Sad story


How wunderfull were these units in past. It´s a shame, but all this is rubish!
Desoltered displays, display with dead cells, incomplete units and broken parts as far as you see... ;(

Anybody who shares my funereal?
Anybody who wants to install a "cemetery of the cuddly toy" with me?

By the way: This is not all rubish I have... I could add some power supplies or larger units as well..


Hi, Matthias;

Sometime ago, after finding the MoHPC, I decided to give some 'dead units' a try, and I recovered at least three considered 'dead' units because of broken posts. I rebuilt the posts by 'carving' parts of the plastic structure (trees) that come in plastic kits (scale models), like Revell or Tamiya, or Heller. After cutting, molding and setting them in place, I just drilled a small hole so the screw could make a new thread and keep the cases in place. Now that I have a somehow good digital camera, I'll repeat the process and take some pictures. I also found a way to reconstruct the plastic recess that breaks in many HP41's back case (the rightmost in the picture has this problem).

I had parts of dead calculators that have already been donated, for a good cause. The ones with me are almost all replacement parts, but have I found any in this circumstances, I'd gladly share with you. I'd not throw any away, at least they were part of some glorious tool...

Best regards.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 3 May 2005, 7:51 a.m.


Hey Matthias - this is no "rubbish". People like me could use the shell upper halves and the keys, place them over a new
printed circuit board with industry standard microswitches
and voilà, a useful HP-compatible keyboard to tinker with.
Any other folks on this list having such kind of "rubbish"
in their junk bins (Classic, Woodstock, Spice ?)


Hi Bernhard

It´s up to you if you want to spend some money for shipping my cemetery to you.....


Hi Matthias,

if you have such parts from Classic, Woodstock or Spice, please
contact me at my email address you should be able to get from this list. Your other "pearls" you may cast before this Mr. Brueggemann, our great plastics doctor...


matthias, i am a hardcore plastics doctor. to me, these parts look like brand new, requiring only minimum effort to get them back to near mint. so, think twice before you are going to dump them. (or, better, dump them into my direction...)



Perhaps I am a total packrat (OK, I am...) but I don't think I've ever thrown out a part of an HP calculator (and I have something of a repuation around HPCC for wanting 'junk')..

An HP32S with a smashed display is probably worthless to most people. To me, well, it's a machine to pull the keyboard apart on, not worrying about doing damage, and figuring out how it works.

Dead HP41 modules are a source of connectors and housings for making homebrew add-ons.

And then there's my HP45. I got enough bits over the years to put a 45 together. It's worthless to a collector, missing the battery cover (but of course a 45 can be run off the AC adapter without problems), many of the keyboard legends are worn away, even the display digits are not all the same size (the display packages seem to have been changed during production, this machine has 2 of the larger ones, one of the smaller ones). But I wouldn't swap it for a perfect 45. I built it, I got worthless bits to calculate again. That's the fun of it...

I've got a couple of hardware projects in the pipeline (read : will be looked at in the next 5 years ;-)) using an HP41 printer with a cracker printhead (but the electronics is good), an HP41 card reader with a defective ROM chip, and various other things that I've collected...


So you al propose me to "sell" this stuff?
Ok, I will offer it to you for a "reasonable" price... Please send your offer to


No I don't expect you to sell it, although that's the sort of comment I'd expect from a guy who thinks the battery pack and cover are not part of a complete calculator.

This stuff, by your own comments, is worthless to you. You should give it, free of charge, to somebody who can use it. Maybe expect them to pay the shipping costs, maybe not.

I've been given many bits of HP calculators, including complete but non-working machines totally free by other _enthusiasts_. All they expected back was the knowledge that they were helping me to learn how to repair these machines, and therefore were helping to keep these fine machines working (through said knowledge, and through a source of spare parts).

Note I said 'enthusiasts'. People who are more interested in the machines than in money.


Hi folks,

really love the responses to my provocative post... about how to get genuine HP keyboard plastic parts without electronics.
Nice to see some of those real hardcore freaks come out of the woodwork - bright lights hurt, isn't it ?

Well folks, I myself won't even give away a single HP screw salvaged from any HP calculator corpse in my possession. They simply smell too nice. Sort of luxury mould. Like a 1990 Dom Perignon kept at false storage conditions.

But if you want to dive into your garbage cans and donate me the parts I am seeking - free of charge of course, you pay all packaging and shipping - in some near distant future we might have some of your HP fetishes beamed into the cyberspace domain - eternal digital DNA life. Thence, if you ever need organ transplants for your beloved ones, just download the digital DNA and apply a transformation ruleset to map them to any technology then available, and you get transplants to plug into your undead ones to RESURRECT them.
(of course no TI calc ever will be eligible for such divine transformations of state of existence based on purely scientific methods)

So please reconsider what you want to give to my project and what you could get back.


