HP 15C+ - when?



#51

Of all my collection of HPs, the 15c is the one that gets more use, and is always in my jacket pocket. (Try that with a 41c or similar)

I am an engineer that betrayed the trade and I'm into finance - I have programmed all the HP12c main features in the 15C (IRR, NPV, TVM, weighted avg, DDAYS, etc) and still got registers enough for a 4-square matrix inversion or a 3x3 equation system.

As HP has figured out how to put the 15C in a iPhone, and the 12C in an ARM-powered machine, I guess is just a question of willingness to do the same thing with the 15c - hence the 15c+. Imagine the IRRs 60 times faster. Imagine twice the programming space.

Even the 42 does not match the form factor or the ease of use of the 15c. The 42 will not come back - there is no compatible hardware there now (maybe the new HP17bii+ silver?)

I do not mind having the bezel in gold - whatever. Please... I promise to buy 2.


#52

More importantly...

If you have put all that into a 15c, then PLEASE take the time to write-up your programs and post them here or in the articles section.

Don't keep all these goodies to yourself.

Personally, I'm waiting on HP to introduce the HP 65+.


#53

Gene,

For TVM, I use the program provided in the Advanced Programming manual - as good as it gets, and makes use of all the A-E user keys.

The weighted average uses the statistic registers and leaves avg(y) weighted by x in y, and avg(x) weighted by y in x:

Lbl 0 -so that it coincides in the same key as avg(x)
rcl 7
rcl / 3
rcl 7
rcl / 5
rtn

Excuse the poor programming technique.

The Net Present Value and IRR are a little longer. Requires 11 registers and is valid for up to 10 periods. Data is not destroyed and can be used with other interest rates. I take care of not using labels us

#54

Gene,

For TVM, I use the program provided in the Advanced Programming manual - as good as it gets, and makes use of all the A-E user keys.

The weighted average uses the statistic registers and leaves avg(y) weighted by x in y, and avg(x) weighted by y in x:

Lbl 0 -so that it coincides in the same key as avg(x)
rcl 7
rcl / 3
rcl 7
rcl / 5
rtn

Excuse the poor programming technique.

The Net Present Value and IRR are a little longer. Requires 11 registers and is valid for up to 10 periods. Data is not destroyed and can be used with other interest rates. I take care of not using labels used by TVM!

Net Present Value: It takes the following arguments:

Number of periods: register .1
Initial cashflow: register 0
cashflows for periods 1 to 9: registers 1 to 9 (how clever ;-))
discount rate in %: register x
NPV result: register x

LBL 1
EEX
2 - from % to decimal
/
1
+
1/x - calculate 1/(1+i)
ENTER
ENTER
ENTER - to load the stack with 1/(1+i)
RCL .1 - number of periods (so that is is kept for further trials with other interest rates)
STO I
CLX
LBL .2 - loop for periods
RCL + (I)
X - calculates f(n) = (f(n-1)+ I(n))/(1+i)
DSE I
GTO .2 - Return if not 0
RCL + 0 - Add start cashflow
RTN


IRR - this is the elegance of the HP-15 - just load your guesses in x and I and use SOLVE ( f SOLVE 1)

Another day I will put the adaption of DDAYS to HP15c (European format DD,MMYYYY) but it is trivial from other adaptions (65, 41, 42s)


#55

meant "load your guesses in x and y"...

#56

Quote:
in an ARM-powered machine, I guess is just a question of willingness to do the same thing with the 15c - hence the 15c+. Imagine the IRRs 60 times faster. Imagine twice the programming space.

A prototype has apparently been shown.

Yes, it's just a matter of willingness. The design is fairly trivial and essentially already exists.

Who knows when or if, I lost my bet some time ago.

60 times faster, yes, and 1/60th the battery life to go with it!

Dave.

#57

Quote:
Even the 42 does not match the form factor or the ease of use of the 15c.

Apparently there is no experience base using the HP42S, for that statement is total nonsense.

I have decades of experience with both the HP-15C and the HP42S. Th HP42S is a stunning advance over the HP-15C...there's absolutely no contest between them at all. It is far faster, more capable, has much greater precision, is much easier to use (especially with its alphanumeric support), and has about 15 times as much memory. It has IR printer output and sound capability. It is not pointlessly compromised by that cute but moronic landscape design that makes the HP-15C handheld very awkward to actually use as a handheld (so ironic, but at least HP never repeated that mistake except with all those HP-12 zombies that it has re-issued over and over).

