12c Platinum pictures


Three pictures:

HP-12c Platinum Front

HP-12c Platinum Back

HP-12c Platinum Inside


Thanks Gene,
Very informative. I was also interested to see how hp allowed you to go from RPN to algebraic. I see they put an "RPN" flag in the display - seems they think most people will proabaly put the unit in ALG mode - what a shame.


What I'd like to know is whether it's necessary to press [g] before the [ENTER} key in order to execute an [=] while in algebraic mode... or whether it's enough to press [ENTER].

Also, does the 12CP ("Platinum") respect the natural hierarchy of algebraic operations? It would seem that it doesn't, since there are no parenthesis keys either.



If you're in ALG mode, you just press the ENTER / = key and it works.


But on the back plate it says, "All examples are performed in RPN mode." So if the cheat sheet on back is to be of any use, the calc (and owner) had better be in RPN mode, right?

(Also, what about the manual? Predominately RPN or ALG?)

I suspect most 12C customers who are upgrading to the 12cP will stick to what they know. It's just the brand new customers who are in danger of being led down the seductive path toward ruin :)

- Michael



if it is the same PDF that's been downloaded from the HP website, then it's almost the original RPN-driven "HP12C User's Guide and Problem Solving" with add-ons. Have you already seen it, Michael? At almost each Keystroke you read (RPN mode). At least at Programming, all examples (essentialy the same ones availble at teh HP12C's manual with minor changes) are in RPN.

I would like to know about ALGebraic mode while programming and running a program. Not that I want to program in this mode, I want to know how does it behave if a program is ran while the calculator is in algebraic mode. It makes me think of the HP15C's USER mode while acessing matrices elements. There are different [RCL] and [STO] codes for normal and USER mode when matix discriminators are used. I guess the HP12CP will not go too deep, but I still wonder how does it behave when running a program while in algebraic mode.

Forgive-me, Gene, you were not chosen to be the one to answer, you are the ONLY one that can answer so far. Maybe you are not daring to confess, but I guess you do not feel so sad if having to "play" with the 12cP just to answer us... do you? Oh, yes, it switches to OFF everytime it finds a [GTO] 000 or a [R/S] code, right? Man, in a few years it will be a collectible... Oops! I think I should not mention it...


Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


RPN mode:

Program: 25 ENTER 3 / GOTO 000
(Yes, that means my machine turns off :-)

Answer is 8.33

Switch to ALG mode and run the program as it exists in memory.

Answer: 3

It has executed the last 3 / and is waiting for the denominator. If I press 5 = after I turn the machine back on, I get 0.6 in the display.

The 25 is in a second algebraic "stack" register and can be swapped in ALG with the 0.6 by pressing X<>Y. I think this is similar to the HP-19B style "stack" that can show several results.

Of course, the ALG stack on the 12c plat can only show one number, so it's not as helpful as the 19B style.

Any other questions? I'll be glad to try them out.


Hi, Gene.

That's swell! You create one program and you may run it in two different modes, having two different results. One of them, of course, is wrong. Chances are you can create a set of programs that will run in both ALG or RPN modes and give the same results. I can see the brave conquerors in here teasing themselves (me included) to accomplish such task...

Well, let's put the feet back on earth. I see another, different site in here: two possible program libraries, ALGebraic and RPN, for the same calculator. Have you tested financial, time management and cash flow resources in both operating modes? If their results are unchanged (and it's most likely to be) then we have two calculators in one. And that's quite unusual. There will former HP12C users using and programming the 12cP in RPN mode as-is and newcomers using it and programming it in algebraic mode. Is that what HP wanted to do, in fact? Allow AOS-addicted users to get access to the HP12C resources? I know people that use only HP12C's single keystroke oprations and never, never used ENTER because they don't understand RPN. "If it only had an equals key..." I heard a lot of times. Some of them I rescued back after successfuly explaining RPN.

That's weird!

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


Thanks Gene, it's good to see it close up before I consider buying.

I know it is difficult to judge from the pictures, but is the overall finish lower quality than old 12C's? and is that HP logo a cheap, thin stick on which isn't flat?

The f and g keys look like colours from a Mattel toy...

My impression of the quality from the photo is not good!



the logo is like the other newer HP logos on printers and other consumer devices,
which has a certain angle on it's surface, as cut out from a ball.




Is it just me, or is that one ugly beast? Such a cacaophony of incompatible colours. Ich.

Just my opinion...


It's not just you. That thing looks like a piece of sheet metal with fingernail-polish lettering. I don't think HP has *anyone* left who knows the meaning of the word "tasteful."


I wouldn't say that all earlier HP calcs were 'pretty',
but they were developed to the end (in most cases),
and their key legends were easily readable.

For the 12CPt:
At least one big design flaw could be erased for the production models:

Who the hell had the dumb idea to put yellow letters on aluminium background?

Not too ergonomic, IMHO

Maybe it were the same people who decided over 49G and the other ACO's calcs colors (Remember: blue and red legends on blue metallic background;-)

It wouldn't be a surprise...

BTW: Design-wise, my favourites are the Pioneers, Voyagers, Series 30, and of course the HP-41 series.


It was hardly easy to read.

I just wonder whether some of the HP designers are in fact paid by TI. Maybe they do this on purpose? :-)


Maybe Carly is on our side after all.

They released the business major's latest calculator with yellow lettering on yellow metal ?? WELL, maybe they want to cause the business majors to make plenty of mistakes while they are calculating their option strike prices and the takeover target price and the puts and calls and the return on equity.

Then when they screw it all up, they go broke instead of ransacking another $20 Billion from Ma & Pa Buick out of their 401K. So U see, that latest 'platinum' 12C calculator design is the best friend of decent Americans and the engineering dep't, who are in high need of seeing all these business crooks go broke for a change, and management like Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard re-instated. A "rigged" 12C that makes mistakes will help get the job done.



>Is it just me, or is that one ugly beast? Such a cacaophony of incompatible colours. Ich.

It's not you. Putting gold/orange lettering on a silver background is downright stupid and _ugly_. The whole idea of using a light color for background is ergonomically unsound: it draws the eyes to the background instead of the display, which is where it ought to be directed.

HP has fallen prey to the "color me hip" and "be with it" trend. It's bad enough that cellular phones have buttons in weird places and have interchangeable, tasteless background shells. Do we really need this kitsch in calculators too? How about automobiles?

Just as a side issue, I noticed that while the HP-12C uses Helvetica in the key legends, the 12CP uses Futura (or something very close to it). I just wonder what prompted HP to stop using Helvetica. It's a minor point, but it makes this new calculator even less "HP-like."



The colored shift keys are really odd too. It's as if the colors were ready and someone forgot to "pour the cream" into them to give them the original 12c colors.

I'm disappointed with it and the reaction among FINANCIAL types I work with has been fairly consistent..."What is THAT thing?"

I'm fairly sure it really won't be a big seller. Good thing the original 12c will continue to be sold.

Remember, HP has tried to kill off the original 12c several times by raising the price, etc. and each time, sales have gone UP.

I hope they are prepared to see sales of the original 12c go up yet again. :-)

I just dont' see the extra programming steps as being worth much without extra programming features!

This thing needs:

Labels! Absolute addressing is a real pain!
Extra comparisons! X=Y? and X>0?

At least.


If you look at the font catalog for most printers these days, you will see that they no longer have Helvetica as an options. It has been replaced with Arial.


>If you look at the font catalog for most printers these days, you will see that they no longer have Helvetica as an options. It has been replaced with Arial.

Printer fonts are irrelevant; it's the fonts in the computer per se that matter. Helvetica is one of the "classic" fonts (the other being Times). Whether it's ugly or pretty is not the issue -- the issue is that it's difficult to omit Helvetica because it's so widely used.

Arial, by the way, is not identical to Helvetica. The shape of the letters is different, and (although I haven't tested it) the metrics are likely to be different too. Take a 100-page document in Helvetica, change fonts to Arial, and you're likely to end up with a different number of pages!



