How do you feel about the 50g?



#44

There has been such a time gap between calculus class and now I wonder if I would enjoy such a calculator. I'm interested in how owners and prospective owners feel about it. Thanks, Sam


#45

Hello designnut,

I will start off the reply to your question by stating that the HP 50G is a very nice calculator, even without the BIG enter key. I say this even though I do not own one myself and have no intention of buying one in the near term. I have an HP 48G and an HP 49g+ with the improved keyboard and am quite pleased with both of them. The two calculators (49g+ and 50G) are identical in terms of speed, layout and functionality, and differ only in colour scheme and the addition of RS 232 connectivity. I have played with a couple that were purchased by colleagues and would likely buy one if I did not own a 49g+.

These calculators are almost too capable for most folks, with the possible exception of university students. Sure, their ease of use for many applications like calculus, as compared to firing up a suitable program on a PC is noteworthy, however I for one wonder how often I will (again) enter a hundred data points for statistical analysis on a handheld device... As for portability, it is quite bulky and many might consider it more of a desktop unit that a truly useful field tool. If you have a PDA (I use Palm), Power48 is a must!

My 'pocket' calculator is usually a 32sii or a 15C. I often use the 35s, but again - they made it a little too big for my tastes. That being said, it is not really appropriate to compare these with RPL units. I guess it comes down to what you need it for and what you like. As for capability, just look at what Mr. Valentin Albillo can accomplish with even an HP 25C!

Regards,

Jeff Kearns

#46

Quote:
I wonder if I would enjoy such a calculator.

Interesting thought. Well I certainly enjoy my 50g. I travel a lot and my 15C always goes with me. Lately my 50g has been tagging along.

In 1993 I got my last calculator (48GX) as a gift from my father (also a calculator nut). It is in still in mint condition after years of use. It's only flaw is that it is irreplaceable. Since I have been using my 48GX more and more at work and traveling with it, I decided that I wanted something replaceable. After hearing positive reviews of the 50g I decided to obtain one.

My 50g observations (I'll rate enjoyment with +1, -1, or 0).

  • Little ENTER key. So what, you'll adapt. Granted it really bothered me for sometime, my fingers knew where the ENTER and the basic operations keys were. This lead to a number of miscalculations. Enjoyment: -1 to 0 depending one how well you adapt.
  • Aesthetics. Relative to the 49G+ it is a beautiful machine. Compared to the TI-89, still better looking. Compared to the 48GX? Well thats a hard one. I prefer the color scheme of the 48SX and 50g over the 48GX. But overall the 48GX is a better looking machine when compared to the 50g. The 50g does attract attention when I take it out at conferences. I get a lot of, "What is that?!". Pre-40 somethings still have TIs and Post-40 somethings still have 11C/15C/41/48. Enjoyment: +1
  • Case. I prefer it over the 71B/41CX/48GX zipper cases. The flip top case is faster. The case also has a hard front and back protecting the display and keyboard. Enjoyment: +1
  • Connectivity. You get serial, USB, and IR. The USB can also power the device. Enjoyment: +1
  • Expandability. My 128MB SD card is a virtual infinity. Almost all my programs and data sit on the SD card saving the internal RAM for application runtime use. Enjoyment: +1
  • Battery Life. Not what it used to be, but it is a more powerful device, but there is no enjoyment when batteries die to quickly after warning. Warning! Drop everything, get batteries. Enjoyment: -1
  • Keyboard. It's not old school HP. But it has never failed me (after setting KEYTIME) and the tactile feel is inline with other modern hand held keyboards. E.g. Button abundant mobile phones with exposed keyboards often have identical feel to the 50g (e.g. Blackberry, Blackjack). Enjoyment: 0
  • Display. Hands down, superior display than 48GX. I've never seen the mythical B/W 48GX so I cannot compare. The 50g display is larger, faster, and easier to read. Enjoyment: +1
  • Software. Until last night I had yet to find a 48GX program that I wanted to run where there wasn't a 50g equivalent. In the case of RPL it just works. Other than my own programs, I find the HP49+ onboard help library and HP-41E the most useful. Enjoyment: +1
  • Programming. With the 50g you can do onboard RPL, SysRPL, and ASM programming (Saturn and ARM). But for me the real appeal is C programming. HPGCC2 and HPGCC3 are awesome and easy to use. Enjoyment: +10 (I had to break the scale on this one, it really is that enjoyable to program).
For less than $110US (amazon.com) I think you'll find the 50g very enjoyable.

#47

I've got mine last thursday and despite the small ENTER key, I'm so happy to have it !

Compared to my old 40g, it just rocks, it's so faster, nicer, etc... The display and keyboard are so much better, not even comparable. Well, I'm learning to use it for instance, but I can say that, together with the new 35s, they are the best HP calculators ever made, this will be the end of TI and Casio... ;)


#48

does the 50g have keystroke programning like the 42s for us-non engineers and math people?


#49

Nope. It has RPL which is the same thing unless you get into the more complicated stuff. If you don't want to ever touch things like local variables you don't have to at all.

TW

#50

Nope. BUT, you can run a 41 or 42 emulator on it!

pbM


#51

sounds good, how about an internal clock which would greatly simplify the astronomy coordinate conversion since i wouldnt have to check the time for entry on each object


#52

Yes there is an internal clock, but depending on the timings you require it may not be accurate enough. The clock can vary a few seconds or more a day and can sometimes skip a few seconds.


#53

a few seconds -+ would be ok, one last question- where or which 42s emulator can I use, thanks for your help, Howard

Edited: 2 Mar 2008, 6:12 p.m.


#54

Quote:
where or which 42s emulator can I use

http://www.hrastprogrammer.com/
#55

why would you run HP42s emulator on HP50? free42 runs on other handhelds such as ipod touch for example

cheers

reth

#56

Egan Ford said:

Quote:
Little ENTER key. So what, you'll adapt. Granted it really bothered me for sometime, my fingers knew where the ENTER and the basic operations keys were. This lead to a number of miscalculations. Enjoyment: -1 to 0 depending one how well you adapt.

For me, usability and "adapting" have very little to do with it. It's the symbolism of the small [ENTER] that I can't stand.


#57

Quote:
For me, usability and "adapting" have very little to do with it. It's the symbolism of the small [ENTER] that I can't stand.

I felt that way too. And, that is why I had the same calculator since 1993 (48GX). But, in 2006 I felt that should give the 50g a try, and after a few days determined that the 50g positives outweigh the negatives.

I am first a user, then a collector. Use outweighs aesthetics.

That all said, would I be more satisfied with a large enter key? Absolutely, but its not the only thing to consider.


#58

Egan Ford said:

Quote:
I am first a user, then a collector. Use outweighs aesthetics.

I'm more interested in using than collecting, too. But if the aesthetics are bad enough, it makes using the device too unpleasant.

Besides, it isn't just an issue of aesthetics. As I said, it's the symbolism more than anything else that bothers me. I consider that small [ENTER] key insulting and it makes me angry every time I see it or even think about it. There's no way I could bear seeing it whenever I use my calculator. It would like seeing HP "giving me the finger" each time I looked at it.

#59

I find it ugly, non-professional looking and not belonging to the great HP calculator family ending with the HP48

cheers

reth


#60

Well I find the 48s slow (even with your nice SW), limited and think both color schemes (brown puke and green puke) are ugly.

Good thing everyone is entitled to an opinion. :-)

TW


#61

Well I thought I answered the question of the original poster, how ***I*** felt about it. I'm not getting into details even though I've got a lot of them collected over the last ~25 years.

;)
cheers,
reth


#62

Hi designut. I'm the happy owner of a 50g and i LOVE it!!!

I'll be fair, and tell you when I first got it, i thought i had wasted 117 dollars. I didn't like the "rearranged" keyboard - the enter and math-function keys are not where you expect them to be if you are used to the 48, and the enter key got really wee-tiny small. You get used to that very quickly though. I like the appearance, the size, the key feel and, MOST of all, I like the multiplicity of I/O options; USB, Serial, SD card (or mini or micro SD's in the SD adapters)up to 2gb each, and swappable(Did somebody say "unlimited storage"?), and IR port! The manual that comes with it isn't paper - it's a PDF on the CD that comes in the package. And no wonder - the dang thing is 883 pages long!!! In spite of the size of this tome, it still fails to provide detailed enough information for what you are looking for - you learn a lot by trial and error - LOTS of error. I find a paper manual to be much preferred, because it's way easier to flip back and forth in it than it is to hunt for info in the pdf. The monster is definitely electron hungry - batteries last (depending on your use, of course) about a month. Applications are numerous and getting more so constantly, just like they did for the 48; finding software for it is not a problem. With the ARM processor, your programing options are quite varied, too (rpl, sysrpl, hpgccc, etc. to name only a few) The bigger screen is much better than the predecessors, more contrast-y and less reflective, besides the obvious advantage of seeing more info displayed. It also comes with a very nice leather hard-face case with a magnetic snap to keep it closed. All in all, the longer i have it, and the more i use it, the more i like it - HP is heading in the right direction with this but they ain't totally "got there" yet - i could recommend several improvements to this machine already. I think what I really like about the 50 is that it constantly surprises me with it's capabilities: WOW! I didn't know it could do THAT too! It can - - - haven't managed to stump it with anything yet (the inverse being not necessarily true... LOL) It took me a couple of years to warm up to the 48 series; only a few months to come to appreciate the 50, but i do and will continue to carry my 42s for quick calcs for every day. I don't leave the 50 on my desk or at home; it's with me all the time, but i grew up with the 35, the 41, the 67 et al, and the 42 is closer to my heart. Just too darn convenient to be supplanted by it's newer big brother. I for one, love the new 50 and i'm looking forward to seeing what the NEXT generation of HP calcs will look like! Hope this answers your questions.