I doubt, that you will get a lot of stuff now, Bernhard. As long as I would pay for shipping I will keep the parts. As I said before... the parts are your´s if you pay for shipping and maybe a good glas of whine (needn´t be a 1990 Dom Perignon)


Ok Matthias I understand your point. So you want me to cable you the whopping amount $3...$5 of postage, a transaction which, depending on the country where your bank is, will cost me more than that in bank fees. Not very efficient indeed.
But the basic problem is as old as mankind: for every proposed non-profit project for the good of a community there are three classes of people: a) those who don't care, b) those who want to make a profit out of it (a shame), and c) those who see the grand scheme, and donate a small amount of their own possessions, time and money for the good and welfare of their community.
Now, if the HP community all people would belong to class a) or b) then sorry folks, your minds are just too small, and you don't deserve any preservation project for your calculators. When you are dead and the worms eat you your heirs will throw out all that junk anyway. It would be wiser to donate your HP junk now and help to preserve the species of HP LED calculators.


I can not agree to you, Bernhard.

First: We are not talkling about $3. I fyou live in USA, then shipping to you would cost about $30, because the parcels is about 2kg.

Second: You can also send cash in an envelope (if it is not too much money. Then you would not pay any bank fees, only the stamp.

Third: I do not have to throw them away, it is just an offer to interested people to get cheap stuff.

Fourth: Your thoughts about other people here in the forum is horrible!

Greetings from Switzerland


By the way, Bernhard: I was one of the top donaters of Emul42. Did you also pay 75 Euro for that?


Do you know this story:

A man went for a walk near a small lake and saw a child crying for help. He jumped in and saved the child, but lost his hat. So he wrote to the mayor of the town and asked for some money to buy a new hat. After two weeks, he got an answer:
"Firstly, the child you saved can swim, so your request will not be fulfilled.
Moreover, your letter to us was not stamped, so you have to pay the fee of 10 $."

Do you think this guy will ever again save a child?

Bernhard, you want these things from Matthias, and he will give them to you for free. Matthias does one favor for you and you still want him to pay for it? I doubt you will find many persons on this planet that will do this for you.

My view: You already saved money by not paying for the "junk", so you can spend the money on the shipping!


More years ago than I care to remember, when I first had access to the internet, I got a lot of help on PDP11s from a guy in the States. I thanked him, of course, and wondered if/how I should pay him. I got a very interesting reply :

'You don't pay me back, you pay forwards. I've helped you with your computers, there's sure to be something you know about and can help others with. Do that'.

And consider this. Several people here have privately e-mailed me about repairing HP calculators. I always give what I hope is accurate advice, and I give it freely. I've been known to stay up until the small hours looking at schematics and source listings to work out just what is going on, interpretting the results of their measuements.

Things like 'You tell me your CPU microcode is cycling through the 2 states xxxx and yyyy. That's the I/O loop, the CPU waits there while the I/O interface transfers data to an external device. The CPU should set the 74H101 flip-flop U1, it'll then wait in this loop until that flip-flop is cleared. Now, is that flip-flop set? If so, then why isn't it being cleared again?' (This, from memory, is what the 98x0 CPU does, BTW).

I want people to actually understand what is going on inside these fine machines. So I give explanations of what the various chips are doing, etc.

I do this for free. If we're not going to help each other, then I am very happy to work as a consultant -- and charge the normal fee for such work. I think you'd then find that the cost of asking me how to fix something considerably exceeded the price of a replacement...

If that's what what you want, fine. Personally, I'd rather we all continued helping each other, and didn't worry too much about the cost.


Hi Tony,

You wrote:

'You don't pay me back, you pay forwards. I've helped you with your computers, there's sure to be something you know about and can help others with. Do that'.


Just this last weekend, I had a similar experience. I was at the local Hamfest (ham radio flea market) and asked a person how much for a portable cassette tape recorder. He said I could have it for free. When I started to thank him, he stopped me and said "remember this and just do the same for someone else in the future."

Years ago when I drove cars that I could barely keep running, I stopped and helped a woman whose car had broken a belt. I spent a couple of hours driving her to the auto store to pick up a replacement belt and then installing it on the side of the road. When she tried to pay me, I told her to just remember me when she sees me standing on the side of the road with my car broke down. Back then I usually had car trouble every couple of weeks and depended on nice motorists to help me out.

