HP 12c as a basic scientific calc for the RPN newbie?



#42

Currently, I can't find anything that is RPN and fits in a shirt pocket. I can't afford anything that's up on eBay in terms of an 11c or 15c. My 48G is sometimes too big to carry along for the basic chemistry calculations that I do. The HP 35s is a tad large as well, especially when stored in its bulky case.

As a new RPN user, I was wondering why I should not consider using a HP 12c as a basic, pocket, RPN calculator. Looking at a photo (http://www.sistemaeducacionalmoderno.com.br/Imagens/gif%20projeto/Hp12c.jpg) I do see that there are no trig functions, but there are log, ln, and square root functions.

So, any real reason *not* to pick one up used for basic scientific use? Are there any gotchas, considering it's setup as a financial calc.

P.S. In my cursory search on the internet, I read that in 2009 a prototype 15c+ was demoed at some conference. That would be really nice.


Edited: 13 May 2010, 4:16 p.m.


#43

If you want a scientific RPN calculator that fits into your pocket, I would suggest considering the new HP 30b model. It may fit what you are looking for.

Why?

Trig functions and inverses
Hyperbolic trig and inverses
5 probability distributions
Programmable with 10 separate program "files"
Ability to customize the keyboard with functions or programs

Good reasons to consider the 30b as a scientific RPN over the 12c.

Edited: 13 May 2010, 4:40 p.m.


#44

Quote:
If you want a scientific RPN calculator that fits into your pocket, I would suggest considering the new HP 30b model. It may fit what you are looking for.

Why?

Trig functions and inverses
Hyperbolic trig and inverses
5 probability distributions
Programmable with 10 separate program "files"
Ability to customize the keyboard with functions or programs

Good reasons to consider the 30b as a scientific RPN over the 12c.



The model you quoted can't be found on HP's (home or small business) website. Amazon doesn't have it either, though they do list the similar(?) 20b. No matter, because...

...I should have mentioned that I *really* do like the landscape (wide screen?)form factor of the 12c.

Thanks for the info.


#45

Quote:
...I should have mentioned that I *really* do like the landscape (wide screen?)form factor of the 12c.

One wonders why.

I've used Voyager-series calculators for more than 25 years. They are more than a little awkward to actually use as a "handheld" calculator, which is an unfortunate characteristic for a handheld calculator to have. It's a layout that has no advantage over the traditional layout, and some disadvantages, as evidenced by the fact that HP hasn't repeated the mistake in any other calculator that they've introduced since the Voyagers.

I suspect the only real appeal is that the layout is "different" and "cute".


#46

Quote:

One wonders why.

I've used Voyager-series calculators for more than 25 years. They are more than a little awkward to actually use as a "handheld" calculator, which is an unfortunate characteristic for a handheld calculator to have. It's a layout that has no advantage over the traditional layout, and some disadvantages, as evidenced by the fact that HP hasn't repeated the mistake in any other calculator that they've introduced since the Voyagers.

I suspect the only real appeal is that the layout is "different" and "cute".


I had a chance to tinker with a 12c today at the local Staples. I remembered --after reading your post-- that my natural instinct was to _not_ hold the calc in one hand while typing with the other. Rather, I placed the 12c flat on a desk and slightly closer to my right hand. Now that I think about it, I can't recall of anyone at school actually holding a calc in one hand while using; 'tis always flat on some work surface.

Also, in comparison to my vertically longish 48G, I found that it was quite a bit easier (for the calculations I am doing now, i.e., non-graphing) for my fingers to travel across the 12c in its smallish horizontal landscape than it was to "climb" the the longer and larger 48G. I also preferred the position of the large enter key.

Again, I'm a total RPN newbie, so...

Edited: 13 May 2010, 10:42 p.m.


