The best you can do with a HP6S



#16

I bought a ten-unit box of HP6S Solar and give them as a gift to my clients. They loved it...Algebraic with a [(hp)] logo make them wow. That´s is a simple and cheap way to make your costumers happy.

BTW, It´s the only thing that we can do seriuosly with an HP6S. :^)

Pio


#17

(Titled something like that -- late 70's)

Suggested games included billiards (calculators being bashed into one another on a pool table) and my favorite, golf (with a calulator spraying apart in a shower of bits after being whacked with a 7-iron).

The point is, I think there are LOTS of great things to do with the HP-6s. As I reported here once before, when I forcefully and rudely tossed my 6s Solar into the garbage can (some 20 minutes after buying it), I experienced a measure of satisfaction in "using" a new HP calculator that I hadn't felt for some years!


#18

We have sold quite a lot of HP 6S units to geologists. When I asked one why it was so popular he told me that the solar cells and battery backup allowed very long complex calculations to be run without the calculator switching off, basically they needed a scientific calculator that was "always on" and would run for hours or days at a time out in the field and apparently there arent any others with this feature.

Also the base conversion funtions are of interest to some users and the ability to do math in various bases.

Personally Ive always liked the 6S, it looks good with its silver metal front, metal case, reasonable quality for a cheap calc and HP logo in the top left and its surprisingly powerful. Its much nicer to use than the 9S in my opinion.


#19

Well, what do you know...I'm a geologist, and the 6S Solar is my field calculator.

You know how people in this forum rave about their Voyagers? And how the Voyager form factor and battery life are so great? You've heard it a hundred times: "my 15C is so small, it fits comfortably in my shirt pocket!", or "my 11C uses so little power, I just changed the batteries for the first time in 10 years!"

Well, I have nothing against Voyagers -- my 11C is still going strong in the office. But when it comes to portability and battery life, well, the 6S Solar just blows 'em away. The 11C is like a brick in my pocket compared to the 6S Solar. And if Voyagers have such great battery life, then how come they need an OFF switch?

The 6S Solar is cheap, durable, small, and feather-light; the display is legible in sunlight, and it seems to run forever. What more do you want in an outdoor calculator? OK, RPN and programmability would be nice, but it's still a pretty good package for less than 10 bucks.

Edited: 12 Feb 2005, 2:25 p.m.


#20

There's a perfect reason for using the HP6S outdoors. If the sun fries it, the rain causes a malfunction or you let it fall 30 meters downway, you won't give a damn. I cannot imagine myself using my beloved 41 or 42 on the direct sunlight or in a raining cave. It's more easy to find a new 6S than the home way back from a geological expedition. ;^)

Pio

#21

"Classic Calculators" stated,

Quote:
We have sold quite a lot of HP 6S units to geologists. When I asked one why it was so popular he told me that the solar cells and battery backup allowed very long complex calculations to be run without the calculator switching off, basically they needed a scientific calculator that was "always on" and would run for hours or days at a time out in the field...


Then, Norris stated,

Quote:
OK, RPN and programmability would be nice, but it's still a pretty good package for less than 10 bucks.

I'm not quite understanding, here. What sort of "very long complex calculations" could a non-programmable calculator be running? If it has few memory registers, why is it important that it be "always on"?

-- KS


#22

<<What sort of "very long complex calculations" could a non-programmable calculator be running? If it has few memory registers, why is it important that it be "always on"?>>

My 6S Solar calculations are generally pretty basic, mostly data processing. I wouldn't want to use it for anything complex.

The fact that the 6S Solar is "always on" is convenient, because field data are usually collected intermittently, rather than continuously. If you are processing data intermittently, you don't have to keep switching the 6S Solar back on, because it has no auto-off.

The more important advantages of the 6S Solar are (1) it's very small and light, so it's easy to carry around, and (2) it doesn't *ever* seem to run out of power. These are very desirable features if you are working on foot in remote areas.

I can toss the 6S Solar in my clipboard without noticing any extra weight, it's already on whenever I open the clipboard, and I never have to worry about the batteries. I have other HP calculators that I value more highly, but none of them can touch the 6S Solar in these respects.


#23

I wouldn't want to knock my old 11C around in the field either. Evidently other makers see profit in designing new always-on solar/battery calculators at reasonable prices. I found a surprising (and surprisingly cheap) one - although not RPN - on Amazon by searching for EL506W.


