Roll call from CURRENT student HP users:


If you are CURRENTLY a student of engineering (mechanical, civil, aerospace, structures) would you please share which HP you use?

You don't need to state which school, but it would be interesting to see what countries we are all studying in.

As a side note, I'm beginning to feel that if we should be capable of passing the NCEES (EIT/PE) w/ a 33s, why would we need anything more for our engineering courses?

I'll go first:

Country: USA

Degree: B.S.M.E.

Primary calc: HP 33s (32sii died)

Secondary: HP 48g



"...if we should be capable of passing the NCEES (EIT/PE) w/ a 33s, why would we need anything more for our engineering courses?"

The NCEES has somehow become a law unto itself. Fortunately, it is not necessary to pass their tests with their arbitrary calculator rules to become employed.

As far using a mere 33s for engineering courses, that in itself is so ludicrous I question your motives and your identidy. I suspect you're a shill for the NCEES trying to further their agenda.


I don't know. I remember using a slide rule with greaqt success.


I agree. I went through four years of civil engineering at Fresno State with an HP-55, an HP-34C (senior year only), and a Sama & Etani circular slide rule. I graduated in 1980, and by the time I graduated I seemed to be only student left who knew how to operate a slide rule.


I think the NCEES policy is wrong. However, I got through engineering school, got my PE, and currently practice just fine with an HP 11c first, then an HP 32sII. The 33s also is up to the task for me, although it is a far cry from the HP's of old. But that's a different topic.


I can't speak for undergrad (did that in the 80's) but I did do grad engineering just a few years ago, and I can say with certainty that it would have been totally unecessary to have had a "graphing" or "big fancy 48" calculator. The 32sii was just fine--and more powerful than anyone else had.

Grad school just does not put a premium on "number-crunching in a calculator". It puts a premium on thinking. And the big number-crunching that you do do is most definitely on a computer, unless you are mad as a hatter.

Edited: 3 Nov 2005, 11:36 a.m.


As a side note, I'm beginning to feel that if we should be capable of passing the NCEES (EIT/PE) w/ a 33s, why would we need anything more for our engineering courses?
I'm not a student, but I will comment as a PE candidate. The short answer to your question: NCEES exam problems aren't necessarily like the problems that you will encounter in your engineering coursework (or for that matter, like the problems that you will encounter in the real world). You shouldn't necessarily assume that the same calculator is ideal for all types of problems.

NCEES exam problems are, in theory, solvable in just 2 minutes (EIT am), 4 minutes (EIT pm) or 6 minutes (PE am/pm). So NCEES exam problems typically do not involve particularly complicated calculations: in most cases, they test your ability to recognize the appropriate equation, rather than your ability to perform the calculation itself. So you don't necessarily need a great calculator to pass NCEES exams. For proof, note that most current NCEES-approved calcs are cheap (<$20) algebraic non-programmable models, such as the HP-9S, Casio FX-115MS, TI-30X II, and TI-36X. Most people who take NCEES exams use such calculators.

Your professors, on the other hand, may very well assign you more complex problems -- problems that could take more than 2 to 6 minutes, and which could involve tricky number-crunching or complex unit conversions. These sorts of problems often arise in the Real World as well. You may find it advantageous to have a more advanced calculator, such as a 48 or 49, in such situations, although in practice most people now use computers instead.

Edited: 3 Nov 2005, 12:01 p.m.


Country: USA
Calculator: 49g+ (until I get a 33s or 32sii or equivalent to replace the one my sister lost)
Degree: ME or ECE (I've yet to declare)


BSME. In the 70's Pickett Circular slide rude, HP21 replaced by 10C, 11C and a current 15C seldom used. Mostly use PC


It seems like a lot of people here went through Engineering.

For any physics graduate students, I would recommend a 49G+ without a moment's hestitation. It will literally save you hours in tedious algebra on every classical electrodynamics problem. I actually did do those problems by hand, and generally a problem would have half a page of physics to get to ball rolling, then about 4 pages (condensed from several times that from what I worked on scrap paper) of algebra that really had nothing to do with physics.