The HP-15C, as good as it was (and it is mostly better than the unfortunate HP32SII, HP33S, and HP35S), is garbage compared to the HP42S. The worst business decision that HP could make would be a resurrection of some anachronistic HP-15C zombie. It would appeal only to those who have an irrational regard for a 28-year-old device that lags far far behind the 22-year-old HP42S.

If HP lacks the competency to produce something that is at least the equal of the HP42S, outside of their excellent HP50G, that's fine. It should drop that small calculator market entirely rather than dig up some tired old inadequate corpse modeled on the ancient and awkward HP-15C. That marketing effort would doubtless be a total failure. I've used HP calcs for 36 years, but I'll only buy some "new" HP-15C after it gets marked down to $4.99 during the inevitable clearance of unsellable mechandise. Walmart, which recently dropped the price of the TI-89 to $40.50 locally to clear it off the shelf, certainly won't be tempted to waste store space on such a bauble.


#58

Hi;

allow me to support every single word about the HP42S, but I cannot agree with the destruction of the HP15C... Sorry but calling it garbage when comparing to the HP42S is far beyond unfair.

Every time the subject is 'ancient technology', people usually mention 'slow device', 'lack of resource' and related 'handicaps'. In most cases, that was the best technology possible at their times, when it was neither slow nor 'resourceless'. This applies to the HP15C as well as to any 80286, 80386, 68000 (and others) architectures in their time. They were amazing, and it does not make them trash today even if we compare them to quad-core architectures or new calculators. They are still the same machines, just 'living' in another time.

When the HP15C was introduced it was the most resourceful stand alone calculator HP could offer with its architecture. This fact hasn't changed. Form factor may also be a matter of taste, but I still love the landscape design. And it seems TI has found its way to bring it back...

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)


Edited: 26 May 2010, 6:39 a.m.

#59

I second Mike's opinion. HP15C+ would sell 3000 units max.


#60

Quote:
I second Mike's opinion. HP15C+ would sell 3000 units max.

If we are throwing around numbers willy-nilly then you are an order of magnitude under the mark, at least.

Dave.


#61

I believe you are right Dave. At least 3000 innumerate real estate agents would buy it thinking it was a 12c.

#62

Quote:
The HP-15C, as good as it was (and it is mostly better than the unfortunate HP32SII, HP33S, and HP35S), is garbage compared to the HP42S. The worst business decision that HP could make would be a resurrection of some anachronistic HP-15C zombie. It would appeal only to those who have an irrational regard for a 28-year-old device that lags far far behind the 22-year-old HP42S.

Have you stopped to consider that in today's market such retro appeal may actually trump a more powerful yet almost as old machine in a market that essentially no longer exists for either of those machines?

Throw in the fact that the 42S is odds on to simply never happen, it's a moot point. HP don't have the resources or existing development base to bring out such a machine for any reasonable cost.
The 15C on the other hand is just a matter of pushing the button.

Dave.


#63

... and to add to DaveJ's point: the 12C is still going strong. Surely that is the best indication there is still a viable market for this type of product, whatever the appeal may be: retro or simply because the 12C/15C were and still are great calculators. Note that the financial people also have computers, so their arguments against using calculators would be the same as those made by the technical people. Apparently there is still demand for a calculator a la 12C/15C.

If it is so easy to make an updated 15C it would be truly baffling that HP hasn't done so yet, after so many years of people asking for a new 15C. I suspect there must be a more fundamental problem in putting out a new 15C - but I don't know what it is.


#64

Quote:
If it is so easy to make an updated 15C it would be truly baffling that HP hasn't done so yet, after so many years of people asking for a new 15C. I suspect there must be a more fundamental problem in putting out a new 15C - but I don't know what it is.

While it has been years of people asking to bring back the 15c, it's been a relatively short time since the release of the 12C+. This is the hardware/software platform that allows HP to easily release a 15C+. I think it's just a matter of time and management willingness before we see it.

-Katie

#65

The 12c became the "gold standard" among financial types, I imagine, because it is absolutely trustworthy and, frankly, has classic good looks. I'm sure the financial guys are not huge RPN fans, but they put up with that aspect because the 12c works so well and they can rely on it. If it ever stops working well, that may change, of course. The release of the 12c+ brought with it some bugs. If HP doesn't step up and fix these (and get the fixed versions in the ROMs on the units in the stores where the financial guys are buying the 12c+), it's reputation may start to suffer, and that would be tragic. I would bet that 95% of HP calc sales comes from the 12c.

