HP-15C LE replacement shipped



#43

I had logged a support case with HP (per instructions I read here some weeks ago) because my HP-15C LE (CNA1310KBQ, #02198) had a divide key that took extra pressure to register.

Today I received an e-mail from Paul L. at HP support stating that my replacement unit just shipped 'Priority Overnight' and I should receive it by Tuesday latest -- although he did not have a tracking number to provide.

Perhaps they've reworked some of the stock and will soon be selling and shipping again?

But the 15C LE still shows "Out of Stock" on the HP Home and Small Office shop site. And it's not listed at all on the other business and enterprise sites, at least that I can find.

I'll believe it shipped when I have it in my hands. I'll let you know if they include packing and postage to ship the defective one back. Maybe it's a good thing I hadn't gotten around to opening it up and trying to fix it myself!

Dale


#44

I also got e-mail from Paul L. in regards to this. I asked him where to send the broken 15C to and was told: "As far as the defective calculator, at this time we will not be ask you to return it to us. You may dispose of it once you receive your replacement. "


#45

Ah. So, if I take my flaky-divide-key one and open it up and fix it (per recently posted procedures and pictures by others, and I don't hack it up too badly), what does that do to the "Limited Edition"? Do I just end up with two (#02198 and some other number)? They wouldn't send another marked #02198, would they? Can't have two with the same LE number, right?

Did I just hose someone else out of an otherwise available "Limited Edition" calculator? Then I absolutely have to apologize to anyone who couldn't get one. I'm sorry.

I guess I'll end up with a good one to keep and one to open up and dink with and maybe fix or otherwise experiment around with. I sure can't complain, getting another. Just hate feeling like someone missed out because of this.

But before you all ask: No, I won't give the one with the flaky divide key away ;-) (Nor will I "dispose of it", nor will I put it up on TAS for a ridiculous price. Someone will get usefulness out of it.)


#46

It seems all calculators sold were in the LE-No. range of up to 3000. With about 10% defective units, that would make just 300 units for the bin, probably a sufficiently small number to be ignored.

The remaining number of 15C LE hopefully comes from a replacement production batch or hasn't been produced before the bug were encountered and fixed.

It's great to see a generous acting HP again and hope it works out for the overseas people as well. Now one last thing remains - the firmware update.

#47

Dale,

I read you comment about duplicate serial numbers. I became both curious and excited about the prospect.

Sooooooooooo, I programmed by Super Cray computer (which I have secretly assembled in my basement so that my calculator-monitoring wife would not know about it). I applied combination of Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods (I had to actually call prince Albert II of Monaco to tweak the algorithm ... the guy is a math genius) with Quasi-deterministic Bayesian algorithms, and the spherical Bessel function of the ludicrous kind used in the Fermi-model for Uranium 238 nucleus. That was not as easy as it sounds to program.

In the output, my own beloved and most cherished Super Cray told me that I was a moron and demanded I take it back to the dealer. It printed, and I quote, "I'd rather be a stupid mp3 player than work for you!!" Harsh words, I must say. I was shocked that the machine did not take my question well!!

:-)

Edited: 12 Nov 2011, 8:16 a.m.

#48

Quote:
I also got e-mail from Paul L. in regards to this. I asked him where to send the broken 15C to and was told: "As far as the defective calculator, at this time we will not be ask you to return it to us. You may dispose of it once you receive your replacement. "

This is classic HP customer delighting service, Bill & Dave would have approved of it.

#49

I'll be interested to hear whether the PSE bug and the others have been fixed.


#50

When pigs fly.


#51

I doubt that the replacements which are hopefully on their way will have a new rom. Is it your opinion that no new rom will ever be released? I do not agree or disagree, just wondering if you feel that way, and if so, why. I guess I am still hopeful, but becoming less optimistic.


#52

Has a new ROM ever been released for the buggy 35s ? And its sales volume is much higher than the 15C LE. I doubt the majority of 15C LE owners really care. I certainly don't.


