Why not making new 97?



#10

I see a lot of interest in the 97. I hope that HP will make a modern version of it. Without the card reader and its gummy wheel of course.


#11

Chan,

Your request joins that of others who would like to see other vintage models, like the HP-15C, brought back into production. Since HP's calculator division is currently a tiny fraction of what it used to be, these calculator revivals simply will not happen. What can happen is a group of well-funded investors approaching HP to get legal blessing and bring back the models we all love to see revived. On a financial basis, this venture is pure risky business, since the actual number of models sold will be very low due to a (most likely) high cost of production.

So, the past is the past. Time travels in one direction ... forward.

Namir


#12

Quote:
Time travels in one direction ... forward.

Let's get rid of entropy!

#13

From your lips to God's ears!!!

#14

Quote:
bring back the models we all love to see revived

Why would you want to increase supply? Supply up...value down, simply economics. I want my collection (also investment) to appreciate in value, therefore I would not want to bring back any of the old models. Keep supply low! Selfish? maybe... but economically sound.

Regards, Thor


#15

Thor,

Rest assured your collection will keep increasing in value. No one is bringing back the vintage model the way we know them. Eric Smith may bring an interesting variant of the vintage models.

Namir

#16

Plausible counterfeits might bring the price of "collectible" items down, but I think that as long as the new items are distinguishable from the "vintage" items, there would be little (if any) effect on the price of the "genuine" collectible items.

Other than that, I expect that for many collectors, the "value" isn't defined by the market price.

Regards,
James


#17

I have not seen any working counterfeit vintage calculators. Has anyone else seen them?

Namir


#18

It's not clear that any of them, even the HP-01, fetch enough money on eBay to justify someone investing the engineering expense to develop a replica that was not obviously distinguishable from the original.

What probably does make sense is to build replacement electronics, e.g., for the Woodstock series, since many of those go bad. I've considered doing that. However, I had not previously thought about the problem that people might try to sell an old HP with new innards, but represent it as original. I don't think it would be cost-effective for the seller, though. The replacement electronics wouldn't be all that inexpensive; I'd estimate that the replacement electronics would have to sell for at least $100 just to break even.

Still, I'd probably design in some way to distinguish it from the keyboard, e.g., turn on while holding a specific pair of keys, and a message would be displayed.Re: Why not making new 97?

As far as creating modern reproductions of vintage HPs goes, I would make them obviously similar, but not identical. I'm not sure which models are most in need of reproductions. The HP-92, HP-15C, and HP-16C might be the most plausible. Reproductions of the HP-15C and HP-16C could feature more memory than the originals.


#19

Eric,

Your work in reproducing any HP calculator is the work of a craftsman. That's a fact!! I hope your project is still on because I still have your coupon that I won in HHC2006. In any case, having a SD card slot that can be used to read and write programs and data in highly recommended. We sure love to see some of the vintage machines back. Jazzing them up just a bit is more than welcome.

Namir

Edited: 22 June 2007, 8:11 a.m.


#20

Yes, we're still working on it, albeit slowly. I expect we'll show some stuff at HHC 2007.

Eric


#21

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!

#22

Eric,

whenever you succeed in reproducing an old HP calculator (any), please, either post here a message or write me to my email address, cause you bet, I'll buy a couple!
BTW: Can you send artifacts to Italy?

:-)

-- Antonio


#23

Anything we produce will definitely be announced here.

#24

Quote:
As far as creating modern reproductions of vintage HPs goes, I would make them obviously similar, but not identical. I'm not sure which models are most in need of reproductions. The HP-92, HP-15C, and HP-16C might be the most plausible. Reproductions of the HP-15C and HP-16C could feature more memory than the originals.

What I'd like to see are copies that are absolutely identical in every way except the serial numbers. The SN (especially the older YYWWC##### format) make it clear at a glance what year a calculator was manufactured. I think it would be great to have a brand-new HP-16C that even an HP engineer couldn't distinguish from my 1982 vintage HP-16C until he turned it over and looked at the SN.


