Solver question -- versions -- which is the "best"?


I'm moving this question out of being buried in the other discussion below, because I don't think anyone will answer otherwise. ;-)

What version of the solver application do folks think is the, for lack of a better word, pinnacle of that tool?

There seems to be a lot of differing opinions on this subject. I am pretty happy with the 17bii+ solver (I know, that's heretical to some of you, what with its bugs), while others say that the 19bii or 17bii was the best. However, lately I've been seeing posts that seem to imply that the 200lx solver was clearly the best, most powerful, most accurate solver.

I'd be interested in hearing opinions, and where possible, examples of why you think that one is the best. Maybe in descending order of "bestness" too?



Hi Bruce,

I guess the question is "best" for what - speed, power, correctness, ease of use, etc.

For power and ease of use, I'd have to say the HP-200LX. It has a full, if small, keyboard for entering the equations. Multiline screen for editing. Can save/load equations. Easy to transfer to a pc for editing large complicated equation. Full L() and G() implication. Can do graphs. Can be used in a 1-2-3 worksheet.

In the calculator realm, I'd have to go with the HP-19BII. Multiline display, the full keyboard helps on entering equations.

Second on the calculator side would be the HP-17BII. Mainly for the pocket size.

The above is order I would develop a complicated formula - I'd start with the HP-200LX or the PC emulator of it. Debug it there. Then type into the HP-19BII. Ensure it works there. And, if I need smaller form factor, enter the final debuged complicated equation into the HP-17BII.

As far as I know the solver is the same on all three of these. The HP-200LX, of course, has some additional features.

I can't comment on any of the newer calculator, since I don't have any of them.


Edited: 24 Aug 2007, 2:43 p.m.



I second Bill's comments very much, but like to add another wrinkle on the "Quest for the Best Solver in Town" - that is the one about the "whole package".

As you know from my last postings, I'm mostly a 200LX convert already. In this process what made me a "convert" was not so much the already known compatibility problems of the 17bII+ "package" compared with the others, but mainly the lack of being able to "save & restore" my development work!

I think you evetually would agree, once you spent hours on development and the "battery exchange demon" shows up his ugly face ...

Add to this the integration with Lotus 123 & the 200LX Application Manager's Macro capabilities - and you have very unique & tremendous capable solution for anything but eventually complex math & calculus.

So my recommendations for the "Finals" ranking are:

1. 200LX

2. 19BII (with a strong battery door ;-))

3. 17bII (tie with 17BII+ once it's software has been fixed)

4. 27s (Edited as of Karl Schneider's posting below - sorry, my fault!)

5. 18c (battery door ...)

Best regards

Peter A. Gebhardt

PS: Availability of N-Cells might be an issue too, which is in favour off the NIMH 2700 mA Rechargeable powered 200LX ...

Edited: 25 Aug 2007, 4:00 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


There's nothing wrong with the HP-27S battery door; it's a Pioneer-series model, just like the HP-17B/BII and HP-42S.

I'd rate the HP-27S solver above that of the HP-17BII, because the HP-27S has more mathematical functions available. RPN, of course, is not an issue.

The HP-35s may deserve a mention, because it now has in-line editing and limited implicit multiplication.

-- KS

Edited: 25 Aug 2007, 3:36 p.m.



the only reason I've put down the 27s, was what Finseth's Solver Chart said here on the 27s (and as far as I remember - reading that in the 27S Owner's Manual):

The solvers on the -17B, 17BII, -18C, 19B, and 19BII do algebraic
simplification: this feature was removed from the -27S in order to
save space.

Which (as I must assume, because I don't possess an 27S) means iterative solution search each and every time ...

Best regards

Peter A. Gebhardt

PS: The 27S lacks IRR, NPV, NFV & NUS too!

Edited: 25 Aug 2007, 6:25 p.m.


Hi, Peter --

The solvers on the -17B, 17BII, -18C, 19B, and 19BII do algebraic simplification: this feature was removed from the -27S in order to save space....

Which (as I must assume, because I don't possess an 27S) means iterative solution search each and every time ...

I have the HP-17B, HP-17BII, and HP-27S. I'm not sure offhand how or whether those models performed symbolic algebraic simplification as the HP-48 series did.

However, I verified that the HP-27S solver does indeed use direct-solution methods. This capability was ported to the HP-33s and HP-35s solvers. I am not entirely pleased with the logic as implemented:

HP-33s solver direct methods

At the time of that post, I believed that direct solution was a new capability, not one that was borrowed from earlier models.

-- KS

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