#53

Quote:
Has a new ROM ever been released for the buggy 35s?

A while back I was lambasted for pointing this out, because, if I recall, the 35s is different, because it does not have an upgradable ROM. However, my point was, and may also be yours, that HP seemingly has no interest in fixing bad ROMs, with the exceptions of the 12c+ and 50g.

#54

Well, I don't own a 12C+, so I don't know about updates for it, but I did reflash my 50g EPROM when an update was offered. Of course, this is easily done with either the supplied USB cable and software or an SD card. The 12C+ and 15C LE require purchase of a cable and software not offered or supported by HP. For the average user this is an unacceptable hassle.


#55

Quote:
The 12C+ and 15C LE require purchase of a cable and software not offered or supported by HP. For the average user this is an unacceptable hassle.

Excellent point.
#56

Jeff,

there was an update for the 12C+ - same bug, AFAIK. It's hopefully not rocket science to correct the 15C LE firmware for the units still to be sold, and I hope it has been done already (I guess we will know soon).

Unfortunately, the 12C+ update hasn't been made available, but then, I haven't heard of any requests for it. Different story now. Someone should leak the 15C LE update firmware to the community if HP didn't do it themselfs. That might violate the law, but is ethically as clean as a newborn.

And for those w/o cable, I'm sure we can arrange to find users do this for them. I for one would be willing to update calculators for german forum members.

Thomas


#57

Quote:
And for those w/o cable, I'm sure we can arrange to find users do this for them. I for one would be willing to update calculators for german forum members.

Same here (Rhein/Main Region). But as already stated, there isn't any new firmware to burn yet.
#58

Quote:
Someone should leak the 15C LE update firmware to the community if HP didn't do it...

I presume you mean that if the replacement units come with an updated rom, that one of those receiving such a unit should "share" the rom. From what I understand, there is no way to extract the rom from the calculator itself, so HP would have to release it to someone in electronic form.

Quote:
And for those w/o cable, I'm sure we can arrange to find users do this for them. I for one would be willing to update calculators for german forum members

I thought about suggesting that as an option HP could use to distribute a new rom. But I doubt they could actually formally support or encourage such program due to liability reasons. I.e., if they tell people to send their calculators to me to re-flash, and I decide to keep them for myself, HP would be liable. (I am not a lawyer, just applying common sense.)


#59

Quote:
I presume you mean that if the replacement units come with an updated rom, that one of those receiving such a unit should "share" the rom.
I was thinking of someone working for HP and having access to the firmware file.

#60

That person would be risking his or her job - I would not ask such a thing.


#61

I wouldn't, too. Such things leak all the time out of conviction, not because they have been requested. Well, it's just a chance.

Having an update and keep it from users spending $100+ for a certain product would be an incredibly stupid thing to do, taking into account that the 15C ROM can be found easily on the net anyway. I can't see any additional value in the emulating stuff around it, so HP likely will release it.

Edit: ... as they did with the 20b firmware.


Edited: 14 Nov 2011, 12:59 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#62

I'm waiting for the Victor V15.


#63

I took a chance and contacted them about exactly that. Of course, I didn't get any further than getting the usual nonsense response.

Now that the 15C LE apparently sells well, someone might notice it and produce a V15, an Aurora 1000S or something similar. But ... the 15C *is* actually back and we'll see how things develop. I see no reason why HP doesn't want to make some money from this success and does a few things unexpectedly right. It's about time.

#64

Quote:
Having an update and keep it from users spending $100+ for a certain product would be an incredibly stupid thing to do, taking into account that the 15C ROM can be found easily on the net anyway. I can't see any additional value in the emulating stuff around it, so HP likely will release it.