polarbear Mike

#63

reth said:

Quote:
I find it ugly, non-professional looking and not belonging to the great HP calculator family ending with the HP48

That's exactly the way I feel about it.

#64

Some of my main questions about the 50g are:
1. batteries - can use NiMH, Lithium rechargeables
2. USB - come with driver software for Mac OS X (Leopard)
3. Come with software for editing/writing programs in Mac
4. Can it drive the HP InfraRed printer


#65

1. yes. anything designed to fit into a AAA
2. no. does have user made software that works fine for data transfer - does not allow taking of screenshots. That is the only limitation.
3. no. no specific editors come with the calculator, however text editors work just fine. Debug4x (userrpl, sysrpl and ASM) and userRPL edit (is that the name???) are windows only.
4. yes

TW

#66

Quote:
2. USB - come with driver software for Mac OS X (Leopard)

http://hpconnect.sourceforge.net/

Quote:
3. Come with software for editing/writing programs in Mac

Unfortunately most of the tools are Windows-based. You may want to ask again on comp.sys.hp48. That said EMU48 and HPUserEdit 5 appear to work just fine with Wine. I am running them on my Linux box now. I was surprised that HPUserEdit under Wine actually lunched EMU48 with 50g firmware and ran my code. One caveat with Wine is that I was unable to install Debug4x or HPUserEdit. I had to install them under Windows first and then copy the directories to Linux. I can send you the directories.

Wine for the Mac can be obtained from: http://wiki.winehq.org/MacOSX/Installing

Alternatively you can use VMware Fusion or Parallels + Windows.

Screen shot of HPUserEdit+EMU48 on Linux+Wine (should work for Mac too):




Edited: 4 Mar 2008, 12:57 a.m.


#67

Hi Egan.

I got the EMU48 that comes with Debug4x running under Wine on Linux Ubuntu 7.10, but with two major issues:

1 - incredibly slow

Solved turning the "Compiz Fusion" graphic engine off (i.e., no graphical effect for the desktop, but I can live with it ;)

2 - each mouse keyclick seems to be "echoed" several times on the emulator, so that it is even *very* difficult to browse, for example, the built-in CATalog of commands and try to stop over the one you need - you always get to go some lines over or below it...

Any hints as to this second issue?

TIA.

Best regards.

Giancarlo


#68

I wrote a response in that thread on comp.sys.hp48 but accidentally navigated away and lost it - didn't feel like rewriting. Anyway. . .

I run ubuntu 7.10 on my laptop and have absolutely no problem with debug4x/emu48 on wine at all. It runs just fine. No speed or screen update problems at all. I really have no idea why. :-(

The bigger issue for me is that I have 5 projects open at once because I have 5 main libraries all tied together in an interconnected manner. Wine unfortunately shows every single window open at the bottom so I end up with 15 windows. :-(

TW


#69

Hi Tim.

Thanks for your info.

The only difference I can notice (and that I did not mention before) is that I'm running a LInux Ubuntu installtion on an external USB HD....

Does that make any sense to you?

Best regards.

Giancarlo

#70

Quote:
The bigger issue for me is that I have 5 projects open at once because I have 5 main libraries all tied together in an interconnected manner. Wine unfortunately shows every single window open at the bottom so I end up with 15 windows. :-(

Have you tried winecfg/Graphics, then uncheck "Allow the window manager to control the windows"? Then you'll have zero at the bottom.

