15C LE & 12C AE, somewhat disappointing


My 2 15C LE's (#01604 + #01576) and one 12C AE (#02519)arrived from buy.com today and I'm somewhat disappointed with the build quality, here's why:

One of the 15C's has a slight key rattle (just the F and G keys). All 3 calculator have poorly aligned F and G keys (as has been noted before) -- my earlier 12C+ calculators has somewhat better alignment of these keys. The plastic used in the keys is noticeable rougher to the touch than that used in my 2 early model 12C+ calculators. The firmware in the 12c AE is dated 2009-07-02 and has bugs in it that my 12C+ firmware dated 2009-11-19 does not have. Finally, the 12C AE does not come with a printed manual, just a short getting started guide and a CD. I think that there's room in that box for a manual, does the regular 12C come with a full manual?

While you could say that I'm being unreasonably picky about the aesthetic issues, I see no reason why the firmware has to be the older, buggy version. I can upgrade this to the latest version myself, but what about all those people that don't have cables and don't read this forum?


Edited: 13 Sept 2011, 3:17 p.m.


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Tim, do you know if the keys are matte so the paint will stick better, or is there some other reason for it?

Edited: 13 Sept 2011, 3:46 p.m.


Katie, my reaction was the opposite - excellent build quality on the 15c LE (I don't have the 12c).

On mine, the blue and yellow keys don't rattle, but they can be twisted very slightly to appear a little misaligned - but they can also be moved back into alignment just as easily, so I don't consider that an issue.

I think someone opined earlier that the blue and yellow keys behave differently because they are different colors from the rest of the keys, and therefore they are separate moldings, while the others are all part of a linked array.


Is someone here the author of this video? Some rattling has been reported.


My shift keys don't rattle although they are slightly more loose than the rest. They are not even near as bad as the you tube video. I'm usually easy to disappoint in the quality area(aviation background) but so far happy with the unit that was sent to me. :)


That would make sense. The keys on my vintage-ish (Singapore, 1993) 12C *all* rattle, and none of the keys on my 12C+ do. I know that the old HP double-shot keys were not all made on one assembly. I can live with the rattle, I'm glad they decided to actually make orange and blue keys instead of just painting black keys with something that will wear off.


Agree; the bottom row of keys on my USA-made 16C also rattle; if I hold the calc upside-down and run my finger along each row it's clear that it's the f, g and STO keys that are loosest - the others don't move up and down, but only slightly sideways.

I think 'twas ever thus.


--- Les



I received my 15C and 12C today from buy.com. Generally I am happy with the purchase and the shift keys don't rattle although they move slightly more than the other keys. I would have liked a manual for the 12C but that's not a big issue. Overall I'm happy with the quality of the calculators.


Only one of the 5 recently made voyagers I have (2x12C+, 2x15CLE, 1x12CAE) actually rattles the f and g keys when you pick it up and shake it. The rest have f and g keys that more around, some more than others. The two 12C+ machines are the best and they were made a couple of years ago.


The keys rattle when shaken on my HP-45, HP-55, and HP-34c...


My 15c LE and 12c 30th both came this afternoon, so I've had less than an hour with each of them. I'm happen with them so far. Who knows what 10 years will bring.

I did notice a bit of an oddity...

When switching the decimal point/comma, when does the calculator turn on? Key sequence, calc off: 1) Decimal down, 2) ON down, 3) ON up, 4) Decimal up.

The 12c 30th (and 25th, and the oldest 12c I have) turn on after releasing the ON before releasing Decimal. (After step 3.)

The 15c LE (no older one at hand to compare) will turn on only after releasing both keys. (After step 4.) Is that normal?

No rattle when shaken. A couple of times with each of them I wondered if there was a rattle so shook more then harder and then different directions. Nothing reproducible. My old Brazil 3-cell 12c rattles noticably but the keys still feel solid. (I think the rattle is wear and tear and I expect the new ones will develop rattles with usage.)

Yes, the color keys move a bit.

Overall I'm quite pleased with the build quality compared to the brand new TI 84 plus SE I bought earlier this year.

The TI seems OK. Kind of like my TI-30 did back in 1975-6. Neither the current TI nor the current 15c LE and 12c 30th have the "wow, this is incredible" quality feeling that my original 15c inspired in 1982. However the HP's are much closer than the TI.

The TI does seem a far better value in specs and capability tho. And my oldest's 6 year old TI 84 plus has held up with no functional or even notable issues. Now with 3 of those TI's purchased, I expect I would have seen something if any of the serious quality problems I saw develop with the TI-30 were endemic in the current 84 plus.



'Somewhat' - it may be lack of 'quality and reliability' which had been the words representing Hewlett Packard for a long time.

It's gone to the Agilent Technologies now, and I really wonder if they would release the AT-42sII.

BTW, have you measured the power consumption (current draw) of the 15C LE?





Good suggestion, measuring the current --- see a new post on this topic.



Just got my first 15C-LE, serial #CNA1320813, LE number 00336. Mine does not rattle when shaken. People at the coffee shop looked at me kind of funny when I did that, however. Moral: only shake your 15C in private, if you don't want to be thought odder than you obviously are. :)


Moral: only shake your 15C in private...


I hope not, my 12C and 15C LE (two of them?) are coming in a few business days, hopefully in time for the HHPC conference.


My 12C platinum had rattling keys. i opened the back and put one or two strips of paper behind the F/G keys. Now it works great. Don't put too much though :)

So I'm not worried about the keys rattling. Hopefully the production line will adjust as we give feedback.


So I'm not worried about the keys rattling.

I'm not either. Many of the original voyagers had (or now have) rattling keys, but it is a quality control issue that should have attention paid to it.

Hopefully the production line will adjust as we give feedback.



I don't want to rub salt into one's wound but I think you guys have become the 'martyrs' of the early batches of the HP-15C LE! After receiving your responses, hopefully I think the problems will be fixed when I get my own calculator several months later in Hong Kong.

Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 4:07 a.m.


I received my three HP 15C LE. Very exciting! Many years waiting for what I consider the best Pocket Scientific calculator!

I have LE numbers 1081, 1200, and 1598. They are all solid, well made, top quality! All keys are excellent.

QUESTION: I plan to use one of the three and keep two "boxed" . Should I remove the batteries on these units? Any concern about leave them with or without batteries?

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