Am I the only one?


Recently there has been much discussion, pro and con, concerning the new calculator model releases by HP. Since I am a collector, I am interested enough to acquire each and every model, and at least briefly put them through a few of their paces.

Unfortunately it is only “briefly” since I do not consider any of them candidates for a professional in the work place.

HP where is the I/O?

I just don’t understand why this feature is missing in all the new releases. I don’t hear it mentioned by others. Am I the only one who insists upon the option of backing up my work?


I don't think any programmable calculator should be allowed to be produced without a USB or Ethernet port. It just doesn't make sense in this day and age to not be able to transfer programs back and forth to your laptop or PC.

So I'm going to say I'm with you!.

I think this is the main reason I gravitate to my 48gii (w/ USB) and not my 35s. (That and the multiple equation solver :-) ).

[Edit: Spelling]

Edited: 30 Aug 2010, 4:23 p.m.


Testing approval.

Communication scares them - regardless of how limited.


Edited: 30 Aug 2010, 2:53 p.m.


That makes sense. I knew there had to be resistance somewhere along the line. I spoke to Cyrille at the 2008 meeting and came away convinced that USB OTG was at least theoretically possible and might???? be "just around the corner".

I don't want to disparage the great strides the calculator division has made as of late, but I think the lack of this feature is a “deal breaker” for at least some segment of the potential market.

I guess I will continue along with my Casio 9860 and hope for a remedy soon.


With all due respect, I think the testing bodies should enter the 21st century.

They should either make the tests so that you don't need a calculator which I would argue should be doable for almost any test (perhaps with the help of a table or two)


Allow any calculator to be used because that will mimic what the real world looks like anyway.


It has nothing to do with the way calculators are used in the real world. It's just about keeping someone from stealing the test questions.


Why doesn't HP make a case that has a "cut-out" for the IO? Put a mini-USB connector behind the case somewhere, indicate the shape, and let us use an exacto-knife to expose the connector.

It might take less time to expose a connector behind a plastic enclosure than it took me to open my HP 35s blister pack!


I cannot be absolutely certain, but I strongly suspect that USB I/O capability already exists in the underlying silicon. I am very frustrated that no attempts have been made to expose it. Using some method like you have mentioned does not seem be so terribly difficult. However I would hate to see the same “lame” excuse for serial I/O that was implemented on the 50G


At least in the 20b/30b/12C+ the only silicon inside (except for some diodes maybe) is an AT91SAM7L128 and it's doens't have USB support. It's a pretty limited processor on many accounts, but is has just enough i/o pins to drive an LCD display for a simple calculator, a low off state current draw and good speed.

Needing many LCD driving pins is a real limitation in choosing a processor. I think using two or three chips: a processor and two LCD drivers would give HP a lot more flexibility to pick a processor with more memory (RAM and ROM), USB drive, etc. while allowing for a display with more segments. Is it really that much less expensive to use a single chip design than one with three chips?


I'm with you as well.

I've been using a 48GX since 1993 and more recently a 50g. I/O is not an option for me. The only calculator I've used for an extended period of time that didn't have I/O was the 15C. However, the 15C's limited memory allowed me to backup manually to my Moleskin notebook.

My recreational needs are best served by the 41CX and the 71B because they both have I/O.

Lastly, having I/O is fun. I've automated my lights with the 41CX. I've used my 71B with a GPS. I've used my 48GX as a programmable remote. I've used my 50g to drive MS Paint as a plotter. And, I've always had backups and can use my PC/Mac/whatever for development and testing and then download to my calc.

Edited: 30 Aug 2010, 2:55 p.m.


Lastly, having I/O is fun. I've automated my lights with the 41CX.

Egan, is I've been thinking about this recently. Is/was there a way to run say an X10 controller off a 48sx?


Depends on the X10. The old firecracker toggles DTR/RTS to provide power and generate 0s and 1s. There is no RTS on the 48SX. If a newer X10 uses Rx/Tx and provides its own power then it should be possible.

