Is RPN dead?


I use a HP41C RPN calculator but when I went to buy a new calculator I couldn't find one except for a business model. Am I looking in the wrong places? Some people I talked to didn't even know what RPN was. What happened? Did HP drop the ball? Is there an upgrade for my beloved 41?


"RPN is dead. Love live RPN!" Yes. For the most part, IMHO, RPN is dead.

Latin is also a dead language. Does that mean that it's forgotten? It is still studied, used, and appreciated by many, and it's influence remains.

Even if HP releases some RPN calcs, it will never again be seen as the quintessential calculating language.

It will live on in the hearts, minds, and machines of those who still love it.



> use a HP41C RPN calculator but when I went to buy a new calculator I couldn't find one except for a business model. Am I looking in the wrong places? Some people I talked to didn't even know what RPN was. What happened? Did HP drop the ball?

Unfortunately for us, RPN is not popular and, therefore, calculators that use it are not good sellers. In a profit-driven industry such as electronics, that spells trouble. Poor sellers stop being marketed and manufactured; as a result, HP calculators nowadays typically offer Algebraic entry only (although there are exceptions).

>Is there an upgrade for my beloved 41?

Nope. You could try to get a second-hand HP-42S, which also uses RPN, or some of the newer models such as a HP-32S, but for the most part you're out of luck. The graphing models (example, the HP-48GX) use a variation of RPN called RPL (unlimited stack registers and a different way of approaching problems), but it's not the same and, personally, I dislike it. I've had 3 RPL calculators and have kept only one for sentimental reasons (HP-28C).

For everyday use, I still pull out my trusty HP-41CX or the 32S.

Good luck.



According to HP, RPN is not dead. The successor to the 41 is the 48G series. These can be found, but are in short supply. HP has indecated that they will be releasing some new RPN scientific calculators this fall. If you can't find a 48G/G+/GX at a local store try for mail orders. If you are looking to replace your 41C, or looking for a different HP RPN calculator look at eBay. Prices and compition can be steep, but it is the best place to get some of the older HPs.


Hello Paul, welcome to our HP tree fort.

Man U have got some catching up to do.

Carly Fiorina, some mafia boss woman, took over HP and is getting rid of anything classy or cool. She hates engineers because we flew a rocket to the moon. To get revenge, she will make us all type on 'HP' personal computers that crash every 30 minutes.

YES, there is still ONE HP Classic calculator still being made. The HP-12C. It's the one for MBA business majors like Carly Fiorina. All other such classics were discontinued (like the ones for engineers).

YES, RPN is the best thing on Earth, NO, they had no business dropping it, or 32S or 42S or even the ones with the RED LED's.

YES, HP could've made a killing if they would just keep making them.

NO, the graphical calculators aren't worth their weight in landfill.

NO, there is nothing to replace your 41C from the factory, Carly Fiorina left U high and dry and she is laughing at you.

YES, you may now begin to drain your bank account, to fight with the other tree-fort members of the club, over a dwindling supply of used units going for ever-higher prices on eBay.

That process is somewhat like the original movie 'Highlander'. We're friends in between fights, and we chat and compare notes, but then comes the next battle over a classic HP calculator and we have to fight each other to the death for it.

- Norm


That process is somewhat like the original movie 'Highlander'...

I remember: "There can be only forty-one..."


Depressingly truthful analysis, Norm. Quit it.


OK Patrick i'm sorry

it wont happen again.




Norm is mostly right, but you have to ignore the foam around his mouth! (Just feed him an occasional 34C and he'll be happy/calm down. Or, maybe, just wave some RED LEDs in his direction.)

You probably should be looking for another '41 variant on E-bay.


... not laughing out loud. Neighbors will never take me as a normal guy because of you.

...wave some RED LEDs in his direction I'll try not to reveal my in-deep preferences too openly in front of you, guys!

Gee! 8^)

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


YES, there is still ONE HP Classic calculator still being made. The HP-12C. It's the one for MBA business majors like Carly Fiorina. All other such classics were discontinued (like the ones for engineers).
Gene: I am an MBA and love the 15c as much as the next engineer. :-)


Secretly, Carly has stocked that old HP garage full of NOS HP-41CXs and peripherals. She will use the sale proceeds for an even cushier retirement than you might have expected.


Hi, Paul;

there is always a way when HP41 is the issue.

If you wnat to know about the HP12C have a look here. This calculator is still being produced, but it has been "upgraded" recently to be an HP12C Platunim. Love "her" or hate "her", it's the only one RPN available from HP so far. There is a possible HP12C's clone found by Renato comming from another brand, but it's still being hunted.

If you are lucky finding, there is a Financial Decisions Pack, ROM module included, where many of the HP12C's features are available in the well-known HP41 style.

Module's major subjects are:

Compound Interest Solutions
Modified IRR
Loan Amortization Schedules
Straight Line Depreciation - SL in the HP21C
Declining Balance Depreciation - DB in the HP12C
S.O.Y.D. Depreciation
Date Arithmetic

Module's # ID is 00041-14026.