#47

Quote:
I had a chance to tinker with a 12c today at the local Staples. I remembered --after reading your post-- that my natural instinct was to _not_ hold the calc in one hand while typing with the other. Rather, I placed the 12c flat on a desk and slightly closer to my right hand. Now that I think about it, I can't recall of anyone at school actually holding a calc in one hand while using; 'tis always flat on some work surface.
I frequently hold my 41cx in my left hand and press the keys with my left thumb, freeing up my right hand to keep a place in a book or on a drawing, etc.. It may sound precarious but I've never come close to dropping it doing this. Maybe I could always set the calc on something (desk, workbench, etc.) if I kept things neater and had room.

Edited: 14 May 2010, 12:04 a.m.


#48

Garth; I do the same thing: pencil in right hand, stroke buttons with left. Drooling and saying d'oh! somewhere above and between.

#49

Quote:


One wonders why.

I've used Voyager-series calculators for more than 25 years. They are more than a little awkward to actually use as a "handheld" calculator, which is an unfortunate characteristic for a handheld calculator to have. It's a layout that has no advantage over the traditional layout, and some disadvantages, as evidenced by the fact that HP hasn't repeated the mistake in any other calculator that they've introduced since the Voyagers.

I suspect the only real appeal is that the layout is "different" and "cute".


A "mistake"? I strongly, strongly disagree. To me, the Voyagers are not awkward but divine. I hold the calculator in both hands and press buttons with my thumbs. It feels perfectly natural, and I have the keystrokes so ingrained into my muscle memory that I can perform most operations perfectly with my eyes closed.

If the layout was really so empirically awkward (and a "mistake"), I don't think this calculator (especially the 12c) would have earned its critical success and its enduring reputation of being one of HP's most successful products.


#50

Quote:
A "mistake"? I strongly, strongly disagree. To me, the Voyagers are not awkward but divine...

If the layout was really so empirically awkward (and a "mistake"), I don't think this calculator (especially the 12c) would have earned its critical success and its enduring reputation of being one of HP's most successful products.


You are right. I think Mike is confusing personal preference with evidence for bad design. One wonders why he used a "mistake" for 25 years ...

[:-)

#51

Quote:
P.S. In my cursory search on the internet, I read that in 2009 a prototype 15c+ was demoed at some conference. That would be really nice.

This subject has been beat practically to death on here. Some say it's a "no-brainer", HP will announce it any old time, others say it will never happen. We'll just have to wait and see, 'cause HP ain't talkin'.

#52

We talk plenty. We just don't say anything. :-)

TW

Edited: 13 May 2010, 5:23 p.m.

#53

Quote:
This subject has been beat practically to death on here. Some say it's a "no-brainer", HP will announce it any old time, others say it will never happen. We'll just have to wait and see, 'cause HP ain't talkin'.

Understood. I'll check the archives.

#54

Wasn't there someone here a couple of times with designs for a pocket calc? I believe it was called µCalc or uCalc. What is the status of that project?


#55

Search for posts by DaveJ.

I believe he built a prototype, but got bitten by some bug or other on the chip he used and has not had time to do further work.


...

#56

I think a 12c would work fine, however there are a couple of points to consider. My line of work is mechanical design. I bounce back and forth between various RPN calcs (50g, 11c, etc.). I purchased a 12c and took it for a spin at work for awhile. Here are the points I think should be considered aside from the ones you mentioned:

1) Compared to say, an 11c, I found running a program that is not the first stored program to be a bit cumbersome. For example, if said program begins on line 7, you must issue a GTO command in order to queue it up before running it. On an 11c, you can bind the program to a user defined hotkey.

2) The 11c and I presume the 15c are able to lock into USER mode which eliminates the need to press the f shift key prior to running a "hotkey" program or variable. I find this handy in most of the calculations I do at work. Unfortunately, the 12c does not have this capability. Of course, a workaround using the STO and RCL functions might overcome this issue. I personally like locking into USER mode for "one stop shopping".

All that said, I have found it to be more than adequate for simple calculations and a small "cheat sheet" taped to the front bezel for the GTO inputs for my programs doesn't hurt either. ;-)

J Grim


#57

J,

Thank you much for that info.


