That's a tough nut to crack...


Hi all.

It seems to me that the V'Gers (yes, Voyagers [can't help the reflex to reference 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture']) seem to be the last series to allow for easy repair. But, are the later series more self-contained and thus defy easy repair? What about the 48/49/50 series?

Edited: 24 May 2012, 2:06 p.m.


Just for the record... Voyagers are Voyagers and V'ger is the 49G here...


Yes, yes. Ironic isn't it? And I noticed that name in the Code Names & Series list. Well, I'll need to be a bit more careful and precise in my terminology.


Edited: 24 May 2012, 2:29 p.m.


Officially, the 41 series was the last "repairable" calculator. Every design since 1979, Voyagers and 41 halfnuts included, were disposables.

These later models where never repaired by HP, they were exchanged for new. For quite some time, the Voyagers and 41 halfnuts replacements were just the front half of the calculator and the old case backs, with the original serial number, were removed from the dead unit and screwed to the replacement. At some point, as prices dropped and companies no longer tracked them as assets, HP just did one for one swaps and you got back a new unit with a new serial number.

It was all about the cost. Voyagers, Pioneers and the 48 series, with each iteration, lowered the cost to the point where it was cheaper to replace than repair.


Officially, the 41 series was the last "repairable" calculator.

I suppose that must include the HP-71B, as well as the HP-82240A/B IR printers, as officially non-repairable. But it's hard to imagine scrapping the unit that was turned in for repair.


But it's hard to imagine scrapping the unit that was turned in for repair.

But that's (our present) economy, stupid!

Sorry, just couldn't resist ;-)


I suppose that must include the HP-71B, as well as the HP-82240A/B IR printers, as officially non-repairable. But it's hard to imagine scrapping the unit that was turned in for repair.

Yes, the 82240 was a swap-out. The print mechanism was non-hp so that was never repaired. Might have been an Epson part, given their association as the LCD supplier for all the pioneers and 48's.

The 71 had heat staked keyboards, same as the pioneers.

They did recycle stuff, removing pc boards and reclaiming lead and gold. They still do that today. Several years ago I tried to buy some of the return stream from the outfit that handled the calculator logistics. They wouldn't part with any of it, even when I offered up to $8/unit.

My own HP recycle story from the early seventies: Back before I even had my drivers licence, HP Avondale would sell the scrap instrument stuff to the local rag and bone man. He paid a couple of us industrious kids (we were all ham radio guys) to strip the circuit boards out of the units and separate all the boards, which had some very nice gold plate everywhere, from the transformers (iron and copper scrap) and aluminum. We ended up with everything else that was removable from the boards and other bits and pieces. To this day, I still have a huge box of HP instrument knobs, a collection that for some weird, strange reason, I cannot bring myself to throw away. I still have one on my Heathkit GD-17 soldering iron :-)

Edited: 25 May 2012, 10:28 a.m.


Thanks, Randy. I've never taken my HP-71B apart, nor have I seen any pictures of the internals. I didn't know about the heat-staked boards. At a HP-71B 2012 equivalent cost of $1200, that a pretty hefty value to scrap.

Was the 1984 HP-75D also not subject to any repair by HP? Its 2012 equivalent cost of $2400 and the apparent ease of replacing its card reader or either of its two main PCBs would seem to make it a likely candidate for HP repair.

If not, perhaps it was similar to a contemporary device that I valued much more (by virtue of its much greater functional capabilities, out-of-box completeness, and ease of use) than the HP-75D...the 1983 TRS-80 Model 100. The Model 100 could could be repaired, but typically the out-of-warranty cost was a very substantial fraction of new unit price. I experienced that personally. (Still, the Model 100 was a wonderful and historically important device, far more significant as a pattern for the future than any HP handheld. I loved its double precision floating point Basic interpreter. I used mine for several years in nuclear power plant engineering work, with only that one expensive repair of damage caused by some electrostatic discharge event.)

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Another tough integral Gerson W. Barbosa 59 11,673 05-20-2012, 05:59 PM
Last Post: Gerson W. Barbosa
  Just how tough is a 32S-II ? Matt Agajanian 12 3,291 03-11-2012, 05:36 AM
Last Post: Thomas Radtke
  HP-41 NUT Assembler question MichaelG 6 1,798 02-14-2012, 03:35 AM
Last Post: MichaelG
  NUT processor NOP's (beginner's question) Diego Diaz 5 1,567 05-10-2010, 12:41 PM
Last Post: Meindert Kuipers
  [OT] Future Calculator Nut? Tim Wessman 13 3,370 02-23-2010, 10:50 PM
Last Post: db (martinez, ca.)
  classic chassis with a crack Alberto Fenini 7 2,020 01-07-2010, 03:19 PM
Last Post: Alberto Fenini
  HP nut CPU and illegal instruction sequences Håkan Thörngren 9 2,551 01-05-2010, 12:50 PM
Last Post: Eric Smith
  HP-41C tall nut, full nut 2025Axxxxx close up pictures. Geoff Quickfall 4 1,420 08-18-2009, 12:08 PM
Last Post: fbronner
  Nut processor opcodes Rick Coates 1 1,009 12-20-2007, 02:42 AM
Last Post: Antonio Maschio (Italy)
  HP-41 Full-nut, Half-nut ems22 2 1,353 07-20-2007, 03:12 AM
Last Post: ems22

Forum Jump: