Fake HP calculators on eBay?



#36

I just bought an 11C over eBay and received it.

It looks pretty "fake" to me. I have an 11C which I bought originally in the 1980s.

This "mint" one I just received seems to work functionally but the whole thing looks fake.

I could be totally wrong, but first impressions are important right?

Does anyone have any experience with this?

The HP calculator cover is too new. And it has the HP logo on both sides. The material is too rubbery.

The 11C itself is too clean for such an old calculator. I can't really tell but the keys don't SEEM to be double-shot to me. I don't have my original 11C with me right now but I am comparing it against a vintage 12C and it just does not look "right" to me.

I am wondering if there's a market now for knocking off these vintage calculators by creating them from the factory that makes the modern 12C and sell them for high prices on eBay.

I don't want to rip out the rubber feet to open it and check the insides but it also feels slightly heavier than the 12C and what I remember of my original 11C.


#37

Take a camera and upload some good pics. Show us.


#38

I need to get my proper camera and a tripod. Will post later. But I don't think you can see much from photos because it will probably look just right. If it IS a knockoff job I can tell you they did it super good but probably it would not be too hard using the 12C tools that are currently operational.

The color of the gold labeling looks a little too bright orange, methinks.


#39

What batteries does it use: 3 x 357, 1 x CR2032 or 2 x CR2032?

The current 12C (from some reports here) and 12C+ (definitely) use 2 x CR2032.

Also, is it the same speed as your original 11C, or much, much faster?

-Katie


#40

Speed seems the same.
I made a few simple programs and it feels the same (same slowness haha).
Anyone got a complex routine I can program in to check (but which won't take me half an hour to input! :-)

#41

Photos!

http://picasaweb.google.com/ajann67/ScoreOrScam?authkey=Gv1sRgCK7osJ2Ogd3CKQ&feat=email#

or

http://bit.ly/cWA4T9

A few things to point out:

I compare the 11C with a vintage 12C.

The "A" of the USA on the 11C looks badly stamped. I don't think HP had such poor quality in the 1980s right? You can see the huge difference with the 12C stamp. The 12C has a strong, clear impression.

The spacing between the USA and the battery compartment differs.

The sleeve looks too new. I don't have a modern 12C. Is this the modern 12C sleeve? Both sides have the HP logo. It feels too rubbery and thick compared to the vintage one I had (which disintegrated over the years).

Batteries are the same but one plastic flap is missing (not as big a deal as the weird USA serial number stamp IMHO).

Take a look at the COS-1 label; under magnification you can see a bit of the blue is scraped off; this ain't gonna happen with double-shot.

My question is: Did the 11C production CHANGE over its product life?

Anyway, WHADDY'ALL THINK???

Edited: 17 Sept 2010, 6:42 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#42

(You can zoom in further in the photos by clicking the magnifying glass -- and wait a couple of seconds for the extra resolution to load up)

Edited: 17 Sept 2010, 6:39 p.m.

#43

What I think is you've got an original HP 11C and sleeve from 1985, which looks exactly like my HP 15C, which I bought new from Ulrich's book store in 1982. The fact that it doesn't look like an HP 12C, just means that they were made differently. I also have a vintage HP 12C from 1987, and the "USA" stamp is indeed a different size and in a different location. The serial numbers are also in a different location. My HP 15C sleeve is still in like new condition, and has the logo embossed on both sides. So, I don't see any fraud here and like others have pointed out it would make no sense, since the HP 11C is not some super rare collectable.


#44

Thanks for your observations.

#45

That looks pretty unfake to me. The case is similar to that on my old 12c, and the rest of the thing looks pretty much like standard HP issue.

#46

I'm quite sure this was really made by HP, and yes they changed some small things on the calculators in this series of the years.
Perhaps not on the 10c -- I haven't seen enough of these to notice any difference -- but on the other 4. For example, the contacts in the battery compartment, some of the lettering as you noticed, etc..

-Katie


#47

Quote:
For example, the contacts in the battery compartment, some of the lettering as you noticed, etc..

That's an interesting comment. The 15c I just bought has
a completely different battery compartment than the close
vintage 16c I've owned. Namely the 16c has leaf spring
style contacts for both terminals where the 15c arrived with
a coiled spring for the (+) terminal and what appears to be a
small brass block for the (-) terminal. Is this an HP
manufactured configuration or have I received something
"special".


