Bring Back the HP 15C



#2

I'm sure many of you have seen the Bring Back the HP 15C web site and many may even keep updated on the number of people signing the petition. If you have been following closely, you may have noticed the count went down recently. Some idiot has been posting bogus posts with a bunch of spam type content in the comments section. Due to the way he is doing it, it is easy to find those entries in the data base and delete them. I also think I now have the code set up to quietly ignore those posts.

I would like to add more content on the site about the 15C but don't have a lot of time. If anyone here has anything to contribute, like expanding the intro to RPN or other "how to" type pages, please feel free to submit them to me.

As for the status of the petition, I don't think it will get noticed unless a lot more people were to sign the petition. At the rate it grows today, I estimate it taking 30 years to get enough people to make an impact. I still believe there is significant interest in the idea, but with out spending money on advertising, I doubt most will ever be aware of the site. However, I do plan to keep the site up and maintain it as a tribute to that wonderful machine that I feel is the epitome of elegant simplicity.

Chris W


#3

Chris --

FWIW, I already signed the petition. You could inlcude a link to my MoHPC Article regarding implementation of HP SOLVE and integration on RPN-based models. A technique for using these advanced functions with multiple-input, single-output (MISO) mathematical functions is given.

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/articles.cgi?read=556

Best regards,

-- KS

#4

Chris,

Contact HP and place an order for the HP-15C that is big enough to make HP comply to your request. This way, you bring the HP-15C back and start selling them to serious buyers. In this case, the counter becomes irrelevant because you have a respectable stock of HP-15C.

Namir

Edited: 25 June 2006, 9:04 a.m.


#5

Yes, or buy some HP stocks to gain influence.
They (management) will rather listen to their stockholders than to users.


#6

Klaus,

I second your suggestion!!!!

Namir


#7

You had better be able to buy an enormous quantity of stock. The conistent lesson that one learns from reading the notices of annual meetings of corporations is that small shareholder proposals are published, recommended against by the board of directors, and voted down by large margins by institutional investors.

#8

Chris,

Give up your silly dreaming. This site is for down-to-earth types who only want whatever ugly, barely functional, soulless, mass-produced cheap plastic junk the swollen, creativity crushing modern corporations decide to shovel in the front end of the force feeding bladder that terminates in every living room on the planet. Misfits who insist on dreaming about the return of designs driven by love of the art of engineering should keep their pipe dreams to themselves. Otherwise, you might spread discontent among the placid consumers that are so essential a part of the high pressure marketing spew we so laughably call an "economy."

Folks who claim to be actually planning to produce such anachronisms should really keep quiet about it.

Oh, and people who lack funny bones shouldn't try standup. 8)

Regards,
Howard


#9

When I was checking the calculator displays at WalMarts as part of my recent round trip to Florida I found that every store's display included the Durabrand Graphing Scientific Calculator at a price a few pennies under twenty dollars. Last week I bought one.

The functions and layout of the machine are very reminiscent of the early Casio graphic calculators such as the 7000G; e.g., the machine uses the same 45 degree right triangle to indicate a quantity to be displayed, the mode callouts are identical, the number of available programs and labels is the same, etc. It will take me a while to determine whether the functions of the early Casios are really mirrored in this machine. Some early testing did yield one surprise. Many calculations such as pi, square roots, sines and cosines are carried out to sixteen digits! In a separate posting I will describe some of that.

Suppose it turns out that the Durabrand really is a workable equivalent of the early Casio programmable graphing scientifics. Could a replacement for the HP-15C be far behind?


#10

That's pretty interesting!

I imagine that the system design was either free (as in "borrowed") or very cheap. I can only assume that is what attracted the implementor, because heaven knows, it couldn't have been the programming model.

There was a low cost knock-off of the 12C some years back. I never touched one, but the Datafile article left me with the impression it was sub-par in "fit and finish." So even if an HP-15C clone did get made, it would very likely have a toy calculator look and feel.

So my (rather thin) hopes are pinned on calculator enthusiasts somewhere getting together a short production run, and producing an expensive, but reasonable-quality new RPN implementation. I've heard all the naysayers, and I'm willing to concede that my dreams are likely to be deferred, but that doesn't stop me from having them. Good luck to Hugh and OpenRPN, who have yet to produce anything concrete, but have the courage to dream out loud, in public, (at least while the web site is up. 8) and to Eric et. al. who have shown working prototypes of something that might fit the bill.

