HP-41CV - A Walk Down Memory Lane


Hello all,

This is my first post so hello. I am not an engineer or a mathematician but I still love HP RPN calculators as I grew up with them. My dad was an MIT graduate with a degree in math. Through most of my youth I remember him using his HP-41CV to solve math problems from his MIT calendar or during tax season as he always did his own. He would write programs for it and even sent one in to Technology Review which was published eons ago (it was for calculating fuel mileage at each fill-up..he would always find ways to involve math in his life).

I was a UNIX sys admin years ago but have been in technology sales for quite a while now. I use my HP-49G from time to time but to be honest I don't use it for anything besides basic math since most of our work is done in Excel. I want to downsize my bag as I have taken out the HP-49G and my iPad but I still want a calculator as I am old school and find it annoying to type on my laptop keyboard and emulators on my iPhone annoy me as I make too many typing mistakes on the little screen.

I was going to get a new HP calculator..either the HP-30b, HP-17bii+ or the HP-35s depending on what felt right in my hands. As it turns out I can't find any in local stores so I started to do a bit of research thinking I could save some money buying a used one. One thing lead to another and I started to look at the HP-32s which I had all through high school and college as well as the HP-41CV. It was fun thinking of my original HP but looking at the eBay ads for the HP-41CV really tugged at my heart as I always think of my dad when I see it.

If you can't tell yet he isn't around anymore, been ~4 years now. I know it is silly paying anywhere from 2x to 5x the cost of a new calculator but I can't help obsessing on the HP-41CV. I think it would be fun to think of him every time I need to perform a quick calculation.

Am I crazy? If I get a decent one from eBay should I expect it to work another 10-20 years (I know nothing is guaranteed)? I am not a sentimental person but I am having a hard time getting away from the HP-41CV.


Edited: 17 Mar 2013, 5:25 p.m.


No it ain't crazy. There's a lot of us around here:-)


Still using mine :)


Hi Tom,

First of all, welcome to our small (but very active) 41's enthusiasts community.

As stated previously by others: No, you're not crazy whatsoever... (or else, most of us should have to admit we're too)

Good luck at eBay, eventually you may find units in very good shape that (with convenient care) will serve you for a life time.

All the best from Caribbean.



Thanks for the responses guys. I plan to stick around here but not sure how much I will contribute as I am not really a power user.

So a miracle happened tonight. I told my mom about what I am doing and why I am looking for a 41CV. She said hang on, went into one of dad's old drawers in his desk and pulled it out. We were chatting on Google Chat and has no clue how to share pictures so I said hold on and drove down to her house with my 4 year old boy. When we got there she presented me with this..

Not only did she still have dad's old 41CV it was working..and a 41CX..HAHA. I remembered the wrong the model and after running to the drug store to get new batteries and cleaning the contacts a bit she started working fine. I am thrilled beyond belief. I love it for all of its blemishes as I know who made them.

Just thought I would share my good fortune with everyone.



Congratulations, Tom - not only do you have a 41, you have the 41, which makes it all the more special.

I still use my mid-80's 41CX on a daily basis, so they do last, if well treated.


--- Les



I still use my 41cx every day too, and not for any historical or sentimental reasons, but rather its usefulness-- although I have a lot invested in it as far as time and my own programs go, which I don't want to have to repeat with something newer, particularly if it doesn't have the flexibility HPIL had. And yes, the cx is waaaaay better than the cv, at least for my uses. My 41cx is almost 30 years old. Our son has gone through two smart phones in four years, and then of course when one is no longer working right, you can't get another one of the same anymore. Why would I want to invest any time into something like that?


Hey, that's great news (or "olds" ;-) ). Enjoy your find! AFAIK these models shall last for long unless thrown around or left with leaking batteries ... what you won't do.




I have owned a few HP-41CV/CXs since 1983. Here are the things to be concerned about taking care of to keep them lasting a long time.

1. Batteries: Don't leave alkalines in them if they are weak. Don't use vented Ni-Cds, they may 'vent' (or leak). NiMh N-cells have worked great for me the past few years. High capacity, and I've never noticed any leakage whatsoever.

2. Dropping: Don't drop. Kind of obvious, but the HP-41's design leaves it susceptible to damage. And it may not show up right away, but eventually, the calculator won't always work unless you twist it or press it just the right way. The best thing is to keep the calc inside its zippered case all the time except when it is being used on a table top.

3. Dirt and Liguid (soda,etc): Another no-no. If it gets in the keys, it can be very hard to get out. Same with behind the display glass. Check the vinyl case, and don't use it if the insides are deteriorating into dustiness.


Congratulations on finding two great HP-41's in working order so close to home. I can totally relate to the special meaning this has to you. Also, the HP-41 family of machines was an elegant design. Yes, there have been far more advanced calculators that have come out since, but I think it's hard to beat the total package of the HP-41. It was my first HP, back in 1981 and I still have it, though I can't get it to function unless I hold the battery pack partway out. Hope I can get it fixed as I still love it and my other HP's from the first decade (1972-1982).

Thanks for sharing your good news. Hope you get many years of great use out of your HP-41's!

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