I don't know what the market would be for a reissue of the 15c; no one does. But I wouldn't expect it to become the "gold standard" of engineers, as the 12c has become for financiers. I'm not an engineer, but I gather most current engineers rely on the PC for a lot of their computing and calculating needs.


#66

Hey Don.

A couple of things have been found that did not work quite as expected with the 12c+, but those are not things that would dramatically impact many 12c users at all.

To my knowledge, the ONLY bugs are:

1) "When the SST-button is held down the program line should be shown, and on release of the button this line should be executed. But when I press down the button the line is not shown and the instruction is executed even before releasing the button."

2) This simple program will blank the screen and lock up 12C+ in a such way that you need to turn off the calculator to recover from:

01 1
02 AMORT
03 GTO 01


3) The keyboard self-test times out in about 2 seconds giving an error message. The original 12C does this too, but it takes several minutes so it's gone unnoticed.


If there are any more, please let me know.

The ONLY one of any real consequence would be #2 and that requires a program that on an original 12c runs in an infinite loop. Stopping the program will mean you are some distance into the amortization of the loan, but how far? Depends on how long you let it run. While there might be a use for that program, I would bet that bug affects such a small amount of 12c users as to be insignificant to the 12c+ reputation.

Now... don't get me wrong. Bugs should be fixed POST HASTE!

But, will these cause a loss of confidence in the 12c+? I don't think so. Not at all.

An incredibly small...I mean REALLY REALLY small percentage of users program.

Anyone who does not program and who does not ever run the self test will NEVER run into these three problems. I have used a 12c for over 25 years and was never aware of the SST feature. Perhaps I was the only one? :-)


Anyway, I really don't think the 12c+ is in any imminent danger.


#67

The earliest version of the firmware also did not have the standard 12C self tests. In particular [ON] + [/] did not work at all but the manual still documented it. This was probably the biggest issue.

Hopefully the new firmware version is on the store shelves now. It fixes all the issues except (3). (2) was actually a worse issue requiring a remove batteries reset, but it's just an ON button press now.. (3) is a bigger deal since users may think that their calculator is broken if they don't press the keys fast enough during the test. I think a note in the manual will take care of that problem.

Also, the latest firmware is 2.5x faster. So it's a knock-your-socks-off 150x faster than the original 12C!

I love my 12C+

-Katie

Edited: 26 May 2010, 11:50 a.m.

#68

Gene, I think Katie mentioned above the major bug that some 12c users will find: that the self-test, as documented in the manual, does not work. I agree with you, that a very small percentage of 12c users will write/run programs. Katie and I discussed this one time, since she works with these users on a regular basis. She said almost none of them write programs, and a very small percentage run programs written by others (including her). So they won't see the debug step-by-step bug at all. But users who are used to running the self-test will see that problem.

Who is to know if the fixes are on the machines in stores now. I get the impression that the ARM-based 12c+ is still not widely available; I haven't seen any in Louisville stores.

Edited: 26 May 2010, 2:24 p.m.

#69

Quote:
I'm sure the financial guys are not huge RPN fans

Maybe not so much any more but when the 80, 70, 22, 37, 38 & 12c were introduced, the majority of financial calculator users had learned their trade on adding machines. Both RPN and the plethora of "adding machine logic" offerings acted just like what they were used to in addition and subtraction. RPN had the added advantage of being consistently postfix in multiplication, division, trig, and logs.

TI and National Semiconductor made forgettable calculators that did pre-programmed TVM calculations and used adding machine logic (not AOS). That the HPs were so bombproof they became heirlooms is just gravy.

#70

Quote:
I don't know what the market would be for a reissue of the 15c; no one does. But I wouldn't expect it to become the "gold standard" of engineers, as the 12c has become for financiers. I'm not an engineer, but I gather most current engineers rely on the PC for a lot of their computing and calculating needs.

I don't know a single (not software) engineer who does not have a pocket calculator on their desk.

Correct, the HP15C would not become the gold standard, that's impossible. It would be a purely retro appeal/enthusiast thing.

Dave.

#71

For the sake of illustrating my point of view, I own 2 42s - one of them with 32 kbytes... and I stand by my opinion above.

I have entered the same programs on both of them as well.

By ease of use I mean not having to navigate the menus.


#72

Quote:
By ease of use I mean not having to navigate the menus.

I must say I am a menu man. I get dizzy trying to find functions on the 33S or 35s (even 20S). The 28C was my first HP, and I loved the menus and have preferred them ever since.

I think we all have our own preferences and should express them without trashing other's favourites. Both the 15C and 42S have a strong contingent of followers, and the online auction prices of both reflect this.

