HP owners actually use them?



#38

I got to ask, so far everything I bought seems to look like they were used once and stored. So did most HP users even use their items?

Just in jest, but I still wonder since most things from the 80s I own or have owned never looked as good as the HP-41 items I have purchased recently.

Dimitri


#39

I think it's a tribute to how well the older HP machines were made! In building my Classic collection (I now have at least one of each :-) ) I definitely have calcs that were WELL used... But amazingly, even the saddest of them ends up being a reliable, smooth operating machine after only basic cleaning and repair. Amazing for 35+ year electronics! In fact, the best feeling keyboards are on my oldest and most worn calcs! I, for one, use my Classic, Woodstock and Nut HPs every day, rotating them based on whim, or occasionally based on what I'm doing!

#40

I second your observation. Most of the hp41 stuff I bought on TAS or elsewhere has been delivered in outstanding condition.

I bought my HP-41CV together with the card reader in 1982, when I was a student. Although sponsored by granny and my parents it was really expensive. So I always took good care of it in order to keep it in good shape. Now, after 28 years it still has almost no signs of use or wear and works like a charm.

IMO hp's quality is one reason to the good shape after so many years. Another reason: the effort to own one was a motivation to take good care of it. Devices, which were heavily mistreated, are very likely to have all died after such a long time. A similar effect can be observed on the marketplace of used cars, at least I can speak for Germany, where rolling junk vanishes over the time and only cars in collector's condition survive. So in the end devices in good optical condition may be the majority. But a nice appearance does not necessarily correlate to a good technical condition. Defects or aging of the electronic circuitry mostly elude the owner's care.


#41

I second this fullheartedly. HP calcs were a real investment at that time! Paying many bucks for a quality tool. After all it turned out being a good one. But watch it, it takes a long time to build a reputation and an instant to destroy it.

#42

Quote:
But a nice appearance does not necessarily correlate to a good technical condition.



IMHO, the nicer & less used it is, the more chance of corroded batteries (and subsequent internal circuitry damage).
#43

My HP-25 was stolen in 1979 after I bought a TI-59. If anyone finds my HP-25, please return it to me. Egan will pay a $51 reward. (Just kidding).


#44

Maybe the thief figured if you bought a TI, you didn't deserve the HP anymore...

#45

That was nothing more than your just deserts, don't you think so, too? d;-)


#46

I stepped right into that one. ;-}

#47

Quote:
I got to ask, so far everything I bought seems to look like they were used once and stored. So did most HP users even use their items?

Given the cost of 70s and 80s high-end portable electronics I expect that they were used and very well taken care of. It also helps that they were built to last.

I cannot image many that would purchase a $100-$400 calculator and not use it more than once. A good calculator was both a tool and an investment. All of my classmates engraved their names on their 15Cs. Not me--it was too pretty.

For 9 years my 15C was a constant companion only to be betrayed by my shinny new 48GX. The 15C still looking like the day it was purchased was thrown in a box with other stuff from the 80s. Later I lent it to my best friend, it came back like it had been to hell and back. It's on my desk now. The battery compartment cover still has a sticker with my name on it from 1984.

#48

Hi!

Quote:
So did most HP users even use their items?

I would say: The newer they are, the less they were used. Not for the obvious reason (age), but because in the eighties people started using their desktop PCs for the real calculations and kept their calculator in the drawer. That's why so many HP-41s look new and unused from the outside, but have their battery terminals corroded away after they were completely forgotten eventually.

And for "field use" (schools, univerities, construction sites) HPs have always been too expensive/precious for most. Even students who could afford an HP calculator would normally leave it at home and take a cheap replacement to school/university every day. That's what I also did with my Ti59, and this cost only 1/3 of a comparable HP-67 or -41 of that era.

But from my collecting experience, early LED calculators, especially the HP-45 (being the first "affordable" HP calculator) really saw some heavy usage. I have some badly worn '45s - but because of their rugged construction, they all work till this day!

Regards,
Max


#49

My son was observing this just yesterday. He dug out an HP45 from one of my boxes, and compared it to the new 35s. He recognized the style ideas, but was especially impressed with the old keys of the 45, and astounded that they were molded with "inlay" as he termed it. "And yes, it still works" brought special appreciation...

#50

Well, I use most of them. I have a brand new, never opened HP48SX, HP48S, HP48G, HP48GX, and HP48G+. These I do not use, but keep around because I like owning a little bit of HP history (back when they still made awesome calculators). I am about to purchase an HP50G and if this one turns out to be a well-designed calc, I may buy another one just to keep for my collection.

The ones I do use include an HP20S (I use this to do simple calculations when I am at my desk), about 4 HP48GX's (two set up for programming with Jazz, two set up for ALG48 and Erable to do math -- a set for home and the other for work), and 3 HP48G's upgraded to 512KB RAM (these I keep around for fun and to run things like SpeedUI and Metakernel).

At one point, I owned every single Pioneer-series calculator, but then sold that collection since I never used them. (I collected them since they looked like the HP48 series). I do regret selling my HP42S and my HP32SII, though.


#51

HI Han,

You can put metkernel on a 48G with a hard-wired 512 RAM upgrade?

How much RAM is left for user programs?

It is more stable than having MK installed using both ports? I found that I ended up with a few "memory lost" cases where I accidentally joggled the 128k card :-(

Any ideas where to get a 48 cable without spending $30?

Best regards,

Bill


#52

Quote:
HI Han,

You can put metkernel on a 48G with a hard-wired 512 RAM upgrade?


Yes. The upgraded units have the memory split as follows: 128K for port 0 (i.e. user RAM), 128K for "card slot 1" (port 1), and 256K for "card slot 2" (ports 2 and 3). Thus when I install Metakernel, I install it to port 1. My upgrades uses 2 extra chips (74HC00 NAND gate and 74HC32 OR gate) that act as a bank switcher for the 512K RAM chip.

Quote:
How much RAM is left for user programs?

128K in port 0 and 256K in ports 2 and 3 (384K total).

Quote:
It is more stable than having MK installed using both ports? I found that I ended up with a few "memory lost" cases where I accidentally joggled the 128k card :-(

Well, MK should only be installed in port 1.

Perhaps I am not sure what you mean by using both ports. My guess is that you are referring to the case of using a 256KB or 512KB RAM card in card slot 1. In this case, putting a copy of MK on each 128KB "bank" (where a "bank" is equivalent to a port when used in card slot 2) ensures that the calculator always sees MK no matter which "bank" is used by card slot 1. This is one way to make a card larger than 128KB to appear to the HP as only 128KB (as all the banks look the same in terms of their contents).

Regarding stability, I use MK for non-essential stuff as even the latest revision (2.30) is somewhat buggy (especially when working with large matrices of integers). I prefer SpeedUI; but there are also many features in SpeedUI that I would rather not have (and which makes SpeedUI take up a lot of memory). The main one is the catalog of commands (just the list of commands is ~5KB) which I never use. Perhaps someday Raymond might make a "light" version consisting of only the 6-lvl stack with pretty-print and the improved editor (and maybe customizable fonts).

Quote:
Any ideas where to get a 48 cable without spending $30?

I suppose there is always the option of building your own =). But commercially, I have only seen them as low as $19.99 plus shipping (on eBay).


#53

Hi Han,

Thanks very much for the details.

Maybe my memory is slipping. Years ago, Raul Lion walked me through the Metakernel load. I remember using the 1MB card, merging the 128mb card, then "installing" metakernel from the 1MB card to the system...maybe that is totally faulty memory.

On the other hand, perhaps I should just give SpeedUI a try.

I have 2 48GX, two 128MB klotz cards (one with a broken switch but someone here suggested I just make a solder bridge so that it works as RAM) and one 1MB Klotz card.

I might as well use them for some good!

#54

I have some HP calcs still in the package against the day I might need them. I have some intended for gifts. I have a 32SII at my hand as I type, used as needed. I used easy to remember and use formulas
several times a day while working, no long retired at 81. I learned relations with RPN i would never have known with algebraic. RPN can give you multiple answers as you calculate that were useful to me while with algebraic you get one answer. In calculating resistive dividers I first got the total resistance, then the divider fraction, then the equivalent resistance from the divider. I could do things with resonant elements that were fast and surprising as I changed the book formulas to be handy on RPN with fewer data entries using the automatic repeating t register. It is surprising what you can squeeze out of the original HP35 if it is all you have. More remarkable still with programmable versions. I fitted curves that are still intractable as they don't use the tools right, but only conventionally. Sam


#55

Quote:
I learned relations with RPN I would never have known with algebraic. RPN can give you multiple answers as you calculate that were useful to me while with algebraic you get one answer.
Come now, Sam, its OK to be an RPN afficianado, but this over-glorification of its virtues ...