All I am going on is experience with networking computers and printers. When we changed from an HP III to a HP IVsi and added other printers such as the HP 2100TN, DeskJets 1120c & 882c and Epson 570+, that none of these had Helvetica in there firmware. All the documents that used Hevetica was changed by the printers to Arial. Hevetica was no longer listed as a font you could choose. I had to download a Helvetica TrueType for the documents to be printed in Helvetica. So things change and so do the standards we use.


anyway, eyes of windows xp users won't be hurt too much.

cheers, hans


> anyway, eyes of windows xp users won't be hurt too much.

But they will miss the round corners. We should point this out to HP ;-)


Well, I'm not quite so dispirited as the some of you sound -- The yellow-on-platinum is a bad idea -- reverse the yellow and blue (or some dark, compatible color) on the front of the keys and faceplate, respectively, and it'd be a lot better.

Yeah, it's a bummer that it hasn't got all the extra programming features. But one could look at its programming capabilities as useful for extending the calculator's feature set, while maybe not so helpful for ad-hoc coding. So, the 400 steps for addition of trig functions, etc. need only be entered once (hopefully), and you've got a decent, multi-purpose RPN calculator in the classic voyager layout. Sure, that first time is not as convenient as it should be, but overall it'll still be useful. (Assuming, that is, it doesn't turn itself off at the end of each program!)

And, from a marketing standpoint, re-issuing their best-selling financial "gold" in a "platinum" edition is a natural. Hopefully it's a real success and bolsters the entire calculator operation. Success there will help ensure the availability of several RPN models. Each of them will have its flaws, and none will likely achieve the level of quality and engineering excellence of which the former company was capable.

I don't want to be an apologist for The New H-P, but the bottom line for me (given recent history) is: it appears they're still making RPN calculators of reasonable value. I hope they continue to do so.


hey there- I ain't ugly. at least, not ugly like that:)


of course you're not cristof! ben aflek, sean connery and bono are all clamoring for your beauty secrets. as a matter of fact dori was asking about you just last weekend. she said "how is that hansome man in davis? the one who is almost as good looking as your 16C". i said that you are fine.

you don't think she was asking about glen, do you?


I heard a joke that goes something like:

Y'know about raccoons, right? If they get caught in a snare or leg trap, they'll chew off their own leg to escape?

Well, "Raccoon Ugly" is when you wake up with someone else sleeping on your arm, and you chew it off rather than disturb her so you can make your getaway.

And "Tragically Raccoon Ugly" is when you wake up, and someone's chewed-off arm is underneath your neck . . .



as stated in previous threads, the original Voyagers' CPU was a nut-type, based on previous HP41 coconut, fullnut and halfnut series.

After seeing internal HP12C Platinum picture, I saw a small bubble-type chip. Small enough we can call the smalles nut version: the peanut.

So, from now on, I suggest calling the HP12C the peanut. As a local nickname, of course. God nows what the heck we have inside the bubble...


Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


The glob you see there in the center is epoxy. It indicates that underneath, you will find a "die"-- a piece of silicon, the chip without a lead-frame (for "pins") or casing. Usually there will be tiny wires leading from pads on the die to pads on the board. Sometimes though, it has pads on the bottom and just gets glued (not soldered) to the board. Then the glob gets put over it, to protect it.

This is a standard means of construction. Intel was one of the first companies to do this on a commercial product, on the "Wildcard '88" (a pc-board the size of a business card, 2 inches x 3-1/2 inches; it showed off a lot of new tech at the time, 1990 or so). It was subsequently picked up for use by others. It has some requirements: pick-n-place automation, clean-room standards, all the rest of the board pre-soldered.

It saves you money, IF you are equipped to do it. Chipmakers sell the dies cheaper than full chips. You connect 'em up, it's the same as the step which the chipmaker would have used to connect the die to legs. Once the epoxy is on it and hard, it will NEVER rust or be attacked by anything. It gets rid of heat a little less well than a ceramic chip carrier, but with something that uses power as frugally as this, I would not expect heat to be a problem.