When I took that class, the teacher began by recommending we buy a book of integral tables. The 49G+ mostly makes books like that obsolete.

And the constants library and units are nice, too.


I got my B.S. in Physics (Math minor) and M.S. in Radiological Medical Physics. From the 9th grade through grad school and 9 years of professional use my "main" calculator was a Casio scientific. (I also used a Casio FX7000G in high school for a few problems, but didn't really need it.) However, when I started college as an undergrad, I got a HP28S and used it extensively, but I was still not allowed to use it on exams, so I used it mainly for homework. I had to do all of my math by hand (all calc classes, statistics, linear algebra, ODE, PDE). I wasn't allowed to use a computer until I took partial differential equations and had to solve systems of PDE using Mathematica. My textbook, in fact, was a course on PDE using Mathematica. (One problem took me ten pages doing it by hand!) After I completed much of my math coursework, I heard that my university was starting to use the TI calcs for many of their math classes. I thought that was not a great idea because they were substituting long-hand calcs for the calculator-based problem-solving capability. IMO, this should be left to the student to work out on their own in their dorm room late at night while burning the midnight oil. BTW, I also had Excel, SigmaPlot, etc. to do other graphing when necessary (plus my Casio FX7000G,... programming this calc was a nightmare!).

After grad school, I used both my smaller, lighter Casio scientific and my bulky 28S, but used the 28S only for running basic programs to make my life easier. Now, I've recently rekindled my love affair with the HPs and established a small collection of about 20-21 different models. I love finding the strengths of each and rotating them in/out of home and professional use. I like the larger calcs only the being able to display more information at once, but enjoy the compact feel of my Voyager or any RPN Pioneers when it comes to actual use. The difference between my 48SX/GX/49G+ and any Voyager/Pioneer is like comparing my big Chevy Silverado diesel truck to my little peppy Chey S10 pickup. One is quicker and easier to get around in for mundane chores, but the other is best to be in when undertaking a really long trip or difficult workload.

If I were back in college again, I'd pick up a 33S and 49G+ and learn to use and program them both really well. Sure the older models are great, but the newer ones are better if don't mind the way they look.

Sorry if I rambled on too long. I felt I needed to get in a few words to represent the physicists out there.


I graduated college with an Associates in Engineering Sciences in 1985. Funding prevented me from going any further on an engineering degree. I work as a Drafter/CAD/GIS Operator for the City of Texarkana Ar. During my first year of college I used a Commodore SR9190R. When I saw I needed programmability I moved to a TI59, because I could get it locally. Then I mail ordered an 41CX to finish up college on. In my last year I bought a 15C to use as backup for the 41CX. I currently use a 42S as my day to day calc. I do own a 48GX, but the only thing I use it for is unit conversions. It makes quick work of converting links, chains, rods or furlongs into decimal feet for CAD/GIS work. For quick and dirty programing, nothing can beat the RPN programing of the 41CX or 42S. For me RPL is too cumbersome to be useful on the fly for programing. It may be more structured, but more structured does not equal easier to use.


Country: Australia
Associate Diploma deffered due to family commitments.
Current calc: 33S & 33E (an old favorite used on those late nights where the LEDs let my eyes rest)
Secondary calc is my 28C which I treasure after trading away my 15Cfor a 48G (geez what was I thinking)
Also have the above mentioned misbehaving 48G which chooses to work when it feels like it. (But thats another story)




Even as a principal engineer at a large semiconductor outfit I never needed more features on a calculator than a HP35 has to offer. Actually, I used a HP15C and after it died, a HP11C because the HP35 does not have the engineering display mode - which is very useful.
All the tougher problems are solved on workstations anyway, using tools like Matlab and Spice. But for quick calculations for the more common daily work, where you need a few squareroots and ln and exp, nothing is more efficient than such a simple scientific calculator.



Country: USA

Degree: BSCS '97, BSEE, BS CompE

Primary calc: HP 49g+

Secondary: HP 41CX, although I can't get it to start up anymore. It makes a weird whistling sound. I haven't convinced myself to open it up yet.

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