Texas Instruments RPN calculator


Surely the HP32SII production line is not that cold that it couldn't be restarted in Indonesia so that HP could get back to producing at least one single classic calculator - surely that's not too much to ask is it!!!! - just one single solitary measly lonesome classic calculator - why the hell is that so difficult to do. HP just had a calculator competition to determine what the kids would like to see in a calculator.....ummmmmmmm.......why don't they ask the veteran/expert users instead (sorry kids). Some of these veteran users have been using HP and RPN since 1972 and might possibly know a couple of things (more likely a thousand good ideas some of which have already been mentioned on this site).

It's now totally apparent that the HP calculator design contract was won by a Canon or Casio design bureau. Take all the tell-tale labels off the HP33S and ask the public what brand of calculator it is - guaranteed 99 percent would say its a Canon or maybe a Casio ... no.... it must be the new Sharp model.

Maybe someone should be tapping Texas Instruments on the shoulder to try to get them into RPN machines - after all HP cross-dressed into algebraic machines. Maybe TI would do a better design job and produce a classic looking machine ... desperate times require desperate measures.


I think it would be a wasted effort. As long as Hp is even remotely capable of making or outsourcing a calculator, Ti will never make an RPN model (the Ti-89 has a pretty good download to change it over to an RPN, I am told, but that was developed outside of Ti). Why? Because that just might breathe new life into a competitor on the ropes (HP). There is a whole decade of Ti users and a new Hp calculator user is in the EXTREME minority (and I would bet 2/3's of the new users are using Algebraics, since that is what many new Hp's are). Textbooks are written around Ti calculators. Why would Ti even think to make an RPN to admit or recognize its merit?

But that is only my belief, and you could certainly campaign Ti to do otherwise.

And concerning many of the new Hp algebraic models, while they may be superior to their competetion, they are not significantly superior to warrent any tears if they disappear. I'll use an Hp39G as an example. It has lots more functions and capability and 10 times the RAM as Ti's 83 series. Very similiar and you could almost use their manuals interchangably. But they are not identical, and when the text book is using a Ti-83 for examples, what calculator do you think the student or parent will buy?
And Hp could have added more to the Hp39G, but chose not to, to compete directly with the Ti-83. Why not give the student who buys Hp the UNFAIR advantage. Thats my slogan! You buy Hp to get the best, not a castrated eunuch. While Hp may get banned from a few exams, the truth is, it often is anyway, since they are so seldom seen, that the proctors ban them out of ignorance. Give them a REASON, I say. If the Hp39G had an RPN mode and a units library, it would have been a great low priced graphics calculator. Both features would have cost Hp NOTHING. But marketing wanted to put their 39G head to head with the Ti-83. Those extra features would have hurt sales (and this is true, but I suspect you would have gained 5 sales for every one lost). The knowledgable customer would have purchase for the units feature and maybe learned RPN later. Others, such as myself would use the 39G as a knockaround calculator for day to day use, since it would be an RPN (well, I would probably still stay with my 48G).


Ron > (the Ti-89 has a pretty good download to change it over to an RPN, I am told, but that was developed outside of Ti)

I picked up a TI 89 for $40 a couple years ago just to try out Lars Frederiksen's RPN program. What a nice (and fast) interface!

One really cool aspect is that as you perform a calculation (in rpn entry format.. working from the inside out.. ie. no parenthesis), it builds/maintains a "history", in algebraic format, as the calculation is entered.

In other words, the history shows the same calculation, as if you entered it algebraically (ie. it shows the calculation in the order it was calculated with parentheses inserted).

It is by far, the BEST way I have seen to teach an "RPN impaired" person how/why RPN is so efficient, while also reinforcing rules of precedence (order-of-operations).

I must admit, I only use it (TI 89) as a four-banger calculator (can't stand SO MANY things about the TI 89).


ps. I should take a stab at writing a similar app for the 48/49G series.


All those "veteran/expert" users already HAVE RPN calculators that they use.
Why would you buy a 32SII if you allready got 2 of them? Your old ones are not very likely to stop operating, and if they did, you could always buy a new one - after your old one has failed.
Thats why they focus on the kids. Every year thousands of schoolkids need a new calculator, and they don't care about quality or RPN, they just want it to be stylish. And their parents want it cheap, as they have to pay.
Ok, WE would by an RPN calculator for our kids (and I am very happy my Dad did the same), but thats just a few parents who would do that. Most parents have no idea about calculators. I was the only kid in school that had an HP calculator, all the others had Casio or TI.

Regars, Harry, who is very disapointed that nowadays it is not quality, but design that is important.

btw, its the same with cars:
They put more and more (in my oppinion) useless electronic stuff in cars, that makes them more expensive, heavier, less reliable, and no fun to drive.
For example they don't put time and effort (and of course money) in designing a good suspension, but they just put a stability control in, that keeps the car from flying off the road.
Ok, I guess I am loosing focus...



