17BII+ vs 19BII Business Consulatant II


I have read excellent comments regarding the 17BII+ (except for the keyboard) and have only just remarked, via the demo feature on the HP website here, the similarity between its menu system and that of the 19BII.

Is there anything the 17BII+ can do that the 19BII cannot? Sure, it has the clock, calendar and alarms features, but I suspect the 19BII is a much more capable all-purpose calculator, especially where maths functions such as trig and hyperbolic trig are concerned. What are the benefits of this calculator, aside from form factor - which is a matter of personal taste anyway?


Jeff Kearns


One of the most important distinctions is the solver. The 19bii has the original solver. The 17bii+ has the somewhat mucked-up solver, which I think doesn't handle Let and Get correctly and has some significant differences with how it handles initial guesses etc. Look in archives I think you'll find a discussion of this.

And yes, 19bii has trig functions in the menus.



My initial search was incomplete. You are correct; this has already been discussed ad nauseam. I now have little interest in the 17BII+ after reviewing the archives. Thanks.



I think you have to differentiate between the 2 "new" 17Bii+ machines; the latest (silver) does have L() and G() [they are documented in the manual as well]. I have no idea about the clunky bronze one. All reports I have seen say "no".

Running in my silver 17Bii+, several solver routines actually executed faster than my original 17Bii's. I have no doubt that it does have a different solver and if I put more complex problems in, some of the issues mentioned here in the last half year may very well crop up. However, I think that majority of these complaints have come from the early bronze 17Bii+, not the silver one.

About the biggest difference I note between the 17Bii and the (silver) 17Bii+ is the calculation of amortization schedules. The 17Bii+ seems to repeat the calculation from scratch when you are doing the later runs (say 49-60, for example). The 17Bii just continues where it left off so it is much faster there.

I picked up my 17Bii+ for $0.01 on TAS (plus $17 shipping, of course) and I am most happy with it (it definitely slipped in under the radar!)! The buttons are WAY better than the new-in-blister-pack very late model 17Bii (black face) I picked up at HHC2011. Those ones have the hollow feel of the current crop of HP's (ugh!) -- which includes the 12C+ I have BTW (and I suspect the 15C LE). My older 17Bii's all have gorgeous keyboards.

However the largest differentiating factor has got to be the screen of the 17Bii+ vs. the older ones. Just no comparison -- the 17Bii+ wins hands down! Contrast and viewing angle are far superior.

Battery consumptions? That remains to be seen but I doubt the new ones are in the same league as the 3x 357.

I can't answer the question about 19Bii vs. 17Bii+ because my 19Bii is still in transit (purchased yesterday). The 17Bii(+)'s do not have the rich set of math functions in the 19Bii so it is clearly not as useful as an all-around calculator.


I have no idea about the clunky bronze one. All reports I have seen say "no".

The brown/bronze 17bii+ has L() and G() as well, and they are documented in the manual. But both the brown/bronze and the silver 17bii+'s have the exact same solver, and the problems documented elsewhere in the forum affect both machines. You won't run into the problems if you never use L() and G(), nor will you run into the problems if you do use L() and G() only for non-menu (that is, what you might call local) variables.

I think that majority of these complaints have come from the early bronze 17Bii+, not the silver one.

That's because the problems were identified before the silver 17bii+'s came out. But, because they have the same solver, the silver ones are affected too.


Good to know. I certainly have not pushed mine to anywhere near the extent that you have yours. A wizard like yourself, I am not! Some of your spectacular solver studies have just boggled my mind! :-)

...I seem to recall that someone had a run-in with HP trying to get a resolution to the L()/G() not being in their bronze unit. HP came back saying something to the effect that "These are not in the manual so they are not part of the specification" (I am paraphrasing wickedly here). Am I mistaken in that recollection?

I don't have a manual from the bronze age, nor do I have one of those units, so I cannot check...



Some of your spectacular solver studies have just boggled my mind

I've been intrigued by the 17b solver since around 2007. I find the whole idea of "can an equation be a program" to be very interesting, and I have been amazed at what others have done with this solver. HP never advertised the 17b as a "programmable" calculator, but it certainly is, principally due to L() and G() and IF() and ().

someone had a run-in with HP trying to get a resolution to the L()/G() not being in their bronze unit. HP came back saying something to the effect that "These are not in the manual so they are not part of the specification"

It may have been that someone with an HP17bii complained that their unit didn't have L() and G() because those functions were not in their manual, so they assumed the functions were not in the hardware. But they were. I've got about 10 17b/17bii's and they all have L() and G(), but only the manuals for the plusses contain the documentation for L() and G(). If someone has any 17b that they think does not have the L() and G() functions, I'd like to know about it. AFAIK, all 17b varieties have those functions.

