Molded Keys on 48G/GX


Hello everyone!

I took a look at a 12C with painted keys and it was easy to tell the difference between these keys and those that are double-molded. I was wondering; have 48s ever been manufactured with painted keys or were they all double-molded?

I just purchased a Singapore unit from early 1997 (3702) and it "looks" like they're double-molded...I haven't seen one of the newer models, but I'd be interested to know if the keys are painted.

Luiz, I know you have a newer 48! :)



Hello, Scube and folks;

the black-dot LCD I have (in hands at this very moment) seems to have the same molded surface inscriptions. I passed my fingernail over the [ENTER] letters and I can feel their contour, say, it is definitely not painted.

This one's serial # is ID13900XXX.

Hope this helps.

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil

(If you want to take a look at the moded colors, I have an opened HP48 without the faceplate and I have already scanned the front side. Do you think it's a good idea? Have a look at the front view in this picture so you can see what I'm gonna use)


FWIW, every Indonesian and Chinese 48 I have ever seen have printed keytops.

Only the Singapore's have double shot keys. It is very easy to tell as the double molded legends are flush, the printed are raised.


I can feel their contour, say, it is definitely not painted

Sure, Luiz? Please, use a magnifying glass...



Hi, guys;

forgive-me not taking as much care as I should when posting in here. I'm glad many of you corrected me "not such in time"... I could not wait for others! My mistake

I took my measures: I drilled a small hole in the [F] key and I could see that there is a "thick" painting (I mean its's thick for a painting; seems like plastic) and I tested both key surfaces from Indonesia and Singapore calculators and they seemed the same for me. Now that's the proof they are not.

HP48 painted key

I'll be more carefull next time...

Best regards and sorry...

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


I have a G+ with black LCD, s/n ID24301226. It's keys are definitely painted, not double moulded.



Yours seems to be newer than mine. Maybe we could identify the serial # where painted keys started.

Anyone else with information about his?

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


48G S/N ID83707205 keys definetely painted (symbols sometimes not even centered, matt)

48G S/N 3509S00638 keys look much better (glossy, symbols centered and more readable, probably molded)


Thanks for all the posts!

Mine's 3702S12160 and they look molded; they're gloosy and every symbol is centred.

Does anyone think that they used painted keys in Singapore, or did that start in Indonesia / China ?



I've ever read Indonesia with both screens (blue and the new, black)...



Thanks for the pictures, Luiz. I hope that that was an already dead

Does it seem as if the paint (or plastic or whatever) goes below the
surface of the keytop as if filling in molded-in depressed characters?
Or does it seem as if it was simply applied over the top of a smooth

I have two 48GXes from Singapore, serials 3545S... and 3623S..., and one
from Indonesia, serial ID952....

I know, I don't *need* three 48GXes, but I'm just a bit paranoid that
they might not be so easily available in the future, and that a suitable
replacement may never be marketed.

For what it's worth, with the fingernail test over the ENTER key on each
of these calculators, I can feel some slight stepping, but I can't tell
whether the letters are raised or depressed. In general, on the
Indonesian model, the lettering is placed lower on the keys, the
numerals on the number keys are obviously smaller, and the lettering on
most other keys seems slightly smaller but the stokes are wider. Looking
at them under a 10X magnifier I can't tell that any of the legends are
raised or depressed, but the edges are definitely more irregular on the
Indonesian. Perhaps the most obvious difference under magnification is
that the Indonesian has all corners on the lettering simply rounded, but
the Singaporean characters have a rounded "undercut" at each corner.

If I didn't have the Singaporean models to compare it with, I probably
would never've noticed that there's any problem with the Indosesian
model, so I suppose that it's acceptable, except that I worry that
painted-on legends may eventually wear off.

By the way, all three have the same type of display as far as I can

Just when did they change the serial number scheme? I know, sometime
between week 23 of 1996 and week 52 of 1999. But has it been nailed down
any closer than that?



Hi, James;

The picture you see is from a brand new, fully working HP48G+, and now it has a small hole in the [F] key. I don't care, in fact I'll "write my name" on it soon. Besides, who would by a calculator with a small hole in the [F] key? Almost everyone that reads these posts know that this sort of mark is in my HP48G+.

And the inscriptions are like stamps, a surface mark. They are probably a little recessed, I didn check for it, maybe the contour is thinner than the rest of it.

You wrote:
<For what it's worth, with the fingernail test over the ENTER key on each of these calculators, I can feel some slight stepping, but I can't tell whether the letters are raised or depressed.

That's the same feeling I had and made me think the inscriptions were molded instead of painted.

Well, now there's no doubt about it. I'll scan the molded key from an actual dead HP48G (Singapore) with the same hole and you'll see the difference.

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


Thanks Luiz...I look forward to the scanned images!

With respect to the serial numbers, I always thought that they changed in 1996, however my 48GX is 3702.

I have a 1998 Indonesian 17BII and it uses the new serial number sequence (ID817xxxx)

So, if I had to guess, I'd say somewhere between early 1997 and early 1998, although it's possible that each manufacturing site changed at different times...I can't imagine that everyone changed worldwide on one day...


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