#24

Another good alternative is the Casio FX115. Solar: has a solver, can do numerical derivatives, numerical integration, curve fitting, and base logic. All for about $20.


#25

Actually, it is harder than you might think to find a good scientific calculator for field use. You need one that is both compact and solar-powered, preferably without auto-off.

Sharp EL506W ? A possible candidate, but no longer readily available at Amazon.com, or anywhere else, it seems.

Casio FX-115MS ? Not compact enough; the 2-line display and big cursor button are unnecessary and require too much space. Sure, it has lots of advanced functions, but these are not needed in the field either.

I've heard that the Casio FX-260 Solar ($8.99 from Amazon) is a good geologist's calculator, but I haven't tried it myself. I probably need to get one though, because I can see what's coming: in a few more years my 6S Solar will be so valuable as a collector's item that I won't be able to use it in the field anymore.

Don't laugh. The price of a 6S Solar is already up to 19.69 pounds (or about $37.29) at
http://www.calculatorshop.co.uk/acatalog/HP_6S.html


Edited: 15 Feb 2005, 1:43 p.m.


#26

I have to chip in.

The Hp6s may very well become a collectors item in some ironic twist somewhat akin to the Hp10c.

The Hp6s is a cheap POS that maybe somewhat more durable than the compariable Casio fx250/260. They are compariable though in that both are very compact and offer similiar features. The Casio is plastic and may not take quite as much abuse, but has a better keyboard.

However, if the Hp6s were lacking an Hp logo, it would be worth very little in 10-20 years, but since it DOES have an Hp logo is somewhat sought after. A working one in 10 years may be very tough to find due to the extreme abuse $10 calcuators may have to endure. Time will tell!

My own suggestion for a working pocket calculator is now indeed the Casio fx260 as the Hp is nearly impossible to find retail. And someone had a very good comment about the Casio FX115, it is big, about the size of the new Hp33s, in fact a bit taller in its plastic face protector.

A truly pocket calculator is always nice and the Hp10c series were just at that largest size/ratio. The later Pioneer series is just a bit to tall and that is why my Hp15c is still my favorite calculator over the Hp42s (though, if I do choose, I choose the 42s because of all the extra goodies that it has, do outweight the .5 cm extra length it has).

Just my 0.02 dollars worth.

#27

Sorry about that name. The machine I meant is found by searching for EL506W, but it is called EL506WBBK, a 469-function (so the package says) 2-line machine with 4x4 matrices, solver, 5 base conversions and other fluff; it's as big the FX115MS, but the formula memories and equation memory are not lost when the machine turns off - unlike the Casio. It's also very cheap ($15 shipped) and evidently readily available. Too bad it isn't RPN, though.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00027RVVW/qid=1108500678/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8__i1_xgl23/104-2689686-7836702?v=glance&s=electronics&n=507846

#28

Really? The 6S costing $37? It must be a collector's item.

I'll have to hunt one down for collection purposes.

#29

I guess I must have gotten a lemon. The 6s was my first exposure to "new" H-P keyboards. It had THE most unreliable keyboard I've ever used -- even worse than that of my 49G+.

Hence, my reaction.

But had it exhibited reliable operation, it would probably still be in my calculator box, if not actually in use.


#30

The keyboard on my 6S Solar works reliably, but I have to admit that it feels weird. It is adequate, but definitely not my favorite part of the design.

The buttons on the lower part of the keyboard (digits, basic functions) don't want to go straight down when pushed. Instead, they want to slant downwards to one side. But they are inconsistent: the same button will slant downwards towards the left, right, top, or bottom of the calculator, depending on which part of the button your finger happens to touch. So every keypress feels different, which is weird. This effect is much less noticeable with the smaller keys on the upper part of the keyboard (scientific functions).

Once the button does slant downwards (in whichever direction), something clicks and it registers reliably. So I have no problem with missed keystrokes. The functionality is there, it's just the aesthetics that are lacking. The keyboard simply feels weird.

Speaking of aesthetics, one might also question the need for the six different key colors of the 6S Solar (black, dark grey, light grey, purple, green and red). Surely this a record for HP calculators. However, the labels are all legible, at least on the silver 6S Solar (possibly not on the blue 6S). So again, the functionality is there, even if the aesthetics are lacking.


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