The New HP47CX ....



#34

Having read a number of posts to this forum, in particular those centered around the topics of “What would you like to see in a calculator?”, “what do you like and what don’t you like in HP’s offerings in recent years?”, and “what old model would you like to see brought back by HP?” etc., I couldn’t resist the temptation to add 2 cents…

Being an “accumulator” rather than a “collector” – having purchased several HP calculators over the part 15 years since my venerable TI58 (not the constant memory version) decided it would retire after its own 15 years of service – my perspective is somewhat limited as more of an end-user rather than a tinkerer, and certainly not a programmer. I’m a scientist – spend part of the day in the office, part of it doing biotech research in the lab.

First HP calculator – HP 48G (1993). Still have it – fine condition. Still works, but the on/off button only functions when the slightest pressure is placed just above the menu keys and beneath the display. A favorite for its innovation. Wish I’d gotten the GX though.

Then came the HP49G. The one everyone hated. I did not hate it at all, thought the body was solid and the design quite good. The rubbery keys weren’t perfect but they were unobtrusive. Interface with PC less than ideal. My model still works well but ironically has the same problem as the 48G – on/off key works fine as long as the slightest touch is delivered between menu keys and display – wish I could get THAT sorted out!

When it came out I had to buy an HP50G – HP really got this one right, on lots of counts. Why, oh why, not deliver it with hard copies of the manuals???? This is my everyday office model and is the Cadillac of the whole bunch.

Then there were the everyday scientific calculators. I was intrigued by the 33S after many years of being an RPN convert, but wanting a pocket scientific model rather than the bulk of the graphing models. I’d bought a 30S for grins but hated the algebraic notation and the chintzy feel to it. Donated it to my former workplace. The 33S actually has a lot to like – it crams a lot into a compact package, is light, and feels like you won’t miss it too much if you have to part with it! Negatives we’ve all seen – the careless lack of GTO xyz instructions, the excess of steps with only 26 (27?) labels, and the silly layout of some of the keys. Clunky display with the tiny period. But in ways I do like it, and keep it at home for some specialized uses. And it came with a hardbound manual!

Then came the 35S – HP so nearly got it right with this one – it looks great, feels right, checks pretty much all the boxes with the indirect memory and label/step thing – but it could have done the alphanumerics a bit better. We needed a better upgrade to the 33S than this – it felt more incremental than a major step forward. A hardbound manual would have been a nice idea. But still pretty good, and it’s my everyday model for the lab. Like the case a lot – next upgrade should have a hard clamshell case like that, but made of leather!

My major at home calculator is the 17BII+. I have the “gold” one – and actually really like this form factor. It’s pocketable, has a nice sturdy case, and the uncluttered simplicity disguises its high degree of utility. The solver is the best of the bunch, with lots of hidden capabilities, which are fortunately unleashed with the help of techie manuals such as on the Museum DVD. Now what’s missing from this one is some fundamentals (that are available on the HP20b) such as trig and probability functions – these can be input via equations, but why not put them in up front? Assign them as second functions to the otherwise unlabeled keys?

Where is all this going? There have been some valid points raised “Make a 43s” etc. (although the 3 hasn’t been ideal as some have pointed out) – “Make a 45s and put it in either a Voyager or 35s form factor with an expanded display” – kind of neat – I really like some of the pictures! “Reintroduce the 42s” – why oh why not – but get it right! – so here’s my recommendation that takes care of all of this.

The ideal “pocketable” HP calculator. Has ALL the scientific functions of the 35S. All the matrix/complex functions of the 42s. ALL the business functions of the 17BII+. All the statistics functions of the 42s/20b – even the old 27s (which wasn’t a bad machine but for its lack of programmability and (gasp) lack of RPN!). The alphanumeric prompts/customization options of the 42S/17BII+. The solver of the 17BII+. Programmability of the 35S. 128K memory expandable with an SD card. The display – XYZT stack – 4-line. Sort of like what’s been proposed on these forums.

Kicker #1. A software companion package that allows users to type in a program, equation, etc. on a Windows machine with keystrokes that represent exactly the same as one would input on the keyboard, save it to the SD card, and load it on the calculator with minimum fuss. Of course one can do it the same way as always – punching keys. (Which should have the feel of the 35s or 50g, and a nice big ENTER, BTW!)

Kicker #2. Put it all on in a robust machine that can fit in a pocket. 15c or 17BII+, or at a pinch, 35S are all pretty good but it has to be slim AND sturdy. And a deluxe leather clamshell case as an accessory, with full hardcopy manuals/advanced user guides delivered with the machine.

