HP50g ROM Version 2.15


ROM version 2.15 made it out yesterday. It is apparently just version 2.14-2 with revision number changed to 2.15 for official release. It is now "officially supported."

I had just installed version 2.14-2 a few days ago, but installing ROM updates requires only trivial effort, so I repeated that process today.


Hello Mike,

how come HP's 50g page http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/forum.cgi?read=150113#150113 says latest ROM is v.92 dated 11 Aug 2006?

am I looking at the correct page?

hpnut in Malaysia


Click on the embedded link (first "ROM" in my post above) and you'll get the www.hpcalc.org page with link to the update zip file at the top (www.hpcalc.org always seems to get official ROM updates well before any HP sites).

Version 2.15 apparently revises version 2.09 to make the corrections of the long awaited but never released version 2.10, plus adds the HP StreamSmart application. The zip file contains a pdf file listing the changes (plus other changes since ROM version 2.00). ROM version 2.15 does *not* have the changes of unofficial version 2.10-7.

The version 2.15 zip file also has updated versions of the Equation Library and Periodic Table Library. The new versions will also need to be installed as described in the pdf file. There's also a fix file for port 2 memory problems, but I didn't need to use that.

After opening the update zip file, I copied the scp, bin, and three lib files (five total) to a FAT SD card, put the card in the calc, and followed the instructions from the pdf file. All is done from the keyboard...no paper clip in the reset hole is called for! I'm just a user, so that's all I know about version 2.15. I've found nothing strange about it.

Edited: 23 Apr 2009, 8:48 a.m.


First time I'd upgraded via SD card. Had a little trouble, but eventually got it. My first problem was the timing on the + and - keys. I had to press them precisely 1/2 second after a short press of ON/F3. Any more or less wouldn't work. My second problem was the SD card format. Even though I'd used this card for a long time on my calc, I kept getting a NO CARD error during the upgrade. Even though I'd correctly formatted it FAT on my PC, turns out the upgrade routine wouldn't recognize it until I formatted it on the calc itself. After that, all was well.

Edited: 23 Apr 2009, 1:59 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


Dave, I had the same experience with a SD card update attempt. I didn't realize I should have re-formatted in the calculator, so I gave up and updated via cable.

The strange thing about this is that before and after this, the calculator, a 49g+ was able to recognize the card in the filer and access it.

Perhaps I should move my files off the card, format it in the calculator, do the update, and then move my files back.

Incidentally, my 50g was able to be updated by SD card, but that was the HP-branded SD card that came with it.


After some panicky moments, all went well with the upgrade via the SD card.

so now, after pressing the APPS key, I see in
14. StreamSmart

13 and 14 are new to me.

I conclude that this upgrade is worth the effort. Just follow the instructions in the PDF diligently and you will have no trouble :-)


hpnut in Malaysia

Edited: 23 Apr 2009, 12:43 p.m.


If you set system flag -86 you'll get another application: "15. Development Lib". You may need to reset (ON/F3) after setting the flag. This library is described in Chapter 6 of the HP49g+ Advanced User's Reference Manual.

Application 14 is support for the HP StreamSmart 400. I don't think that a large percentage of HP49g+ or HP50g users will find use for this.

Application 13 (Periodic Table) has been around since the days of the HP48SX, though it wasn't provided with the HP49g+ or ROM updates until somewhat recently.

Edited: 23 Apr 2009, 2:58 p.m.


The periodic table is very, very similar to that of Arnold Moy's that can be downloaded from hpcalc.org. The only difference is that the one now included on the ROM update uses a smaller size table and smaller size font. If you have to deal with at least a little chemistry, it's pretty useful.


An even better version than the old HP one that JYA ported a few years back was done by Raymond Del Tondo. Faster, smaller, exact same functionality.




Tim, yes, I had Raymond del Tondo's version briefly on both the 49g+ and 50g. There seems to be a glitch with it- when in periodic table mode, one of the softkeys disappears, and it froze the calculator, if I recall correctly, in both calculators. The other two, work smoothly.


I may be missing something, but I went looking for the Stream Smart and wondered what a data logger would cost. I clicked purchase only to find out its been discontinued. Does anybody know what it cost while it was available?

Very Respectfully,



When HP announced the StreamSmart on June 10, 2008, it stated the following:

The HP Mobile Calculating Lab solutions and the HP StreamSmart 400 are expected to be available in summer through select HP educational partners...HP MCL prices vary by solution. HP StreamSmart 400 is expected to be available for an estimated U.S. street price of $99.

Notes: "Availability will vary by region...Estimated U.S. street price; prices will vary."


If you set system flag -86 you'll get another application: "15. Development Lib". You may need to reset (ON/F3) after setting the flag. This library is described in Chapter 6 of the HP49g+ Advanced User's Reference Manual.

Hello Mike,

I have set flag 86 (confirmed it is on by FS? which returns a '1' and reset the calculator. But I still don't see "15. Development Lib". what goes, duh...?