#73

Quote:
I think we all have our own preferences and should express them without trashing other's favourites. Both the 15C and 42S have a strong contingent of followers, and the online auction prices of both reflect this.

Bart, well said!!
#74

I agree that the 42S has far greater functionality than the 15C. For instance, it can easily calculate the determinant of a matrix with complex elements. (See my post of a few days ago about doing this on a 15C.)

However, the Pioneers, including the 42S, are butt ugly compared with the Voyagers with their comforting gold and aqua labels. (The 14B is brown with yellow labels!) In particular, they don't have the bevelled keys of previous HP calculators. (Fortunately, HP has brought bevelled kays back in recent models.)

I'd prefer to see the 11C, which was one of the two original Voyagers (along with the 12C), and the 42S (in the same format as the 30b) make a comeback.

#75

Hi Jose,

Let me interpret your passion for the 15c through my own interest in these HP machines. I think the bulk of your belief in the greatness of the 15c comes from a combination of nostalgia and a hard-won appreciation of the machine's capabilities.

Going forward, building technical products, nostalgia will only buy you a very small niche market. That is my opinion. If it is the styling, that is a different case--it can have mass appeal. But the performance needs to be modern to be widely appreciated. For example, look at the plethora of "retro" car models on the market. Starting approximately with the new beetle, we then have the Ford thunderbird, then the mini cooper, and more recently the dodge charger, and the chevy something--is it a new "retro" camaro? Note that all these cars attempt to "hark back" to the originals--but from a technical standpoint, they are completely new. Would anyone buy a brand-new car with a 4 barrel carburetor, drum brakes, and bias-ply tyres?

Would you really want to buy a new *programmable* calculator with keycodes?

Think about that....

Of course, I would buy a re-issue of the 15c. Because I do have nostalgia and the hard-won appreciation. To me, it would be great!

Best regards,

Bill

Edited: 26 May 2010, 10:26 a.m.


#76

Here we go again. I guess these endless 15c+ discussions will never... well, end.

Unless HP actually does come out with it.


#77

Yep...

#78

Well, HP already re-introduced the HP-15C ... as an iPhone app (Calculator Software). What I don't quite understand is why it's not also available for Windows as the other calculator software versions (hp-20b, 12c, 12c platinum & 35s)...

#79

Quote:
Would you really want to buy a new *programmable* calculator with keycodes?
Because it works reliably. The other programmable scientific calculator HP offers doesn't. If you need one, HP is out of discussion.

I bet, most people buying the 35s aren't aware of its countless bugs. If they find out in a critical situation, HP in general will be out of discussion to them, if they aren't die hard HP fans. But then, they would have known better than to use that miscalculator for anything else than just toying around.


#80

Quote:
I bet, most people buying the 35s aren't aware of its countless bugs.

Doubtless you are correct. This is probably why HP doesn't bother to correct them.

Also, perhaps HP never intended to keep the 35s in the lineup for the long term. After all, it is an evolutionary model based on the 32s/32sii/33s lineage. Perhaps they intend to start a new scientific line, like the 20b/30b series.


#81

I think the 3x line is/was a big success because it is permitted in several exams. Messing it up means bye bye to the educational market, if no replacement can be made soon. I still have and like my 32SII, and I would have loved the 35s w/o bugs. But obviously, HP has no capacity to develop a good and advanced scientific programmable anymore, and that's where the 15C+ comes in. It should work, and if there's some cleverness left at HP, should be sold for a price low enough to compete with a good Casio programmable.

But then, I have no hope that it will become a reality, and if, HP will likely mess it up again by stupid problems.


#82

Quote:
... if there's some cleverness left at HP, should be sold for a price low enough to compete with a good Casio programmable.

If DaveJ is correct (and I think he is), it will be sold primarily for the retro/nostalgia market, not to compete with anything else. It will list for $ 99.99, with occasional sales lower..

My prediction.


#83

You might be right, I fear.

#84

It seems to me, with all the high power processing power available for cheap money these days, that the best approach would be to make an uber-C model where you just select which mode you want (10C, 11C, 12C, 15C, 16C or at least a 12/15/16) and use overlays like the 41.

From a manufacturing standpoint, there is a tremendous advantage to not having to support multiple versions of the same thing. Pop out the same thing all the time and you can use volume to your advantage in purchasing and tooling etc...


#85

Ah, but then how can I sell you 5 different calculators? :-D

TW


#86

Selling a 5-in-1, just think of what a good selling point that would would be!! Of course it would be even better to have 5-for-the-price-of-1 too.