#48

The coil spring and brass block arrangement was used in all the Voyagers from mid 1984 (IIRC) forward for at least several years. Prior to that they use a thin metal leaf spring.

You almost certainly have a real HP 15C.

#49

This is so absolutely fake, you were so totally scammed! Why would anybody sell or buy a pristine 11c when it is so easy to just make one yourself? Right! Nobody would! Ever!

To prevent you and everybody else from loosing even more money, please contact us at honest.george@calcgenuinetest.org for details how to send the fake calculator in. We will destroy it and bury its remains in a completely unholy Casio-TI-area, to make sure the fake HP-soul can not be revived anymore, everever!


#50

I love it. George: I have a couple of fake HP-01's, new in box. Do you want those also? They look completely unused. (I wish).

#51

Haha I was expecting someone to post just that. Have no fear! I will be terminating this rogue HP unit by smashing it with various TI and Casio calculators. Or maybe a Pavilion desktop ;-)

#52

Peter,

Quote:
Take a look at the COS-1 label; under magnification you can see a bit of the blue is scraped off; this ain't gonna happen with double-shot.

Please take a seat and count: Black, white, blue = 3 colors.
Now please tell us: Is it called triple-shot? No.
What may be the reason? ... d8-)

HTH

#53

Battery type, weight in grams and a serial number should be all we need to figure this out... I doubt it is fake...

#54

Maybe a previous owner of the 11C disassembled it and then put it back together again, but failed to do a first class job. This might explain why it looks fake.

Namir

#55

I don't understand how this would work.

Convert a modern 12c+ to 11c? Would any crook have the expertise/take the effort to re-purpose a 12c+ and produce new legends for the keytops and faceplate?

Manufacture brand new fakes? What, Kinpo has some side deal with a shady character?

If HP can't produce a 15c+ economically (according to some) how can some scammer make fake 11c's?

Curious.

#56

The cover has certainly been revised over the years; maybe it doesn't belong to the 15C (but to a later 12C).

The argument "it looks shiny new, so it must be a fake" is void - I have seen 40 year old calculators with a brand-new, scratch-free look, like they have been made the very same day.

Best thing is: it is not possible to fake a 11C with economical gain, however it might be possible to swap parts between same/different models. Take three defective cals and create one working Frankencalc. But that's tough on these 10C/11C/12C/15C.

To my knowledge, late production units might not have double-shot-moulded key, there are even some units with overprinted keys.


#57

I hope you guys are right. Like I said, I could be totally wrong, but that was my immediate impression upon seeing and holding it for the first minute.

I don't have my original 11C with me here (it is in a safe deposit box in another city) but I did compare it with my vintage 12C.

Anyway, photos coming real soon. I need to make sure I white balance properly so you can see the colors (although since nothing is calibrated, including your screens, you can't really go by the photo colors for exact comparison).

PS - the economical aspect: Wouldn't it be profitable to churn out X number (say, 1000) extra 12C base calculators on the sly (i.e., workers in the HP/contract factory) and sell them each for, say, $200 a pop? Those calculators probably cost $20, $30 to make? Most of the economies of scale are already taken care of by the 12C tooling.


#58

Photos posted above; just wanted to write this reply so you don't miss my post above.

#59

Quote:
I don't have my original 11C with me here (it is in a safe deposit box in another city).

Now that, by any measure, is hard core.

Quote:
PS - the economical aspect: Wouldn't it be profitable to churn out X number (say, 1000) extra 12C base calculators on the sly (i.e., workers in the HP/contract factory) and sell them each for, say, $200 a pop? Those calculators probably cost $20, $30 to make? Most of the economies of scale are already taken care of by the 12C tooling.

Yes they are. All which is needed are printing of alternate
voyager 1xC key legends, key matrix bezel, and back bezel.
Oh and there is the remolded logo to crown the achievement.
Sufficient code exists today to do legacy firmware emulation
on the ARM7 so that should be straightforward.

Even aftermarket retrofit is not out of the question.
Although the repurposing effort of the new 12C seems to have
stalled, and I haven't poked at the deployed 12C's AT91SAM7L128
in terms of whether it can be reflashed via the 6-pin service
connector, I believe it is possible. The 12C's lcd is
functionally identical to the legacy voyager's so there doesn't
appear to be much of a hurdle.

