HP 49G+ keypad fixed?


So I finally broke down and turned in my old 49G for the 49G+. The 49G, although a great calculator, was just too slow to operate. Well the university bookstore had two different packages. I picked the wrong one apparently. The serial number on my unit begins with CN334... So that places it's manufacturing sometime in 2003 (September?). Don't ask me why they still had one that old.
It's interesting. The right half of the keyboard seems perfect. The keys aren't noisy at all. But as you move to the left side of the keyboard, every key is extremely loud (especially toward the bottom). Also, the ON key sits slightly more sunken than the others (by design?). Some of the keys miss but not if I consistently press firmly.
When you press any of the keys on the lower left side, you can see the rest of the keys sink slightly as if the circuit board is not really secured on that side.
So here is my question. I know that HP will replace the calculator. But have they really fixed the keys? Is it even worth replacing it? Does anyone out there have one of the more recent units? If so, how does the key situation seem?



As for the ON key being lower than the rest, I think that it's
safe to assume that that's by design. The same is true of all the
48 series, the 49G, 16C, and I suppose many other HP calculators.
The idea is that with the ON key being lower than the rest, the
calculator is less likely to be accidentally turned on when it's
stored in its case. Note that the 28 series, with its folding
design, has the ON key the same height as the others.

Regarding serial numbers, the newest ones have a sticker on the
back of the package with a serial number on it. The serial on the
outside of the package doesn't match the serial on the back of the
calculator, but I expect that there should be some correlation
between them. My second replacement 49g+ came with a package
serial of CNA423xxxxx, a serial of CNA419xxxxx stamped in the back
of the case, and an internal serial of CN424xxxxx.

Regarding the keyboards, the newer ones aren't as bad. The keys
seem quieter, perhaps a little easier to press, and I haven't seen
reports of some keys seeming poorly attached on them. There's
still a problem of keystrokes not always registering if I press
only until I feel the click. My first 49g+, serial CN331xxxxx was
very inconsistent in registering keystrokes; some keys were much
worse than others. My first replacement, CN402xxxxx, was
noticeably better, but one side of the hinge for the ENTER key
eventually broke. My current replacement seems the same, but
whether they've corrected the problem with key hinges breaking, I
suppose that time will tell.

Regarding the missing keystroke problems, I'm used to the 48
series keys, where when I feel the "click", I can be sure that the
keystroke has registered. On my 49g+, if I press until I feel the
key definitely "bottom out", then I can be sure that the keystroke
has registered, but if I type "normally", perhaps 5% of the
keystrokes will be missed. When I realize that some keystrokes
have been missed, I remember that the "just press firmly" method
is required for the 49 series, and all is well for a while, until
I forget and revert to my normal typing style. All keys seem about
the same on both of my replacements.

Some users write that their 49g+ doesn't miss any keystrokes. I
expect that it's a matter of individual typing styles.

Turning on the "Key Click" in MODE causes a short beep when a key
registers. If you're in an environment where it's quiet enough to
actually hear the beep, and it's not annoying to others, this may
help to alert you to missing keystrokes. Other than that, watch
the display, especially for the shift and ALPHA keys, and before
any "execution" keys. Of course, "just press firmly".

Some insist that the missing keystrokes are due to a software
problem that can be fixed in the next ROM. I suppose that there
could also be a software problem, but I'm sure that there's a
hardware problem.

For the problems you describe with your CN334xxxxx, I'd say that
it would be worthwhile to ask for a warranty replacement. The new
one may not completely satisfy you, but it won't be as bad.

For my second replacement, they offered me the option of giving
them my credit card number, and keeping my current 49g+ until the
replacement arrived with a prepaid return shipping label. The old
one had to be returned within ten business days to avoid having my
credit card charged for the replacement.

The replacement came with a postcard to receive a free
subscription to a business magazine, but the fine print says that
there's an alternative of receiving $9.99 instead, provided that I
send the UPS barcode and the original receipt within 90 days of
the original purchase. I didn't qualify, but as long as you still
have your original purchase receipt, you may be able to get the



James M. Prange posted:
"... The replacement came with a postcard to receive a free subscription to a business magazine, but the fine print says that there's an alternative of receiving $9.99 instead, provided that I send the UPS barcode and the original receipt within 90 days of the original purchase. I didn't qualify, but as long as you still have your original purchase receipt, you may be able to get the $9.99.


Me neither, but in the words of Robin Williams' Genie, it made me look!


I decided also to buy an HP49G+ recently, ensuring that it was a recent manufactured one.
(I was using an HP49 after having used practically all HP calculators)

1. The ON key has been always shorter in most HP calculators, to avoid the calculator to be inadvertently turned on. Note that this was not needed in the HP49G because it had a hard cover, but the HP49G+ has a soft cover again as the HP48.

2. My calculator has a serial number CAN 429… I was very critical with previous units and the HP49G, but I have to recognise that my HP49G+ is blameless. So I would recommend anyone the new HP49G+ (be sure that the number is > 400).

Perhaps you would like to use the ->KEYTIME feature to adjust the anti-bouncing time of the keyboard. It comes with the value 0 from factory and I did not need to increase the value in my unit (this was a must in the HP49G).

Edited: 26 Oct 2004, 6:19 a.m.


By and large, I agree, but I must still testify that there are still a few missed keypresses, though now much, much fewer.

But admittedly, sometimes, if I am slightly distracted, I press the keys... well, abnormally, that is, differently than I ordinarily would and I notice that it kind of then that there is the highest chance of a missed keypress, for example if I gently and slowly squeeze down, sometimes, it doesn't register. A sharp, quick push usually works (better).


I have tried for a long time to press very gently and slowly all the keys and I have been unable to get a missed keypress.