Kicker #3. What do we call it? HP 47CX -- 47’s never been used before It’s in the 40 series, which means it’ll do a LOT of stuff. Including satisfying all scientists, financiers, statisticians, collectors, and accumulators. The 7 is somewhat symbolic of that, historically – e.g. the HP 27’s of old. And of course – CX reminds one of the 41CX – expandable, brilliant.

OK thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far! HP are you listening? Make me a 47CX for $100 with all the bells and whistles above and I’ll buy it in a shot….maybe three of them.

Jim


#35

HP-47G is a missing model: all the features of the 48G, but no symbolics, no derivatives or integrals (except numeric). This never came out. Maybe even a HP-37G would be acceptable: a stripped down 39G without symbolics, even solving should numeric only. TI has all these graphing low-end calculators for school and HP none. This has been asked for by the resellers for millenia, no vail...TI has eaten up the market and HP calc division has been cut down and is starving, yet the management doesn't understand... :-(


#36

Quote:
TI has all these graphing low-end calculators for school and HP none. .... HP calc division has been cut down and is starving, yet the management doesn't understand... :-(

You are forgetting the HP 38G. This was HP's big attempt to invade TI's territory, and it bombed. Not because it wasn't any good (it was very good, IMO), but because TI already had the market sowed up so well that teachers and schools (except a few) weren't about to depart from the familiar.

#37

Jim,

Quote:
The ideal “pocketable” HP calculator. Has ALL the scientific functions of the 35S . All the matrix/complex functions of the 42s . ALL the business functions of the 17BII+. (Not yet, but may be added easily). All the statistics functions of the 42s/20b – even the old 27s (...). The alphanumeric prompts/customization options of the 42S/17BII+ . The solver of the 17BII+ (or 42S? But no big point.). Programmability of the 35S . 128K memory expandable with an SD card . The display – XYZT stack – 4-line . Sort of like what’s been proposed on these forums .

Kicker #1. A software companion package that allows users to type in a program, equation, etc. on a Windows machine with keystrokes that represent exactly the same as one would input on the keyboard, save it to the SD card, and load it on the calculator with minimum fuss (*). Of course one can do it the same way as always – punching keys. (Which should have the feel of the 35s or 50g, and a nice big ENTER, BTW! )

Kicker #2. Put it all on in a robust machine that can fit in a pocket. 15c or 17BII+, or at a pinch, 35S are all pretty good but it has to be slim AND sturdy . And a deluxe leather clamshell case as an accessory, with full hardcopy manuals/advanced user guides delivered with the machine (*).


(I added checkmarks and little comments in bold face above. You get my support for the asterisked items, too, but those are beyond my painting power ;)

Well, I hate to repeat ;) but it's all included herein already:


This model keeps the form factor of your golden 17BII+. Feel free to attach "HP47CX" to it. And in the most improbable case you don't like it, feel free to post counterproposals one can see and discuss here.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s (I'll buy a couple of them though labeled 47CX, too).

Walter


#38

Walter, you've read my mind and painted the picture. Thank you!
Jim

#39

the correct model number is? 
The ultimate answer:
42
#40

...or as an alternative, perhaps something like this, which utilizes the 35s form factor:

Edited: 24 Oct 2008, 12:45 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#41

Hi Jeff,

Welcome to the club! :)

Some questions:

a) How many pixels does your display provide? I'm too lazy to count ;)

b) What's in your OUTPUT menu?

c) What will FILER do?

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.

Walter


#42

Its difficult to say. Form factor wise I like the 42S and the 48 series (esp. the 48 series LCD). I always felt they were both nicely built and just great to look at.

The 43S is my kind of machine. An improved 42S with a larger display.

I would change the F and G positions though.. to the top RHS (imho) as they don't seem intuitive where you have placed them... just my view!

Kinda like the next generation 41... maybe should be called 41NG !


Edited: 24 Oct 2008, 9:17 a.m.


#43

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your kind words.

Quote:
I would change the F and G positions though.. to the top RHS (imho) as they don't seem intuitive where you have placed them...

Guess that was referring to the 43s? Else forget my response. If true, however, please indicate what you mean, since I don't understand it so far.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.

Walter


#44

Hi Walter

Yes.. I would prefer the 43S f/g functions to be in the same position as the 34C, that is the top right hand side.

On my 34C (which actually has three shift keys) f/g/h - I find the f/g positions to be ideal... esp. as I use them frequently as the 34C has a crowded function keyboard.

Great design though - you are to be congratulated!

Jeff's 45S is great as well, although the logo would be nicer in the "old" HP format in my humble opinion!


#45

Hi Ed,

Quote:
I would prefer the 43S f/g functions to be in the same position as the 34C, that is the top right hand side.