No, you are not losing focus--you are right on!

This problem of doingthe details without the fundamentals is endemic in design and engineering today. Just read the "technical" papers from any technical socierty and you will notice that the majority of papers focus on minutuae and not fundamentals. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find good, reliable fundamental engineering information that is not 30 or more years old. I suspect that most younger engineers don't even know where the (old but good) information can be found--never mind that they may not even know it exists.

On the other hand, if you read any industry magazines from the world of photonics, electronics, microelectronics, or robotics, you will see great enthusiasm for the ability to do anything formerly requiring mechanical action by using electronics. I have read just such a piece regarding automobile stability and control!

What does this have to do with calculators? The same dynamics are at work---the products are produced using 3-D wiz-bang total product models, TQM ("total quality management") and "advanced analysis" (read: the software thinks instead of the engineer) and so in the nd, you have no real quality--only what a robot "thought" would work. I suspect this is why the 12C has the problems it does.

We'll see about the 33s. And yes, that keyboard layout looks like the Pontiac Aztek! (Uuuuuuuuuuuugly).

BTW: Interesting that you, a German, were the only one with an HP in your class. What years? For me, in the States, I was the only HP kid in 1983, out of 2,000 students. Clearly, the old HP was not successful with the "kids".


Bill Platt


I got my first Calculator - a HP 32S - in 1989. Although I wasn't allowed to use it in class at that time. I don't know about now, but back then we started using calculators in class from 8th grade on. That was in 1992 for me.

Looking for pictures of that ugly Pontiac now ;)




This problem of doing the details without the fundamentals is endemic in design and engineering today.

I totaly agree with you. I am studying electronics engineering, and this happens to me all the time.
When I try to understand the theory behind a way of solving a problem, I am often (too often) told, that I do not need to know. The Professors are like: "Belive me, it works that way, just do it!"
For example the Laplace-transformation. In class all we do is, looking up the transformations in tables. I tried to calculate those tables myself, by simply solving the actual Integral, wich defines the Laplace-transformation. It worked pretty good. But what I can't find out is (don't know all the words in english here, sorry for this) why the table can be read backwards. I mean, before doing this, you have to proof, that two diffrent functions that are transformed, ALWAYS give a diffrent answer, wich is essential. Or in diffrent words: may f(x) be the original function and F(s) the transformed. Then there must not be more than ONE f(x) for every F(s). There is a simple word for this, I just don't know it in english.



The word in English is "one-to-one". Your question can be rephrased as: "why is the Laplace transform one-to-one?" (sometimes the term "injective" is used instead).



no text


"bill platt" wrote:

This problem of doing the details without the fundamentals is endemic in design and engineering today. Just read the "technical" papers from any technical society and you will notice that the majority of papers focus on minutiae and not fundamentals.

Right on, Bill! I've noticed a general de-emphasis of fundamentals, too. There could be several reasons:

1. Students are expected to cover more topics and advanced material in their "4-year" degree programs, so they don't spend as much time learning the fundamentals.

2. Computing devices (more PC's than calculators) make it so easy to get answers without analyzing the problem from a fundamental standpoint.

3. Higher emphasis on short-term payback can result in "solutions" intended to make distinct impressions rather than to withstand the test of time.

4. Rapidly-advancing and more-complex technologies make it more difficult for most people to comprehend the fundamentals, except for the exclusive "cognosenti" (sp?)

For me, in the States, I was the only HP kid in 1983, out of 2,000 students. Clearly, the old HP was not successful with the "kids".

I assume that this was in high school. I bought my first HP (15C) as a college junior in 1983, after being enthralled by the 41C in 1980-81. I think it was more a matter of "kids" not being able to comfortably afford HP's until the mid-80's. The $115 I paid exceeded my monthly scholarship stipend.


HP contracted Kinpo to build their calcs. This company makes perfectly good ones branded as Citizen. The 30s is an example of straight rebranding of an OEM, in this case the Citizen SR260. The 9s is the SRP325g, which is a redone Casio fx-6300. The 33s, 48ii, and 49+ all appear to be designed exclusively for HP, as evidenced by the keys EVAL, R/S etc.
HP surely wants to re-enter the education and mass consumer market. They already have a strong distribution chain, in fact this is all they are anymore: a distributor. OEM printers, ink, digital cameras, etc in asia, resell them in the americas and europe. Every company does it. They split off Agilent to seperate their 'tech' division, which is higher risk, narrow customer base, from their 'consumer' division, which is lower risk, broad customer base. They want to sell gagets to the masses through brand recognition and reputation. Just keep paying Juan Pablo Montoya the big bucks HP!

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