L() and G() unsupported on NEW HP17BII+ (Long)


To all current and prospective HP17BII+ owners:

I finally got around to requesting a replacement for my OLD HP17BII+, SN CN33301xxx, which did not support L() and G(). My unit was purchased in March of 2004, and I first inquired about a replacement in October. I was told to wait a month since the procedure to replace old units with units that had L() and G() was not yet in place. I was assured that replacement was not a problem, EVEN if my warranty had expired. I checked back in December, and was asked again to wait.

I called back last week, and the 1(800)HPINVENT menu choices of “Handheld”, then “Calculator” led to a message that HP was experiencing “server problem”. After a few days of getting the same message, I tried the old fashioned “don’t choose an option and wait for a human” approach.

I did reach a human, albeit one with an accent ;-) Said human could not understand 17BII+ as a model number, even after many attempts at spelling it out explicitly. I was even asked if my unit was an iPAQ, and whether I was running Windows XP! Don’t we wish, or maybe NOT ;-)

I finally suggested looking for the group that supports the HP33s. VOILA!

I was transferred to a non-accented person who proceeded to inform me that L() and G() were undocumented functions, so my unit was functioning perfectly as advertised. Therefore, I was NOT entitled to a warranty replacement. HOWEVER, he would replace my unit THIS ONE TIME ONLY as a “nicety”. I wonder if that word is actually in the script ;-)

Anyway, my replacement unit, SN CN41202xxx arrived yesterday. I eagerly entered a test equation into the Solver, and promptly locked up the machine. Repeat testing confirmed that attempting to run ANY equation in the Solver would result in a blank display, or garbage, necessitating a reset.

Reaching calculator support was easier the second time around. Support person was also MUCH more responsive, expediting a replacement, which arrived this morning. IMPRESSIVE!

New unit, SN CNA41806xxx, was not impressive. The first support person WAS RIGHT, L() and G() ARE unsupported functions because THEY DON’T WORK!

L(A:X) + 2*G(A) – B = 0

Entering 5 for X, SHOULD return 10 for B. Actual result is B=5. My Black-Scholes formulas return nonsense values for CALLV and PUTV.

Bottom line: Don’t expect to be able to use L() and G() on the NEW HP17BII+’s.

Bob Wang


should be 15?


Thanks for posting your experiences with HP. I find it strange that HP is claiming these features are undocumented when the Technical Applications manual clearly explains the use of these features.

As an aside, I think HP missed an opportunity of not incorporating the scientific functions into the HP 17BII. Although this is a business calculator, it would have being trivial to include the addition functions. Such a calculator would have being an ideal replacement for the HP 27S and would have included the option of RPN.


Agree. SIN, COS, TAN, and others (LN, EXP, ASIN, ACOS, ATAN, GAMMA) should be part of EVERY calculator beyond the four-function calculator. However, try this:

sin x = sum((-1)^(n)*x^(2n+1)/(2n+1)!,n,0,t)

t = an upper limit of your desire. The higher t is, the more accurate, but increases the calculation time. I would use 50 to 200 terms to get machine accuracy. (It's been a while since I worked on the 17BII+, but that is what I used)

cos x = sum((-1)^n*x^(2n)/(2n)!,n,0,t)

t = number of terms

I used the tan x = sin x/cos x property... so I had to calcuate sin then cos, then use the division key.

The format was If(S(SIN),sine,cosine) [if memory serves me correctly]

** Power series - pg. 879: Britton, Jack R. et al. Calculus and Analytic Geometry W.H. Freeman & Company: 1966

For the Gamma Function (more like an approximation), check out the R/S Key Website (rskey.org) for a great article on the Gamma function


They ARE undocumented on the 17bII+.

If you can point to a document from HP where they acknowledge these functions being present in the 17bII+ then you may have a point.


They ARE documented on pages 169 and 170 of the HP 17BII+ manual, second edition, downloaded from HP's website.

Someone should point that out to HP if told that undocumented features are not supported.

Unfortunately, the manual does not provide examples of the use of these features so the Technical Applications manual is still required.

It's strange that these features were available in the HP 17BII but not documented but not vise versa.


Indeed! I own a 17BII from its market launch and detected the L/G functions only thru the new 17BII+ manual on net in 2004...

So: Don't be too indulgent to HP; they missed their work! It is not your fault.


HP web pages gives you "How to use" the hp 17bII+

"Calculating Skipped Payments" uses L() and G()

Also "Calculating the Mortgage-Equity Analysis"

and "Preliminary Qualification of a Buyer"

The manual v2 on the web shows an example on page 170



"Technical Applications manual"




Terve Veli-Pekka!

Back in the old days, when the 19b and 17b were in production, there was such a manual, which covered a wide range of really useful stuff--including complete documentation of the Let and Get functions. It can be found out in cyberspace; I just cannot remember where.

Best regards,

Bill Platt


Buy a copy of the great CD set (or DVD) from Dave and you'll have that useful manual (and much more).



L and G functions are now documented in the manual. The problem is that it would not return the results we are expected as before. Now will HP honor replacement for the 'replaced/2nd unit' when the warranty of the 1st unit has expired?

I had my unit replaced and am facing the same problem as Bob. My unit was purchased in Hong Kong where consumer protection is almost none and I just wonder whether the local agent will entertain my 2nd replacement request.

Returning to the solver problem, I am no expert in writing it. I am just thinking if it is only the first part that is not evaluated and the pattern is fixed, can we adapt it to modify the BS formula?


First of all, what terrible service. I feel bad for you having to go through that for nothing.

I have not obtained a replacement since I wanted to wait for the Let and Get, and I am right to do that.

Maybe I'll consider getting the new 19 (if it comes out) as to add to my collection.


Other than L() and G(), were there any other differences noted? Are they keyboards similar (quality-wise)?

I also wonder if they deactivated something that they describe as a "feature" that I found incredibly annoying. I have found on a few occasions that I cannot turn my 17BII+ on. According to HP, this "feature" keeps the batteries from wearing out. If the calculator senses that the "ON" button is held down for too long a period, it shuts off and will not turn back on until you perform a reset (kiss all of your formulas good-bye!)



I can't say for '04 models, but it has happened to me on the '03 model I have. Barley touched it since then (I use the HP49G+ daily and rotate in a second for quick calculations).

I like the 17BII+ for the solve function. I'll have to take it up again.

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