With algebraic you can accomplish the same thing with how you structure your parentheses. Well, OK, that depends on which implementation of algebraic we're talking about. With the algebraic Pioneers, for instance, each time you close a parenthesis, you get an intermediate answer. With a 48 series, you would have to wait until you EVAL.


#56

Martin, we don't need no stinking parenthesis! I stand by my premise that I learned relations with RPN I would never have seen with algebraic. I changed the book formulas to be handy with RPN.
The book formulas are clumsy to use. I changed them for quick RPN calculations and I did discover relations I have never seen published. Probably because they didn't have an RPN calculator when the books were written. Sam


#57

Quote:
Martin, we don't need no stinking parenthesis! I stand by my premise Sam


I agree with Sam. Parentheses are a burden, one has to remember to open and close. RPN dispenses with () and = !


#58

Ironcically enough, if you have an HP *RPL* machine, you can put in an *algebraic* object and not have to keep track of parenthesis.

(Same is true on many other current designs including 35s).

What's worse--tracking parenthesis, or overfilling a 4 level stack and losing a calculation off the t-register? I think the latter is worse, as it can happen without realizing it. In parenthesis, if there is a limit to them, you will be told before the result!


#59

Quote:
What's worse--tracking parenthesis, or overfilling a 4 level stack and losing a calculation off the t-register?

I've had my days with parenthesis tracking, getting erroneous results. Having to re-do the calculation several times to get the correct result or at check that I get the same answer at least twice. Give me RPN any day. I find a 4-level stack quite adequate. And from the HP-45 onwards you had plenty of storage registers to store intermediate results in (Something many algebraic scientifics have lacked). I had so many mess-ups with parenthesis (yes, it tells you when you are wrong - but where in the line did I make the mistake? Oh, let's start AGAIN) that I used to analyse problems so that I could use the memory function or even took to writing down intermediate results. Perhaps that's why I took so easily to RPN when I got my first HP.
#60

Why do you have to "remember"? They appear on the screen; you can see them...


#61

Martin, In chain calculations with RPN we can get answers that are later consumed in the next calculation. We can use store to save those intermediate results. In calculating a resistive divider I enter the lower resistor repeatedly to fill the stack, then the upper resistor and add; see the total resistance; divide see the fraction of the divider: multiply and subtract: see the equivalent output resistance. For RC corner frequency I use 2Pifrc=1: multiply the known values and invert for the unknown. For LC frequency resonance I removed the square root sign and use 2PiF2PiFLC=1 With 2PiF in the t register key either L or C, multiply twice and invert to see the other resonant element. As an intermediate result when 2PiFL is shown it is the reactance of the elements at resonance. These are bread abd butter calculations for electronics. This method may be expanded to other common calculations with ingenuity and practice. I felt sad when neophyte engineers had to wr4ite programs to solve these basics. Sam

#62

Quote:
I stand by my premise that I learned relations with RPN I would never have seen with algebraic.
Can't argue that point, because that is your experience. I was arguing the other point you made, that with algebraic you only get one answer, no intermediate results. I stated that's not necessarily true, and I stand by that!
#63

Quote:
At one point, I owned every single Pioneer-series calculator, but then sold that collection since I never used them. (I collected them since they looked like the HP48 series).
What a coincidence... I first got interested in a 48sx because it looked like a "stretched" Pioneer!

#64

I look back to some time in the early 90s when I sa wa catalog of current offerings, and I wince at what I thought at that time: "Oh, yuck, they sell algebraics now," and "that big 48 looks terribly clunky."

Now I know better. I missed the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with the 27s, now one of my all-time favorites, and of course the 48 series is clunky, but oh-so- powerful and well-made, too. I daresay seems much better made than that 41 series. I've shied away from them ever after buying my first "great condition" one back in 2002 or so.

#65

Who still uses them?

Well, I work in the Planning & Engineering Department of the world's busiest airport.

HP 11Cs and 15Cs are still fairly common on the desks of the engineering staff. We have one engineering consultant that still pulls out his 41CX. One of our oldest engineering staff members has an HP 45 on his desk, and it still works and he uses it every day. The battery pack is shot and he keeps it plugged in all the time, but the LEDs still glow!

There are at least two HP 50s at work in my office (one of them mine)

My desk sports an fully functional HP 97. I fire it up now and again for show or if I'm doing a calculation for which I want a paper trail.

