WP-34S and Macintosh OS/X


Hi all.

In considering the WP-34S has a very low price point, it seems to be a very interesting option. So, if I were to get a fully assembled 34S (with the 30B makeover) flashed with the latest revisions, what would I need on my Mac running OS/X (10.4.11) to keep the 34S up to date?


You'll need the serial flashing cable from Gene, an FTDI-chipped USB-serial adapter (the one sold by Eric Rechlin at hpcalc.org works great for me), up-to-date Mac drivers for the adapter (from FTDIchip.com) and flashing software so you can keep the calc updated. I cannot get Pascal's Qt flash software for Mac to work for me, and frankly haven't had time to troubleshoot it with him. I do my flashing with MySamba under Windows XP, virtualized on my Macs with VMWare Fusion.

Pascal's Qt emulator for Mac works superbly and I use it to send RAM contents back and forth between calc and computer using the commands RECV, SENDA, SENDP, etc. This has worked flawlessly, which makes it even more mystifying why I can't get the flash tool to work. Keep in mind that the Qt emulators are a separate but related project of Pascal's. They do NOT get built every time Marcus, Pauli, Walter, etc., do an integration build of the ROMs and the Windows emulator. So the Mac emulator is a bit out of sync--now in revision 2783, whereas the calc firmware is up to 2830, with more builds due any day now.

If you really want to get serious about this calc on the Mac you are going to want to learn about the various build scripts which can take text listings of code and turn them into programs and libraries that can be sent to the calc over the serial cable. These are Perl scripts that run in Terminal.

I don't know if this saves you money, but it may be worth your while just to get a 30b at the best price you can find it, the cable and adapter, and overlays from Eric, and flash it yourself. You're going to to need all of this stuff anyway if you want to keep abreast of the ongoing development. And it isn't expensive at all.

I am concerned that you are running OSX Tiger, which is ancient in Mac terms. I have no idea if Pascal's emulator, flash tool (if you can get it to work), or the most recent up-to-date FTDI drivers are compatible with 10.4. Something to put to the group.

Hope this helps.

I really encourage any HP calc enthusiast to jump on this bandwagon. The calculator has all of the coveted power of the legendary 42S combined with speed and I/O abilities. Plus, it comes with its own dedicated team of HP lovers and enthusiasts who just keep chugging--free of charge. Think about it--you find a bug, one of the guys fixes it within hours and you get new firmware to flash. My barely-touched 15C LE still has the PSE bug. The WP34S is a wet dream--a powerful keystroke programmable with a personal touch. It is by us and for us. And I spent a lot less on this than I have on collectibles I just had to have in days of yore that now I barely touch.

Edited: 21 Apr 2012, 6:37 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


BTW, I'm not sure if the Qt Emulator and flashing tool work or not under Tiger. My guess is that they work under Leopard but not on any older MacOSX.

The Qt Emulator will be build more often in the near future.


The Qt Emulator will be build more often in the near future.

Thanks, Pascal. I look forward to that.

As for my flash tool issues, all I can say is that I am getting a "can't communicate with device" error, or words to that effect. The USB-Serial adapter I use is the one that Eric Rechlin sells at hpcalc.org and many use around here with fine success. My Mac FTDI-chip drivers are up to date. And, as I have said, communications are fine with the Qt emulator.

MySamba in virtualized Windows XP still works fine for me, but it would be nice to get everything done in the Mac OS, where I presently write my program text files, build them to libraries in Terminal using the Perl tools, attach them to the calc binaries, etc., but I still have to resort to MySamba to do the final flashing.



Yes, this has been frustrating for me too. The flash tool and the Qt Emulator use the exact same library.
And the flash tool works sometimes as you can see here; http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/forum.cgi?read=218450#218450

But sometimes, the WP34s in SAM-BA mode does answer to the initial message, probably because it does not receive it and I do not know why yet.

I'm waiting for 2 cables. Then I'll be able to more tests and especially compare what works and what does not simultaneously. I hope I'll find the solution then.

But serial communication on MacOSX has proven to be extremely unreliable. It depends a lot on the chipset & driver. Sometimes, communications work one way and not the others, sometimes it works but is slow...


SAM-BA on the device uses the R-C oscillator which is inherently inaccurate. The initial message is read by the device and when it comes in garbled, it adjusts the processor frequency and waits for another package. The trick is to send enough packages from the the host until this handshake succeeds.


Yes, I know but I'm sending the exact same number of messages as SAM-BA. I'll try with more.



But sometimes, the WP34s in SAM-BA mode does answer to the initial message, probably because it does not receive it and I do not know why yet.

What about the calculator end of things? Does one prepare the calc for flashing with your tool the same way one does with MySamba? Maybe we should start with basics and tell me what you do, step by step, to prepare the calc to be flashed with you tool?



