HP 50g advice



#2

I've spent a fair time edging around buying an HP calc due to the cost (and the fact that people keep giving me TI ones for nothing which is probably a bad sign). However, I got given an N-Spire CAS and it's horrible. Everything is like wading through treacle and sandpapering your eyeballs and applying salt. It took me 30 minutes to work out how to do a simple lin reg and in no way can you automate it and data collection via TI Basic.

So, I sat down with an HP 50G emulator the other day and managed to work out the basics and was rather impressed once I'd got over the RPN hurdle. However after some reading, it appears that there are some bugs, particularly related to it waking up after timers have expired. From what I understand, this is related to the fact that the 50G is just a large emulator for the HP48 platform and there are some VM bugs.

Can anyone comment if these issues have been resolved or not via firmware patches? I could do with the time functionality for a number of things.

Also, how is the keyboard on it compared to an HP35s (which I borrowed, but found to have a nice keyboard but functionality wise was just a mess)?

And, the final question, I don't tend to use a computer much. The NSpire pretty much requires you to have a computer around. Does the 50g stand alone well enough? I understand it has an SD slot - can I use that for backing up the calc?

(I'm an EE if that's any help).


#3

Hi, Chris.

I'm also an EE, and I use these beasts somehow.

Please, can you check and share with us which version is the OS installed in your HP50G? Just key in VERSION and press [ENTER] (if you already know about it, sorry!).

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)


#4

Quote:
Hi, Chris.

I'm also an EE, and I use these beasts somehow.

Please, can you check and share with us which version is the OS installed in your HP50G? Just key in VERSION and press [ENTER] (if you already know about it, sorry!).

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)


Thanks for the tip - I'll bear that in mind. I've not purchased it yet. Decided to play around with an emulator first.

#5

Normally when people are concerned about the cost of the 50g, I recommend that they get a 48gii instead, but you've mentioned several things that are specific to the 50g (SD card, better keyboard), so I think you're looking at the right machine. Also, the 48gii was recently discontinued so it may be getting hard to find.

I don't mind the 50g keyboard. Note that one common problem (multiple keys registering with one press) can be cured with the KEYTIME command.

Yes, you can backup and restore the calc to an SD card. Note that you need a "real" SD card and not an SDHC card. The SD cards are limited to 2GB max, but that's like infinity for these things. You could store the entire catalog of 50G programs from hpcalc.org on one 2GB card.

The documentation is a bear for new users, but it seems that you've made good progress with the emulator. Get the Quick Start Guide. Avoid the printed User's Manual that comes with the calculator. It's more like a Quick Reference Guide for people who are already familiar with it. Instead go to the 900 page User's Guide that's on the CD. You will also want to get the Advanced Users Reference which explains every user command in detail.

Browse around hpcalc.org. There's a ton of free software there.

Finally, you will find that people on this forum are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help. It's a wonderful resource.

Dave


#6

Dave:

In your post, you mentioned obtaining a "real" SD card, not an SDHC card. What's the difference and how can one tell.

I tried to order a 2 GB SD card via Amazon. Lots of luck in so doing. I was totally put off by constantly "dancing screens", screens that didn't hold still for more than a few seconds, and running banner ads too.

In disgust, I gave up and got a couple of SD cards from a nearby BestBuy store they ordered them for me, more expensive than prices at Amazon, but much less of a battle. The cards I got are the SanDisk brand and are labeled 2GB. Are these the "real" SD cards you mentioned?

Thanks for clarification.

Al


#7

You can tell the difference by trying them in the 50g or an older digital camera. SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) is a newer standard not understood by older devices.

#8

As to SD card classes, take a look at good old wikipedia (with whatever caveats you assign to wikipedia!).

I think your 2 GB cards will bo OK. It looks like the 4 GB and bigger cards are the HC (high capacity) versions. I just looked at a bunch of my camera cards, and the larger ones 4 GB and up all have SDHC pn them somewhere.


#9

I use 2GB SD cards in both the HP49G+ and HP50G, both running 2.15 OS version.

#10

I've got a few 2Gb microSD cards (extracted from phones) and an SD adaptor floating around. AFAIK, the microSD cards are the same protocol and bus spec, just smaller. I'll try that or grab a new one if it doesn't work.

My usual program library is only about 8 programs so 2Gb will go a long way :)

I'm working through the quick start PDF now - slowly.

Thanks for your time.


#11

Both the 2GB SD cards I use are the tinny ones with adapter.

#12

The 50g's alarm functions are likely to be the primary source of concern for time functionality. There doesn't seem to be any consistent way to make sure that the unit will always "wake" when it's supposed to (or simply execute an alarm if it's already turned on). When it does, things generally work as described (note that there are some considerations for running programs being interrupted, etc.). But it doesn't always happen as scheduled. The algorithms used for time calculations work as described, though. So if your needs for time functions don't include alarms, you'll probably be just fine.


Backing up the 50g to the SD card is fairly easy and a good way to feel free to experiment with the system. In addition to the built-in functionality for backing it up, there's a variety of utilities available for managing backup sets. The 50g stands on its own quite well, but if you start to find yourself writing a lot of programs for it, you may want to use the resources of a PC to assist with that process. It just depends on your personal preferences.


#13

Thanks for the confirmation. That's how I understood the situation. It's not the end of the world as there is no external triggering/integration so I'll probably stick to my trusty and rather ancient Casio watch and enter manually.

Time calculation that works is good news.

I only like to stay away from the computer as I find it has too many distractions when you're trying to get something done or do something of interest. It's all too easy to Google than think about a problem.


#14

Chris,

The HP 50G is a great choice if you are after a high end calculator.

I am a Mechanical Engineer & use mine daily without any issues. Admitedly, I don't have any practical use for alarms, but do solve many relatively complex problems on this calculator. It's speed is excellent & the built-in resources such as SOLVE etc. are terrific once you get used to them.

Prior to the HP 50G I used the 48 series calculators, such as the 48GX, for decades & still have a collection of these. The keys on the 50G are not quite as nice as on the 48 series but perfectly acceptable & the speed & display is so much better.

It was relatively easy for me to transition to the 50G (due to prior experience with the 48's) but be prepared for a steep but ultimately satisfying learning experience. Many of the books that were originally written for the 48's provide excellent background information that still applies to the 50G so if you can afford it I'd recommend purchasing some of these as well or even the latest version of the MoHPC disc set (contains most of the manuals).

Relative to other calculators, I feel the 50G is relatively good value when you consider what it can do.

All the best with your purchase.

Cheers,

Michael

#15

Quote:
Does the 50g stand alone well enough?

Very well. And, you do not require a PC to do firmware upgrades either (except that you need a way to get the code on the SD card).

I only use my Mac with my 50g to backup my 1GB SD card that contains about 20 time stamped backups of my 50g and a bunch of 50g ARM (compiled C code) programs. I also use my Mac to cross compile C code for the 50g (google for HPGCC). I do not think you can do that with the N-Spire--I could be wrong.

#16

If you still have doubts, and have an iOS device, the update to m48+ adds the 49G+ to its emulated calculators, which is essentially a 50g in functionality (the differences were hardware).

Unfortunately it does seem to have some performance issues/limited skins so I still use m48/starlight as my primary RPL calculator and rarely pull my 50g out.

(I use a 34s or 15c as my primary real calculator.)


#17

Quote:
If you still have doubts, and have an iOS device, the update to m48+ adds the 49G+ to its emulated calculators, which is essentially a 50g in functionality (the differences were hardware).

Unfortunately it does seem to have some performance issues/limited skins so I still use m48/starlight as my primary RPL calculator and rarely pull my 50g out.

(I use a 34s or 15c as my primary real calculator.)


I still have the same Nokia 3330 I bought 9 years ago so no iOS for me! Admittedly the better half has an iPhone 4S but I'm not going near it. I did have a Windows Phone (Nokia Lumia) for a few weeks but I missed my tactile buttons and broke it anyway :)

I looked at the 48GX which is impressive, but for the money you can get a 50g which appears to at least be slightly easier on the data interchange/backup front. I'll probably buy one out of curiosity in the future but I will get rid of the numerous TI machines I have lying around rotting first. Anyone want an NSpire CAS?

I've bought a 50g from Amazon for a rather respectable 77 GBP. Should turn up today if all is well.

Edited: 4 Dec 2012, 6:56 a.m.


#18

Quote:
I looked at the 48GX which is impressive, but for the money you can get a 50g which appears to at least be slightly easier on the data interchange/backup front.

I've got two HP 48GX machines. The HP 48GX is about half the speed of the HP 50G, can not be supplied external power as the HP 50G allows through its USB port, will typically have one of the poorest LCDs from a contrast and legibility standpoint of any calculator ever made, is impossible to upgrade firmware, is very expensive to increase the RAM capacity, has no SD card capability, plus does not come with any low level programming library (not even a HP-42S style debugger!) like the extensive Development Library that is standard with the HP 50G for both the real ARM processor and the emulated Saturn processor.

Not a hard decision at all! :-)

Quote:
I've bought a 50g from Amazon for a rather respectable 77 GBP.

Congratulations! It's not perfect but still, overall, it's the finest machine made by any traditional manufacturer.

You will need to download copies of the
693-page HP 50g Advanced User's Reference and the 887-page HP 50g User's Guide.

High-quality spiral-bound hard copies of the above may be ordered at HPCalc.org's website. IMHO, these are the best value for money spent in today's calculator world.


Edited: 4 Dec 2012, 11:31 a.m.


#19

I believe that HPcalc.org has given up on printing and binding those manuals, and has assigned them a rolling "back order" date in lieu of announcing that fact.


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