What Calculator to buy



#17

Hi all,

My 41C just dropped some pixels on it's LCD - OH well!

So what do I buy? I am a retired engineer, but still do some engineering. I don't use the fancy features often enough to remember them. I like all the bells and whistles, but if you can't remember how to use them - it's a pain to go back and relearn how to use them again.

I don't like trying to use a small calculator keyboard like a computer - 'ALPHA' this and 'ALPHA' that etc. - UGH!

The 28S has a better keyboard - it's not as cluttered as the later models.

Give me some ideas.

Thanks - Paul


#18

Hi,

I would try to buy a good (used) 41 unit again. It's a good calculator as you can probably confirm, it has everything you apparently need, good looks, RPN, and you know it already. They are offered frequently on e-bay and similar sites. However, despite their age the good units are not cheap (100USD+). If buying on e-bay is too much a hassle for you, then the only RPN-scientific alternative presently for sale from HP is the 33S. However, I do not know the details but it suffers occasionally from quality problems.

#19

If you can get past the appearance and keyboard layout (some people just can't), the 33s is readily available and I'm guessing has most all the features you need.

It's ~$50.00 at Wal-Mart. Make sure the serial # (usually copied on the outside of the package) starts with CNA53... or greater.

(This doesn't necessarily preclude chasing down another 41 -- it's nice to have a backup unit available.)

#20

The 28S seems like a great idea as long as you use it on a desk or something. It gets clumsy when you try to use it standing up or on the fly. As mentioned already, any good condition 41 series on Ebay would suffice and I doubt it needs to be a pricey 41CX unless you like the stopwatch. If you prefer the layout of the -+x/ buttons on the left of the keypay, try a nice 55 or 65 (LED) unless you prefer LCD. You can usually pick up a 32S (not 32SII) for much less than the cost of the 32SII. I love the 32S. It has only one orange shift key and a relatively uncluttered keyboard. The 33S is not bad, either.


#21

The uncluttered elegant keyboard of the 28C/S is one of its most ignored features. I often wonder if history will ever do justice to this utterly underestimated calculator.

Andreas


#22

Quote:
The uncluttered elegant keyboard of the 28C/S is one of its most ignored features. I often wonder if history will ever do justice to this utterly underestimated calculator.

Marias --

I, too, like the dedicated Alpha keyboard of the HP-28C/S. One can't avoid spelling out function names in RPL, so it's nice not to mess with "ALPHA" mode. I have two 28C's, keeping one at work.

I also like the comprehensive unit-definition library and conversion utility that handles compound units and checks for consistency. One can't append units to values as on the HP-48/49, but the functionality is still quite useful.

As for its ultimate legacy, the original HP-28C was a flawed product: it had an insufficient 2 kB of RAM for its advanced functionality (e.g., symbolic algebra), ans was missing some mathematical functions (e.g., COMB and PERM) and directory structure. The HP-28S fixed those things, but the small graphical screen and lack of full I/O and expandability remained as shortcomings. These issues, of course, were addressed by the HP-48S/SX.

Regards,

-- KS

#23

Quote:
The uncluttered elegant keyboard of the 28C/S is one of its most ignored features. I often wonder if history will ever do justice to this utterly underestimated calculator.

Andreas


Does anyone else think it's ironic that the 28 has both one of the most uncluttered keyboards, and, other than the other clamshells, has the most keys of any model?

#24

That's weird, isn't it? My explanation at the time was that it just takes that many keys, and a thoughtful separation into primary and secondary ones. That's why the 48 failed to become my most used calc, even though it's technically superior.

Andreas

Edited: 8 Mar 2006, 2:17 p.m.

#25

Quote:
Does anyone else think it's ironic that the 28 has both one of the most uncluttered keyboards, and, other than the other clamshells, has the most keys of any model?

Hardly ironic... Compare the HP-67 and HP-97: one has 35 keys, the other has 56, and both have the exact same function set.


Guess which one is more cluttered? ;-)

#26

Paul --

Quote:
My 41C just dropped some pixels on it's LCD - OH well!

So what do I buy? I am a retired engineer, but still do some engineering. I don't use the fancy features often enough to remember them. I like all the bells and whistles, but if you can't remember how to use them - it's a pain to go back and relearn how to use them again.


Since it's an HP-41C, it is in all likelihood an older "fullnut" design (from 1979-1985), and may be repairable. Randy Sloyer at www.FixThatCalc.com has already repaired two of my fullnut 41's to perfect working order -- a 41C and a 41CX.

As others have stated earlier, it's also easy to find a nice used HP-41 on eBay. If you get the top-of-the-line HP-41CX, expect to pay substantially more. Those made from 1983 to "early" 1985 will be of the fullnut design, with better displays, key-feel, and construction. The rest from "late" 1985 to 1990 will be of the more-reliable halfnut design.

Quote:
I don't like trying to use a small calculator keyboard like a computer - 'ALPHA' this and 'ALPHA' that etc. - UGH!

The 28S has a better keyboard - it's not as cluttered as the later models.