#71

Nope. I had not known about that. I am one of those people that never get around to changing the default theme (just did last week after 6 months) because I am always too busy to mess with it. I try to spend most of my time working and so don't get around to finding everything out I need. :-)

Right now I am trying to figure out how to get my SD card to turn off cached writes so I can remove it without manually unmounting the card. Not neccecary I know, but I do a ton of programming for the DC50 surveying device and am popping that card in and out hundreds of times a day sometimes and it gets annoying. I've tried making a little script to do it with a single click, but it is still annoying.

I'm sure I'll figure it out sometime.


#72

Try mounting with -o sync. From the mount man page:

All I/O to the file system should be done synchronously. In case of media with limited number of write cycles (e.g. some flash drives) "sync" may cause life-cycle shortening.

You'll need to change whatever you have for autodetect and mount to also add that option.

#73

Quote:
Right now I am trying to figure out how to get my SD card to turn off cached writes so I can remove it without manually unmounting the card. Not neccecary I know, but I do a ton of programming for the DC50 surveying device and am popping that card in and out hundreds of times a day sometimes and it gets annoying. I've tried making a little script to do it with a single click, but it is still annoying.

Hi Tim! WOW! Shades of the dark ages! I haven't used mount/dismount in YEARS (since mounting reel-tapes on a WANG mainframe back in the 70's, to be exact) - I forgot all about these commands, esp. with reference to calculators! Those commands were for mainframes, not handhelds! LOL

I find myself popping my SD out to archive completed jobs and upload new ones, then reinserting. Not as often as you do, I'm sure, but often enough to be annoyed at the minor scramble of everything. I do eventually get everything sorted and working again, but I see I should really dismount and then process the card, then reinsert it and remount it.

Was wondering if you could spare a couple minutes of your very precious time to enlighten me on the process with the 50g. I'm getting to be a bona fide old-fart (pushing 60 downhill) now, and it takes me longer to understand what they are trying to tell me in the manual than it used to - help would be much appreciated!

Saw your pic on one of the HP boards a couple of days ago; handsome devil and all that, but was surprised at how young you look - I thought you were much older. Funny how you develop mental pictures of people... If ya want to take a gander at my ugly puss, you can see me on www.makebeliever.com - I'm Santa (No, Really! I AM! LOL)

I've been looking at the adds for DC-50 assistant software and drooling lately. It looks pretty good from here - guess I'll have to go take a college class or two next semester to get the student rate (I'm still working on a BS in CE/Surveying, Cal Poly Pomona) - even though I'll be retiring permanently in about 7 years), but I am pretty well interested in it.

I'll leave ya in peace now, and look forward to any response you care to make. Have a great day!

polarbear Mike, PLS
polarbear_mike@yahoo.com


OOOOPS! this was supposed to go directly to Tim, but I obviously pushed the wrong button - sorry about that! Too late now.... PbM

Edited: 4 Mar 2008, 3:03 p.m.

#74

Quote:
2 - each mouse keyclick seems to be "echoed" several times on the emulator, so that it is even *very* difficult to browse, for example, the built-in CATalog of commands and try to stop over the one you need - you always get to go some lines over or below it...
Any hints as to this second issue?

I tried to duplicate the problem, but cannot. It works just fine for me on an old P4 with CentOS 4.

I'd post a message at winehq.org.

Have you tried other emulators or applications with wine? Do they have the same problem?

In any case check "Enable Virtual LCD Delay" in File/Settings. This cleaned up a flicker problem and made it appear faster.

Edited: 4 Mar 2008, 10:53 a.m.


#75

Hi Egan.

I just run the EMU48 under Wine right now.... and it works fine :-/

Maybe the system needed a reboot - just guessing.

All's well that ends well - thank you and all for the feebdacks.

Best regards.

Giancarlo


P.S.: by the way, the re-vamping of my passion for Linux was started by going through your HPGCC stuff ;-)


#76

Quote:
Maybe the system needed a reboot - just guessing.

Linux reboot? What's the world coming to? :-)
Quote:
P.S.: by the way, the re-vamping of my passion for Linux was started by going through your HPGCC stuff ;-)

Excellent. We need more HPGCC programmers.

#77

Quote:
Linux reboot? What's the world coming to? :-)

Yeah, humble apologies - didn't mean to swear :o)

Best regards.

Giancarlo
#78

caution, lithium cells have 3 volt output rather than the 1.3 volts of Nimh.I don't think there is any way you could use lithium. I have ordered 12 AAA Nimh low discharge rate cells and I have the LaCrosse chargers for them. I think a regular change out schedule is in order rather than wait for low battery warning. Sam


#79

I've been using NiMH rechargeables since my first 49g+ in late 2003. I've only seen either the 49g+/50g not give me several more hours of use when the battery warning comes on a few times. That was when I was using a set of batteries so old they don't hold a charge correctly and needed to be thrown away.