IMHO the only thing better than a 15C is an open design 15C.
And given the requisite pieces are just lying around waiting to
be assembled it is pretty tempting. I've even investigated the
possibility of small scale manufacturing of a open project
chassis mechanically closer to the traditional voyager vs. the
rewarmed 12C but using an ARM7 uC and (as long as we're going
to fab a PCB) an SPI battery backed SRAM similar to the hp-35s.
The biggest hurdle in a ground-up scenario is that of an lcd
source in such quantity, assuming keeping the voyager numeric
display is a goal. Otherwise a greater number of options exist
but that puts the effort on a slippery slope with temptation to
best what is arguably a model engineering effort near 30 years
later.

Alas it boils down to such an undertaking either having
marketing justification (unlikely), enthusiast critical mass
(possible), or someone with abundant free time and resources (:P).


#60

I honestly do not think it is actually worth the effort. Fact is, RPN users are a... fading breed. Someone closer to the academic community can probably give better insight but my guess is all the kids are on algebraic these days.

The 12C is different because of the rich Wall Street bankers who follow the herd and also are trained by their MBA professors to use the 12C RPN. They won't have need for a SIN function on their calculators, and much less a MATRIX function or binary conversion.

Reflashing modern Voyager is an interesting concept and probably can be made cheap by the sale of "stick on" key labels. Ugly yes, and reminds me of the 1980s attempt at DVORAK stick-ons, but can be cheaply done, with a similar stick-on overlay (a-la 41C series).

Regarding the LCD display, it is a KILLER APP for me. The clarity of that screen is way way more important for me than dot matrix modern displays. If I wanted fancy graphics, heck, I would just fire up my Mac or hack out my own iPhone program in Objective-C and load it up.

I just want to grab a physical calculator and punch in numbers quickly (tactile, not touch screen).

(My 11C in a safe deposit box is not so hard core whenever I worry that some time in the future we won't even be able to buy working used vintage RPN *scientific* units in the Voyager form factor; I intend to live several more decades... ;-)

#61

Quote:
I just bought an 11C over eBay and received it.

Congratulations.

Quote:
It looks pretty "fake" to me. I have an 11C which I bought originally in the 1980s. This "mint" one I just received seems to work functionally but the whole thing looks fake.

I studied your pics fairly closely. I don't see anything
obvious on the calc which screams out fake. The sleeve looks
a bit different compared to the disintegrating 16C's garb I
have here. Then again I just bought a 15C which arrived in
a sleeve too good for the number of years it has presumably
been on the planet, so go figure. The heat sealed edge on
the mouth of your sleeve looks to be spaced a tad far from the
open edge compared to what I've seen, but that's hardly
conclusive.

Quote:
The HP calculator cover is too new. And it has the HP logo on both sides. The material is too rubbery.

The "new" 12C vinyl sleeves sport an HP logo on both sides.
But the material itself is nothing like the vintage voyager
sleeves and IMHO could easily have been recycled from "free
gift" Harbor Freight duffel bags.

Quote:
The 11C itself is too clean for such an old calculator. I can't really tell but the keys don't SEEM to be double-shot to me. I don't have my original 11C with me right now but I am comparing it against a vintage 12C and it just does not look "right" to me.

AFAICT for the legacy voyagers, the double shot mold is that of the key
body and the white central legend. The blue sub-legend is printed on
a key's diagonal facet. Get a 10x jeweler's loupe (which is probably
a required tool at this point) and have a close look at a key. You can
clearly see the molding seam between alternate mold injected portions,
contrasted with the surface deposited blue paint of the lower legends.

Compare to that to the current vintage 12C which has been cost
reduced to the point of criminality, where all legends are printed.

Quote:
I am wondering if there's a market now for knocking off these vintage calculators by creating them from the factory that makes the modern 12C and sell them for high prices on eBay.

I hope so, as I'd like to buy a few at the presumed knock off prices.
Particularly if China, Inc. produced an accurate knock-off of
a 15C build on a 12C AT91SAM7L128 frame. I doubt that wish will be realized as
sadly there just aren't enough voyager geeks to justify a market.

Quote:
I don't want to rip out the rubber feet to open it and check the insides but it also feels slightly heavier than the 12C and what I remember of my original 11C.

