WP 34s calculator at auction


On eBay; not by me (I'm peepo36). With programming cable, it's at $301.01 with five hours to go.


Eric, I think I'd like to order some more calculators from you ;)

Edited: 30 June 2013, 11:09 a.m.



What's the auction number? This isn't coming up on searches for me.

- Pauli


Neither do I see anything of it.



it's over already, so it would be in the completed auctions now.

Bidding war between 2 people. The second place bidder emailed me about a cable. lol. I think he will get the better deal.




Gosh, that's a lot of money for a little repurposed 30b!



I'm glad that Gene recorded the auction number, because I didn't -- and couldn't find the auction after it was over, even in the "completed" listings. That might teach me something.

Edited: 30 June 2013, 4:16 p.m.


You guys are in the wrong business. You should make WP34s and sell them on ebay :)

(now that I think about it, maybe *I* should go into that business :) )


Presumably no crystal, either, and the overlay installation isn't even the best. I'm astonished it sold for so much. Hopefully the keyboard is at least decent.



I noticed that the bidder who won the WP-34S for $301.01 had also purchased 50 HP-30B calculators from 2 recent Buy-It-Now auctions. I also noted that a lower bidder, one who had bid in at $27.00 on the WP-34S auction, had purchased 10 HP-30Bs in that same Buy-It-Now auction just 1 minute before the WP-34S closed, as well as 2 at an earlier date. My guess is that the winning bidder with his 50 calculators was after the programming cable, and had no knowledge of where else to find one, and the second bidder who chased him up the tree was also after that same cable, and the third bidder was likely encouraged by the bidding war and decided to make some money by creating some WP-34S calculators. As Gene Wright said in an earlier post, the second-place bidder contacted him about a cable, so that fellow will shortly be in business, and I think the WP-34S winner is about to have a severe case of buyer's remorse for a $300+ bid. My prediction: Eric has gotten or will shortly get an order for 50 overlays, and another order for 10 or 12 overlays, and within 2 weeks, eBay will be flooded with auctions for WP-34S calculators, which will probably sell, but for a much more modest price than $300.


My prediction: Eric has gotten or will shortly get an order for 50 overlays, and another order for 10 or 12 overlays, and within 2 weeks, eBay will be flooded with auctions for WP-34S calculators, which will probably sell, but for a much more modest price than $300.

I do hate people exploiting other people's work. No problem if they had done anything significant for the project, but hijacking our product would be simply unfair. So I'll keep my fingers crossed you won't be right with your prediction (though I doubt it).



The thing I don't understand is why someone would bother selling them on ebay?
Half the fun is the process of repurposing the 30B. And for those with two left hands (or any other reason not to convert one themselves) Eric has the WP34s available for a reasonable price.

Edited: 1 July 2013, 7:14 a.m.


I don't see how someone making multiple wp34s calculators is hijacking your project. The hardware is readily available for anyone who has the means to obtain it. The firmware is available to anyone who has the capability of downloading it. Now someone comes along to spread the wp34s outside the extremely narrow focus of this forum and you are not happy.


+1 to that. My feelings exactly.

Why the paranoia anyway? Maybe someone wants to set up an embedded systems course. Columbia University has one based on the hp20b:


My best wishes go to everyone using the WP 34S for education at whatever level, in whatever number (s)he thinks being necessary. And I appreciate whoever flashes and distributes the repurposed HW for a price equivalent to the amount of material and labour (s)he put into it. If anybody beyond the development team, however, flashes a number of HP-30bs for mere sales purposes - it simply feels damn wrong for me. Like stealing our work, can't help it. Maybe my old-fashioned education ...?



Perhaps a lack of commitment to open source is showing?



I do hate people exploiting other people's work. No problem if they had done anything significant for the project, but hijacking our product would be simply unfair. So I'll keep my fingers crossed you won't be right with your prediction (though I doubt it).


Why is it 'exploiting'? There's nothing to stop you buying a bunch of 30Bs, re-flashing them and packaging them up neatly, including manual, for sale by auction?

And if you don't have the time nor inclination to do that, why shouldn't someone else have a try?


I don't think it is exploiting either. This is an open source project it is meant to be spread around freely.