For more details:


I like the idea of taking an Hp 17Bii+ and cutting in a mini USB slot and a Micro 1 gig (or more) SD slot. Re-crafting the Hp42s software with extended Memory and directory support (or gut the graphics and CAS from the present ARM line of Hp48/50g series) and stuff that into a scientific calculator in the Hp 17Bii+ package.

When I was a field tech calibrating instruments, a calculator with a timer helped me immensely. If my Hp48G had been the size of an Hp42s. The lack of real I/O, no directories (for my 32K Hp42s) and no clock are the only three faults of the Hp42s. Yeah, I like the nicer programming set of an Hp48G, but that isn’t really needed for a pocket calculator for number crunching.


Yeah, I don't think even USB is enough anymore. A serious programmable calculator should also have an SD (or microSD) card slot.

Anyway, all this is partially why I use my 50g about a hundred times more frequently than my 35s.


HP where is the I/O?

I just don’t understand why this feature is missing in all the new releases. I don’t hear it mentioned by others. Am I the only one who insists upon the option of backing up my work?

That's the same reason all this talk doesn't interest me either. They're "justacalculators." I want a hand-held controller. Even USB does not qualify because it does not allow a battery-powered hand-held to be a controller, and you can't connect one port to more than one thing at a time unless you use external hubs. I've controlled a rack full of lab test equipment with the 41cx and 71B though, through the HP82169A HPIL-to-HPIB (IEEE488) converter which is transparent in most ways, ie, IEEE-488 equipment looks like it's on HPIL.

P.S., based on other posts below: I don't care one bit about exam approval.

Edited: 30 Aug 2010, 5:32 p.m.


I just don’t understand why this feature is missing in all the new releases.

As Tim said, it's to get the calculators approved for professional tests.
I don’t hear it mentioned by others. Am I the only one who insists upon the option of backing up my work?

It's been mentioned a huge amount of times over the last three years. But not so much recently because the testing explanation has also been discussed here a lot.

Tim: Another good reason for HP to come out with another scientific. One that may not be test-approved, but more user-friendly.


HP design and sell calculators to specific market segments and/or price points.

The non-programmable scientific ones are necessary to meet exam approval.

The rest are financial calcs that probably have no real market requirement for USB, so they presumably left it out to save cost and development time.



I'm sure this is true for many other calc manufactures as well. The number of people that actually program calculators is shrinking as is the need to provide I/O.

However, I think it is reasonable to expect that any programmable calculator with a large memory to provide some type of backup capability.


HP abandoned its roots a long time ago. I don't think we will see anything like the HP41/71 with all the capabilities (IO included) it had, ever again. The 48/50 are nice, but they don't have the HP feel or quality anymore. There is a reason this site is called a museum. The really good stuff is now history I think. I doubt anyone will be looking for an old 35s 20 years from now.

Edited: 30 Aug 2010, 6:27 p.m.


Another big reason to provide I/O is to allow programs to be loaded on the calculator. This thread describes a student desperate to get surveyor software loaded onto a 35s. Personally, the only reason I haven't bought a 35s is the inability to easily load programs on it. I don't want to type them in by hand.

If test acceptance is an issue, then I'd take the approach they used with the 39gs and 40gs: two nearly identical models except one supports I/O and the other doesn't.

Or return to the expandability of the 41C (and 48 I think) lines where all the good stuff is available as an add-on. We geeks just love to buy our add-ons :)

I don't think SD cards are required as long as the calculator has sufficient built-in storage. What I really mean here is that given the choice between USB and an SD card, I'd take USB. I'm sure others would differ, but that's another reason to make these things add-ons - everyone can get what they want while still buying the same base model calculator.


Think of SD cards as one opportunity for easy I/O. Program and/or data transfer by transport of an SD card ...


HP where is the I/O?
Build into the 50G.

Add too many features and the user needs a manual all the time and/or has to look up functions in menus.

Add I/O and the users ask e.g. for naming programs.

... and gone are the easy-to-use programmable calculators the 3x models once were.

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