Very expensive HP support



I live in Buenos Aires - Argentina. I'm a HP and some others calculators collector. You can see my little collection here:

Recently I realized that my HP-48SX doesn´t work anymore.
It have been stored without batterys since year 2000.
But now it simply doesn't turn on.

I contacted the customer support center of HP Argentina, and all they can offer me are: 1) that I throw it away and buy a new HP-48GX with the best dealer I could find. 2) they can replace the calculator (with a HP-48GX) but the price is more expensive than the price of a new one.¿!?

¿Is this the normal HP support behavior? ¿Is it the same in your country?

Guillermo Castarés


Do you think that HP or any consumer electronics company actually repairs these? It is always cheaper to replace a model with something else.

The labor cost alone would be more than the cost of a new item. With any repair, you need support. Testing, QA, etc. Why would anyone bother to repair these?


Thanks for your answer.
I undestand that production costs could be cheaper than the REPAIR work.
But my question is:
Is normal that the REPLACE price be greater than the price of a new item?
In this case:
What is the purpose of the "replacing center"? (Nobody will replace a damaged item, because you will save money if you buy a new one!)

(Sorry, my english isn´t very good).




Sometimes they do (or, at list, did) perform repairs. Back in the '70s I often visited the local HP representative in Lima, Peru, and they had several technicians fixing calculators -- both desktop and handheld.

Of course that was 25 years ago. Things change.




a few years ago I asked HP for the repair costs for a HP 5MB Flash card (HP F1018A).
The man on the phone said something about 100-120 DM.
I said, ok, let's do it.

(You know our old currency DM (Deutsche Mark) was about half an Euro)

A while later HP Germany sent me a 'repair' precalculation of more than 1600 DM !!!

And to top this, even the precalculation should cost me 125 DM !

You understand that I was very upset.

I told them that I could buy ten new flash cards of greater capacity for that price.
They said the cost was calculated on the last available price for that card, which was six years old.

I wondered how brainless those people were.

Finally, after some more telephone calls, I cancelled the repair order and got them to take back their invoice for the precalculation.
If I find the bill again, I could make a scan for the interested...

Most people I know at HP are very nice,
I lent the HP Hannover site a bunch of my HP machines to display
them behind glass in their entrance area many years ago (the're still there;-).

But I don't think I ever try to use the official HP service again.



dear mitch
unfortunatly I really think that is a normal behaviour from any dealer in anything in this world, I am leaving in switzerland and I do not expect anything better.


They wanted $125 up front before they would take it apart and give me an estimate. The "estimate fee" would be refunded if I decided to go through with the repair. The "estimate fee" was already more than a replacement would cost.

That's the way mass produced consumer electronics are these days. They cost more to fix than to manufacture. There's much less labor on an assembly line than in a repair shop.


It's a rip-off indeed!
May I help you?
I recently cannibalized 2 hp-48s to make one.
Disassembling HP-48s is no bed of roses!

Ola, Guilhermo; como estás?

I just want to know what did you do beyond replacing the batteries. I know this is not the subject, but have you tried the Hardware RESET? It's achieved by using anything like a straight paper clip (or one very paper clip, unfolded) and insert it in a small hole in the back of the calculator, under the upper-left rubber feet (facing the back of the calculator). There is a small "R" printed in there, and you can find instructions for these procedures in the Owner's Manual.

Back to the subject: I had my HP15C replaced by a new one after the one-year warranty (1984). I paid about 40% of the price of a new one at that time. My old HP15C was left there, and the new one is still with me (~18 years later). I am surprised with the fact you'll have to pay more money you'd spent with a new unit to replace the old one. Nothing about your particular case, but if the calculator is not working anylonger, buy a new one and keep the SX as a spare for replacement (LCD, battery cover and contacts, internals...) OR sale it as a replacement, too. Not a solution, but what else to do... Why not to try Emmanuel's offer?



Thanks you all. At least now I know I´m not alone in this world!
The things I tried were those in the Owner´s Manual:
1) Put fresh batteries.
2) Press "ON" and "+" to increase display contrast.
3) Press "ON" and "A" and "F" to do a Reset.
My manual do not make any reference to "Hardware reset". I tried it yesterday as Luiz explained it, but the calc seems to be definitively dead.



If it seems to be really dead, please send me it. I'll try your last chance. Your only fees will be the shipment back to you in case of success. OK?


Yesterday I made two new tries:

1) Press and hold down "ON" for about 30/60 seconds to *discharge the circuits* as Erich Neubacher did to get his HP-11C alive again.

2) Shortcut the battery contacts for a minute or longer, as a friend advises me. I suppose that the purpose is to *discharge the circuits* too.

I was not so lucky.
Now I'll keep the calculator as it is. Thanks Emmanuel for your offer anyway.




what about a simple [ON]-key bad contact? Or a keyboard malfunction? Maybe it's not dead, it's just not receiving the keyboard input.

The problem is how to get to a better conclusion.

About being ir Buenos Aires, have you tried to contact Andrés Rodrigues? I'm sure he lives in Argentina, but I'm not sure he is in Buenos Aires. He is one of the Museum's collaborator, and he understands a lot about calculators, too. I'm in Brazil, it's somewhat closer, too. Maybe I can also help.

Just try to contact him, if you want to; who knows!

Best regards.


Thank you, Luiz, for pointing this out.

Guillermo: Certainly, I live in Buenos Aires, and it would very much like to help. My experience with the 48xx models is rather poor, but I would like at least to get in contact with you. At this time I am very, very busy; that is what prevented me even from participating in this thread (I managed to take a look at this Forum every other day, but lacked the time needed to post my opinions). In fact, the next week I will be somehow near Luiz, in the northeast of Brazil due to a business trip. If you like, please send me an email message, and we can try to meet or talk by phone around the end of November.

By the way, I can offer you rather complete explanations on how the cost of a repair unit could be higher that the purchase of a new, identical one. I don't mean I think it is right or even logical to happen that way, but there are many cases where this is so.

Please have my special Welcome here, if you like you can take a look at my article "Calculator memories from Argentina", posted in the Memories Forum in April 2000.


Thanks Luiz for your suggestion, and thanks Andrés for your welcome.
Andrés: I don´t know if you remember that we talked by phone once (at least two years ago). As far as I can remember at that time you were using your HP-42S and your daughter were using her HP-32S.
Actually I'm not new here in the HPmuseum. One of my programs (Electric Circuits) is in the HP-41 program library since long time, and there are some old mesagges in the Forum Archives.
Recently I made a web page to display my collection of calculators and sliderules (
I'll be pleased to meet you, and if possible to show you my collection (including, of course, the HP-48SX). I'd like to see your HP-42S too, because I'm a fan of HP-41C/CV/CX (the best calc ever) but I never could afford the HP-42S.
Please, let me know when you get more relaxed with you work.



Hy, Andrés;

it's going to be a pleasure talking to you, but as you know, Brazil has its "distancias", as you do in Argentina, and we do not have the flying facilities... But I'll call you, for sure!

At the time you have the address and telephone # of the place you're staying, please, send me an e-mail, let me know!

Best regards.

(good to know you are going to contact Guillermo; hope you can share more than Hewlett-Packard knowledge)


Luiz: I will be in Recife, I agree our countries have "distances", but as soon as I have a phone number I will try to send it to you by email. I am not 100% about my schedule, so please accept my apologies in advance in case my side of the contact fails.

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