painted keys voyager


in the voyager and pioneer series, what models or s/n have painted keys as opposed to molded?


HP certainly had painted key labels on HP-12Cs, 15Cs,
and 16Cs.

I have seen HP-15Cs with HP-12C key labels shaded
beneath the 15C labels, also 16Cs with 15C _and_ 12C
labels below the 16C labels. Dave has some images of
these on this very web site! More recently, it was
pointed out to me that some 12Cs have 15C labels
below the 12C key labels. I do not know of other
combinations, and suspect that all 10Cs and 11Cs,
as well as early 15Cs and 16Cs had moulded key labels,
not painted ones.

What really interests me is what the technology was
behind the key labelling at the time when these
"interchangeable" keys were produced. Did HP make
one huge batch of keys at a time, sometimes 12C,
sometimes 15C, then paint the others over them?
But in that case, why vary the basic keys, sometimes
12C and sometimes 15C? Or was a technique used such
that traces of the previous label were left in the
machine when a new design was used? In that case,
someoene, somewhere, should have a 12C or a 15C
with signs of 16C key labels below them.

Does anyone have such a 12C or 15C?

Thanks, tom, for reminding us of this interesting bit
of history.



Wlodek wrote:

"...also 16Cs with 15C _and_ 12C labels below the 16C labels."

How do you know that the keys below are 15C, not 11C ?



Let's say I want to hit eBay for old Voyagers and Pioneers. Is there a sure way to tell (say, through the serial number) whether a unit has painted or moulded keys?


IMO, the number of Voyagers made with (re)printed keys was very small, impossible to tell by serial number. It was not a widespread practice.

All Pioneers made in Indonesia (except for 42S service spares) had painted keys.


Why paint over these keys to begin with? How expensive could it have been to just use new keys instead of reusing them? Seems cheaper to just scrap the molded keys that you don't want and use new keys to start from scratch. Couldn't have saved more than a few cents per key.


VPN wrote:
"How do you know that the keys below are 15C, not 11C ?"
Sorry, of course I don't, as these are the same. I just
called them that as I have seen plenty of 15Cs, but no 11Cs, with faint 12C labels below the 15C words. Naturally, when I was shown 16Cs with both sets, I assumed these were the 15C keys repainted a second time. Same for 12Cs with 15C or 11C labels below the 12C labels.

Does anyone here know of HP-11Cs with keys that show traces of HP-12C or HP-16C labels below the 11C labels? That would be very interesting!

Keith asks why they repainted keys instead of using "new" ones. These are not keys from old voyagers returned for repair and recycling, if that's what you meant. These are HP-15Cs and HP-16Cs made late in the product lifecycle, when HP might have thought it not worth making large batches of 15C and 16C keys. Instead, they could have painted over newly made 12C keys, or used a production line that made small batches of all the different keyboards, but left some traces of what had been made in the previous batch.




I have a Voyager (12c) made in the US in 1987 that has painted over keys. I didn't notice it until recently. Don't know how this affects the overall quality of the calculator, except for the paint on the keys wearing off eventually.

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