On my 34C (which actually has three shift keys) f/g/h - I find the f/g positions to be ideal... esp. as I use them frequently as the 34C has a crowded function keyboard.


The 34C is one of my favourite models, too. You may have noticed the 43s also has 3 shift keys f/g/m, with the "m" being the menu shift. You must know the top 6 keys are menu keys (differing from the 34C), so it won't be wise to have the prefixes located *top* right. You may position 2 prefixes one row lower (and I did so on the 42SII and 42SN, being less advanced models), but I rated the solution displayed here better for the 43s.

Thanks again!


#46

Walter you have an edit as a shiftable function - is this used in conjunction with the arrow keys?

Else I assume they BST/SST.. you know the issue I dislike the most on the 34C is having to shift for BST/SST!

I note in later models these were non-shiftable functions!


#47

Ed, don't be afraid, I share your view on shifted SST/BST. On the 43s, SST and BST are performed by the cursor down and up keys (direct access like on 42S or 17bii+). EDIT is a context-sensitive menu containing a good deal of the contents of PGM.FCN on 42S, or the contents of MATRIX EDIT of the same.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.

Walter


#48

Walter

Many thanks for the reply!

I'm not familiar with the 42S unfortunately as they seem comparatively scarce and eBay prices are not cheap for such rare beasts!

All I know about the 42S which may or may not be correct is that it was a 41 replacement and pretty slick!


Edited: 25 Oct 2008, 5:17 p.m.


#49

Many forum members regard the 42S as the best RPN calculator so far. Please find more about it on the Museum DVD, e.g. its Owner's Manual, together with a lot more of interesting stuff, for far less than the cost of a reasonable calc on TAS.


#50

I could sell my working 42S, I may even have a photocopy of the manual

#51

3 shift keys?
Can one say shifty-(k)eyed calculator?

By using just one "rotary" shift key
one could have annuciators lit as follows:
<-|
|->
<-|-> (alpha or 3rd shift)
(cancel)

Whadda-U-say?


#52

Quote:
Whadda-U-say?

I doubt a rotary shift would make the interaction easier. On average, you'll need more keystrokes to execute functions.

#53

More keystrokes perhaps, but no "hunt and peek"!
One can press a single key really fast after a few hours of intensive keyboard work (the time prolongs considerable if you're not a calc-half-nut-41-lover). This saves keytops. Also using a single key t [ () ] would also make some EQN work faster.


#54

Are you a member of Generation SMS? ;)

#55

Quote:
Welcome to the club! :)

Thanks, I consider myself to be a charter member. :)

My display provides 48 x 131 pixels. OUTPUT would provide the functions of the PRINT menu on the 42S, but would output to text files on an SD card. The FILER menu would upload and download programs and data from the calculator to the SD card.

I think I meant to redo my design using the ideas presented in A Proposed New Look to HP Calculator Key Labels by Pavneet Arora, but never got around to it.


#56

OK, for sake of easier comparison: you find the traditional PRINT label on my 43s and the menu I/O doing what Jeff's FILER does.

@Jeff: I'm happy to see another design here in this forum after many moons (though an older one this time). I do have some questions and suggestions, however. If you prefer, I'll use the mail function of this site, since it's mainly communication between you and me and may not be of too much value for the other forumers.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.

Walter

Edited: 25 Oct 2008, 3:18 a.m.


#57

Please, do it here: the value is tremendows (2 U 2)


#58

Hyvää päivää Veli-Pekka,

Quote:
Please, do it here: the value is tremendows (2 U 2)

I didn't want to tear you down.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.

Walter


#59

Hi Walter,
I hope your otherwize brillinat design never makes it. Just think about what would happen next. After selling less than a 1,000 HP43's HP should give up calculator division - there would be nothing else to invent - that'l be the end of the world as we (HP fans) know it!
;-)

Reth

#60

I'd welcome your input, Walter. Either way, private mail or here at the Forum is fine with me.


#61

Thanks, Jeff. So here my questions come in arbitrary order:

  1. Assume your 45s shall work also in ALG mode. What will be the functions of x<>y and RDOWN then?
  2. Why are parentheses shifted?
  3. Where are the annunciators? Can't be within the dot matrix, so I assume you want to use fixed ones. Which?
  4. Please explain the operations R>C and P>C. I guess what they may do, but if I'm right then you won't need 2 -- so I don't know.
  5. What shall be the contents of MATH?
  6. Your design features a blue-shifted ABS and a function ABS in the menu displayed. Why? And which menu is displayed there?
I'd suggest not packing 6 output lines into the 48 pixels of your LCD. This will leave just a single pixel interline spacing. Wherever (95% of the world AFAIK) commas are used, they will bridge this tiny gap. Dropping 1 output line would add clarity and give some generosity to your display.