- Pauli


I would tend to agree with Walter here. You guys have put in a lot of time and effort. And you did all that for free. So why should anyone else profit from this (in a financial way, other than that we all profit from the project) who simply sticks on the labels and flashes the calculators?
On the other hand, if anyone is stupid enough to buy these at an inflated price when they are available much cheaper, that is their own fault.


TAS still had quite a lot of new HP30b's going at ~$19 each -- brand new. Given how much markup there is in Australia on calculators, one wouldn't need to repurpose them in order to make a fairly quick resale profit Down Under! I guess the more people buy and use the equipment need to make a WP34s, or buy them ready-made, as it's open source, the more people will appreciate the quality and time that has gone into the project, and perhaps support the next gen WP43s?
Not to forget the fine manual...!



I do hate people exploiting other people's work. No problem if they had done anything significant for the project, but hijacking our product would be simply unfair.

It seems to me that your attitude is well represented in the history of shared software.
I haven't done any research to back up this idea, so the following is just an impressionistic opinion. When I started using computers, my first experience of software swapping was on the Apple ][. At user group meetings, people would copy floppy disks or cassette tapes full of software written by users and donated to the "public domain." These would often come with restrictions on the commercial exploitation of the software. (This was a common error in licensing. By definition, anything in the public domain is free to use without restrictions of any kind.) Later, I saw the same sort of impulse in some of the licenses for software distributed on the DECUS tapes for VAX/VMS minicomputers, and you'll see the same sort of thing if you read the old calculator journals.

The first "open source" licenses were different. The BSD license was essentially a broad grant of rights with the sole restriction being that the original copyright be included on redistributed software, plus a disclaimer of liability. The purpose of the GPL was to ensure that modifications to the software source code were made available if the software was distributed with changes. Neither license imposed restrictions on commercial exploitation of the licensed software. As far as either license is concerned, uses like the ones discussed in this thread are perfectly OK.

Like I say, I haven't done any research on this topic, but there must be licenses that make source code available while restricting commercial exploitation. Come to think of it, Microsoft's community license may fit that description.

Either way, the desire to prevent others from profiting from your work is understandable. But if you want to do that, you need to use a different license than the GPL.


Using the GPL for the source code was my choice alone. I stand by this decision and I've no objection to people trying to make some money from my work. Yes, I could have closed sourced it all, but we'd all have missed out on some valuable enhancements contributed from the community (I wish more people would assist here BTW). I could have demanded extra restrictions but didn't -- the decimal arithmetic code I've written is a worthwhile goal in of itself -- the 34S sources are directly referenced from Mike Cowlishaw's decimal arithmetic page which I consider high praise.

The two 34S resellers I know about are being generous and provide a small donation to the development team for each unit sold. Please support them, they aren't charging excessively for the conversion. The two sellers are Eric Rechlin's hpcalc.org and The Calculator Store. Eric in particular includes hardware modifications internally which are worthwhile. Likewise, we've received great support with respects to the programming cable and the alternate USB cable interface.

The documentation isn't covered by the GPL and Walter has kept the original Word documents to himself. Again, I've no real issue with this. The manual represents a huge amount of work for Walter and is a great reference document. We've had a couple of people willing to volunteer to produce an introductory guide but without Walter's work as a basis this is much harder.

- Pauli


Everyone gets to decide for themselves how they'll handle gifts they give to the world. I'm grateful you made the choice you did. I'm grateful Walter made his gift as well. Those gifts have made a difference in my life. Thanks so much.


You are welcome!



I did get an inquiry from someone wanting to buy hundreds or thousands of overlays. I told him to buy them no more than 5 at a time like everyone else, because they are time-consuming to make and there's no way I could make that many in a reasonable amount of time.

And yes, you can buy the 30b for less than $20 on eBay, but depending on the batch, between 20% and 60% have sub-par keyboards that aren't worth converting into 34S calculators (and that HP won't warrant either).

Also, if he spent that much to get one cable, I hope he isn't expecting to make hundreds of calculators with it. I've found the pogo pins on the connector tend to wear out after a hundred or so flashes.




Are you printing those overlays one at a time?
If yes, is it possible to make green a little bit lighter?

I tried to use my calculator in low light conditions and found out that green labels are way too dark. Even when I can still see the screen pretty good, the green labels already become undecipherable. If they could be made real light shade, same brightness as orange labels, that would make them much more visible.