All in all, they were doing right by making it this way-- but it doesn't LOOK as cool as a nice big chip with legs. It can never be "replaced". When this thing goes, you'll just throw the device away.

It is interesting, and thank you, Gene, so much for the pix. They really are useful to us all.


Hi, Glynn;

OK for the HW constructive techniques, thanks.

I wonder about which chip in under the glob... in fact, your/our first concerns, remember? Now that we know we'll never "see" what the heck in inside there (no codes, no pins, just the "glob"), God knows... :(

Get the "picture"? ;)

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil



That's why God gave us the "Dremel Moto-Tool"....

But we won't be able to read markings on a chip-carrier, true. And actually doing I.D. visually on a bare VLSI layout is UNLIKELY.

Yeh, I'm depressed.


Using the Moto-Tool on it would cheer me up, though!!


Hammer and screwdriver might work. Cost would be roughly $100, but we could "know" then.


I don't know what a "Hammer" is, but I think I'll probably mix up a Screwdriver or two any minute now. ;-)


Hi Luiz,

'peanut' is nice for this thing:-)

But AFAIK peanuts are no nuts, instead they're in the family of beans!

Which of course is suitable too, because the calc is made from beancounters for beancounters;-)




Hi Gene,

Thanks for your great pictures. The inside picture gives a good impression of the Y2K and later calculators. Give a Chinese PCB assembler a single-chip CPU and some epoxy glop-top and the calculator is finished. Just by comparing PCB's you could 10 years ago decide whether it is a HP, a TI or a Casio calculator. Now they all look similar and as I mentioned in another Posting the HP-30S, TI-30X IIS and a Citizen SRP something are sibblings.
Please do me a favour and try to decipher the nameplate of the 12CP PCB. It seems to be under the battery holder, left from the UL 94V0 logo.

Thanks in advance.


BTW: Do you own a HP-9G for similar dismantling purposes ?


Are you referring to the "GTF-" bit just to the left of the battery contact "circle"?

Might be a "CTF", but I can't tell.

Can't make any more of it out.



I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before, and if so, please accept my apologies for chewing up bandwidth on this, but doesn't the aluminum (platinum?:p) faceplate end at the bottom of the calculator? This puts an easily damaged area immediately above a "handling" area. I think earlier models were mounted below a protective lip.

What happens once the aluminum faceplate begins to lift? I have seen this on other calculators. Also, with the key legend imprinted on the er, platinum you will lose the usefulness of the calculator.


the 12c and 12cP share this design, and it has never been a problem, to my knowledge. The metal plate is too far inset.

Besides, some would say that losing the legends would improve... er, never mind.

As far as color, I wonder about the announcement this morning that the U.S. Treasury is coming out with colored $20, $50 and $100 bills. Maybe Treasury feels that consumers will have more confidence in THEIR product, if it looks more like HP's...


No difference


American money will soon be coloured? That's great news! Copying us Canucks, are you?

My visits to the states will be much cheaper...many a time, I'd come out of a bar as drunk as a skunk, get into a cab, and hand him a $20 when I thought I gave him a $5...

Oh wait, what am I saying? How can I get drunk on American beer?

Never mind.



I wonder if the orange and blue shift key colors are a case of standard vs. custom colors, as glynn described in another thread. I have two Chinese 12C's, a three button and a 3 volt. The printing on the keyboard bezel is quite orange on the 3 volt compared to a sort of gold on the 3 button. The shift keys are the same colors on these two calculators, and are very similar to a 71B.

What I particularly wanted to see was the instructions on the back for the date functions. On both my Chinese units, they made a mistake on the first DMY example (31/5/98 entered as "31.51998" instead of "31.051998")(apparently they just wanted to update the instructions from their original 1980's dates! and let a mistake creep in). I see they have avoided this same error on the 12CP but what are those extra digits "51998" on the first DMY example and "1999" on both examples for delta DYS? It sure looks like somebody edited the lines on the Chinese 12C's but didn't delete enough of the old lines!


Looks like they didn't have a proofreader on the payroll.


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