However, my day-to-day go-to calculator is a new HP 35S. If I just need to crunch a few numbers it fits the bill fine. I used it just the other day to compute some coordinate system adjustments. There is still a place for a good RPN scientific calculator with basic functions available at the primary or secondary key level.

Sadly, my sense is that new engineering students get no introduction to calculator-level RPN. Most newly minted engineers (and we get our share of Ga. Tech grads) don't know anything about RPN-based calculators. I put it down to lack of choices and, of course, the rise of PC-based software tools to handle most of the basic calculations that engineers used to tackle with handheld calculators just a few years ago.

There is a clear generational dividing line. "Older" staff - say those over 45, will frequently be seen using HP calculators. Most of them old, beat up 10-series models. "Newer" staff, those that entered the job market after the desktop PC became the engineering tool of choice, more frequently grab any old algebraic calculator to punch numbers.


#66

Quote:
"Newer" staff, those that entered the job market after the desktop PC became the engineering tool of choice, more frequently grab any old algebraic calculator to punch numbers.

You know recently when I tried to do math with a Algebraic since I started to use RPN, seems that I have become pretty useless on them. Takes a couple tries to get it to work. And although I am young at 22 I see the calculator as the device who's job is to do math. The PC is for CAD/CAM and doing other work. And yes when working on something both are on my desk and used.

But it is nice to know the overall feeling of this thread. For a moment there I thought maybe the HP users bought them, got frustrated and then ran off to get a new Algebraic keeping the RPN in storage instead. Kidding of course.

Dimitri


#67

I used an 11c/15c exclusively for 13 years, and a 32sii exclusively for another 7 or so.

Now I use an *algebraic* 20s most of the time, or the "algebraic" objects on a 48. But the 15c gets attention, too. It is in the same drawer.

I don't have any real problems switching back and forth. The more you switch, the easier it is:-) (It was harder to switch back and forth at first...)

Edited: 7 Mar 2010, 12:32 p.m.

#68

In my very small company, I use Pioneers and a 48SX, and one of my drafters uses a 32SII. The other uses a Calculated Industries model. A staff engineer uses a 48GX. My professional surveyor still uses his 41CV. One field guy uses an old beat-up TI 30-something, the other a 48GX and 35s.

A former employee, professional surveyor, died recently. The last I heard, he had been still using his original HP 35!

Edited: 7 Mar 2010, 7:04 p.m.


#69

I have a reasonably large collection of HP's, but I currently have on my desk a 28S that I use for more complex calculations where I need to see the stack, a 71B (which I have a couple of novel programs that I use for my business, although I don't 'need' to), and a 12C (a mint condition 1984 USA model, not a new China version) that I use for quick or financial calculations. I also carry around a 50G in my laptop bag, and often have a 42S or 32Sii in my jacket pocket.
I my previous job in a large engineering firm, there were many 15C's (another favourite of mine), 42S's, 48S's, 48G's, 11C's on desks everywhere. These calculators just never die!
Cheers, Keith

#70

Quote:
Well, I work in the Planning & Engineering Department of the world's busiest airport.

"When the flights from all airports in a city are combined, London is by far the busiest aviation centre in the world." ;o)

Sorry couldn't resist...

I take it you're in Atlanta.

Steve


#71

Ayyup! Not the biggest, but certainly the busiest.

Quote:


"When the flights from all airports in a city are combined, London is by far the busiest aviation centre in the world." ;o)

Sorry couldn't resist...

I take it you're in Atlanta.

Steve


#72

I have several spice series machines I use regularly though since I can't get anything remotely IT related in or our of the office these days I have to make do with an emulator at work...

Mike T.


#73

I started out with an HP35A a year after it came out - I worked at HP in Loveland, CO, at the time and got a 30% employee discount (i.e. 70% of $299!!!). Switched to HP41 when it came out (and was cheaper) and have used it since. I'm an opto-mechanical engineer and am conversant with all manner of CAD, spread sheets, MathCAD, etc... but was perturbed last week when my N-batteries died (at work) and I couldn't find any in this town (Boulder). So...purchased 12 batteries on-line.

I tried an HP48 once after my 41 was stolen but found it tedious, so traded the new 48 for a used 41 - I got the best of that deal.


#74

Quote:
... but was perturbed last week when my N-batteries died (at work) and I couldn't find any in this town (Boulder).

Next time try Walgreens. I've never had a problem getting N's there.

BTW, I am assuming Boulder, CO and not Boulder, UT. There are no N's in Boulder, UT.


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