The blue is also too dark but this is somewhat less of a problem, since blue marks have rather distinctive shapes and even though they look like blobs in low light, they are distinct blobs. Greens, on the other hand, are mostly words and as blobs they all look the same.


I print them 5 at a time. I don't like making custom ones because they tend to not always turn out right; I agree that the colors could be made lighter but I personally don't see a difference in legibility of blue versus green.



In what sense are they time-consuming? You don't cut them by hand with an X-acto knife, do you? Actually, *what* do you use to cut them?


I use an "electronic die cutter" (basically a plotter with a blade instead of a pen).

There are lots of problems. First, I am having a terrible problem with blades. The manufacturer of the cutter has changed their blade design, and the new blades just don't cut the vinyl as well as the old blades. I've tried some third party blades (some of which are quite expensive), and the quality ranges from useless to slightly better than the new official ones (but none as good as the old official ones). Then when things seem to be working, I have problems again and have to keep fiddling with settings to get it to work, wasting more overlays in the process.

Next, the overlay material has changed twice now. The manufacturer I use keeps introducing new products and discontinuing old ones. They claim to have now gone back to the way it originally was when I first started making them, but I'm not convinced. And each time they change I have to adapt.

Finally, the clear spray I use to protect them is very finicky. If it's too cool out it gets splotchy. If it's too dusty out, then dust gets on the overlays. Sometimes towards the end of the can it doesn't spray as evenly and may end up too thick.

It's just such a hassle trying to consistently make good overlays.



Wow, that sounds like a lot of trouble. But the big home and fancy cars you can afford with the profits make it all worthwhile, right?

Seriously, thanks for your efforts.


Ouch, and I always wondered what an electronic die cutter may be. Sounds like the opposite of a controlled process. Good luck!



Have you considered using some place that makes vinyl stickers of arbitrary shapes, such as http://www.stickermule.com/? I assume they have the equipment to make high-throughput cuts, more than what a home machine would do.

Frankly, I'm surprised you are bothering at all. I would have given up long ago. Thanks, though!



As said before Eric; Thanks for the service you do for the 34 project.
You and Ciaran are like the 4th and 5th members of the trinity.
Sort of the St Peter and Paul. Or the John and Paul.


I don't think I quite rate up there with St Peter or John :-)

- Pauli


And yes, you can buy the 30b for less than $20 on eBay, but depending on the batch, between 20% and 60% have sub-par keyboards that aren't worth converting into 34S calculators (and that HP won't warrant either).

I've just converted one of those (4CY03104472) and can confirm that (the '*' key registers but doesn't click - exactly the same key on my older wp34s). And I had a hard time soldering the tiny SMD capactitors, even smaller than the last ones I had used (taken from two FoxConn motherboards of two dead HP desktop computers, BTW). Probably the other one (4CY03104284) is not good either. Oh, well...




... I had a hard time soldering the tiny SMD capactitors, ...

How about employing wired components?



I had tried small ceramic capacitors, but was not pleased with the result. SMD capacitors, crystal, IR LED and overlay all in place. Flashing is again a problem: MySamba keeps giving me the annoying "unable to connect" message. My cable allows resetting, but not erasing (I had to manually short the Vcc and ERASE pads as described in your book at page 168). Perhaps my cable is flawed, but I don't know how to check it (Tim sent me two cables and Gene sent me another, but I have only one left - gave two away).



Once programmed you can use ON+D, ON+S to switch to SAMBA mode which makes ERASE less important.

Does MySamba complain immediately? Ort does it take a minute or so? The former means that the com device is not recognized.


It hasn't been reflashed yet.
Yes, the complain is immediatiate (about 2 seconds, actually).
Thanks for trying to help :-)


"a minute" was actually a typo on my side, 2 seconds seems to be a problem with the synchronization between the calculator and the PC. Are you sure the batteries are OK and the calculator is turned on? Press ON for a second or so to switch it on. You will not see anything in the display because SAMBA does not initialize it. Remove the batteries after a failed attempt to avoid them being drained quickly.


Neither the CR-2032 nor the AA cells are fresh, but I think 2.89 V shold suffice. Now to read up Walter's troubleshooting guide :-)


What is that funny looking hole in the top part of a calc, facing the camera, with something, that looks like a red wire seen trough it?


There's also a black wire, if you look carefully. These go to a 5 mm infrared LED and will be replaced with a smaller one when I finally make it work.


