Equation library w/ units


Dumb question time: When I'm using the equation library, and in the process of entering a value go to the units menu, how do I get back to where I was in the equation library?



Well, I don't know which specific calculator model you are using, but if for example it is an HP-48SX you would type ATTN (below ON key), followed by <right shift> LAST MENU, which will return you to the previous menu.

Edited: 9 Mar 2011, 8:50 p.m.


On a 50g, does left-shift [hold] PREV do it? That normally takes you back to the previous menu.



Yes it does. Also the sequence 0 ENTER MENU ENTER will do this.

Edited: 9 Mar 2011, 10:05 p.m.


That did the trick, thanks!

I suppose that might be in the manual somewhere, but I wasn't able to find it.


Don't feel bad, Eric, I also have a HP-50g, and there's tons of stuff that isn't documented, even in the Advanced User's Reference Manual. I figured out a lot of things from the excellent documentation that came with my HP-48SX.


Maybe the thing to do is get a hold of a HP-48SX manual to use for the extra information that the 50g manual is missing, apparently.


My favorite poorly documented feature on the 50g: right-arrow for SWAP. This is an essential function in RPN mode but its existence is buried deep in the documentation.



Well, at least it is documented somewhere (page 3-179 of the Advanced User's Reference Manual, which you have to download from HP). The HP-48SX printed manual documents this on page 63, and the right arrow on that calc performs this operation as well, however, there is also a SWAP command above that key accessible via the left shift key. On the HP-50g, it is buried in a sub menu (left shift PRG STACK SWAP). You can also access this on either machine by typing in the SWAP command (alpha S W A P ENTER), but this is really only useful for programming). Basically, virtually all the features of the HP-48SX are carried forward to the HP-50g, however, access is either not as convenient or poorly documented / not documented. The printed User's Manual that comes with the HP-50g is very poor and rife with errors. It's truly a shame that such a powerful device is so poorly supported by useful documentation, such that most users never experience it's full capabilities. Were it not for my HP-48SX and this forum, I certainly would not be able to do so.


I find increasingly unnerving that a "Museum" site needs to double roles to supply the lack of information in modern-day HP calculators. Of course it's great to share and helpful people abound on this forum, but on the other hand should the documentation live up to the system it's documenting, wouldn't the subject of this sharing be about more productive things?

Just a thought... I Suppose.


The heading for the Forum states: "This forum is for discussion of HP calculators including usage, repairs, sources of replacement parts, general information etc."

So, at least as far as this forum is concerned, the term "Museum" is not really applicable.

I understand your feelings, however, about the lack of good information from the manufacturer.


When I first went to work in the '80s we had both Technical Writers and Drafters. I wonder if there's a company left today with either. (and document control departments too)

We see quite often in this forum the effect that loosing competent writers can have.

Every day I deal with the crap that engineers sketch out and call their drawings. All that has done is forced manufacturing to make the engineering decisions, since they often don't have direct access to the engineer, whereas the drafter would have worked with the engineer to iron out the problems of manufacturability.

And the bean counters are happy because they've "reduced redundancy".

We get keyboards that don't work, but that doesn't really matter after all since there's no documentation on how to use it anyway.

(you can guess the kind of day I've been having)


In my copies of the HP 50g's documentation, I find reference to this SWAP shortcut here:

On page 2-5 (and 10-12) of the User's Guide in the chapter "Introducing the calculator".

On page 7 of the newer Quick Start Guide in the section "Using RPN".

On page 3-244 of the Advanced User's Reference Manual in the "Full Command and Function Reference" entry for SWAP and also in Appendix G-2 "Keyboard Shortcuts".


As I mentioned above, it can be found in the Advanced User's Reference Manual. I prefer the older version of the manual, where you can click on a page number in the table of contents and jump directly to the location. I do see on page 2-5 and 10-12 of the User's Guide where this is mentioned as part of examples, but there is no lead in to this information and no mention of it in the Index (Appendix N), so basically you have to read the whole book just to stumble on things like this. I can't comment on the Quick Start Guide, since I don't have one. By stark contrast, HP-48SX has a very comprensive Index, which covers this and all other items for quick referral.


FYI - Look on page 7 of HP 50g Quick Start Guide Edition 2 (item 18 will tell you how to SWAP between level 1 and 2). I think you can thank Tim for bringing RPL/RPN back as the primary operating mode of the HP 50g.


I'm curious as to where you found the Quick Start Guide. I didn't get one with my HP-50g and I don't see it on the HP website. I don't need one, really, but just wondered since you mentioned it.


Recently I changed from hp 49g+ to a 50g and it was packaged with the calculator. You can check this post:

"Re: Is there something going on out there? (or Getting Back to My Roots...)
Message #4 Posted by Tim Wessman on 27 Apr 2010, 12:27 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by David Hayden"


The FTP link to the Quick Start Guide in the post that Ronald Williams gave no longer works ("530 Login incorrect.") - Tim Wessman warned that it was temporary - but a Google search of:

50g quick start guide site:hp.com

gave me a link to a PDF download from HP's
IT Resource Center Forums (forums11.itrc.hp.com) as the first hit.

I think it's well worth getting a copy - it's a very readable manual and not too long; the introduction suggests that you can work through it in about an hour.

I downloaded one when Tim Wessman first posted his FTP link, but my second 50g, purchased a few days ago, came with a paper copy of it.

I'm in the UK, so for my countrymen I ought to add that I think that my newer calculator might be US stock (it had a red "North America" tag on the blister packer, whereas my older one from a year ago had a blug "EMEA" tag). So I don't know for certain whether UK ones are currently shipping with the Quick Start Guide or the original User's Manual.

Edited: 11 Mar 2011, 5:36 a.m.



See the following thread: Re: No Manual Included?

Link should take you to message #8 which has the QSG as attachment.



Yes, that works. Thanks.


Thanks as well d:-)


Thanks also for that link. However, I found a nasty typo on page 47 that might trip up the unwary:

"However, to avoid loss of data, remove the backup battery
and main batteries at the same time."

This should, of course, read "DO NOT remove the backup battery
and main batteries at the same time."

Hopefully someone will fix this ASAP.


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