#58

I disagree. I got a 12C (several, in fact), and find them excellent for the application domain they were conceived for, but for the engineering stuff, it's just not the right machine. The trigonometry has been mentioned, but there's more. I need the complex arithmetic, unit conversions are convenient, I like to have base-n calculations - and for convenience, the ability to access programs directly.

If you need a scientific calculator, get the 35S (a very capable machine in my opinion, with the looks of the classic calcs), or save for an 11C or 15C. Or better yet, get the 12C now, and the 11C later.


#59

Agree with your assertions about scientific functions lacking in a 12c. Also with Gene's suggestion of a 30b. But Nick has already stated: 1) he prefers the landscape format, and 2) the 35s is too big.

So Nick, I say look for a bargain on an 11c, or start emailing HP to bring out the 15c+.


#60

I couldn't agree more. And if you start mailing HP for re-releasing the 15C, count me in for support.

Andreas

#61

Quote:
So Nick, I say look for a bargain on an 11c, or start emailing HP to bring out the 15c+.

Is there a specific email address?


#62

Try this.

I have used it a couple years ago, and I did get a reply from a real human, albeit not Mark Hurd.


#63

And in a week or two it will be routed into my mailbox with a FYI on it. . .

TW


#64

So save yourself and us the trouble and just tell us when the 15c+ is coming out! [:-)


#65

Quote:
So save yourself and us the trouble and just tell us when the 15c+ is coming out! [:-)

Well where would be the fun in that ;-P
#66

Looks like some research has already begun. I wonder if development also has ;-)

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv019.cgi?read=153755

#67

Quote:
Try this.

I have used it a couple years ago, and I did get a reply from a real human, albeit not Mark Hurd.


Thanks. I shot off a brief but detailed email concerning my needs.

Is the Mr. Wessman that replied to the thread someone who works for HP's calculator division?

Edited: 18 May 2010, 10:41 p.m.


#68

Quote:
Is the Mr. Wessman that replied to the thread someone who works for HP's calculator division?

Yes. He's one of two HP staff who frequent this forum.
#69

Perhaps Tim or Cyrille should take a leaf out of Steve Job's book and give short and to the point answers with all the info in it that we need. Macrumors.com has some great examples.

So, guys, any chance of a new RPN scientific?


#70

Quote:
Perhaps Tim or Cyrille should take a leaf out of Steve Job's book and give short and to the point answers with all the info in it that we need...

So, guys, any chance of a new RPN scientific?


Refer back to Message #11 in this thread.
#71

I agree with your points. However, the the original posting stated that the 35S was too big and the 11C or 15C are too expensive. I think that the 12C would be a fine solution in the short term. That being said, I think saving for a 11 or 15 is the best idea long term. Unless of course, HP re-releases the 11 or 15. Let's keep our collective fingers crossed. :-)

J Grim

#72

Quote:
Looking at a photo (http://www.sistemaeducacionalmoderno.com.br/Imagens/gif%20projeto/Hp12c.jpg) I do see that there are no trig functions, but there are log, ln, and square root functions.

It's not like having them built in, but you can key in a trig functions program on the regular 12C or the 12C+, like Valentin Abillo's HP-12C Tried & Tricky Trigonometrics.
http://membres.multimania.fr/albillo/calc/pdf/DatafileVA003.pdf

This might be an option for the 12C Platinum.


#73

Thanks for the link. I came across it today when researching the 12c.

Why did you mention the Platinum specifically?


#74

Hi,

The reason is that the normal 12C has 99 lines of programming available and the 12C platinum has 399. So the second link just fits into the 12C platinum.

Considering the small price difference I see on the internet for the 12C and 12C plat (in the UK anyway) it may be wise to invest in a platinum if going for the 12C.

Bart


#75

Hello Bart,

Quote:
...the 12C platinum has 399. So the second link just fits into the 12C platinum.


Actually, the program requires "only" 276 steps. Lines 277 through 376 are optional and lines 377 through 399 were used to illustrate a point (rounding results according to HP classic rounding method so that the "Calculator Forensic" result matched the scientific Voyagers).

