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HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
12-20-2021, 10:47 PM
Post: #1
HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Hi,

I am new to the HP Prime and have gotten myself into a pickle.

I got as far as entering language, date and time and some of the Home / Settings info. On Settings page 3, I got confused - didn't notice it was the Exam Mode Page and that is where I screwed up.

Now, it looks like I am in exam mode with no way (so far) to get out of it.

The green LED on top of the calculator flashes all the time (power on, or off). The are no choices on page three - just fixed text:

Basic Mode

Memory hidden
Blink Green LED
Connect USB to end Exam Mode

Press Esc to continue

Current version: 2018 08 02 (13865)

The only hot key at the bottom of the screen is the page key. I assume IF I had the correct PC software, I could end exam mode from a PC.

Factory Reset should have worked - it promises to restore the calculator to new unused condition. It did take me back to the original starting lock screen and asked me to choose a language. It never asked me about date, or time. The reset preserved the time, but not the date. On Settings page 2, the Calculator Name is gone and the day is wrong. I can change both and they are stored.

There is a small information section top right of the screen - the date is wrong and even though touching it brings up a calendar, the correct date doesn't save.

Removing the battery for ten minutes doesn't change the issue.

I see one other WEB reference to what sounds like a similar problem - there was no reply. A phone call to calculator support did not help (a call back was promissed).

Any ideas out there - anyone know more about how to exit exam mode using a USB connection? Does anyone know why Factory Reset doesn't work as promissed?

Thanks!

Pete
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12-21-2021, 01:13 AM (This post was last modified: 12-21-2021 01:13 AM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #2
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
If it was trivial to get out of exam mode by a simple reset, what would be the point of it? Smile

Have you connected it to any computer with a USB cable? ("Connect USB to end Exam Mode")

TW

Although I work for HP, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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12-21-2021, 02:18 AM
Post: #3
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Hi Tim,

I hear you and I already thought about that. First - I found it pretty clumsy to hold down three buttons and poke the rear with a paper clip. It did work the first try, but when I tried to do it again with an HP support person on speaker phone it took four tries. But then probaby some young one handed Rubric's Cube (or fidget spinner) dude could do it in a flash. But even then, the security lights would be off. Regardless, your point is valid.

After I wrote, I did find documentation and software for the PC Connectivity Kit. It looks promising and I will work on that tomorrow.

I still wonder why the Factory Reset procedure doesn't do what it claims:

""This will wipe the memory of the calculator and reset it
to factory-new condition.""

Exam Mode engaged - time retained / date reset - not quite factory-new condition.

Pete
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12-21-2021, 03:15 AM
Post: #4
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Tim,

I would also think that any exam mode that was set up locally (not by wireless, or wired connection to a PC) should be able to be stopped locally. This is especially true since a configured Exam Mode allows a time period to be set and a password to be set up to exit Exam Mode before the time period expires. It would be feasible to set up Exam Mode this way for a few students.

For the time it would take and the posibility of unique errors - any large group setup for an exam is not going to be set up using each participant's local Prime keyboard. Ideally, it would be set up en masse via wireless.

Whatever I did, I know I did not set a password, or an exam time period. So I am hopeful, but not positive connecting to a PC is going to fix this.

Pete

Pete
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12-21-2021, 03:32 AM (This post was last modified: 12-21-2021 03:35 AM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #5
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Have you plugged the calculator into a USB port on a computer yet? (no software, just connect it.... also, ANY device that has something smart on the other end and is not just a power charger)

The simple/basic exam mode was specifically made so that it could be set locally, yet not turned off except connecting to a USB port. This was done per request to mimic other models on the market.

TW

Although I work for HP, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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12-21-2021, 03:41 AM
Post: #6
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Tim,

I had considered that - but tossed the thought out - it couldn't be that simple - could it?!

But thank you! That will be the first thing I do when I get to it tomorrow - and I will write back (with happy news - I hope) regardless of the outcome.

Pete
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12-21-2021, 03:42 AM
Post: #7
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
(12-21-2021 03:41 AM)PSquared Wrote:  I had considered that - but tossed the thought out - it couldn't be that simple - could it?!

It is. Smile

TW

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12-21-2021, 03:54 AM
Post: #8
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
It sounds like you have been there (or not - because you know how it works)!

Well then I will have pleasant dreams knowing I will be all smiles tomorrow (worn out now - long day - unrelated issues)!
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12-21-2021, 09:16 AM
Post: #9
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
You still have to have a computer the next day???

How many exams last longer than 24h?

The settings should have an "I am not a student" setting that prevents getting trapped in exam mode.

Stephen Lewkowicz (G1CMZ)
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12-21-2021, 01:31 PM
Post: #10
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
(12-21-2021 09:16 AM)StephenG1CMZ Wrote:  The settings should have an "I am not a student" setting that prevents getting trapped in exam mode.

Don't you think students would use such a feature to exit exam mode? Like, every single time?

--Bob Prosperi
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12-21-2021, 01:35 PM (This post was last modified: 12-21-2021 01:50 PM by StephenG1CMZ.)
Post: #11
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
I was assuming it would prevent entry into exam mode, so that the calculator remains usable, not exit from exam mode.
So the calculator never signals it is in exam mode (from the examiners point of view, almost like it was switched off).

Stephen Lewkowicz (G1CMZ)
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12-21-2021, 03:38 PM
Post: #12
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Tim,

Funny - it was right there on the screen:

"Connect USB to end Exam Mode"

AND that was all it needed - turn the PC and calculator on - connect them and no more Exam Mode.

All too simple fore me to believe it could be that easy.