I think it is perfectly fine to use the rechargeables until the warning pops up. Just don't expect to go much longer than that without changing. :-)

TW

#80

Quote:
caution, lithium cells have 3 volt output rather than the 1.3 volts of Nimh. I don't think there is any way you could use lithium.

Not quite correct. Lithium ion batteries are rechargeable and are 3.7 volts/cell, I believe. Although ordinary lithium cells are nominally rated at 3.0 volts, the AA and AAA versions are specially designed to put out 1.5 volts, and are not rechargeable. The are direct replacements for alkalines, but last several times as long.


#81

Quote:
The are direct replacements for alkalines, but last several times as long.

Greetings, The data sheets from energizer do not support this commonly held myth. (Although they would have you believe so)

According to the Energizer L92 Datasheet, the capacities of lithium cells for low constant-current discharge rates (at room temp) are IDENTICAL to Alkaline, and not much better for constant-power discharge under the same conditions.

There are some advantages at cold temp and for pulsed/higher currents, in those cases you may see marked (2x, 3x) increase, but in most calculator applications you will see no (or very little) difference.

For a 48gx you will realize only about 10-15% increase in battery life for more than twice the cost. Save your money.


#82

I have completed a long-term project to replace all the batteries in all the calculators in my collection with Energizer Lithium AA or AAA replaceable cells. This includes all pretty much all the HP calculators as well (aside from the ones that use the 357 and CR2032 cells). I did this because these calculators are not in regular use but I like to have them ready to play with right out of the display case.

I wanted to solve two main problems:

1) Nicad cells need charging several times a year and that was a lot of work (there are 250+ calculators on display). Alkaline cells self discharge much more slowly so this wasn't much of an issue.

2) Alkaline (and nicad) cells leak. From my experience with good quality AA and AAA Duracell and Energizer alkaline batteries, I'd guess that this happens to about 1 in 300 per year. Older nicad cells are even worse.

Also, I did not want to modify the HP calculators in any way to do this so I developed my own battery pack using a 3xAAA plastic battery holder for the "classic" battery pack replacement and something like that for the "topcat" battery pack. The "woodstock" and "spice" battery packs are easy to insert AA cells into. In all cases I find that the lithium cells work great with no damage to the electronics even though their voltage is on the high side -- up to 1.7 volts when new.

With luck I won't have to even think about batteries for these calculators for another 15 years or so and don't have to worry about damage from leaking cells. (I don't think anyone knows if the Energizer cells will leak over time, they're pretty new on the market. But from what I've read even if they do leak the chemicals should not be damaging.)


#83

Quote:
2) Alkaline (and nicad) cells leak. From my experience with good quality AA and AAA Duracell and Energizer alkaline batteries, I'd guess that this happens to about 1 in 300 per year. Older nicad cells are even worse.

I'll second your numbers. I go through a fair number brand name batteries and see several per case that have problems of one form or another which leads me to say, yes, they will all leak, given the right circumstances. The most common cause of leakage is when cells become discharged, they just want to ooze everywhere.

I think the single most common problem I see with owners and batteries is not replacing all batteries at the same time with identical replacements. Mixing and matching old and new cells, or just as bad, mixing brands, will lead to premature discharge and ultimately leaking cells. Can't tell you how many 48's I've seen with dollar store batteries installed. Just plain foolishness in my book.

#84

Quote:
1) Nicad cells need charging several times a year and that was a lot of work (there are 250+ calculators on display).

There are NiMH cells on the market these days, such as
Sanyo's Eneloops (which I've thoroughly tested and written about), that have a very low self discharge rate (retaining 70 to 85% of their charge after one year). I've been slowly replacing every AA battery in the house (including the ones in wall clocks and TV remotes) with these.

Nice low self discharge rate like alkalines. Rechargeable 500 or more times like regular NiMH.

Stefan


#85

How do they stack up against single-use NiOx AAA's? That's what I've been using in my 50g - - about a dollar more for the NiOx 4-pack, but they seem to last about 3 times longer... I'll look into the Eneloops, rechargable would be good! Thanx!

polarbear Mike

#86

Quote:

The data sheets from energizer do not support this commonly held myth.


I have not tested them in calculators. My experience has been with digital cameras and electronic flash units, in which they do indeed last about 7x as long (in use) as alkalines.


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