There is another option for the 12C Platinum: Tony Hutchins has published "Circular Functions on the HP-12C and 12cp" (DATAFILE V25N5P20 September/October 2006). It's about 220 steps long and relies on Taylor's Series and range reduction. (I haven't seen the listing as I don't have that issue).

http://www.hpcc.org/datafile/datafilev25.html#V25N6

Regards,

Gerson.

#76

Get yourself an iPod and the following two apps:

hp12c
http://www.rlmtools.com/
Displays in horizontal or vertical format.

hp41cx
http://alsoftiphone.com/

I have both so I can access my favourite calculators wherever I go.

Edited: 13 May 2010, 11:51 p.m.


#77

Did you know that you have to register/create an account with Apple to use an iPod Touch even if you plan on installing nothing but free applications? Neither did I, which is why I returned it after the first day.

The household here is Linux only. My Linux/GPL philosophy doesn't mesh well with Mr. Job's proprietary Apple philosophy.

I did find something called Free 42c for my Nokia N800. Not the same as a true pocket calc with months/years of battery life and real plastic keys. I think it will come in handy for sometime, so it will stay installed.

No iPhones allowed in my class for exams either. Thank you for the suggestion, though.

Edited: 14 May 2010, 12:15 a.m.


#78

Hello from Puerto Rico

I like the form factor of the HP-12C and I use it regularly because of it's long battery life and lightness. These two things outweight it's ackward design. Also it's display is well formed and easy to see.

Regarding the iTunes I agree with you on the Apple Store as a matter of fact they force you to use a credit Visa when with my debit one I never had any problems anywhere.

I use Linux too because I find comfortable working with a command line interface when I worked as a computer operator for a HP3000 mini during the mid-80s. It is not as easy to use as was MPE (HP3000 operating system) but for me it is OK.

Edited: 14 May 2010, 3:16 a.m.

#79

Hi, Nick;

I see that you used a particular link to show a picture of the HP12C that actually points to a Brazilian kinda 'e-learning' system I was not aware of myself. Just for curiosity: was it a random choice or you actually have some interest on foreign courses?

About trigonometric with the HP12C: this is also an option. Although having some natural limitations related to the method, it fits well in the HP12C. And the suggestion of using an HP12C Platinum (avoid the first series...) relates to its 4-times larger programming memory, the ability of handling up to 80 cash-flow entries against the 21 available with the basic HP12C, and the Algebraic-RPN choice.

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil... coincidence, ahn?)

Edited: 14 May 2010, 6:01 a.m.


#80

It was a random picture. I'm in New York City. I have recently made several trips to Manhattan's thrift stores in search of RPN treasure. One young lady told me that when old calculators do come in they usually toss them in the trash instead of putting them up for sale. :/

Regarding the trig functions, thank you much.

You all have been very kind and helpful. I'll keep you all updated.


#81

I'm in the club!

I bypassed eBay and used a website that lets you search Craigslist on a national scale. I found a seller in Houston, TX that was offering a moderately used 15c (could not find a cheaper 11c) for $100 for calc and case only. A new 12c would have cost ~90 USD at the Staples.

It arrived today, and it looks better than I thought. Passes keyboard and display tests. Keys have such a nice feel to them. Labels on keys are a very bright white, and keys faceplate is perfect. There is a slight bulge/dent on the metal to the left of the display.
Serial no. is 2533a31668. No major scratches, nor any engravings.


#82

And welcome, of course!

The HP15C is a remarkable calculator. Now that you have yours, I'd strongly suggest entirely reading the HP15C Owner´s Manual AND, right after it, the HP15C Advanced Functions Handbook. Needless to say, the Advanced Functions Handbook is a 'must read' once you have red the Owner´s Manual.

A little tip: Part II of the HP11C Owner´s Manual and Problem Solving Guide also has many interesting material related to programming that are not covered in the HP15C Owner´s Manual, even though completely applicable to both calculators.

Success!

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 20 May 2010, 4:37 p.m.


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