Spice - asterisk in serial - means?


I've got a Spice which has an asterisk stamped on the left of the serial number. I've also seen photos of other Spices with this.

Does anyone know what this means?

I've searched the forum and googled this but can't find anything.

I have a tentative theory what it might mean but there is probably something more sensible or rational.

The example I have is a 37E and the serial number reads *2109S...

The reason for the asterisk is????




Stupidly, I didn't say what I think the asterisk might mean.

This is a hunch based on a very small sample size!

Could it identify Spices which are hardwired to display the radix mark as a comma and thousands separators displayed as a full stop (or period)?

This is certainly how my 37E works and I can't find any magic key combination that switches the display to the alternative. Maybe there is a jumper inside the calc that can be set although I can't find any reference to this in the hardware description pages.

If anyone else has a Spice series with an asterisk on the left of the serial number, please can you check whether it displays commas or full stops/periods for the decimal point?




While I cannot shed any light on your asterisk theory, I can tell you that the radix point is controlled by a wire jumper presence or absence.


Thanks Randy - very useful to know and in a way, this is all tentatively fitting together to confirm my theory. Early days as yet though and I'd rather have a much larger sample size before getting too confident!



If anyone else has a Spice series with an asterisk on the left of the serial number, please can you check whether it displays commas or full stops/periods for the decimal point?

My Brazilian-made 33C has the asterisk while my 34C, which was made in Singapore, has not. The radix mark on both are commas, but on the latter I cut the jumper Randy has mentioned. I remember someone said an asterisk before the serial number meant the calculator was a replacement unit, but I am not sure of that.

You'll find links to a couple of pictures here:




So that actually confirms my theory. Thanks for the information.

Does anyone else have an asterisk Spice for checking please?



you can find an answer about the presence of the asterisk at the beginning of some serial number of the Spice/Spike serial calculator at page 64 of the 'A guide to HP Handheld Calculator and computers' Fifth edition, HHC 2007.
It is related to the keyboard redesigned after the failures in the first serie (heavy calculator). It's reported that the calculator with the new keyboard have an asterisk at the beginning of the serial number.

I hope this can help you.



Thanks Ignazio.

I don't have that publication so does it identify the source of the information?

I am a little surprised to read that is what the asterisk means given that haven't other series had significant component changes in their production run and never had similar treatment of the serial number? However, it does seem logical to me for it to indicate machines that have a jumper installed or not as they would be intended for different market areas and the jumper affects the way the calculator works. I need to collect more data on this to prove to myself that I am wrong with my theory!



Sorry, but I can't identify the source of this information.
I have merely reported what I have read in the pubblication of W.A.C. Mier-Jedrzejowicz. Neither more or less...



Edited: 2 July 2009, 11:22 a.m.


I have a HP-34C with an asterisk: the serial number is *1850S38178. It is made in Singapore; it displays a comma for the decimal point, and a decimal point as a thousands separator. The serial number suggests that it was made towards the end of 1978: wouldn't this be too early for the machine to have been fitted with an improved keyboard, as another poster has suggested?

I don't know whether the machine has ever been serviced. It's working fine still!


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