THANKS TIM!!

Pete

---

Hi Stephen,

A computer, tablet, or another Prime.

As it turn's out, if you enter Exam Mode locally and use the Basic list of blocked operations, it is stuck there indefinitely - until you connect the USB port as I just did.

Only when you (Select) Configure and choose the operations to be blocked - can you also set an exam time (8 hours max) and a password to exit early. Since the Proctor does this (likely via wireless, or USB connection, or even by hand on your Prime) - there is no easy way to cheat.

Pete

Hi Bob,

They could cheat that way, if the basic profile was chosen for Exam Mode. But using the Configure method blocks that.

Pete

---

Stephen,

When I was "stuck" in Basic Exam Mode, the Prime flashed a green light on the top hone edge (even with the power off) - indicating it was in exam mode. If you are in Configure Exam Mode, there are two more different color LEDs that flash in a definite sequence and apparently synchronized with everyone else taking the test.

Pete

---
All,

I got stuck because I didn't read more of the manual before I dove in - and because I didn't believe the solution that was right there on the screen. Thanks to Tim for the dope slap - and to Bob and Stephen for jumping in.

Pete
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12-21-2021, 09:39 PM
Post: #13
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
It's not as bad as TI Nspire. You need to use the computer link software to create a specially named file in a specially named directory to exit exam mode (or "press to test" mode as TI call it).

Casio is better. Exam mode will end after 12 hours if you don't end it earlier by connecting to a computer. That procedure is not as simple as the HP Prime, because you need to make the calculator appear as a USB flash drive to the computer and either copy a new file onto the calculator or remove a file from the calculator (basically, change the state of the filesystem). No special software is required though, just an OS that can mount USB flash drives.

— Ian Abbott
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12-21-2021, 11:53 PM (This post was last modified: 12-21-2021 11:54 PM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #14
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
(12-21-2021 03:38 PM)PSquared Wrote:  Funny - it was right there on the screen:

"Connect USB to end Exam Mode"

Well, I think we probably had about 15-20 meetings talking about the specific language used there and once the translations came back.... also more meetings looking at it.

I guess no way to get it perfect though. Smile

Glad you got it out.

Unfortunately, we had to scrap the more advanced exam mode lights from being synchronized perfectly with a clock because it did not take long for the lights to visibly behave out of sync. Originally, they would also be simultaneously blinking with the idea you could just look across the room and any light behaving differently was suspect. However, we discovered that with the first version of the hardware, the real time clock drifted and jittered enough (and the wireless speed with so many units also did not receive the time message in a quick enough manner even though special code was put in place to update the time value immediately before sending to a specific unit)

It was immensely satisfying though to see a set of 60 units flash into exam mode simultaneously using the wirless modules and be perfectly blinking in a pattern. It just did not take longer then about 15-20 minutes before there was enough drift that it was very distracting instead of being helpful. Smile

Check out the "proctor mode" in the connectivity kit when you get around to it when interested. That will automatically put any connected unit into exam mode on connection with the idea being you have a unit set up in the front, kids plug in and then immediately are done...

The exam mode on Prime is actually very capable and flexible and probably the best one out there by a long margin.

TW

Although I work for HP, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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12-22-2021, 02:13 AM
Post: #15
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Tim,

I spent most of my career using HP Test equipment and in the 90s I trained on the HP / EESOF Design Suite - Series IV. HPs test equipment was first class and it was obvious that a huge effort must have been behind Series IV. I wish it had been available in the 70s.

Hearing you talk about the process brings back good memories. Series IV was a steep learning curve for me, but turned out to be an incredible help - once I became proficient. I've used HP calculators throughout my career. I bought the Prime - just because I knew it would be a challenge to my brain - good exercise for older folks!

I hadn't used Series IV for a year and when I needed it again, we had upgraded to ADS - and I felt lost. I never developed any proficiency - I retired soon after. So yes, all your user interface themed meetings - and I still stumbeled. You should have added 'just do it!', or 'it's that simple - really!'

I wish I could remember their names - the person who trained us for on Series IV for a week - I rember we called him Belt Buckle. He was a,big guy and had this massive belt buckle. He was a real character - I think he lived on a ranch in Northern California near the eastern border (an area I love). He knew his product.

The other gentleman worked in a support call center and he was incredible - either had the answer on the spot (more then not), or never took long to get it. AND he was almost always there as if he never had anything else to do - almost 24/7.

Whenever work sucked (because getting it done was more important then done right), one of us would always say "wish we worked at HP" - with the products they turned out, we imagined it as engineering paradise.

Well that is way off topic. I appreciate your help / patience!

Pete
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12-22-2021, 04:28 PM
Post: #16
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
(12-21-2021 11:53 PM)Tim Wessman Wrote:  The exam mode on Prime is actually very capable and flexible and probably the best one out there by a long margin.

Yes, the trouble with Casio's is that they basically have to release a new firmware version with a different exam mode every time some large exam board they care about comes up with a new rule about what functions should be disabled.

— Ian Abbott
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12-22-2021, 06:45 PM
Post: #17
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
Pete:
Don't feel bad.
ADS is bloatware that much like Microsoft Word tries to be everything to everybody and ends up being useless.
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12-22-2021, 07:06 PM
Post: #18
RE: HP Prime G2 stuck in exam mode
(12-21-2021 09:39 PM)ijabbott Wrote:  It's not as bad as TI Nspire. You need to use the computer link software to create a specially named file in a specially named directory to exit exam mode (or "press to test" mode as TI call it).

The TI-Nspire only requires that you connect to another Nspire and then select the "Exit Press to Test" menu.
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