12C, buy new or search for an older one?


I need to pick up a 12C and I was going to just buy a new one, until I read some reviews and comments about the new 12Cs not being as sturdy as the older (Made in USA) models. Is it worth trying to find one of these older models on eBay, or should I not worry about it and buy a new 12C from Amazon or the like? How long ago did HP stop making the 12C in the US? Thanks!


hi there,

are you set against the 12cp? they are reasonably priced new and you get a real manual. there are pros and cons tho'.

good luck,



From what I've heard, the 12CP isn't necessarily an upgrade from the 12C. People have said it's not built very well, and is actually slower performing some calculations. I don't need (or want) algebraic notation, so I'm not sure what I get with the 12CP vs. the 12C.


The 12cp is slower solving for i in annuity problems.

The 12cp does have nearly 2.5 times the usable programming memory (unless the goto bug has been fixed, then it has nearly 4X the program memory).

The 12cp is faster running programs that do not involve solving for i.

I don't have any real qualms about its quality, and I have used it alot. ;-)



I'll be using it for my MBA courses, so I probably won't be doing much programming on it, just typical financial math. That's why I'm a little weary of the slower calculation speeds.


I suggest the Hp17Bii then, because it is much more versatile and useful. The 12c is popular because it is a classic with a great layout, but feature wise and function wise the 17Bii BLOWS IT AWAY!!!

I would even suggest the older discontinued 17Bii over the newer 17Bii+, but whatever (I like the larger enter key and 7 K RAM is way more than the 12c or cpee) and this RAM is used by a very easy to use solver which much easier to use than programming a 12c.


I have both a well-made classic 12C and a 17BII (both made in Singapore during 1993)

The 17BII is much more capable and is substantially faster. The only drawback is that few functions are directly assigned to keys -- menus must be navigated, in order to provide a "clean, uncluttered" layout.

The 12C Platinum is an inept "upgrade" in my estimation.

  • It has more RAM for programming as Gene said, but the limited programming capabilities -- carried over from the 12C -- are still so crude that the additional memory has little practical value.
  • Algebraic entry was added without parentheses(!)
  • The TVM algorithm is apparently not as mathematically robust as before.

12C's made in China during the past few years are cheaply made, with printed key legends that wear off.


is not as "inept" as you make it out to be. :-)

The programming GOTO problem and i solving issue aside...

The algebraic without parentheses requires one to think differently, but it did not cause those of us who worked on the 12cp solutions manual any real difficulties. If you haven't pulled down the newly revised 12cp solutions manual, do so and study the algebraic solutions. Some of them are quite ingenious, if I say so myself. :-)

That said, I prefer the 12c or 12cp to the 17bII for the reason Ron mentioned...I have keystroke access to all functions without having to go through lots of menus.

The solver is nice, but I just don't use that too often.

My 1 cent. :-)


Hi Gene, folks;

just a brief add: I had a TI BA55 (or 55C?) that is also financial, programmable, algebraic and has no parenthesis. I thought it would be better in the hands of a very good friend, also contributor in here, so I no longer have it.

About the HP12C Platinum "parenthesisless" algebraic features: if we think RPN in most cases, that will do. Even the stack features (WITHOUT the extremelly desirable duplication of the x-contents with ENTER) are kept somehow, with [x<>y] performing some interesting tricks. Try this:

in RPN mode you can fill the stack with 50 (T), 40 (Z), 30 (Y) and 20 (X) with the sequence:

50 [ENTER]
40 [ENTER]
30 [ENTER]
You can use [Rv] (roll-down) to check the contents. Now try this:
[f] [ALG]
50 [x<>y]
30 [ENTER]
40 [x<>y]
Only one [ENTER] and you have the same stack contents. You can use the same sequence above, as in RPN, to fill the stack in Algebraic mode, but [x<>y] somehow "locks" stack automatic lifting. Tricky, isn't it? Anyway, you still cannot duplicate with [ENTER].

I enjoy using the HP12C Platinum, but I barely use Algebraic mode. Mostly to show former HP12C users the difference of using the Algebraic mode against RPN and what's new on the HP12C Platinum. Most former RPN users prefer using RPN istead of algebraic. But I had the chance to show someone that does not own an HP calculator that the HP12C Platinum uses Algebraic as well. He told me: "Now I'll consider buying one." Well, he told me that in Portuguese, in fact.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 20 May 2004, 5:10 p.m.


yes indeed, the 17bii is also one of my faves.

or even consider the 19bii. relatively recently i acquired one, thinking ho hum, another financial calculator. but i was wrong. its a very nice machine indeed. i have always been a fan of the book-style fold back case, also seen on the 28c/28s. you get a dedicated alpha keyboard which make programming and especially formula entry (for the solver) a pleasure. euros are missing tho'

19biis dont fetch a great deal either. are they still in production?


No, they are not in production any longer.

The very late-model 19bII's I really don't like.

Low contrast LCD.

Early 19bII's are much better.



Matt, I recommend you buy either a 12C or a 12CP / TI BAII+ combination. The TI will help confirm the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the 12CP.



I'm not aware of any "inaccuracies" in the 12c/12cp.

Do you have any specific problems where the answers differ to a significant degree? (Meaning, more than 1 or 2 places in the last digit?)


Gene, I agree the 12cp is accurate. The gto bug can be worked around - for example I have MEM=P-399 r-7 and just cannot do a programmed gto into 111 lines 145-255. I still use all the lines. Manual GTO into that range is still possible as is programmed GTO out of that range. Would be nice to have the bug fixed though.



But if you are used to programming the scientific voyagers, e.g. 11c, the programming method for the 12c is just insanely unfrindly---unable to edit lines--having to do weird trickw with GTO to repair or revise---who needs that aggravation!


Bill Platt


Hi Gene. I'm not aware of any more inaccuracies other than what you've already reported, such as:



Did you ever determine whether or not you received a 12cp beta? Do you know if HP has fixed some of this?




Several advantages of the HP17 Series:

* The HP17 has a lot more memory than the HP12 series.
* Appointments and clock.
* The HP17 series does not cost much more than the HP12 (difference $10-$20)

One drawback, you have to navagation through a lot of menus due to the HP17's under-cluttered keyboard.

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