#25

My 15C has served me well since 1984. It is the perfect calculator in its class. I have a 1985 15C in the box as a replacement (just in case--BTW, what is the half-life of a 15C?). But, if HP were to make it again, I'd like some improvements.

15Cii:

Don't:

  • Change the form factor.
  • Change the keyboard.
Do:
  • Add 2 line dot matrix display. User can select between classic single line or new dual line.
  • In program/debug mode display alpha RPN statements. Obvious enhancement if you have ever programmed any Voyager. 12C platinum should have done this (IMHO).
  • Increase speed. Again user selectable between classic, 20-year battery life, and full speed 6-month battery life.
  • Add memory.
  • Add I/O. It is so cheap to add I/O. Bluetooth would be great. Industry standard I/O is what got me to switch to the 48GX in 1993. Look at the software selection and support available for the 41CX, 71B, and 48GX. I/O makes a difference. I/O builds communities.
  • 42S complex number display (again user selectable).

#26

Battery life on a replica is likely to be *much* worse than the original. Although the 25 years of improvement in technology in theory makes it possible to build a Voyager with even lower power dissipation, the available technologies for low-volume production do not.

In other words, if we could spin an ASIC for the calculator, like HP did back in the early 1980s, but using 2007 technology, we could get even better battery life. But using a flash-based microcontroller running emulation will have worse battery life.


#27

I wonder how TI's MSP430 microcontroller series would compare with the original HP ASICs. One could run the MSP430 tickless (keypad event generates an interrupt), and some software effort could reduce the emulation hit.

Best would be hardware closer to the native instruction set, though. The world needs a submicroamp FPGA. Or maybe aggressive power switching could make do with a leakier device: MSP430 keeping state
and briefly turning on, say, a flash-based FPGA to do the crunching.

Cheers,
Peter Monta


#28

Quote:
MSP430 keeping state and briefly turning on, say, a flash-based FPGA to do the crunching.

I've thought about doing that. The Actel Igloo FPGAs look attractive. I don't think they're shipping in volume yet.

#29

What about mixing some aggressive power switching with storing state in EEPROM (or flash) on powerdown and really turning the power off?

- Pauli

#30

Quote:
I wonder how TI's MSP430 microcontroller series would compare with the original HP ASICs. One could run the MSP430 tickless (keypad event generates an interrupt), and some software effort could reduce the emulation hit.

Best would be hardware closer to the native instruction set, though. The world needs a submicroamp FPGA. Or maybe aggressive power switching could make do with a leakier device: MSP430 keeping state
and briefly turning on, say, a flash-based FPGA to do the crunching.

Cheers,
Peter Monta


There is more than one way to skin a cat, and you always have to ask do you even have to skin the cat...

With a little bit of extra circuitry (a FET power latch) you can make one of the switches a true ON/OFF switch so the micro is completely disconnected.

If you wanted to retain memory when the power switches off, then you could do it two different ways:
Flash for storing programs, so never loose the contents when you change batteries.
An external SRAM for storing the registers. RTCC chips often have a small amount of internal SRAM for this very purpose. So you could use a much lower power and optimised RTCC chip on permanent power and then completely disconnect the micro/FPGA.

Also, today's lithium batteries are greater capacity than those of years past. A 2032 cell is about 250mAh @ 3V, while an LR44 silver oxide cell (as used in the Voyagers and Pioneers) is about 170mAh @ 1.5V. So you can afford a lot extra drain for the same life.

Then of course it's all a big trade-off once you start talking power/processing grunt and what you actually need in this respect. I really wouldn't worry about it, pick the processor you want and live with whatever active current it gives you.

So in a new calculator design I'd put 0.1% effort into battery life, and 99.9% effort into the physical housing, LCD, and ease of development. It's too easy to get caught on the diminishing returns curve for power consumption.

Dave.

#31

Hi, Egan --

Hmm, all without changing the form factor (which I assume to mean size and shape) or the keyboard of the HP-15C, incorporate the following list of improvements:

  • Add 2 line dot matrix display. User can select between classic single line or new dual line.

    The only reasonable way that might be done is with a "single block grid" small-pixel display, a la the high-end Pioneer series, but more legible and less sensitive to viewing angle. Not impossible, but there would be a considerable cost in firmware development, as there would be two ways to display everything. That's why no such thing has been done before...