It would be interesting to know if the different behaviour between your machine and mine depends on manufacturing tolerances or on manufacturing improvements.

According to the salesman, my calculator was imported very recently (I live in Spain) and has the number CNA 42900683.

Could you please tell me which is your serial number?

Note: As James M. Prange suspects, this is NOT a software problem. It is just a hardware problem (I am a design engineer well acquainted with this problem). So if someone has this problem, it will NEVER be solved by a new software. Perhaps pressing hard and many times the faulty key will help.

Edited: 26 Oct 2004, 6:03 p.m.


After you posted, I tried the same thing on my 49G+. Admittedly, I didn't find any missed presses this time... at all. I sincerely hope I am remembering incorrectly.

Honestly, if from now on I find one, maybe two or three more missed keypresses over a reasonable period of time, I won't care at all.

I do know that even with the 34C, 32SII, 48G, and 48G+, every long once in a while, I miss a press.

Like one person here said, it just might be the way I hit the keys. I'm glad you posted.


Oh, and my S/N begins with CNA41... on the back of the calculator; the label on the packaging says instead, CNA42...


After having used a lot my new HP49G+ these last days I regret to recognize that I do have missing keystrokes.

This will never happens when I just try the keys one by one, regardless of how I press them, but after the machine has been working hard.

So my conclusion is:
- Mechanically, the new keyboards are blameless.

- I suspect that from time to time the garbage collector operates and during this time the keyboard is inoperative. It is just like in the HP49G with the original software, but becausse the machine is faster, the default is less aparent.

I have to contradict me, and say that in this case the default can be corrected by software. I think that the HP49G+ is worse in this aspect than the HP49G with the new software 1.19-6 which made the problem practically unnoticeable.

Edited: 28 Oct 2004, 6:33 a.m.


The bottom line is: The 49G/G+ miss key strokes.


Actually, "type ahead" still works while it's doing a garbage collection. Up to 15 keystrokes can be stored in the keyboard buffer.

But until the garbage collection is over, they won't be processed, and if the "Key Click" mode is enabled, there won't be any beeps. It's easy to think that a keystroke was missed, so I'll hit it again, and then when the garbage collection is over, all of the keystrokes will be fed in and the beeps will sound like a "chirp". It can be rather disconcerting.

But the key buffer and garbage collection are nothing new, although garbage collection may take longer with more free memory.



Note that this was not needed in the HP49G because it had a hard cover, but the HP49G+ has a soft cover again as the HP48.
I stand corrected. If I hold something flat against the keys, I see that it's the same height as the others. Somehow, when I look at the keybaord straight on, it looks lower to me. Maybe the color?



It is not the colour - in the HP49G+, many other keys are black. All the keys measure about 1.8 mm but the ON key
is about 1.3 mm height.
The 48 series has also a lower key and for the same reason.
As I said, in the 49G the ON key has the same heigth as the other ones because the stiff protecting cover avoids the calculator to be turned on.


If I recall, many people here stated that they did not like the hard sliding cover of the 39G/40G. I watch my son with his (algebraic) HP (39G). He isn't like I was with my 34C (though I was probably fifteen years older than he is at the time I bought a 34C); he drops it (not often, thank God!), leaves it on the coffee table, dining table, floor (everywhere except desk)... and the thing still looks kind of new!

I wonder, would I like a sliding hard cover over my 33S or 49G+ (or even 48G) rather than the soft slipcases? The Charlemagnes, Pioneers, Voyagers, and Spices had very soft cases. I do remember feeling always quite nervous whenever I had to transport or carry my HP around. Hmmm... what would a 48G, G+, or GX look like with a sliding hard cover!!


After having used for many years the HP41, 48 series, and now the 49G+ with soft case, I can compare it with the HP49G with hard sliding cover.

The advantage of the sliding cover of the HP49G is that it can be fitted in the back of the calculator. This is invaluable when you work in a small place as in planes or trains: I remember I was always worried trying to found a place to keep the case of the HP48G when I was flying.

In my opinion it is a pity that the HP49G+ has not a cover as the 49G. Just it had to be improved a little, as with time it becames too loose. The HP49 sliding cover idea was copied from a Japanese unit (I think it was a Casio), but mechanically the japanese I tried was better finished.

Edited: 1 Nov 2004, 1:43 p.m.


Actually, my Sharp EL-5520 that I purchased in 1987, although a "landscape" design, has a slide-on cover that can also be slid on underneath, and from either end, for that matter.



Well I ordered the replacement unit from HP on Monday morning and it arrived here this afternoon (Thursday). Interesting though. My new one did not come in the retail package like I've seen some individual's have. It was just in a padded envelope in a box. Anyway, the SN# on this one is CN407... So that puts it in February of this year. I hoped for a newer one but it is obvious that there is a vast difference between this unit and the CN334... that I have. Obviously HP did make a small change in the keyboard design. Not nearly as many keys miss and the unit looks and feels more solid. So let's hope that this one either works like a champ or dies before my warranty is up. Thanks to everyone for your responses.


Why do they have one serial number stamped on the back and a different one on the package?


Probably not made in the same place.

Packaging for many things is made somewhere other than the stuff put in the package.


Yes, but they both refer to the calculator, not one to the calc and the other to the box! (Uh, right?)


What's your big deal with this? Guess I don't understand.

For some time now, the internal serial number hasn't matched the serial number on the back of the calculator. Now the one on the back of the box doesn't match.

So what?



Well, thanks for telling me that. I was wondering if one ever had to contact them and needed a serial number, whether it might ever get confusing.


The S/N on the back of the calculator is the one to use if you have to talk to HP. One could always ask HP if necessary which S/N they considered the one to use.

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