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Adding feet, inches, and fractions - Printable Version

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Adding feet, inches, and fractions - Party Chief - 01-15-2017 09:48 PM

I am a surveyor that works in the construction industry. I have used HP calculators for the last 27 years. I am considering buying a HP Prime. Would I be able to add feet, inches, and fractions and have them displayed that way on screen? I work in decimal feet and sometimes have to add dimensions and explain to different contractors, more times than not there is a language issue. I don't speak or understand Spanish and most people on site don't understand decimal feet. I'm hoping the Prime can help me.

RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - d b - 01-16-2017 03:29 AM

I always entered the inches & fractions from the low-talent drawings in their decimal feet equivalences. Then calced what was needed. If it was necessary to the carpenters to give their info in feet/inch/fractions, I'd convert in my head. I started out by modifying an HP41 PPC rom program to only take eighths and only output hundredths, but that got to be rote fast.

The Spanish language part of your problem has another, better solution. Kyak and CheapOair find affordable tickets to Latin America. Go there in our winter when you're not working anyway, climb mountains, drink Pilsen and Cristal, float down the Amazon, don't hang around with gringos, fall in love with at least one woman who speaks slowly and clearly. When you come back you'll be able to talk the Espanglish they do on the construction sites. Don't ask me why no one knows the word for manhole and sidewalk is la forma masculina of steel. Don't ask anyone why all the El and La garbage. Everything must have a gender. Walls are female, ceilings are male. I don't know why. Caves are female, O.K. Hands are female too. Nails, towers, and bananas are male, and proud of it. At least that makes sense. Arguing with 5000 years of linguistic development gets one nowhere. Believe me.

The contractor's crew will love you and they pass around much better food at lunch that the engineers. BTW: rebar is Barre (bar-a). "Enferradura" gets you a blank look that needs no translation.

Addendum: do you ever break your 25 foot tenths-on-one-side/inches-on-the-other tape? I did regularly and i'd cut the remainder into 24 one foot pieces, then hand them out as "converters".

RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - cyrille de brébisson - 01-16-2017 06:16 AM


to get


RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - Party Chief - 01-16-2017 09:49 AM

Thank you. That answers my question.

RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - Brad Barton - 01-17-2017 03:32 PM

I find the WP-34S very useful in this regard. The fraction routines are very flexible. For example in woodworking I feel pretty comfortable making measurements and marking lines in 1/64" increments.

With the 34S, I can force the denominator to display numbers no larger than 64 (or whatever number I find useful), and also force them to be in powers of 2 if I wish. That way when I add or subtract several measurements, the answer is always in a usable number format, rather than some wild fraction that I have to convert to 16ths, 32nds or 64ths. If the answer is non-exact, it gives the closest approximation, and indicates if the approximation is slightly-more-than or slightly-less-than the exact answer. I find this incredibly useful and thus I have two of them; one in the shop and one in office.

I don't think that it will display feet, however, a few keystrokes (<enter>, 12, /) could tell you how many feet are in your measurement. Then use X<>Y to toggle back to the inches/fraction measurement, or (IP (integer part),12,*,-) if you wish. All of these commands are on the keyboard (with an f-shift for the IP function) so you don't have to menu-dive to find them.

I am not much of a 34S fanboy for other uses, but I feel that it can't be beaten for fraction handling of imperial unit measures. Perhaps this function set would be a nice addition to the Prime. Of course it's pretty easy to program, but I'd prefer to have the functions accessible directly from the keyboard.

RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - Han - 01-17-2017 04:21 PM

If you are comfortable with programming, you could modify the example below to fit your needs:


It basically modifies the keyboard (you will need to enable USER keys) so that typing _ will bring up a popup menu of units that you prefer (i.e. use most often) and will even remember the "last used" units.

RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - Brad Barton - 01-17-2017 07:16 PM

Thanks Han, I like the way your program allows me to customize the menus to suit my needs.

I'm having a bit of difficulty making it go back to the original selections, but I'll figure it out. It tends to continuously repeat the latest selection. It gives me a very useful starting point though.

Thanks again,

RE: Adding feet, inches, and fractions - cyrille de brébisson - 01-18-2017 06:23 AM


Prime is very powerful when it comes to units...

However, since prime is very powerful for a lot of things, it tends to make the UI a little bit verbose, so if what you want to do are quick and dirty calculations, then the native/build in functions might not be optimal (and will be more key presses than a 35s for example)

Luckily, you can program whatever you want, but then, that takes time too...