Need An Intro to WP34S


Hi all,

I have been relatively inactive for sometime but am back more now.

I am interested in learning about the WP34S but feel I am coming way to late to the party. I was wondering if someone can point me in the direction of how to get started--the hardware requirements, where to get the cable, how to flash the memory, keyboard overlays, etc.

I don't want to pester the group with a lot of newb questions that would have been already answered for me had I been more regular here for the past two or three years.




WP34S Start


Thank you! That is easier than I thought.

Assuming I can get a programming cable (I will contact Gene on FB and ask him), is it a serial port connection only? I have one of those USB-serial converters, supposedly one of the better ones, but I could never get it to work. Failing that, I think I have an old laptop around with XP and an RS232 port. I do prefer the simplicity of USB, though.

I also see that The Calculator Store in Europe seems to sell pre flashed kits without the cable. Looks expensive (especially with shipping and duty to Canada), but they do reflash for free, even though the return shipping costs add up. Is it worth it?




Serial Questions


Thanks! But I must admit the nuances of the USB-Serial conversion just sail over my head. I know that as one actually interested in wp34s I should be more tech savvy, but I am not.

Looks like I was wise to keep that old laptop with the RS-232 port. Otherwise, if I am serious I will look at buying one pre-flashed. That said, I really would like a cable so that I can reflash my 15C LE once the PSE and other bugs are fixed in firmware...


See here too for info.

I recommend at least trying to flash it yourself. Should be doable with your XP machine with a real serial port. Wp34s will probably get pretty stable at some point, but there will likely still be occasional updates.



Alas, I just took a closer look at that old XP machine, and it doesn't have a female RS-232, only a male parallel port (old printer port, basically).

Anyone have success with a parallel-to-serial converter?



Forget it! If you can find a PCMCIA card with a COM port you are fine. Why not just buy an FTDI equipped USB/serial converter?


You're assuming that old XP machine has USB ports. :-)

Les, what is your current modern machine? If Mac, you do not need XP. You can flash from the Mac via a USB-to-Serial device from FTDI. And they can be had for ~$14 US.


Is this the sort of thing you are talking about?:


And, Egan, thank you for remembering, even though I haven't been regular here for awhile. I do indeed use Macs. I am glad to hear that the flashing is doable and the converter cables are cheap, available, and seem to work.

Now, to write Gene about the programming cable...



That should work. If you really want to play it safe then get this one That is what I purchased and used with my MacBook Air with OS/X 10.6.8. I have been able to flash via OS/X (and Wine, you'll have to install Wine) and to also use the Emulator (also with Wine).

I should probably write a 34S for Mac users page on one of the Wiki's.


Yes please!


I just wanted to share that I do have a USB-Serial converter cable with the Prolific chip-set. On installing the most recent driver from Prolific the cable is recognized fine in XP in a VMWare Fusion VM on my Mac. Regrettably, I don't have any old serial port hardware, not even a mouse, with which to test.

Could this work, or has the general experience been that it has to be FTDI? Indeed, for all I know the technology can be similar or identical, albeit under a different brand.



Disregard this. I just read in another thread that it won't work. "Anything but Prolific" seems to be the advice.

If anyone has different experience, please let me know.



Les, you can try the serial commands between the calculator on the emulator? It may well be that only the original SAM-BA software from Atmel has problems with the (probably counterfeit) Prolific chip sets. MySamba could be much more robust in this respect.


Thanks Marcus, I will look into how to do that. At the moment, there is no huge rush. The calculator won't be here for awhile and I haven't heard back from Gene yet about getting a cable. That gives me lots of time to experiment with the port commands in the emulator. I will look at the documentation and see how that is done, and will return with any questions.




If you want to learn the I/O commands you can run the emulator from two different directories: Just create two icons and change the working directory. Then install com0com to emulate a pair of com ports which are internally tied together. Now edit wp34s.ini in both directories to reflect the virtual com ports.


What a cool trick!


The info above is a good start, but I'll add:

  1. MySamba.exe has been easier for me to use for flashing and it works from Linux and OS/X via Wine.
  2. I have been able to flash using USB to Serial (FTDI-based) without issue from Windows/XP in a VM on OS/X. Based on others feedback any FTDI-based USB to Serial should work.
  3. I'd hold off until after the fork. 3.0 is about to be released and it will have a different overlay. Unless you want the older overlay then 2.2 is feature complete.
  4. Reflashing after initial flash is much easier. Esp. with MySamba.exe. It takes me about 30 seconds to update to a newer version.
  5. 20b looks better, 30b feels better.
  6. There is a Windows emulator for the 34S if you want to test drive first. It also runs with Wine.

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