Regards,

Howard


#11

I have made a little more progress in comparing the Durabrand with the fx-7000G:

The fx-7000G displays eight lines of sixteen characters of text or a 95 x 63 pixel graphics screen in a window which is about 6 cm wide by 4 cm high. The screen of the Durabrand is about 5.3 cm x 2.7 cm. When I saw it in the store with power off I thought that it might be able to offer at least four lines of text. When I got power on I found that it actually offers only a single line of eleven characters or a 35 x 23 pixel graphics screen. The graphics screen is about 2.4 cm wide by 1.5 cm high. This means that a substantial portion of the window area isn't used for anything!

One of the real advantages of the graphing scientifics is that a multi-line screen lets the user see previous results. This is not the case with the Durabrand. Even so, it is an easy task to solve the famous Mach Number problem as the equation scrolls through the display in essentially the same way it did with the TI-66 and similar to the way it does in the upper line of the hp-33s when running in algebraic.

It will take me a while to determine whether the functions of the early Casios are really mirrored in this machine. So far I have been unable to generate alphanumeric prompts as described in page 47 of the manual, a useful feature that was available with the fx-7000G.

Your comments about the "toy" calculator feel are probably appropriate. That reminds me of my time as a teaching assistant back in 1950-1951 when "pirate editions" of some classic mathematics references were printed in Formosa. Some of the books were printed on paper so thin that the printing on the reverse side of the page was dimly visible when reading the front.

#12

Chris,

Have you had any luck contacting HP about your petition? How about requesting components of the 12c at high volumes? (case, LCD, etc.) Then fabricate a PCB, run it on a MCU that costs less than $1. Get some good tactile domes, and have some double-shot keys made and you'll be in business. The most expensive aspect of this will be the keys, but if you already have a deal with HP for enclosures try taking pre-orders to finance the rest. I bet you can produce 15c's that run faster than the originals for $25/unit.

-Hugh


#13

I would buy one. How about having a list of those who would be willing to purchase and then determine the price retrospectively? I am sure any takers would gladly pay a sensible amount for the beloved HP15C.


#14

The sad reality is that if you request HP to make a 15c you will probably get a 15c platinum :-(

Regards,

John


#15

Let's see, a 15C platinum might have 4 times the memory and be 10 times as fast as the original 15C. What's wrong with that? Unless you are worried about how and where it is built. The chances of a 15C re-issue of any kind are pretty low. (Realistically, probably zero, but I can hope.) The chances of hp recreating the USA or Brazil or Singapore production lines are definitely zero. Anything we get will come out of the same factory as the 12C/CP. I for one would be glad to see a 15C Platinum. It would at least show that hp has some regard for or loyalty to their long-time users.

Best regards,

Jeff

Edited: 29 June 2006, 12:58 p.m.


#16

Hi, Jeff:

Jeff posted:

"A 15C platinum might have 4 times the memory and be 10 times as fast as the original 15C"

    It would probably have at least 32K, but only 100 registers or so would be accessible, the rest being wasted a la HP33S.

    It would also run faster than the original HP-15C for some of its functions, but not so much for the more advanced ones, such as matrix operations, integ, and solve, because of non-optimized algorithms, and because every program step would take at least 3 bytes, many more for constants such as 1, 2, etc., which would slow it down appreciably.

    Finally, it wouldn't give the same answers as an original HP-15C and due to mediocre, run-of-the-mill algorithms it would lose precision or give faulty answers altogether for difficult cases, not to mention a generous helping of bugs of all kinds, which are bound to happen given the complexity of the original instruction set being emulated. Bugs that the original HP-15C never had in the first place.

    That said, I would still buy one or two, if only for the reminiscence factor, and to encourage further, improved developments, even if I frankly doubt they would ever happen. Perhaps a 42S Platinum ?

Best regards from V.


#17

Hello V.

Quote:
It would probably have at least 32K, but only 100 registers or so would be accessible, the rest being wasted a la HP33S.