IMHO there is no advantage having a shifted HYP and HYP^-1. A single menu HYP instead (like on 43s) will allow reaching every hyperbolic function in 3 keystrokes as well, and eat up only 1 label space.

And last not least I think the HP35s is too large for a shirt pocket. Your mileage may vary.

Looking forward to your response.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.

Walter


Edited: 26 Oct 2008, 9:00 a.m.


#62

Walter,

I did the work quite a while ago, I'm not sure if I recall all of my thought processes. Below are my answers, or at least responses :)

Quote:
Assume your 45s shall work also in ALG mode. What will be the functions of x<>y and RDOWN then?

I'm pretty sure I did not thoroughly think through how ALG mode might work. I see no reason why x<>y couldn't swap the arguments in a pending function prior to pressing equals. RDOWN might not have a function in ALG mode.

Quote:
Why are parentheses shifted?

Similar to above, I did not give much (if any) attention to ALG. I probably couldn't bring myself to "waste" a primary key function on parentheses.

Quote:
Where are the annunciators? Can't be within the dot matrix, so I assume you want to use fixed ones. Which?

Fixed ones, above the top line (like the 42S.)

Quote:
Please explain the operations R>C and P>C. I guess what they may do, but if I'm right then you won't need 2 -- so I don't know.
What shall be the contents of MATH?

R->C would take real and imaginary components in the X and Y registers and form a complex number (x + iy) in X register. P->C would take magnitude and angle in the X and Y and convert them to a complex number (x / y) in the X register. As for the MATH menu, I think I borrowed that from Gene's and Jake's original design, so, you may put what you like in there.

Quote:
Your design features a blue-shifted ABS and a function ABS in the menu displayed. Why? And which menu is displayed there?

They would behave the same, I guess. The one on the keyboard would be for general use on real numbers, but would also provide the magnitude of a complex value. The one in the displayed menu, which would be the COMPLEX menu, would do the same, but would save you a keystroke with that menu displayed.

Quote:
I'd suggest not packing 6 output lines into the 48 pixels of your LCD. This will leave just a single pixel interline spacing. Wherever (95% of the world AFAIK) commas are used, they will bridge this tiny gap.

I would it do the same as the 42S - the comma would be formed above the line with only the tip occupying the space between the lines. Yes, the commas would touch the top of the characters in the line below. Actually, it seems like it would be better for 95% of the world, since there can be multiple thousands-separators in a given number, but only one radix mark. In any case, I'd rather add another pixel between each line than drop a line.

Quote:
IMHO there is no advantage having a shifted HYP and HYP^-1....

My HYP is a prefix, so I needed a HYP-1. A HYP menu would probably be a better route and as you noted, save a key label space.

Quote:
And last not least I think the HP35s is too large for a shirt pocket.

I'd love to see something in a 42S- or 15C-size package, but at the time I was trying to come up with something that would fit in a form that HP was currently making. The 35s is not small, but at least it's way smaller than a 50g.

Best regards,

Jeff


#63

Jeff,

Thanks for your explanations, allowing a better understanding of your design. Though about the display you wrote:

Quote:
In any case, I'd rather add another pixel between each line than drop a line.

IMHO 48 / 6 = 8 and 48 / 9 = 5.444. So where do you take the extra pixel from, if you refuse to drop a line? TIA for enlightenment.

Walter


#64

Well, I guess I'd have to go with a 52 x 131 pixel display. (Add a pixel only between the five lines showing the L, T, Z, Y and X registers.)

#65

Quote:
...or as an alternative, perhaps something this, which utilizes the 35s form factor:
...

I'd fix the LCD bezel. Way too hard to read the top line annuciators on the 35S due to the shadow from the LCD bezel.

#66

Quote:
Then came the 35S – HP so nearly got it right with this one – it looks great, feels right, checks pretty much all the boxes with the indirect memory and label/step thing – but it could have done the alphanumerics a bit better. We needed a better upgrade to the 33S than this – it felt more incremental than a major step forward. A hardbound manual would have been a nice idea. But still pretty good, and it’s my everyday model for the lab. Like the case a lot – next upgrade should have a hard clamshell case like that, but made of leather!

There is a major fault with the Base conversion though in that you have to specify which base you are typing in even when you are already in that base. I don't know of any other HPs that do this when they don't have specific number base objects (ie, 48 onwards). Also, I just don't understand why the 35S works this way. It seems totally counter-intuitive to me.

And the lack of key labelling for the hex digits is rather bizarre.

Mark


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