But the 41 has an alpha mode button! :-)

Yes, I also like the dedicated alpha keyboard of the HP-28C/S (I have two 28C's). But you won't be pleased with the 28C/S as a replacement for a 41C -- its "RPL" mode of operation is significantly different in many respects, especially for programming. Also, it is non-expandable, with no I/O except for the 82240A/B infrared printer.

Other ideas:

The HP-42S was discontinued in 1995. Its programming, command set, and RPN operating paradigm is quite compatible with the HP-41, but you'll have to enter programs via the keyboard. The display isn't very easy to read, which may be of concern to you. They are available via eBay, but not cheaply.

The HP-32SII or HP-32S is also based on traditional RPN, and was discontinued in 2002. I believe that you would be quite pleased with it as a pure calculator (I have one), but they aren't cheap on eBay either.

As others have stated, the HP-33S (developed from the HP-32SII) is the least-cost new RPN calculator to replace an HP-41. However, there is much not to like about its aesthetics. That's why the HP-32SII is expensive on eBay.

Regards,

-- KS




Edited: 3 Mar 2006, 11:29 p.m.

#27

Hi Paul,

as others told you already, 41c-type calcs are often seen at eBay. So, if you have some plug in modules, then you may continue to use them.

The 42s was meant to become a replacement for the 41cv - it turned out to have far more power, but NO I/O besides the IR connection to the printer. Anyway, you'll find a similar keyboard layout, compatible progrmming code, and a 2-line dot matrix LCD. It is the most powerful RPN calc ever built. Just look at the museum.

In comparison, the 32s (and 32sii) has very limited space for your programs. But you may like it if you just want a staightforward calc. Choose between the clean keyboard of the 32s with 1 shift key and more menus - and the 32sii with 2 shift keys, less menus and more functions printed on the keyboard plate. The LCD of the 32 has higher contrast than the one of the 42s.

Prices vary. At some strange times you may be lucky. You may improve your chances if you also look at eBay.de and other locations.

Good luck! Walter

Edited: 5 Mar 2006, 1:14 p.m.

#28

Quote:
So what do I buy? I am a retired engineer...[snip]

I don't like trying to use a small calculator keyboard like a computer - 'ALPHA' this and 'ALPHA' that etc. - UGH!

The 28S has a better keyboard - it's not as cluttered as the later models.

Give me some ideas.


The 19BII might be just right for you. Has the same form factor as the 28C/S so a separate alpha keypad for easy entry. Has trigs, logs, hyperbolics and unit conversions -- as well as the business stuff (TVM, bond yields etc.) that you can safely ignore if you want.

Has a built-in clock and appointment reminders - really useful for those ad-hoc things like: "there's a programme on the telly that I really don't want to miss so I'll just put a reminider in now in case I get carried away working on this maths/programming/whatever problem." And the alpha keypad makes this *so* much easier that it's worth doing.

Everything is easy to do from the menu - so great for features that you don't use often and can't quite remember in what order things are done.

Still readily available. Relatively expensive but at least there's no scarcity/insanity eBay markup being applied.

Has an RPN option but only on the "HP19BII Business Consultant II" model. Do not confuse this with the "HP19BII Business Consultant" model. ;-)

Downsides: stats are limited to list stats, only programmable through the solver (but which is very powerful). Batteries are a pain to change (but IIRC that they re-designed the battery compartment on recent models - can someone confirm?)

Otherwise, your only option for a decent calc with a real-alpha keyboard is the second-hand market: the 28 series as you suggested or the 95/100/200LX range. If you only want the calculator then an old 95 can be picked up quite cheaply and they have an excellent calc.


#29

Boot note:
Of course, if HP were to release a version of the 19BII with a flash-able ROM then we could get an openRPN sub-project going to turn it into a scientific/engineer's calculator. (It's perfect for this because the keyboard labels don't need changing.)

#30

Paul Hoffman wrote:
> So what do I buy? I am a retired engineer, but still do some engineering

I think that an HP-97 would be the best calculator for you. It has a large keyboard with excellent feel, large display that can be read even from a distance, and a built it printer.

Although not strictly speaking handheld, you can easily carry it around. I find that the built-in rechargable pack lasts forever and I have a second pack that can be charged in the external cahrge cradle as soon as the low-bat warning comes on my HP-97 display. This allows me not to have the A/C charger attached to my HP-97 all the time (its bad for the battery and limits portability).

All in all an excellent combination.

**vp

PS I also have an HP-41CX around because of it has the TIME module and I can set reminders and alarms. But I use the 97 for most calculations.

Edited: 5 Mar 2006, 9:13 a.m.


#31

How 'bout a 97 on the desk and a '67 for life on the run. Programs and cards are interchangeable. There is also the 15C if you like small LCD machines.

#32

Hi Paul. You did not mention what kinds of things that you did with your 41 so we can only speculate what needs you might have.

If you want to buy something new I would recommend either the 33s or the 49G+. The simpler of the two is the 33s and may meet your needs. The most recent versions of the two dated 52x or newer have been improved.

Regards,

John


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