I guess that's why I postulated something fairly modest, like 4 times. No need for huge memory without I/O capability. I'm not sure what the optimum amount would be. Maybe 100 registers, one or two thousand program bytes which do not "eat into" the data storage registers, and another separate pool for the registers required for solve, integrate, the complex stack, and matrices. A 32k chip could probably accommodate the above with room for some fairly large matrices.

Quote:
Finally, it wouldn't give the same answers as an original HP-15C and due to mediocre, run-of-the-mill algorithms....not to mention a generous helping of bugs of all kinds, which are bound to happen given the complexity of the original instruction set being emulated.

My intention or hope would be that the original code would be run on a simulated (or emulated, whichever you prefer) microprocessor. Of course, the minor memory changes I described above would likely require modification of the code. Perhaps it would not even be possible to modify the original code to accommodate them, so your concerns over some new implementation of the 15C functionality are certainly well-founded.

Quote:
Perhaps a 42S Platinum?

While I would like to see a 15C re-issue, the 42S is by far my all-time favorite calculator, and I would love to see a 42S Platinum (or 43S model) as evidenced by some recent musings of mine posted at this forum.

Best Regards,

Jeff

Edited: 30 June 2006, 8:01 a.m.

#18

I'll take the extra memory and speed but looking at the 15c keyboard I am not sure where to place the RPN < - > Algebraic mode switch and the parenthesis keys on the 15c platinum.

#19

Quote:
have you had any luck contacting HP about your petition? How about requesting components of the 12c at high volumes? (case, LCD, etc.) Then fabricate a PCB, run it on a MCU that costs less than $1. Get some good tactile domes, and have some double-shot keys made and you'll be in business.

The electronics are easy to find. No need to contact HP for a multidigit LCD (even alphanumeric). Any of numerous microcontrollers will work. PCBs are easy to find, as well as snap domes.

The real issues are injection-molded cases and the double-shot keys.
Perhaps HP could offer assistance in the cases, but I doubt it. (If you cracked your HP12CPlatinum case, they'd likely not repair your calc but give you a whole new one.) And there are no available keys other than with 12C/12CP logos painted on.

Again, firmware and electronics design even for a Super-15C is achievable even with a small team or even 1 person (esp w/an emulation strategy).

But you're gonna need a hundred grand up front to get the keys made in quantity. You might have a chance, for small quantities, with "3D printing" or laser-cut alum keyblanks.

Bill Wiese
San Jose CA


#20

Bill,

In life there are those who dream and keep dreaming and those who have a vision which they pursue and turn it into reality. My question is this "Is CHris a dreamer who finds it much more comfortable and easy to keep a counter in a web site as a form of proof that he is committed to bring back the HP-15C???? Or is Chris a doer who will put his assets (house, cars, etc) on the line to get the ball rolling and come out with a new production of the HP-15C??"

The facts, so far, point out that Chris is just a dreamer. It so much easier to wave the flag of a counter-on-a-web-site as a sign of true loyalty and devotion to the HP-15C.

I am more impressed with people like Eric Smith who produce emulators and prototypes and not empty talk!

Namir


#21

I am much more interested in the idea of a newer machine that can do what the 15c does but faster and more, rather than a 15c.

If I want a 15c, I'll just get one off ebay (already have a couple). But they are so slow relative to newer...which is why the newer (pioneers) get so much more use around here.


#22

Actually something like a 42S in a 15C form factor/format might be useful.

The 15C is cool, but an alphanumeric calc with alphabet, strings, easier to read programming language, etc. would be great - that is, an enhanced 41C(X) or 42S.

Plan B would be to use the EXCELLENT HP71B BASIC but have RPN calc mode for immediate mode. HP BASIC is superior to RPN programming, esp with the great Math libraries. This could easily fit in a couple of surface mount chips inside a 15C-sized/format package. Emulating a Saturn on a 60+MHz ARM chip, with some optimized low-level routines that break out of emulation so they are optimized, would provide a great calc.

Don't wanna go too far overboard, though, as bigger problems prob migrate to PC or laptop using Excel, Matlab, MathCad.


Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA


#23

Quote:
Actually something like a 42S in a 15C form factor/format might be useful.

I would also like a 42C.

I created a skin for Free42 that does exactly that. I use it as my primary calculator on my Zaurus.


#24

Now *that* is cool beans!


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