HP15C LE Keyboard Issues (...and 3.5 Years Ago)



#11

Significant amount of keyboard issues with number of HP 15C LE out there. I recalled an article finally located it in EE Times early 2008.

EE Times Article 2/1/2008

Back then Director of Product Development group of HP Calculators Sam Kim has said about about the keyboard design on HP 35s which has 25 screws!! (BTW HP 35s cost 1/2 of HP15C LE)

"I really wanted to design something for the old-time calculator user while also attracting new customers."

(it's held together by 25 screws. Kim explains, "The keyboard is the most important part of a calculator. It must work year after year. Those 25 screws hold it down rock solid. The keyboard will never get loose and this thing will last forever. It costs us more, but it demonstrates the attention to detail we've put in.")

Article goes on quoting that "HP claims that it performs a one-million key press-test on the keyboard. This means that the keyboard will survive at least a million key presses. Putting that in perspective, it's unlikely that a user will ever reach that number of key presses."

Why weren't these standards applied to new HP 15C LE? What Did Change in 3.5 Years!!

Companies produce great products when Employees take pride of their work.

Edited: 4 Oct 2011, 2:25 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


#12

Quote:
Article goes on quoting that HP claims that it performs a one-million key press-test on the keyboard. This means that the keyboard will survive at least a million key presses. Putting that in perspective, it's unlikely that a user will ever reach that number of key presses.

I'm afraid that I can't find the logic behind the above assertion. The one million key presses don't mean that the keyboard can survive another one million key presses.


#13

That probably isn't a test HP did on each production calculator, but rather a test ran on random units from production for quality assurance.


#14

Quote:
That probably isn't a test HP did on each production calculator, but rather a test ran on random units from production for quality assurance.

Will these tested units be sold?

Edited: 4 Oct 2011, 2:18 a.m.


#15

If I had to guess, I'd say not unless someone at the factory goofed. I don't know anything about HP or their contractors' manufacturing practices but I'd assume from what I've seen of other companies manufacturing processes that the calculators that get used for keyboard testing also get used for other tests that are likely destructive (How much weight can you drop on the LCD before it breaks, what kind of overvoltage the CPU can stand, etc.).

#16

For what it's worth, the 35s's "25 screw" keyboard had hollow heat stakes with screws screwed into the heat stakes. They're still melted over, so you can't unscrew it and take the keyboard out. Also, several people have apparently had issues with 35s keyboards. Once again I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I can't see those screws doing too much other than possibly holding the top of the heat stake on if it cracks off (or on the negative side making the heat stake crack down the sides from having the screw inside it).

Anyhow, I see the calculator division's recent work as gradual improvement. The 49g+ had a lot of keyboard issues, the 50g seems to have mostly solved that. The 35s had buggy firmware and a decent, but not ideal (and according to some prone to wear-out) keyboard but started to look like a classic HP again (Orange and Blue shift keys, big enter key, etc.)

The 20b and 12c+ were cool hacker platforms, and the 12c+ was more fuel for the "bring back the 15c" fire, but the 20b had a not-so-great keyboard and the 12c+ was (to those other than finance types) teasing those who wanted 15c and 16c reissues.

The 30b is a lot like the 20b, just as hacker-friendly, but has a much better keyboard (perhaps the best in HP's modern lineup).

And now we finally have that 15c people have been wanting, but the excitement has been at least slightly diminished by a manufacturing screw-up (or heatstake-up as it might be more accurately called) and some repairable firmware bugs.

#17

Quote:
EE Times Article 2/1/2008

Back then Director of Product Development group of HP Calculators Sam Kim has said about about the keyboard design on HP 35s which has 25 screws!! (BTW HP 35s cost 1/2 of HP15C LE)

"I really wanted to design something for the old-time calculator user while also attracting new customers."

(it's held together by 25 screws. Kim explains, "The keyboard is the most important part of a calculator. It must work year after year. Those 25 screws hold it down rock solid. The keyboard will never get loose and this thing will last forever. It costs us more, but it demonstrates the attention to detail we've put in.")


I recall first hearing that interview quip and at some point
later opening up a 35s. I realized even if that intention was
earnest, it certainly wasn't achieved. Some screws were
cockeyed, others had broken/stripped studs -- it appeared the
screws were a bandaid after someone had a tried their hand
heat staking with a clothes iron. Removal of the pcb still
requires severing the deformed stake head after the screw is
extracted. I'm not quite sure where they were headed with
that engineering feat.

IMHO a sentence with both "attention to detail" and the "35s"
needs a negative in there somewhere to be taken seriously
in this context.

Edited: 5 Oct 2011, 8:20 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


#18

IMHO the 25 screws only make the 35S slightly (but not enough) heavier to mimic "solid" feel (HP48 - like), but unsuccessfully.

That keyboard practically is a joke no matter what the intentions were.

And it was not meant to be "collectible" as some suggested for the 15C LE either.


#19

In the 15C LE pictures I have seen, it seems to have a metal plate in the bottom of the back part of the housing. I am guessing this is for weight. I think HP learned that this was a better option vs using a ton of screws.

#20

I fail to see how the screws help (other than if a user takes one apart it's easer to put back together) as the 28S, 48 SX series and 48GX series were all heatstaked only and worked well for many years.

Edit: what i'm getting at: don't blame the technology when it's the application (or mis-application) of the technology that's the problem.

Edited: 4 Oct 2011, 6:20 a.m.


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