As my dad would say "What goes around, comes around."
(He usually said this when I was being bad :))



Isn't that the motto of HPIL :-)

(Not original to me, I think I read it in 'Control the World' or some similar book)


Matthias, before posting this I knew you live in Switzerland and as I live in Germany the postage indeed would be in the range given in my previous post. All said about bank fees, efficiency etc. does apply. As for the people on this list we can assume they are a mix of classes a) to c) with a higher fraction of true enthusiasts than a random sample of the population. Some of the enthusiasts might contact me by email, ask about my HP calc preservation project and intentions, I will be glad to give answers, and then they may decide to donate specific parts out of their junk bin or not, and opt to take over the postage, too, or not. Over the years I have invested a lot of my time (and money) into understanding and reverse engineering the chips in the LED HPs, building test rigs, microcode ROM readers and so on, and I always gave the results _free of charge_ to other HP enthusiasts who needed them for their own HP preservation or emulation work. If I would charge my usual hourly rate as a chip design consultant then my tinkering with old HPs would be a business, and not a hobby, and the fun would be out. From this background you all may judge for yourself whether my postings on this list hinting for _free_ donations of keyboard parts out of your junk bins was an insult or even a crime. Some fanatics may see it in that way, though, but they won't donate anything anyway.


I agree with Matthias

He offers his items for free for everyone. A *real* enthusiasts is not that arrogant to demand parts free of shipping.

I do not know, what Matthias calls "rubish", but as I know him very well as a honest collector, I´m shure, he knows the difference between deal circuits and missing battery pacs. For him, the battery is not worthless, I´m shure.

If you share knowhow, you do not split with it, because you still own it, if you share parts, you do no longer have them afterwards. So this is not exactly the same.


Roger, it is OK for me if someone wants to donate parts and asks for the postage paid, but this misses the point. In this particular case the postage would be so low that even thinking about how to transfer that money without excessive bank fees higher than the amount due is a complete waste of time and energy, and if it is "arrogant" to ask for _free_ donations of junk parts (which by simple logic allows a conclusion that the packaging and postage also should be part of the donation) then most of the world's welfare organizations are arrogant. Its very simple: either someone wants to contribute - which always incurs some personal loss - or s/he doesn't. As far as I can speak for myself, if I choose to contribute in some project, I don't even think of asking for the postage. I just send them my stuff - even if it is hardware. I always got back a lot more than I gave. Good feelings at least. If someone wants to donate but is so poor s/he can't afford the postage I will reconsider the particular case and find a solution. But we were talking about $3...$5 for sending a small parcel from Switzerland to Germany. Hard to understand that people are willing to discuss this ad nauseam. I'm fed up and quit this thread.


Germany is Zone 1. The parcel of 2kg is NOT $3, but 29 CHF (about $25)!!!!



Pardon me, Matthias, I wasn't current about your countries' astronomical postage fees. How come this increase in just a few years ? Most Swiss mail order businesses must be doomed as the postage obviously is higher than the value of most goods. If you still are interested in my HP preservation project despite of the noise, please contact me via the email link and remove all underscore and uppercase letters.


Ever see a bunch of engineers fighting over free T-shirts at a trade show? Put the junk on ebay and get grateful money.


Ever see a cheap, cheating, bottom-feeding scum-sucker openly gloat?


Just to throw in some more info:

A parcel from Germany to Switzerland costs about 9 Euros,

and if it's total weight exceeds 2kg, it's 17 Euros,

because the weight limit for parcels is 2kg.

From 2kg on, it must be sent as packet.

Perhaps the postal fees are somewhat higher in Switzerland,

but the principles are likely to be the same;-)

It's honorable that you, if you'd send stuff to other people,

also take care of the surrounding fees.

But I wouldn't automatically expect the same from anyone else.

If another person sends me something free of charges,

I'll be happy, but I'd never automatically think

to let the person sit on the fees, too,
regardless how much it is.

IMHO Matthias made a reasonable offer,

not much to complain here.

So maybe you both come to a reasonable conclusion...




Next Saturday I will be in Basel, so if you would trade these parts for a bottle of wine maybe we could meet...

Best regards,



This is an offer.... 1990 Dom Perignon? ;)

Please call me on my email..


It's sad, and I can hardly imagine people mistreating such fine equipment so it would come to this state-- yet I know many people who are so careless. I don't want them near my things.

In any case, don't get rid of these parts. Someone can use them to keep the existing working units working. And especially save any modules that could be given new innards!

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