#87

If you really want to have 5 different things to sell then make the mode selection via an internal jumper in the battery compartment. You can even not document it if you like - except to let us know here :-) - but you still get to make just one thing (less the key and case graphics). You still get the benefit of higher volumes on the guts of the calc.

Its funny, in the machine tool industry they figured this out a long time ago. You could buy a basic machine and then when you wanted an option, you would have to pay the manufacturer for the upgrade. However, that upgrade consisted of a service man coming out and typing a code into your machine that unlocked the feature. It was always in there because it's easier to make one control with all the options there than manage 100's of different board designs. I suspect now they just give you the code and let you type it in. They probably charge the same and save the expense of the trip out to your facility.


#88

Well, of course the problem with the Voyagers is the different key/faceplate legends. And I just don't see HP making a Voyager system with overlays. Most non-geeks wouldn't want to mess with such a system.


#89

Quote:
And I just don't see HP making a Voyager system with overlays. Most non-geeks wouldn't want to mess with such a system.

Maybe not, but the new 30b has an overlay to show all the programming functionality. The 20b and 30b have exactly the same keyboard and LCD. The only distinguishing features are the color the faceplate, the "Black S" label above the "Bond" key and the "keypad" label on the front of the swap key.

-Katie

Edited: 27 May 2010, 11:25 a.m.

#90

Some of the Compucorp 300 series machines had an easy "upgrade" path too. All you needed to do was to punch a hole in the faceplate and add a slider switch and you could save a couple of hundred (1973) dollars.

-Katie

#91

Quote:
Ah, but then how can I sell you 5 different calculators? :-D

You probably can't. You sell one calculator, and n emulators.

Edited: 27 May 2010, 11:24 a.m.

#92

Quote:
Ah, but then how can I sell you 5 different calculators? :-D

TW


Well, <sort of tongue in cheek but true>

Right now you are selling me 0 calculators...

what is the percentage increase from 0 to 1?

8^)

#93

Quote:
Ah, but then how can I sell you 5 different calculators? :-D

You can start by selling me just one - a 15C+...

;-)


#94

Quote:
You can start by selling me just one - a 15C+...

What a novel idea!

Dave.

#95

What do you print on the primary keys?

To work, such a calculator would have to have blank keys on all but the standard 4 function keys. And then you can argue that they should be blank too to make it truly universal.

I don't know about anyone else, but I like having my functions printed on the actual key tops.

The devil is always in the detail.

Now if HP came out with a calc that had such a replaceable template *and* a bunch of interchangeable keys and a novel way to change them, it would be both retro *and* fun to play with and configure. And it would fit in well with the new HP open hardware strategy, so people could copy/flash whatever they wanted and HP would still be able to make money on selling different keytop sets and standardised overlays.

Oh, and it would allow them to build only one model, yet sell it either pre-configured (the 12C crowd who like their "standard"), or in bits'n'pieces to the nerdy retro/engineering/enthusiast crowd who want that versatility.

But that takes extra effort, so just bring out the 15C again, easy.

Dave.

Edited: 27 May 2010, 10:59 p.m.


#96

Dave,

You're on to something here. 28 of the 39 keys on the Voyagers (ignoring the 10C) have the same printing on the top of the keys, so HP could label those keys. The remaining ones (upper left 2 rows of 5 + the SST/GSB key) could be blank. A thin template would easily fit securely on top of the 12C+ faceplate and be below the raised edges on all 4 sides.

I think that there is enough ROM in the current ARM chip to store 4 voyager ROM images. So HP could come up with a retro 11/12/15/16 C+ calculator for little more than the cost to them of a 12C+. They would provide 4 printed templates and a couple of blank ones for re-purposing. This would be an uber-geek-retro calc and I think would sell well even if priced somewhat over $100. Of course they'd have to throw in a programming cable because there's no JTAG connection on this machine.


-Katie


#97

Good thinking, I like it!

I would like to see a display like the HP-41 so that we can have alpha characters as well. It can still be "crippled" and only use the standard 7 segments for traditional Voyagers, but it would be a great asset for repurposing.

If I could really dream, add a crystal to stabilize the time and possibly also a beeper.


#98

I think that would be an idea for another model. I think the general idea of this thread is the standard Voyagers with just a faster processor.

#99

Groovy

Make it so!

Dave.

Katie,

That's brilliant. Multiple old calculators in one package with repurposing capability. Now that's the future of retro calculators! (excuse the oxymoron :) )


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