I'm obviously biased, but IMHO the emulation implementation is
precisely where the value lies for either ARM based voyager.
Legacy voyager firmware images are largely an opaque bag of bits
into which you can drill just enough to accurately emulate their
execution. It is the emulation engine which gives the legacy
rom images application beyond execution via a 30 year old
0.0039 MIPS NUT processor.

Concerning a firmware upgrade, on one hand as HP released an
update for the 12c+ it would seem there is precedent for
doing so. Unsure whether they will be more concerned with the
prospect of letting a 15c le image loose in the wild nor does
that service approach seem to scale very well in general.


#65

Quote:
Concerning a firmware upgrade, on one hand as HP released an update for the 12c+

Well, an update was provided to a few people, but they never actually formally released it. It's not like you can go to the HP we site and download it. I think current new models are still shipping with an earlier version.


#66

Would posting the update on HP's website be that useful? They would also have to set up a distribution channel for the cables, official documentation for the flash tools and/or a more user-friendly tool than SAM-BA.

I just can't see the current procedure for this (get flash cable by sending money to a guy on the internet <no offense to Gene, we all know him as a great guy but random HP customers don't know him from Adam>, fill out big form to download Atmel's programming software, hold down crazy sequence of buttons to enter programming mode, etc.) being something HP would officially post. I find it more likely that if they do anything other than quietly give the update to us like they did with the 12C+ code they would probably have people mail in their calculators to be reflashed.


#67

I hate to say it but the only practical solution for HP is to institute a replacement program. If you've registered your 15C LE (or not) and you contact them with a complaint about it (either software or hardware), they will send you a replacement and not even bother with your old unit. They might request that you exchange your bad unit for a new one, but all they will do is dispose of it. It's just too expensive for them to do anything else and they already have customers who are angry about a brand new calculator that has problems. I own 4 of these 15c LEs and I left two of them with Tim back in September. I'm sure when new calculators are issued that have the excessive current solved, the bad keys replaced and the firmware upgraded, he will send me replacements. I should send him an email asking how it's going.

The real question here is HP going to provide a path for us die-hard owners to upgrade the firmware for the LEs we already own? They can but I would think the concern HP would have is a third-party using the firmware upgrade to build near perfect clones of the 15C LE at a 10th of the price (though I'm sure the keyboard and display will suck).

Also, remember, HP has made these programming cables available to allow us to re-program the 20b and 30b calculators with WP34s firmware, not perform firmware upgrades to existing units. There is no liability for HP to have a customer reprogram a perfectly good 20b/30b. I know the original 20b firmware is available but the 30b firmware isn't available as far as I know. If HP releases a firmware upgrade to the 15C LE and the average customer has no idea how to do this (How do I hook a D9 connector to my Win7/Mac PC? What is FTDI?), who will the customer become angry with?

I hope HP surprises me and does both, but I'm not holding my breath.

Gerry

Edited: 14 Nov 2011, 9:20 p.m.


#68

Meh. Plugging a programming cable in isn't that expensive. Unless these things are stupidly cheap to make, which I doubt because they're being turned out in small batches, and look like an HP 15C, which means brushed metal, custom painted faceplate/backplate, a chrome 15C logo, and other things not seen on your average $15 Casio. Even compared to a 30b, I'm almost certain the 15C costs more to make.

I can understand HP telling us to pitch the ones with bad keyboards, those would be far too labor-intensive to fix (and fixing it correctly would involve either screws or replacing the front case).

As for a third party snarfing the 15C firmware, I don't know how much of a concern that really is, or how much of a deterrent the 'no firmware image' thing is. A sufficiently motivated copycat could get it out of the chip one way or another even if it took decapping the IC or something (even easier than a 12C+ since the 15Cs have plastic packaged CPUs instead of chip on board). And I just don't know if a 15C copycat would be economical. 12Cs sure, but the 15C has a very limited market, and that market wants it to say "Hewlett Packard" on the front.


#69

I can't imagine why someone would not want to produce a 15C clone. There are several companies that produces clones on the iPhone and Andriod market.

