38E Batteries


I have an HP 38E en-route to my house right now. It will include two battery packs, one of which "will not hold a charge".

This will be the oldest HP in my collection and I have no prior experience with rechargeable battery packs, but I am willing to give them a try. My questions are as follows:

1) Is there a type of alkaline disposable battery on the market which can be safely used in the 38E? If so, will they last more than an hour or two powering those LEDs?

2) Of all the battery pack rebuilders out there, who is considered the best/most reliable/most economical? Should I attempt to rebuild one myself?


Take care.


Edited: 12 Apr 2004, 12:25 p.m.


1) Is there a type of alkaline disposable battery on the market which can be safely used in the 38E?

Some people have reported success using alkaline AA cells in the Woodstock series (e.g., HP-25), but others have reported damage. I haven't heard of anyone doing it on a Spice. AA alkaline batteries are nominally 1.5V, as compared to 1.2V for NiCd. So you'd be running the calculator on 3.0V rather than the 2.4V for which it was designed. I wouldn't care to do that to mine.

Should I attempt to rebuild one myself?

Yes. You can use a pair of NiCd or NiMH AA cells.


f) I always have some slightly used AA cells hanging around and i bet so do you. So the fully charged battery problem is no problem. I've used them this way and have had no regrets.

g) When you see the Spice battery pack you'll see that no matter what you use; this is the easiest battery pack to rebuild. Hell, just use a couple of regular slip in Ni Cad or NiMh AA cells if you want and charge them in a wall charger. The stainless steel clip holds them and makes the connection between them.


From tm in (redwood city, california)


Hi Wayne, I've used Duracell and EverReady alkaline AA's in my 34c for 3 years with no problems.

Good luck,



Hi Wayne,

I'm currently running a 33E on two alkaline batteries with no problems.
With approximately 3/4 hour per day of use, they were put in about 3-1/2 months ago and still going


Thanks to all who responded. I am looking forawrd to getting the 38E.

Take care.



A fully charged fresh nicad will put out 1.43V, so two 1.5V alkaline cells (fresh 1.57V) should not be too much of a problem. Strangely, they may fool the "low batery" light into comming on.

As far as rebuilding packs, get your local Batteries Plus or Batteries Etc to do it with 1800 maH NiMH cells. They will run the machine for three times as long as the original nicads (if you charge them three times longer). They are better for the environment and you don't need to worry about fully discharging/charging them.


My 38E is here and it is COOL!! This is my first experience with the old 30 series and I am impressed. In fact, I've got a 34C on the way already.

Take care.


PS - The battery packs both seem to hold a charge, so it looks like I lucked out.


Ah, yeah! There is no calculator to me that can replace the feel of the Spice series (34C in my case). It's just too bad mine is on the fritz (I think it is a solderless unit) and can't afford at this time to service it.

It's a nice unit from a design standpoint, too, in my eyes. It looks a serious tool, but a cool one (geek? what's that?? Tell me the 48G series and the newer TI aren't geeky! The Spices are cool)!


Hello, Wayne;

most of all, congrats! I'm mostly fond of LCD and "Continuous Memory" calculators ("memory contents holder", if I may...), but I know that LED's have their special... charm?

I own some LED' units: HP55, HP97, HP31, HP34C, HP38C and an HP38E, and using/programming them is a must. Also, I own two LED TI units (thanks, M.B.) and I like them as well.

The main "theme" here is the HP34C. Although Norm Hill is the one to be talking about it with "genuine passion" (has anyone "heard" from him? Norm, are you there, pall?), I personally take it as a great achievement. Many HP fans in here do not like Spices too much, and I guess it's because their design has founds on "cheap units". I am not quite sure if "cheap units" applies to both production cost AND unit price, because I remember the HP34C was somehow expensive when introduced. Maybe "profit needs" caused Spices not be exactly an "HP quality" series. Or maybe I wrote a lot of bull so far! If so, sorry folks!

Anyway, I remember when I was about to by a "dreamy" HP41C, I was offered an HP34C for an about 30% lower price, if I am not wrong. The last HP41C was supposed to be sold the day before, and I was completely "desolated". I gave up buying the HP34C and I was leaving when the owner of the store asked about what was going on. Well, there was one HP41C with one memory module that was not brought by someone (maybe he gave up). Well, there I was with my first (still with me) HP41C with one memory module. Last year I was able to put my hands in some Spices for the first time as a user and owner (I realized I never used any before that, although I repaired at least three units a long time ago), the HP34C included, and the feeling was great! One can see that the HP34C offers almost all math and programming resources available with the HP41. I think the HP34C is, in fact, closer to the HP11C, but it was released between the HP67/97 and the HP41C.

Too many words, wow! Enjoy it. It is a powerful unit, a very good calculator. If you liked the HP38E and you deal with scientific calcs as well as financial ones, you'll surely like the HP34C.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 17 Apr 2004, 12:34 a.m.

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  38E/C, 12C, 12CP date arithmetic bug Katie Wasserman 26 4,524 10-19-2011, 08:57 PM
Last Post: Miguel Toro
  HP-38E chips layout Alberto Fenini 3 1,108 12-05-2009, 08:51 AM
Last Post: Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)
  Cases for 38E/C Peabody 10 2,267 11-02-2009, 02:26 PM
Last Post: Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)
  HP-33C HP-33E HP-34C HP-38C HP-38E Business vs. Engineering Norm 12 2,295 03-25-2003, 02:32 AM
Last Post: John K. (US)
  38E without batterypack Reiner Hamann 2 742 11-18-2001, 07:18 AM
Last Post: Todd G.
  HP 38E Decimal point switch Thibaut.be 1 655 01-24-2001, 10:49 PM
Last Post: Katie
  38e diagnostic error codes? Katie Wasserman 0 518 09-30-2000, 02:34 AM
Last Post: Katie Wasserman
  HP 38E Self test? Martin C. Edmonds 2 813 12-25-1999, 07:02 AM
Last Post: Todd Garabedian

Forum Jump: