Voyager series odds and ends


Hello everyone, this is my first post here although I've been visiting the museum regularly for several years. I have a couple of observations and questions about the Voyager series of HP calcs, e.g. the 11C, 15C, 16C and 10C.

I own an old beat up HP-11C that has survived more than 20 years on 2 sets of batteries. It's been through the mill and even got run over once in the driveway (in deep snow) but it keeps on ticking. Recently the ON key started to act funny. All of a sudden it has to be pressed really hard to turn the calc on or off. Very strange that it started happening all at once. I checked around the net (and here) to see what it would take to fix the key for whatever problem it has. I decided against doing a self-repair job, and opted instead to buy a new one.

I did that on ye olde auction site this past summer. The calc I bought is nice and clean and works well, but I noticed a few differences between it and my own. For one, the battery compartment has a coil spring in it instead of 2 flat spring tabs. The second is the VDE logo (f in a circle) on the back near the battery compartment. The third is the color of the printing used on the front of the calculator.

Research here at the museum revealed that HP went to the coiled spring battery contact in later production runs of the 11C. Is that true for the entire Voyager series? Lately I've been seeing more and more on ye olde auction site with the f-in-a-circle logo on the back, and not just 11Cs. Does that logo automatically imply a coiled spring battery contact? Other reading has given me the impression that the coiled spring is less reliable than the flat spring contacts, and is prone to breaking off. Is that true?

As for the color of the printing on the front, the f-shift function labels are more orange than yellow, like on my old 11C. It's a darker shade and IMO more difficult to see, although it may just be a case of getting used to it.

Do those 3 things - battery contact spring, VDE logo, and face printing color - all go together? If I find a calculator with one of the 3 things (say on the auction site) is it reasonable to assume all 3 are present?

My other question involves the keys on my original 11C. Is it possible to get to the key contact sheet (for cleaning) without breaking any of the heat strakes? I still like my old calc better, missing logo, missing rubber feet, dented bezel and all, and if it's possible I want to try to fix the wonky ON key.

(Speaking of ye olde auction site, has anyone figured if the ripoff-artist not to be named uses a different ID for buying than he does for selling? I see him selling a lot more than buying.)


Welcome, Dan --

A lotta questions, there!

I have six USA-made Voyagers from the 1980's and two non-USA Voyagers from the 1990's:

1983 (HP-15C, HP-10C)
1985 (HP-11C S/N 2508Axxxxx, HP-16C 2538Axxxxx, HP-15C 2543Axxxxx)
1986 (HP-11C)
1990 (HP-12C, Brazil)
1994 (HP-12C, Singapore)

The 1985 HP-15C and 1986 HP-11C have the VDE logo "871B". I've also seen HP-15C's from 1988-89 with a similar logo. My two 1983 and other two 1985 models do not have it.

All my 1985 and later models have the spring battery contacts. I would believe that they are more robust.

My 1983 models have yellow legends that seem to have faded to tan. The later models have legends that are still bright yellow.

Some cost-cutting measures were taken in 1986 that persisted in later models -- chromoplastic logos that wear and shear off (they probably didn't bond to the metal case as well as the earlier chrome metal logos), and some simplification of the electronics.

-- KS


Thanks, Karl. My original 11C is S/N 2213Axxxxx so I guess it was made in the 13th week of 1982. I think the logo was lost in the driveway incident. The bezel got a few dents and scratches in it that day, but luckily the LCD display itself was not damaged and has always worked flawlessly. Maybe it's just because I'm so used to it, but I found the coil spring battery compartment harder to get the batteries in and out of. Not that they need replacing very often. I don't have the "new" one with me at the moment so I can't check the S/N, but it most definitely has the double-shot molded keys which I read about here. They're re-used from a 12C just like the collector's page says. I'm not a serious collector by any means but I always wanted a 15C and a 16C so maybe I'll test those waters. I actually do a fair amount of hexadecimal arithmetic now and then so it would be more than a novelty. The PC hex calculators I have tried are all a little wonky. Too bad the new 35S has its own wonky hex number problems. At any rate, if I decide to take the plunge on a 15C and/or a 16C I want to avoid the later manufacturing runs if at all possible, so that's the real reason behind my asking.


Is it possible to get to the key contact sheet (for cleaning) without breaking any of the heat strakes?

That contact sheet is sandwiched between a circuit board on one side and the front of the calculator on the other, and that sandwich is held together by the heat stakes, so, no. To disassemble, you would not actually break the heat stakes. You would trim the "mushroomed" portion away, leaving the shaft of the stake protruding through the circuit board. Some have reported that the calculator can then be re-assembled by either melting over the remaining portion of the stakes, or putting some sort of cement around each stake, all while somehow clamping the whole assembly together. (The name that comes to mind is "RC 2000 tire cement" or similar that is some sort of rubberized superglue used for radio controlled car tires, sold in hobby shops, if I recall correctly.)

This message provides advice for cleaning individual keys on a 41C, don't know if it applies to the voyagers.


I think it was that description that dissuaded me from doing it in the first place. I took the back off, looked around, saw that description, and put the cover back on. The button looks and feels the same way it always did. There's no odd sound or anything else when pressed. I can't imagine what could have gotten in there to cause the problem.


I can't imagine what could have gotten in there to cause the problem.

To quote an old Ronny Graham commercial: It's dirty, dirt, dirt... and it's your car I want to hurt.

In this case it happens to be your calculator :^(

Voyager keyboards are very easy to clean from the back. No cutting anything apart, no damage of any kind.


That sounds very encouraging. Would you care to elaborate a bit? Are there holes or something that allow access to the contact pads?

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