  • In program/debug mode display alpha RPN statements. Obvious enhancement if you have ever programmed any Voyager. 12C platinum should have done this (IMHO).

    "Debug", I assume, means single-step execution, though it would be nice to display the command with a sustained press of a button, as the HP-41, HP-42S, and HP-32S/SII did. A dot-matrix display would be required, but the HP-12C Platinum doesn't have one.

  • Increase speed. Again user selectable between classic, 20-year battery life, and full speed 6-month battery life.

    I certainly agree -- Saturn-processor speed as a minimum. I don't see a particular need for selectability. Higher speed is desirable for execution of programs, equations, and SOLVE/INTEG, but otherwise causes minor differences in battery life.

  • Add memory.

    Sure, but without a more-advanced programming paradigm (e.g., HP-41/HP-42S), matrix storage, and matrix editing, a large amount of additional memory would be difficult to utilize effectively. For example, would you want to store a large amount of programming, but not be able to organize it into directories or packages demarcated by alphanumeric external labels and "END" statements? Would you want to navigate a huge matrix element-by-element using two keystrokes each time, but not be able to store more than five matrices in a large amount of RAM?

    If the modus operandi of the HP-15C were not to be changed at all, about 32 more registers would have been very useful (perhaps one extra R2D2 chip, cost and space permitting). This would have allowed solution of a 9x9 real-valued linear system, or solution of a 4x4 complex-valued linear system without fancy maneuvers (and clearing memory beforehand), or inversion of an 8x8 matrix without clearing memory beforehand. However, the probable reason why 64 allocatable registers were provided was to make the latter two applications possible.

  • Add I/O. It is so cheap to add I/O. Bluetooth would be great. Industry standard I/O is what got me to switch to the 48GX in 1993. Look at the software selection and support available for the 41CX, 71B, and 48GX. I/O makes a difference. I/O builds communities.

    That would certainly require a new list of alphanumeric commands. The 41CX, 71B, and 48GX are all alphanumeric.

  • 42S complex number display (again user selectable).

    I, too, like that display, but one should be mindful of the storage of variables in the registers, as well as the capability of the display to show abbreviated complex components having exponents, and complete mantissas as a minimum. Consider how "SHOW" (CLEAR PREFIX) would work.


    The devil's in the details...

    :-)

    -- KS

  • #32

    The 15Cii was discussed earlier several times already. Please see e.g. here, where a tentative layout is given. I posted it then just to show the opportunities within the dimensions and with the keyboard of a Voyager :-)

    With a dot matrix LCD, you may display any reasonable number of output lines as pointed out above, so 2 lines or only 1 line would be no problem at all. It would also allow to display menus and soft keys like in 27S, 42S, or 48, of course. You will find more about this searching the archives under "IQ43S".

    Edited: 23 June 2007, 7:26 a.m.

    #33

    I am not too concerned with counterfeited calculators. I am more concerned with people creating Frankencalculators - calculators created from parts of several calculators. One could mix and match parts from several broken calculators to create a working one. But the mix and match may not be historically accurate. One could for example, create an HP-35 with "The Bug" that had a late serial number, or was a type 3 or 4. This could cause mass confusion among the collecting community.


    #34

    Quote:
    This could cause mass confusion among the collecting community.

    Don't exaggerate - mass confusion will never happen in this community ;-)

    #35

    Don't be silly! No one here collects calculators! Not a one of us.

    We are all "users".

    Yeah.

    #36

    ...because I've just got a vintage one on the auction site :-D

    Just kidding...

    Best regards.

    Giancarlo


    #37

    I have a 97 and I don't care if its value goes down. I would like a modern version of the 97. I just like the way it looks. As we all know the problem with the card reader so I would want a better way for mass storage like flash memory card. The printer can be the same size but should be faster and quieter. The battery should last much longer. The display should display alpha character in program mode for easy viewing of the program. If a counterfeit works and looks as well or better than the original then it actually worths more to me than the orginal as I don't collect thing for rarity.


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