Yes, I'm doing exactly what MySamba does. The flashing tool is a C++/Qt rewrite of MySamba.
I tested it by writing a WP34s "in flash mode emulator" and checking that the bytes send and received where the same as MySamba.

This explains why it works fine sometimes. I still do not know why it is not always the case.
As Marcus said, WP34s serial communication are not 100% reliable and as flashing is done at 115200 bauds instead of 9600 for SEND/RECV, this may be an issue. Especially on OSX where USB->Serial drivers seem to be more buggy.


MySamba works fine in my MAC in a virtualized Windows XP through Parallels.


But see, that's my point. No Mac OS/X Tiger support leaves the 34S as a vaporware for me.


Update your OS or take on the porting and support role yourself...

The Qt emulator work is being done by one person, there is a limit to the number of systems we can hope to provide support for. Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion for the Mac; a few versions of Windows and some Linux machines. Sounds like more than adequate to me.

If Tiger, why not Panther too? Windows 95? DOS? Where do we draw the line here?

- Pauli


+1. Tiger support is not supported any more by many programs & development tools nowadays.
For instance, Firefox dropped tiger support in 2010/2011.
Also, it does not run easily in virtual machines. So supporting it and testing it is everything but easy. Especially as it is often used on PPC machines whose are now at least 6 years old...

P.S: it was launched 7 years ago, replaced 5 years ago and the last security patch was 3 years ago. This is quite old in computer time.

P.P.S: it may work on Tiger, at least on an Intel processor but I cannot guarantee it. Did you try at least?

Edited: 23 Apr 2012, 12:58 a.m.


Thanks for the suggestion. I've got a PowerBook G4 (yup, THAT old) from '05 that still works for me. Because it works so well, I've not considered an upgrade at this time.


In your case, upgrading to Leopard will not be sufficient. We do not support PowerPC Macintoshes because we simply cannot test on them.


I have to get behind this too. One of great advantages of Apple--I know even the the strongest Mac detractors around here can't disagree with this--is that the OS upgrades are cheap. If you must retain Tiger for whatever purpose, when you upgrade to at least Leopard you can have yourself a dual-boot configuration courtesy of Boot Camp.


If Tiger, why not Panther too? Windows 95? DOS? Where do we draw the line here?

You forgot CP/M. ;-)

But seriously: a Win98 version (of the emulator) would indeed be great for oldies like me. :-)



You forgot CP/M. ;-)

I actually did think of this when responding :-)

- Pauli


Franz, the problem lies in the tools we're using to create our software. The version of MFC required by HP's original emulator sources asks for a minimum version of the Microsoft compiler to build code for them. The version that was able to create Windows 2000 code was no longer available when I was looking for the tools and my old Microsoft compiler did not support the necessary MFC library. I was stuck with VC 10 which only compiles code for Windows XP and above. It's not our unwillingness to support older platforms, it's just not possible to do so in some cases.


It's not our unwillingness to support older platforms, it's just not possible to do so in some cases.

I know, Marcus, and it shouldn't be any blame from my side.

Since I have 4 computers with all Windows versions (98/2000/XP/Vista/7) it's no problem at all, but I still like Win98 most - it's the Windows version that I know best and that does what I want (and not I have to do what Windows wants ;-)).


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  [WP-34S] Unfortunate key damage with update to V3 :( svisvanatha 5 3,184 12-10-2013, 11:37 PM
Last Post: Les Bell
  WP-34S (Emulator Program Load/Save) Barry Mead 1 1,799 12-09-2013, 05:29 PM
Last Post: Marcus von Cube, Germany
  DIY HP 30b WP 34s serial flash/programming cable Richard Wahl 2 2,524 12-04-2013, 11:14 AM
Last Post: Barry Mead
  Writing RPL programs on OS X Sean Freeman 18 5,149 11-30-2013, 03:59 PM
Last Post: Sean Freeman
  WP 34S/43 ?'s Richard Berler 3 2,050 11-10-2013, 02:27 AM
Last Post: Walter B
  My FrankenCulator (wp-34s) FORTIN Pascal 4 2,144 11-09-2013, 06:18 PM
Last Post: FORTIN Pascal
  WP 34S Owner's Handbook Walter B 5 2,666 11-09-2013, 05:34 PM
Last Post: Harald
  wp 34s overlay and programming. FORTIN Pascal 6 2,893 11-08-2013, 01:28 PM
Last Post: Nick_S
  m.dy in display of WP-34S Harold A Climer 3 1,937 11-05-2013, 11:28 AM
Last Post: Andrew Nikitin
  WP 34s : An old problem coming back Miguel Toro 2 1,728 11-05-2013, 03:00 AM
Last Post: Marcus von Cube, Germany

Forum Jump: