A New Prototype at the HHC?



#15

Recently in posts regarding HHC2011 I've seen statements like this:

I can tell this HHC meeting is going to be out of this world!!!

This looks to be one of the best years yet.

Last year I understand the HP-15C LE prototype was introduced, and everyone kept quiet. I'm just wondering, fantasizing probably, if another similar calculator could be introduced this year.

That would be of course, the HP-42S LE.

Why? Well if the HP-15C is successful, can a 42S be far behind? After all, the 42S still exists today, disguised as a financial calculator, the HP-17BII. Same form factor, same display. The engineering work to convert it to a modern HP-42S would be relatively simple.

I still use the 42S I purchased in 1989. I could really make use of a new one.

At any rate, I wish everyone a great conference.

Cheers


#16

The entire Pioneer production has ceased as of early this century.

The 17bii is no longer in production. Its replacement, the 17bii+ is of no value to building a 42s.


#17

Quote:
The 17bii ... replacement, the 17bii+ is of no value to building a 42s.

Bill, why is that?

#18

Because it uses a low-performance masked-ROM microcontroller. If the 42S code was completely rewritten in C to run on that chip, it might be about as fast as the 42S was, but I doubt that HP wants to invest the engineering resources to rewrite it.


#19

Especially since, in my dreams, they are pouring effort into a modern RPN programmable in the spirit of the 42S.

*sigh*

#20

And that is a critical difference. The 15c LE was, by comparison, much easier to do than the 42s would be.

Sadly, I don't see a 42sII in my future.

But, the 34S is here!


#21

Quote:
And that is a critical difference. The 15c LE was, by comparison, much easier to do than the 42s would be.

Sadly, I don't see a 42sII in my future.

But, the 34S is here!


Hi Gene,

I'm resurrecting my 42S after a long convalescence. But the 34S is of great interest. I have tried to contact you regarding the cable but I'm not sure I am getting thru via the forum email. Can you try to contact me?


#22

I have replied from my hotmail account. Let me know if you haven't seen a reply.

#23

Quote:
If the 42S code was completely rewritten in C... I doubt that HP wants to invest the engineering resources to rewrite it.

they don't need to - it's already been done in the form of free42. just compile the code for an ATmega1284p (that has 128k of flash and 16k RAM), attach a keyboard, LCD, serial port, and it's all done. the 1284p is in a 40-pin dip package (ideal for hobbyists), if more flash is required one has to go to a QFP version.

the amount of engineering required would be quite minimal.



Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 8:14 a.m.


#24

The licensing issues might be more difficult to resolve than the technical ones.

#25

The "attach [...] LCD" part is problematic from a cost perspective. All HP calculators other than the 38/39/40/48/49/50 series use a microcontroller with built-in LCD drive, to save cost. This hypothetical new 42S is going to need hardware that is far more expensive than the 17BII+ hardware, and the only way they can do that is if they can sell it for a lot more.

I've actually worked on fitting Free42 into a microcontroller, and it is nowhere near as easy as you make it out to be. The Free42 code is designed to manage its memory using methods appropriate for running under an OS with plenty of memory, so it takes a lot of hacking to make it work with 16K of RAM.

#26

Quote:
they don't need to - it's already been done in the form of free42. just compile the code for an ATmega1284p (that has 128k of flash and 16k RAM), attach a keyboard, LCD, serial port, and it's all done. the 1284p is in a 40-pin dip package (ideal for hobbyists),

I don't think you'll ever see a 40-pin dip in any new
consumer electronic product, much less a pocket calculator.

Quote:
[..if more flash is required one has to go to a QFP version.
the amount of engineering required would be quite minimal.

AFAIK the m1284p is the end of that family in terms of flash size
irrespective of package. There are also architectural issues
once the flash grows beyond 128KB. Yet 128KB should be
sufficient for the task.

Still the Harvard architecture can be maddening to deal with in
terms of needing different primitives to accommodate data
depending whether it resides in flash vs. RWM. And it after all
is an 8-bit
processor which tops out at 20MHz if supplied at 4.5V <= vdd
Otherwise the upper frequency limit is 10Mhz @ 2.7V <= vdd which
realistically falls to 8MHz if the internal RC oscillator (vs.
external resonator) is used. The redeeming graces of this
uC are large, zero wait state flash, fairly comfortable RWM size,
and a power OFF quiescent current consumption with SRAM data retained that would make even old HP proud.

If you want to hack on something, use an ARM <whatever>.
Paradoxically I haven't found anything much better than the
ageing atmel at91sam7l128 for this application area. The
energymicro EFM32 M3 series looks like interesting middle
ground but the flash speed only supports zero wait states up to
16MHz IIRC. Still it is a 32-bit arch and doesn't have the
usage issues of the 8-bit AVRs. I looked at the NXP LPC1114
but outside powering a single model voyager-class emulation
at a brisk 50Mhz, there isn't much else to recommend it except
for price -- which frankly is quite impressive @ US$1.50 in
single unit quantities. If they could tame the RWM data
retained power draw and increase flash size they'd steal the
show.

But just wait a bit. I expect we've only seen the tip of the
iceberg thus far in terms of SoCs marketed for this application
space.

[Add content omitted originally]


Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 8:13 p.m.

#27

There would be a few immediate objections to free42 on a calculator. Two that come to mind immediately are:

  • Free42 is too memory hungry, it wouldn't fit on a deeply embedded device like a calculator.

  • Free42 doesn't use HP's maths library.

Neither of these matter to us when we use Free42. I know the second matters to HP and the first is quite observable when running it.


- Pauli

#28

Better still, It would be nice if a new debugged firmware was ready so the lucky ones attending the HHC could flash their HP 15C LE.

What a better way for HP to show they care. Until now, we do not know if something is, at least, in the work to correct the issues that have been found so far.


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