HP calculators, I got a 48GX right after they first came out. I ended up buying just about every book I could find on the GX just to figure out how it worked.

I still have all this stuff even though my wife wonder's why. The 49G+ and the 50G are great calculators but in many ways, beyond me. The 97 is a much simpler calculator and I'm looking forward to playing in that much smaller playground.



Hi, Gerry:

    Congratulations for your newly acquired HP-97. It's indeed a truly fine machine and a pleasure to use, what with that large, easy-to-read red LED display and the equally large and comfortable buffered keys, which will allow you to key numbers and operations in advance, for faster results.

    Just two comments/advices:

    1. *Never* try to print NNN's (Non-normalized-numbers). They can be read from data cards, usually generated using an HP-67, where they can be made on purpose to create quasi-alphanumeric messages, and are also used for timers and such. If you're given such a data card, it would be wise to either never read it at all, or in any case, never try to print the NNN you're seeing in the display. Doing that will probably result in a burned-out, utterly destroyed printhead.

      NNN's can also be accidentally created by means of sudden low or peak voltages. If you happen to see some funny display, showing some strangely malformed number or letters in mid-number, *do not attempt to print it*, it's most probably some NNN and thus printing it can hopelessly ruin your printhead.

    2. With a little programming you can make your HP-97 emulate other Topcat models, such as the financial functions of the HP-92. Programs to compute and list mortgages, for instance, can easily fit in a single card and will duplicate the HP-92 financial results. Perhaps you could show such a program, listing all periods of a mortgage, to your wife for she to appreciate the real, practical usefulness of your new acquisition ! :-)

    I sincerely hope you enjoy your new machines !

Best regards from V.


Gerry, I appreciate the simpler commands of the earlier calculators, I didn't have to learn a lot new. I remember the 32, I read ther book through twice before it all fell into place, The later graphical calculators don't fill my needs, and the 35s, who wants a calculator without a STO key, Sam


Sam, the "proposed" 35s does have STO, it is just shifted. Wouldn't make sense to have a RCL without a STO!


Wow Gerry, I could have been reading my own history. The only difference would be that where you found the 97 to be enjoyable and desirable, my choice was the 67. And I finally found one, with full documentation.

I also purchased a 42 and compared it to the 41 (which is my only true love). The 42 is very nice however. I only wish I could have purchased one when they were new. I don't like the alpha process however, with every letter taking at least two key strokes. (you pick the letter from a menu). I also find the screen to be annoying in that it does not offer the greatest contrast unless it is viewed at 45 degrees.

I too find that the 48 and 50 (and indeed RPL) are way beyond my needs and possibly my understanding.

If the calculator was good enough for the space program - it should meet my needs.

Using your playground analogy, more real estate also means more garbage to pick up. I like a smaller yard too.

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