As far as replacement - it would make sense for HP to have a swap and replace program for updated 15C for those who purchased calculators from the first batch. Of course, there will be a at least a week's time between the shipments - which presents big time problems for those who had to wait months for their order to arrive.

#70

My replacement arrived today. CNA14400SH, LE#13047. Keyboard seems perfect, firmware is the same version (Checksum FFFFh, date 2011-04-15). Came in a FedEx box shipped from Fort Collins, CO, just the calculator, no accessories/documentation (which makes sense, people getting these already have boxes and cases and manuals).


#71

Although there is no new firmware, there is perhaps some good news in your report. The serial number implies that it was manufactured in week 44 of this year, which by my calculations was the last week of October. The CNA implies that it was made in the same factory as the earlier units. So hopefully this means they sorted out the manufacturing difficulties that were causing the keyboard problems and have restarted production. In other words, they have not just sorted through and tested all units produced in the first production run to find those with good keyboards to send out to replace faulty units. The LE number implies that at least 13,047 units have been made, so maybe the "10,000 unit limited production run" rumor was unfounded.

Or perhaps I read too much into the available information.


#72

The LE number may not mean that, but it does mean that at least 13,047 back plates were made, since it would seem that backplate LE numbers and serial numbers have no relationship. Since the 'manufacturing difficulties' seemed to be sloppy heatstaking and/or debris getting into the keyboards, I'd imagine resolving those was simply a matter of disassembling a few 15Cs, discovering these problems, and yelling at the factory to be more careful.

#73

Quote:
[...] firmware is the same version [...]
So, debugging it in time for the replacement units was obviously not possible or worthwhile. That's really bad news and a first indication that it will never happen :-(.

#74

Two developers and certainly other projects in the pipeline... What do you expect?


#75

Quote:
Two developers and certainly other projects in the pipeline... What do you expect?

Cleaning up the workbench before doing the next job ;-).

#76

Quote:
Cleaning up the workbench before doing the next job ;-).

Second that. But work culture may be different there ;-)

#77

Quote:
Second that.

Agree completely.

Quote:
But work culture may be different there ;-)

I'm not sure it is a work culture/ethic at the choice of
an engineer but perhaps a difference of competitive business
philosophy. Eg, resources are expended to the extent of
producing a product which is marginally (but not excessively)
superior to the competition. Doing so finite resources
are conserved and redirected to another competitive front.

All else being equal this is one reason opensource development
routinely produces a superior polished product as work
continues to an engineer's passionate lunatic fringe
vs. halting when the development budget has been deemed exhausted.

Of course old HP was an infamous exception in this respect.

[edited for clarity]

Edited: 16 Nov 2011, 1:23 p.m.

#78

Quote:
Cleaning up the workbench before doing the next job ;-).

Speaking of which, I'd hope the promised rewrite of the
15c Advanced Functions Handbook accompanying the 15c le
release is still cluttering up the bench and hasn't
fallen victim to the broom..

#79

Despite my disappointment over lack of fixed firmware, I have to say this replacement program pleases me. Kudos to HP for making this right! (Or trying to. There may be problems with the solution, though I hope not.)

#80

I received my replacement today as well. I sent in my original to Fort Collins for 'failure analysis'.

CNA14400SG
LEN 13520


#81

My replacement arrived yesterday. CNA14400NL LE#: 13060

Keys seem to work fine, and best of all it has the correct firmware!!

Thanks HP!


#82

Quote:
and best of all it has the correct firmware!!
Do you mean that the PSE bug has been solved? Which firmware version do you have on your new 15C LE?

#83

Wild guess: It's a 15C, not a 12C firmware ;-).

#84

Didier, Thomas is right. Read the original story here.

#85

Ok, I forgot it. I was just hoping to see an updated 15C LE firmware ;)


#86

Yeah, sorry to disappoint. I was just glad this one functions at a 15c, and not a 12c in 15c clothing.


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