HP42 S - Latest Generation?


Hi All,

Please excuse this VERY stupid question.

I have used an HP42S for many years and finally, I want to get a new HP calculator...

I LOVE the HP42s and the complex function/speed/ease of use that I experienced with this calculator.

I also have the 48SX but have been very unhappy with this and do not really use it much...:o(

PLEASE can someone advise what I can buy now that is VERY VERY similar to the HP 42S and offers ease of use, robust, complex features and RPN.

Thank you for your time...



Unfortunately, it appears that there isn't any good news. At the moment, your best (expensive!) bet is to buy ANOTHER 42S on Ebay.

There are rumors of new HP RPN calculators, to appear "real soon now," and we are all waiting hopefully, but not too optimistically, that they will be the equal of past products.


As a long time 42S user, IMO there is simply nothing else like it. HP has no current RPN scientifics. Not a one. "New ones coming" is the marketing speech. No dates, no models. Ugly situation, but then the ugly truth is better than a pretty lie.

Buy a used 42S and be happy. Buy a new one and be happier. HP made a batch of service spares as late as 2000. They can still be found, albeit at high prices.


Hello, Brendon;

your question is not stupid at all. We all in here that already have an HP42S and, mostly, those who had and/or still have an HP41 are waiting for this day long before you post your question.

There is nothing like the HP42S so far. The only upgraded version is a custom HP42S with 32KRAM, but this is not an official HP upgrade (I call it HP42S+). I am not sure about who was the first one, but names like Paul Brogger, Tony Duell and Randy Sloyer, amongst others (if I mispelled someones' names, please, correct me; thanks) are directly dealing with this. I myself have upgraded at lesast three HP42S to 32KRAM, and it's a stable upgrade (except for my own HP42S that is not working but I guess it's another cause). Your HP42S will be able to hold extra 24KBytes, and it's quite cool.

Many things have been discussed here about the HP42S, and both I/O (mostly) and expandability are the most desirable features we would like to see in an upgrade. So far, nothing official comes from HP headquarters. Gen. Fiorina signed no signs.

As mentioned above, we're waiting for new models. If they are following existing ones, most of us in here will remain waiting. Me included.

Best regards. And keep using your HP42S; do not get tired of it.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


Hi Dave, Mr/Mrs Webster, Vieira,

Thank you so much for this insight. I thought that I was way behind the times... I guess now that I am not so... I LOVE the 42S and would not want to change it for anything else.

Thanks to the three of you, I am up to speed.

Kind regards,


Another vote for appropriate technology, exhibiting the kind of loyalty that you just can't engender by outsourcing everything in a half-hearted attempt at playing the other guy's game . . .



If you can work with a calculator that has less features (but otherwise works like the 42S), you can try to get a 41CX. The 42S was designed to be "41-compatible", so that programs written for the 41 could be ported to the 42 with a minimum of effort.

It works the other way too, provided that you're not using any of the features available to the 42 only -- like hyperbolic functions, variables, and alpha strings longer than 24 characters.

Check the museum's information about the 41 and see if it fits your needs. I believe that getting a 41 is somewhat easier than a 42.

-Ernie (a happy 41CX owner)


The HP-41 is both more and less than the HP-42.
Variables and long alpha strings. Larger display and soft keys are HP-42 stuff you won't find in a HP-41.

On the other hand, the HP-41 have more computer-like functionality. Very extensive I/O, ram disk, clock and calendar functions, extended functionality with modules...

Personally, I'll take the 41 over the 42 any day of the week, but that's just my very personal opinion.

But in order to have a very good HP-41, you really want a CX with the Advantage module. You might want to throw in the MATH and STAT modules as well. A card reader, and you have a nice setup.


Hello, Johnny;

I'm a devoted HP42S user, mostly because I'm an Electrical Engineer, I deal with surveying data and programming and I like having "redy-to-use" tools. The HP42S has a set of resources that ar hard to beat: matrices and complex arithmetic plus numeric integral, and these are desirable tools for an electrical engineer. Also, the BASE set is handy if you want to develop a concise set of programs to deal with binary data.

Still the biggest handicap: no I/O facilities. Increasing RAM to 32K and stuffing it in creates a headache bomb: if memory is cleared somehow, you'll have to stuff it in again by the keyboard.

The better approach I'm refering to is the Advantage module. Brendon's first request was about complex and matrix abilities, and the Advantage is the closest answer. There are other ROM's that allow some matrix arithmetic, like the CCD, but the Advantage adds significant power to the stand-alone HP41CX.

Just my thoughts.

Luiz C. Vieira - Braxil


I believe matrices, complex arithmetic and numerical integral are the strong points of the 48 series.


Well, with advantage, the 41 have very nice matrix operations. Complex math works fine too, as does numerical integration.

What the 48 have is the ability to do symbolic stuff, a large stack (with complex numbers, the 41 only have two levels), and graphing.

But I must say, that after using my 48 for about ten years, I'm now back with my 41.


>But I must say, that after using my 48 for about ten years, I'm now back with my 41.

I don't blame you. I _tried_ to use a 28C, a 48GX and a 49G, but RPL drove me absolutely up the wall. Maybe I'm myopic or old-fashioned, but to me there's nothing like the 4-level-stack RPN.

And the HP-41 keyboard is superb.




Brendon wanted to know an RPN machine, not an RPL. That's why I didn't mention the 28C/S, 48S/SX/G/GX, 49G, and all that nonsense. 8^)


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