It would not surprize me that HP customer service people wouldn't know about L() and G(), and therefore would give that response. They can't know everything.


I guess this was the thread I was recalling, maybe it is not correct:

L() and G() unsupported on NEW HP17BII+ (Long)


That thread was from 2005. I didn't own a 17bii+ in those days, I first got one in 2007 and it had the L() and G() functions and its documentation of solver functions included L() and G() as well. I believe that the author of that thread said that L() and G() were unsupported because they didn't work, but he was able to enter the L() and G() functions in a formula and get a result, just the wrong result!

This is the formula he entered:

L(A:X) + 2*G(A) – B = 0

He said he entered 5 for X then solved for B and got 5 when it should have been 10. Actually, it should have been 15 because L(A:X) will give you 5 and 2*5 will give you 10, hence 15 would be correct (which Hugh Steers pointed out). Entering that equation on my 2007 17bii+, I get the correct answer, 15. Entering it on a 17b also yields 15. So if that poster really got 5, maybe there was a problem with the early versions of the 17bii+ that was corrected by 2007, who knows. But the problem wasn't that L() and G() weren't present in his unit; they were, else when he CALC'd his formula he would have received the message INVALID EQUATION.

In those old threads, there was much gnashing of teeth regarding the 17bii+ solver not working like the original 17b and 17bii solver, and that is true and unfortunate. If HP ever updates the 17bii+ solver to perform like the original 17b solver, I'll be the first in line to buy one (or 2 or 3 or ...).


I know what you mean. I am an engineer and really have little professional use for a financial calculator but I just the love the 17Bii.

I put the $0.01 bid in on the 17Bii+ mostly as a joke but have been very pleased with it thus far. It would be really nice to attack its guts and replace it with an emulation of the the 42S some day... Its a great chassis.



Have you seen the solver program listed in the Articles forum which runs on a 17b or bii (not sure it will work on the + as it uses L and G) which gives you trig functions?

W.B. McGuire wrote the first one I was aware of, but I see that Gerson has also written a bunch, including Hyperbolics!

Edited: 6 Jan 2012, 5:53 p.m.


Hi Bill,

Can you be more specific as to which article won't run on the17Bii+? I tried the 2nd set of Trig equations from here and TAN from group 4 as well and things seemed to work fine. I get corect answers for everything I tried.

(I admit to lack of patience to type in more of the longer ones :-)



It has been a long time since I looked into this--I just am not sure whether Bruce's formulation works on the new + machines, that's all. Maybe Gerson has made something for them but I haven't reviewed them at all.


The L and G were included in an HP applications publication, back in the 17b/19b days.

Actually come to think of it, I believe it was in the 19b manaul, too (I don't have one). Somewhere, I have a paper copy of the pertinent pages of the applications book, which was written for the 19b, 17b and 27s (all three have the same solver).


L() and G() are described in detail in the Technical Applications Manual for the HP-27S and HP-19B; that is the source for advanced solver techniques. L() and G() are listed as solver functions in the HP-17bii+ manuals, but they are not listed in any of the 17b, 17bii, 27s, or 19bii manuals that I am aware of.


That's exactly the application thing I was remembering--thanks.

I wonder why they didn't put it in the manual? Perhaps it was something of an "easter egg"?


I wonder why they didn't put ...L() and G()... in the manual?

I've often wondered about that too. One possibility is that L() and G() were meant for debugging the first solver, and they forgot to remove that code prior to production. That would explain why it wasn't in the manuals. Then someone--undoubtedly a member of this forum!!--found out about those functions, and the rest is history.

Alas, we'll probably never know because the authors and developers are long gone.


Jeff, Bill is right, the solver in the 17bii+ will be a disappointment if you want to do formula customization using L() and G(). It also uses the iterative solver in some situations where the original 17b and 17bii solver would use the faster direct solver.

If you don't need trigs, I heartily recommend the 17b or, if you must have RPN, the 17bii.

The alpha keyboard of the 19bii is nice, as is RAN#, but the battery door is a well-known problem.


but the battery door is a well-known problem.
The latest incarnation of the 19 BII with black housing and darker keys has the battery door like ist should have been from the beginning: A clip cover on the back side, which can easily be applied and removed. The whole battery contact force has been transferred to the housing. WAY better than the original battery door.

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