Yep, I saw black wire, but it is not nearly as exciting as red wire, so I did not mention it.

Where is the LED hole then? The top face looks clean (as far as I can see in low resolution).


Andrew, that looks like a preliminary LED installation to me. Just wait until Gerson has solved the flashing issue.



To resolve your flashing issues an installation of Free Serial Port Monitor may help a lot.

If the flashed calculator does not seem to start try a bare calc.bin image and check if the crystal is installed properly (ON+C).


Microsoft provides several tools (the swiss armee knife for Windows) at http://www.sysinternals.com for free.

Portmon is also a port monitor program and like all other of these small tools on this page needs no installation.


I tried calc.bin but that didn't work either. Norton 360 says Free Serial Port Monitor is dangerous and discarded it, probably not true. Anyway, I tried Christoph Giesselink's suggestion above. Here is a typical log, if it can give any hint of what is going on:


0 0.01837189 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_CREATE VCP0 SUCCESS Options: Open
9 0.00038832 MySamBa.exe IOCTL_SERIAL_SET_BAUD_RATE VCP0 SUCCESS Rate: 115200
12 0.00028998 MySamBa.exe IOCTL_SERIAL_SET_LINE_CONTROL VCP0 SUCCESS StopBits: 1 Parity: NONE WordLength: 8
14 0.00090067 MySamBa.exe IOCTL_SERIAL_SET_HANDFLOW VCP0 SUCCESS Shake:0 Replace:0 XonLimit:2048 XoffLimit:512
16 0.00000363 MySamBa.exe IOCTL_SERIAL_SET_TIMEOUTS VCP0 SUCCESS RI:-1 RM:-1 RC:10 WM:0 WC:0
17 0.00028272 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_WRITE VCP0 SUCCESS Length 3: ..#
18 0.00029529 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_WRITE VCP0 SUCCESS Length 2: N#
19 0.01565199 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_READ VCP0 TIMEOUT Length 0:


83 0.01544247 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_READ VCP0 TIMEOUT Length 0:
84 0.00044838 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_WRITE VCP0 SUCCESS Length 3: ..#
85 0.00045257 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_WRITE VCP0 SUCCESS Length 2: N#
86 0.01559640 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_READ VCP0 TIMEOUT Length 0:


151 0.01555645 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_READ VCP0 TIMEOUT Length 0:
152 0.00026959 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_WRITE VCP0 SUCCESS Length 3: ..#
153 0.00030171 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_WRITE VCP0 SUCCESS Length 2: N#
154 0.01551538 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_READ VCP0 TIMEOUT Length 0:


227 0.01550895 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_READ VCP0 TIMEOUT Length 0:
228 0.00000726 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_CLEANUP VCP0 SUCCESS
229 0.10927227 MySamBa.exe IRP_MJ_CLOSE VCP0 SUCCESS



Get another virus scanner... :-(

The log you posted indicates that the calculator does not answer the requests sent by the PC. That might have many reasons: Calculator is OFF, the cable is broken, or your com interface has a problem. I have a 20b with a non working serial interface. It can still be programmed through its JTAG interface, though. Since your cable has a problem with the ERASE pin I suspect a problem there.


The COM port is ok (I use it to tranfer data to and from my HP-48GX and other devices). The cable may indeed have a problem. Fortunately, there is a forum member who has a cable and lives only 200 km from here, exactly halfway to my mother's. One of these days I'll pay a visit to both :-)
Thanks again for your help.


Any time, Gerson.


Obrigado, Jamil!


While you connect external power (the battery pack) the coin cells should be removed. I don't think the like being charged.

As I told you: After a reset the calculator is OFF and must be turned on with a lengthy press of the ON key.


Did you try the Troubleshooting Guide?



I will :-)


FYI, find the current state of the applicable part of the TG here. Read carefully and apply (though I think you own the printed manual). What happens?



Hello Walter,

Yes, I do have the printed manual. When I said I would read the Troubleshooting Guide, I had actually read those pages already and followed all instructions. Now, it appears "there is a problem with the cable". I've just tried to reflash the second hp-30b following the instructions on page 167, but I couldn't go beyond the step A8 because the ERASE button doesn't work. This might be an indication the cable is not good (even though RESET is working). I think I'll get another cable before trying again. Thanks again for your help :-)

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