Toss it on a jewelery scale and quantify it. I don't have an 11C but
this is what I can offer for those I do:

hp-15C: 117.95g
hp-16C: 115.05g
hp-12C: 120.66g (new ARM7/CR2032x2 version)

All the above are with batteries as I didn't want to risk nailing
the SRAM. But that shouldn't add too much uncertainty.


#62

OK many thanks; I think I am put at ease. I did not realize that the 11C production varied (I just figured it would have varied among countries but thought all USA-made units would be exemplary, as was my vintage 11C).

On the economical aspect, again I think there IS a market for this. Just because an extra $250,000 profit is a drop in the bucket for today's HP does not mean it isn't a justified operation for, say, 10 people, given that on a DAILY basis I see a market for this on eBay.

So THEORETICALLY I think it's still a viable "business" for some people to create knock-offs and yes, I agree that even if they were knock-offs, many of us would still pay to get something that quacks and walks like the Voyagers.

I'll be interested to hear what other comments folks have from my photos but in any event, it has been a fun, ah, TANGENT to undertake for my little "new old" scientific calculator.

I guess I should celebrate this weekend, having scored a great condition 11C!

:-)

#63

"I hope so, as I'd like to buy a few at the presumed knock off prices."

We can hope :-)

"HP has informally shown a "15c+" prototype at a conference in September 2008, but as of July 2009 has not announced it as a product. However, HP has introduced 12C and 15C simulators running on Windows and on the Apple iPhone, and some have speculated that part of the rationale for the 15C simulator may be to [gauge] interest in the possible reintroduction of the 15C."

http://www.brouhaha.com/~eric/hpcalc/voyager/variants.html

(HP sells the 15C simulator for the iPhone for a whopping $30 which is crazy. I'll wait for a "real" 15C selling for $90 and put the cash toward that instead...)


#64

Quote:
"HP has informally shown a "15c+" prototype at a conference in September 2008, but as of July 2009 has not announced it as a product. However, HP has introduced 12C and 15C simulators running on Windows and on the Apple iPhone, and some have speculated that part of the rationale for the 15C simulator may be to [gauge] interest in the possible reintroduction of the 15C."

I have a great deal of respect for HP of yesteryear to the
extent I'm disappointed not to have been part of that
engineering history. I don't know much about contemporary
HP but I doubt having it cater to the surviving creaky antiques,
wanting a 30 year old product brought back in a market
flooded with 400MHz ARM cellphones, is going to be worth
the wait.

Quote:
http://www.brouhaha.com/~eric/hpcalc/voyager/variants.html

(HP sells the 15C simulator for the iPhone for a whopping $30 which is crazy. I'll wait for a "real" 15C selling for $90 and put the cash toward that instead...)


Haven't seen HP's simulator but I'd be surprised if it
can offer anything over Eric's work. Aside from the
technical achievement, Nonpareil is opensource which IMHO
makes it a vastly preferable, portable technology.


#65

Mostly IMHO the HP branded iPhone simulators are REALLY GOOD LOOKING but I would not pay $30 just for the graphic. There are other HP calculators on iPhone and functionally they are equivalent; just aesthetics. I have a $0.99 11C simulator, a 12C simulator and a 45cx simulator (the latter one is a very very good).

#66

Quote:
...I doubt having it cater to the surviving creaky antiques, wanting a 30 year old product brought back in a market flooded with 400MHz ARM cellphones, is going to be worth the wait.

We've hashed over these these arguments so many times... while I believe there is a huge market for retro calculators right now, you are right that it won't last forever. If HP wants to do a 15c+, they better do it while the baby boomers are still around...

#67

Maybe the, ah, new CEO (ahem!) could be persuaded to get back to basics and why HP used to be great.


#68

Many contributors here had this hope with the last "new CEO" already d:-/


#69

Well that last CEO sure would have benefited from a decent RPN calculator to help him with his expense reports.

#70

Quote:
I believe there is a huge market for retro calculators right now, you are right that it won't last forever. If HP wants to do a 15c+, they better do it while the baby boomers are still around...

I agree fully. The used calculator market is well upwards of $1.5M annually, but the later TI/HP models, calculators-on-calculators or calculators-on-phone and general technological progress are making retro models much less appealing- and there is attrition, of course, but that's a given.


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