Edited: 23 Apr 2009, 8:29 p.m.


OK i found the answer in the 49G AUR

"In order to enable this library, you must attach it with the command 256 ATTACH or by setting flag 86."



The AUR does NOT say "by setting flag 86." It says "by setting flag -86."

Flag 86 is a user flag, not a system flag. The system flags are negative, so you must set flag -86 (minus 86), not 86.

Or 256 ATTACH works too, as you found.

Edited: 23 Apr 2009, 11:45 p.m.


Thanks, Mike.

now I learn that there are such things as negative flags ;-)


The system flags are the most interesting! You can scroll through a screen showing most of the system flags, their function, and status by pushing MODE, then F1 (FLAGS). This screen leaves out the - (minus) sign that has to be used before the flag number.

System flag -86 is not shown. System flag -78 is also not shown, which is used to designate the serial or USB port on the HP50g. Perhaps there are others as well.

Edited: 24 Apr 2009, 11:32 a.m.


I didn't know about the flag -78. I was switching between serial and USB ports in the I/O Transfer screen. According to Appendix C of the HP 49g+ AUG, flag -78 is a "Kernel parameter, Not used." Also, the AUG describes flag -86 as "Program Prefix." I did see the Developement Lib once flag -86 was set and the calculator was rebooted. Do you know if is there is a flag to switch between Kermit and Xmodem transfer types? When I change from Kermit to Xmodem in the I/O Transfer screen, it always reverts to Kermit when I return to the I/O Transfer screen. However, selecting right shift and then the right arrow keys still places the calculator in XModem server mode, and communications can be made with the PC via USB cable. I was using Kermit and the serial port to communicate with my HP48SX.


I'm frustrated! I've been trying to do the ROM upgrade from the SD card. I do the ON/F4 thing and get the Test Menu OK. Then I try to do the ON/F3 +/- thing, but all it does is briefly show some graphic and then revert to the regular display. No Update Menu. I've tried various timings between the ON/F3 and +/- key presses to no avail. I had absolutely no trouble updating the libraries, and the 1 Gb FAT SD card is definitely recognized.

Any ideas. I really don't like the USB approach because it requires resetting the calculator.


It took me several attempts to get to the UPDATE menu when I was trying to install version 2.14-2 a few days earlier. But when I later installed version 2.15, the process worked flawlessly the first time because I had practice the day before.

A. After pressing ON and F4 together, the [1. LCD 2. KEY etc.] TEST MENU will appear and stay on screen.
B. Press and hold ON and F3, then immediately release. The screen will go blank. The machine is begining a restart.
C. Within about a half second of the screen going blank, simultaneously press and hold - AND + for about three seconds before releasing.

This should start the UPDATE screen. At worst, the machine will just warm start and the whole process can be repeated. Up to this point, it doesn't even matter if your SD card has been put in the machine yet. It's just a matter of timing, since pushing the - and + keys too early or too late will not initiate the UPDATE menu as the machine restarts.

There is another way to call up the upgrade screen. It is an alternate ROM upgrade initiation process described at hpcalc.org. This was formerly the standard approach, and requires depressing the - and + keys while inserting a paper clip in the reset hole. I find it far more awkward than this "new" process.

Welcome to one of the greatest features of the HP49g and 50g series: upgradeable firmware. My 2003 HP49g+ has been through about six upgrades from the shipped version 1.20, and my HP50g has been through three from the shipped 2.08. I couldn't do that with my HP48SX and GX units.

Edited: 24 Apr 2009, 1:58 a.m.


Thanks Mike. This time it worked on the first try. I used the one-finger approach shown in Tim's YouTube video to push the +/- keys. Unlike other postings, it had no problem recognizing or reading my SD card, which came out of my digital camera. I'm glad I didn't have to mess with the reset button.

As far as my HP48SX is concerned, it is now officially retired, as all its RPL programs and data have been successfully ported to my HP50g. About the only issue I encountered was that some variable names were in conflict with newly added reserved names such as RECT and EQW and had to be renamed. Just as well, I guess, as I was starting to go blind trying to read its dim display.





Thanks a bunch Tim. That video is great and I've bookmarked it. The secret is in the one-finger method to push the +/- buttoms. The whole process went seamlessly.


I think if the published instructions said to quickly press and release on/f3 together I think people would have less trouble too. As it is now, the instructions say "hold" on/f3, which simply doesn't work since you end up holding it through the reboot and missing your chance to get the +/- right. You also have a better chance of success if you formatted your card on the calc.


Very nicely done video, TW! The single finger on + and - makes the process work with much greater certainty.

I wonder why the "paper clip reset" method was specified for so many years in official ROM upgrade instructions. This easier and more elegant technique works on my old 2003 HP49g+ (boot version 3.15.04), as well as on my HP50g (boot version

Edited: 24 Apr 2009, 12:20 p.m.

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