As mentioned by Rick, RPN is not dead, and the HP48G has standart TVM menu with [n] (# of periods), [i] (interest rate), [PV] (Present Value), [PMT] (PayMenT) and [FV] (Future Value) softkeys plus AMORTization features. If you know how to deal with the HP41, you'll need a bit of time and practice to hold the HP48G's new functionality. Although many others in hear stated against this, I have both of them and I feel no harm usnig the HP41 or the HP48 anywhere.

Hope this helps.

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


I will draw a distinction. RPN is a form of notation, or in the case of a calculator, a form of entry.

RPL is a language and also an operating system that uses RPN.

A number of computer languages use RPN.

We should not confuse the notation with the language.


I'm with Luiz.
The 48 may be the last "professional" quality RPN/RPL machine produced by HP. (I REALLY hope I'm wrong.)You can pick up one for 1/3 the price of a 32SII these days.

It does take some getting used to though.
The good news is that there is info all over the web on how to make it go.

Try the emulator EMU48 first to see if you like RPL.


Sorry Paul, but as others have told you, there is no joy in RPNville tonight. Some have indicated that you can easily/happily move on to the 48 series as the next step (RPN as a subset of RPL). Maybe its 'cause I'm old, but I tried moving to the 48GX. I disliked the display (mine was blue), the colour scheme, the keys(!) and the length (it wouldn't fit in my shirt pocket - not that my 41 did though - I seem to make a lot of excuses for the 41 - must be true love....).

I was also underwhelmed with the documentation. Tons of software though (

In a (half)nutshell then, from my perspective, your quest for the 41 replacement will be fraught with hardship and danger. Oh, and if you should want to buy a 48GX, I've got one for sale.


Jim U sound just like me...

U tried using the graphing calculator and said
'whats the use'.

I was using 48G+ ....... Couldn't stand it.

The solution, my friend ?
SELL IT! You reduce HP's profits if you dont let their graphical paperweight gather dust at your house.


Newbie here. Norm's description of the current state of HP RPN is accurate, and yes, somewhat depressing. As others have pointed out, right now Paul is limited to buying a 12C for RPN capability, or trolling eBay or thrift stores for used calculators.

It's hard to believe how HP has let RPN, or at least, *scientific* RPN, fall by the wayside. This really snuck on me, sad to say. Luckily, I bought a 15C back in college and have babied it for two decades. It stays in my desk at work, and ten years ago I bought a 32SII just to balance my checkbook at home!

Thanks to everyone for the helpful and entertaining information posted on the site.


Doug i started collecting hp's when i heard they were stopping production of the 32sii


We've had a few people surface recently, wondering why they couldn't find an HP RPN replacement unit after years of faithful service from a much-loved earlier model. Makes one wonder how many others are out there . . .

I guess "both HP's" could read their own lessons from the experiences of these folks:

The Old H-P would take satisfaction in the fact that even though several generations of product have come & gone, an older model has quietly soldiered on for the customer, satisfying their needs completely, and leading them to think of nothing other than H-P when it finally came time for a replacement.

The New H-P will take umbrage at the realization that for all these years a crusty old rock-solid calculator has been so dependable that the customer hasn't seen the need to buy any more product in the interim. (A TI user might have had to buy 4 or 5 calculators in the same time period!)


I am one of those who found this museum and group while looking in vain for a currently in production RPN calculator. I was astounded that the 32sii was taken out of production with no replacement.


Fear not, RPN will never die, it's all over the web in the form of software. As computers continue to decrease in size and weight, they are replacing the need to carry a separate calculator. So..




There are at least a couple decent RPN calcs for the palm OS, if you want to go that rout. I find it hard to do any real engineering "crunching" on the Palm, but it's always with me (like my 42S used to be). The Palm is darn handy on it's own anyway.


It's wonderful to see how many die-hards there are. I still have the 41CX I bought in the early '70's and would not part with it. I acquired a 15c when an office where I worked closed. I now feel "blessed" to have a choice of RPN units. I had no idea that HP had dropped the whole system. I knew when they discontinued the 41 series and nievely assumed they replaced it with bigger and better. Until recently I figured I was operating in the old world of some system which had advanced well beyond. Instead I find I am one of the fortunates who retained one of the best. Thanks for all of the info. I'll check in once in a while.
Also, I have an extra Advantage Pack still in the wrapper somewhere. Looking for a trade for another useful module or other stuff. I also have the catalog of hp41 programs if anyone could use it for nostalgia purposes. I hate to admit that I also had an IL cable, printer and cassette recorder that went somewhere (dump?) long ago. Wish I had known!


>I still have the 41CX I bought in the early '70's

You didn't buy it in the '70s, Mitch. You mean the '80s. (Unless HP made a prototype HP-41CX at the same time the HP-35 was released. Now, that's an interesting thought.)


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