Peeve with HP33s and other HP's


I was curious if any of you are bothered by the way DMS (degrees, min, sec) angle measurements are handled by HP calculators. I have a 20s that I really like a lot but it is so frustrating to use for surveying calculations.

For example if I enter an angle of 30d 15' 25", the display will appear as 30.1525. To add or subtract this to some other angle I would have to be careful to first convert this to decimal degrees using the HR button giving 30.2569. I would prefer to just work with the value in DMS, because it is all too easy to get in a hurry and forget to convert a value to decimal degrees before proceeding. Or if I pull a calculated answer out of a memory register that is in decimal degrees, it's easy to forget to convert back to DMS before writing it down on paper.

Seems that all of this could be avoided if the angle value could be formatted as either DMS (with the degrees, min, sec symbols) or D.D (dec deg) and STAY that way until it was converted to something else. At least with a Casio I know that if I am looking at an angle value such as 30.2569, there is no doubt I am looking at number in decimal degrees.

So why not use a Casio? Because I like everything else about my 20s including the excellent keys and screen. And now I just read some online doc's and found that the 33s works the same way (w.r.t. angles) as my 20s. ARGH!!!

And just for the record, I am aware that time calculations would not look strictly correct with a degree symbol on the hour value, but I could deal with that trade-off.


Personally, I like it in the HP format (D.MS), it's much easier to enter into the calculator. As for adding and subtracting angles, write a routine that does it for you.


Here is a start to a system:

Idea is that LBL D takes input of D.mmss, and adds them cumulatively:

01- 61 41 d LBL D
02- 21 0 STO 0
03- 61 45 Fraction Part
04- 55 Times
05- 1 100
06- 0
07- 0
08- 74 =
09- 61 45 Fraction Part
10- 55 Times
11- 1 100
12- 0
13- 0
14- 74 =
15- 21 75 3 STO + 3
16- 22 0 RCL 0
17- 61 45 Fraction Part
18- 55 Times
19- 1 100
20- 0
21- 0
22- 74 =
23- 51 45 Integer Part
24- 21 75 6 STO + 6
25- 22 0 RCL 0
26- 51 45 Integer Part
27- 21 75 9 STO + 9
28- 61 26 END

b60F is the checksum

So, what you do is start by CLRG (clear registers) and then, you can simply type in your DD.mmss (decimal parts of seconds after .mmss) and hit "XEQ D".

Note that the degrees, minutues, and seconds.fractionalsecs are segregated into separate registers.

Then, you write another routine to compile the data back to D.mmss format, or convert it or whathaveyou.

Hope this gives you some ideas.



Edited: 30 July 2004, 10:16 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


Bill, thanks for the program routine. I will give it a try. The main issue is that I would like the formatting of the angle value to reflect that it is indeed in DMS format just by glancing at the screen. As you have shown there are workarounds that can make things a little easier but nothing can replace the simplicity of a properly formatted angle.

While we're on the subject of angles, do I dare even mention that I would also like to be able to enter bearings right into the calculator using N,S,E,W!! :-O I'll admit that may be asking for too much from a general purpose scientific calculator.


the beauty of hp calculators is that they are completey progamable, for instance I wrote my own triangle solutions into my 33 when i write my programs i have the calculator change from hms into hrs for me i enter every angle in hms my machine then spits all the answers back out into hms you can program whatever you need into the 33 from point in direction ,triangle solutions,inverse. whatever you need and when you are doing chain calculations it eliminates alot of errors and saves time the 33 has and excellent book. as for as a casio i think in rpn i cant run an algerbraic machine. rpn is much more effective because it eliminates key strokes.


Daniel posted,


At least with a Casio I know that if I am looking at an angle value such as 30.2569, there is no doubt I am looking at number in decimal degrees.

So why not use a Casio? Because I like everything else about my 20s including the excellent keys and screen.

And now I just read some online doc's and found that the 33s works the same way (w.r.t. angles) as my 20s. ARGH!!!

Yes, I agree completely -- That's one of the things Casio has done better than HP for more than 20 years. To enter HMS or DMS on a Casio:

hours (or degrees) [o ' "] minutes [o ' "] seconds [o ' "]

An extra keystroke or two to enter a value is needed, but:

  • Fractional values of each field are allowed for convenience.
  • No extra conversion step is required.
  • HMS or DMS displays cannot be confused with decimal values.

BTW, one important point about the "write a program" solution for the 20S that others suggested and provided: If you program the function, then load one of the pre-programmed routines available from the "LOAD" function, your DMS program will be wiped out.

This is the thing that bothers me most about the 20S, which otherwise is a nice low-end scientific. Six general-purpose utility programs were provided -- as unintuitive, limited, user-unfriendly keystroke-programmed routines. I consider the 20S to be "compromised" in that respect.

-- Karl S.

Edited: 30 July 2004, 3:19 a.m.


ive always thought the 20s is an underrated hp. i know its not as good as a 32sii, but its well built and the display is really clear. clearer than the 32 for example. the buttons are nice too, like all the pioneers. programing is a bit lame, but the rom programs are better than nothing, shame it didnt have more.

i agree on the hms issue. but the small degrees symbols take digits which could be a problem on early 8 digit models. i often wondered if using two "points" would have been better. ie use two decimal points, like this 8.32.60 = 8h32m60s. or even = 8h32m60.112s. of course you would have to press the hms key for the points on entry and not the "." button and this could lead to confusion.

the idea behind using the points is that all displays could handle it, including early led and so on and you dont waste any digits of display.

what do you think?


An old Commodore calc that I had used a dash as a separate. You would enter number 46 (HMS) 34 (HMS)21.435, it would look like this on the screen 46-34-21.435. Pressing any operation key would convert it to decimal format and you could do whatever operation was needed then do an (INV) (HMS) and it would convert back to DD-MM-SS.SSS in the display.


I could live with a double decimal point separator, especially given that most lcd's are more than 8 digits these days. Even a DMS annuciator might be okay if the calculator could keep track of it through a STO and RCL cycle.

Glad to know that other's agree about the Casio method of handling angles. I wish they would take it one step further and leave the angle in DMS format even when the value is loaded into a memory register -- the fx-5000f I have will convert an angle to decimal degrees when stored.


All right the Casio displays special separators for the result of a conversion to DMS, but do these symbols remain after you press any key ? (I don't think so)

Also, I think the never released NS7100 was expected to have a DMS display format, alorg with FIX / SCI / ENG. Anyone beg to differ ?


Well, on the fx-115MS, it seems to keep it as long as you do.

5'6'55' + 6'=11'6'55
5'6'55' + 6 = 11.11527778

If you store a DMS number in a register, then recall it, it comes back as DMS. Eg

6'56'38' sto A
7'29'39' sto B
A + B = 14'26'17
A * 5 = 34'43'10
A / 5 = 1'23'19.6
A * B = 52.03866065 (can't handle this I guess)

HI Daniel,

Of course, some HP's actually had arithmetic built-in, including the 48 series, the hp-55, hp-65, hp-67, and the hp 28c / 28s. There are probably more, too. Yes, also the 41 series and the 42s.



Edited: 2 Aug 2004, 9:59 a.m. after one or more responses were posted



Add the HP-41 and HP-42S to that list too.


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