Post Reply 
It all started at a pawn shop...
11-18-2015, 08:24 PM
Post: #1
It all started at a pawn shop...
Hi folks, my first post here!

I figured I'd tell my little story about how I've become such a fan of HP calculators, for what it's worth. Maybe some of you can do the same!

My freshman year of college I recall seeing shiny new HP-48SX's hanging in the bookstore and drooling over them. I saw one or two fellow students with one, and I was blown away by the possibilities. My trusty solar powered TI-36 had been my faithful companion since high school (which I still have), but the 48SX was in a different universe.

Like all students, I was on a shoestring budget and the possibility of buying a new one was not in the cards. Then one day I wandered into a local pawn shop...

And there in the display case was a 48SX! Clearly some other poor student needed money for food more than his/her calculator, and had done what was necessary. I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about how it felt that I just happened to wander in there and find an essentially brand new 48SX (this was in 1991, the calculator has a 1990 serial number). So of course I bought it!

It's sitting here next to me right now, 24 years later, working as perfectly as it did that day. It was there along side me in the library and computer labs at 3am, sitting on top of pads of green engineering paper as I worked my way through school. It's funny how an object can become almost like a time machine. Just the feel of the keys brings me back to specific study sessions on campus, and literally even reminds me of specific problems and homework assignments. I'm so glad I never sold it or lost it.

I'm now almost 43 years old, more than 20 years beyond my university days. I've built up a little collection now (3-15C's from the 80's, 2-12C's from the 80's, a 32S, a 42S, a modern 35S, a modern 12C, and for fun a Swissmicros DM15), but the centerpiece is my old pawn shop 48SX!

-Jason
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-18-2015, 08:34 PM
Post: #2
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
Welcome Jason! You'll meet many people with similar (hi)stories on this forum. Enjoy!

d:-)
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-18-2015, 10:25 PM
Post: #3
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
Avoid auction sites . . .

(too late for some of us)

2speed HP41CX,int2XMEM+ZEN, HPIL+DEVEL, HPIL+X/IO, I/R, 82143, 82163, 82162 -25,35,45,55,65,67,70,80
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-19-2015, 01:09 AM (This post was last modified: 11-19-2015 02:55 PM by Jeff_Kearns.)
Post: #4
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
Jason,

Thanks for sharing your story. I am now 50 years old... In the 1970's I remember being wow'ed by the ads for HP calculators in magazines like Popular Science. I think the first ad I can remember was for the HP-45 in the April 1974 issue.

My first calculator (gift from my parents) was the TI-30 with the crappy buttons that gave you three of any number you pressed... The first HP calculator I ever saw in person was one that the grade 10 physics teacher would bring to class every once in a while. I am pretty sure it was a HP-35. They were so expensive! There was this one fellow in high school (his mother taught math) who had a HP-41C circa 1981 that he didn't even know to use. I later bought a TI-55 out of a Sears catalog in my last year of high school and that served me for the next couple of years but I, like you, would drool at the latest models on display at electronics stores and know that they were just too expensive.

Then, in 1985, at the beginning of my third year in mechanical engineering, one of the professors announced that he had a calculator for sale... a pristine HP-15C for $100CDN. He said he had no further use for it because he had 'an IBM-compatible' with Basic and no longer needed it!?! I scooped it up and devoured the Owner's Handbook. That is still my favourite calculator and it was very much appreciated for the advanced courses we had to take. I made extensive use of the Matrix capability and wrote several routines for use with the solver. I wish this forum had been around back then and I could have learned so much more about the calculator from posts by the likes of Valentin Albillo and Karl Schneider.

One of the 'best' little routines I have come across for the 15C is Karl Schneider's SOLVE & INTEG for RPN Calculators article WITH "MISO" USER FUNCTIONS. I ported a 40 line TVM program from the software library originally written for the HP-42S (improved by Thomas Klemm and Dieter) using that feature, so now I can solve for any of the 5 TVM variables with the same program. Very fast (and extremely accurate) on the HP-15C LE.

Over the next few years, I bought an HP-32sii circa 1994 - mistakenly thinking it was superior to the 15C, which I nonetheless used daily for more than decade and still really like it, and then an HP-49g+. Then a friend gave me his old HP-33E in 2005 that he was going to throw away! That is what got me 'really' interested in acquiring more of these gems. By that time, I was frequenting the forum regularly and learning a lot from the museum site.

Now I have over 30 different models and haven't added to the collection in a couple of years (I am content). No interest (yet) in a Prime. What I want to do next is convert a HP-41C to a CL, and get the latest DM-15L from SwissMicros.

By the way, I also like the 48SX as a calculator and solver/integrator but just cannot get into programming in RPL. Not my cup o' tea.

Jeff
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-20-2015, 09:21 PM
Post: #5
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
(11-19-2015 01:09 AM)Jeff_Kearns Wrote:  What I want to do next is convert a HP-41C to a CL, and get the latest DM-15L from SwissMicros.

By the way, I also like the 48SX as a calculator and solver/integrator but just cannot get into programming in RPL. Not my cup o' tea.

Jeff

Thanks for the story Jeff. Lots of familiar feelings reading these stories. I remember visiting Jordan Marsh (a Boston area Dept Store chain until the 90's) many times specifically to look at the HP machines in the display case; desperately wanting an HP-65 (then -67) but not even able to afford an HP-35.

Some comments/opinions on the toys under consideration:

The 41CL is an amazing product; if you are any kind of 41C fan, the CL will simply blow your mind. You can instantly use ALL the 41C ROMs ever made, making rare gems like the CCD and HEPAX modules available for the first time for most of us. Recommended A++.

Though I've just started playing with my DM-15L, I can also recommend this. It has it's own unique feel, but Voyager fans will love it. It's totally compatible with a 15C, but much faster and much more memory - what's not to love?

I would recommend an HP-48GX over an SX; best is a late GX unit with Black LCD - FAR more readable on these old eyes. Get a copy of Bill Wickes Purple books to explore the 48 (all available on the MoHPC USB Drive) - I and many others found learning RPL not fun or even interesting until doing so with this book.

--Bob Prosperi
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-21-2015, 07:24 AM (This post was last modified: 11-21-2015 02:14 PM by Jeff_Kearns.)
Post: #6
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
(11-20-2015 09:21 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  The 41CL is an amazing product; if you are any kind of 41C fan, the CL will simply blow your mind.

I would recommend an HP-48GX over an SX; best is a late GX unit with Black LCD - FAR more readable on these old eyes. Get a copy of Bill Wickes Purple books to explore the 48 (all available on the MoHPC USB Drive) - I and many others found learning RPL not fun or even interesting until doing so with this book.

Bob,

Thanks!

I am very much a fan of the HP-41C family. I own 2 HP-41Cs, each with a QUAD memory module, and a HP-41CV. I have the Advantage, X-Functions, MATH/STAT, MACHINE, NAVIGATION, Forecast 1, and TIME modules. In my opinion, the HP-41 family will always remain the pinnacle of Classic HP calculator design. As I write this , I can't help but think fondly of the HP-67... but I digress. Looking forward to a CL upgrade for sure!

I own v7 (and v5) of the double DVD set and do enjoy Bill Wickes' books very much. I just haven't taken sufficient time to get into the details and become proficient in RPL. It is on my list of things to learn and I recognize the benefits of the language - if not the syntax. What never ceases to amaze me is what some people have managed to accomplish with RPN keystroke programming - take Valentin's Gaussian Integration for the HP11C, originally posted in PPC Journal V7N6 as an example. Or what Stefan Vorkoetter and the late Palmer O. Hansen, Jr could come up with for Matrix handling, Curve fitting, and Cadillac Quadratic solvers. I am such a neophyte compared to these guys (and so many other Forum members too numerous to mention) that I could spend years trying to master the intricacies of RPN and never even touch on RPL. I am also still learning/mastering the 19BII and 17BII 'Solver language' and the LET/GET functions from the Technical Applications Step-by-Step Solutions for Your HP-27S or HP-19B Calculator.

Yes, I agree the 48-GX is a superior model with a crisper display (I do not have the black LCD) but the colour scheme of the SX matches the old pioneers so nicely, and especially the HP-32sii so aesthetically, it my preferred unit, and the one I would like to use to learn RPL eventually. I also have a 50G...

As for the DM-15L, I have ordered one! I bought a DM-15 a couple of years ago and find it quite a 'cute' little device and extremely capable if not very practical for daily use.

Regards,

Jeff
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-21-2015, 12:28 PM
Post: #7
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
As an RPN aficionado you should consider building yourself a WP 34S. We've put in all what we could do to make RPN programming a pleasure - think of local registers and flags, keyboard access, flash libraries, etc. Calling it "a nice little capable machine" has some understatement in it.

DIY is far more rewarding than buying one pre-made or second hand, You just need some manual skills if you want to add the chrystal and IR functions.

And Walter's manual is a work of art on its own. Not free but worth every € cent it costs.

Marcus von Cube
Wehrheim, Germany
http://www.mvcsys.de
http://wp34s.sf.net
http://mvcsys.de/doc/basic-compare.html
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-21-2015, 04:14 PM
Post: #8
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
(11-21-2015 12:28 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  As an RPN aficionado you should consider building yourself a WP 34S.

Marcus ~ Already considered! I have the HP-30b (which I do not really like as a financial calculator anyway and am more than happy with the 12C, 17BII, and 19BII for that purpose) and have even borrowed a re-purposed 20b from a friend in Ottawa - and fellow forum member - to play with.

It is on my list of things to do, which keeps getting longer! Thanks for the reminder.

Jeff
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-23-2015, 03:07 PM
Post: #9
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
(11-21-2015 12:28 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  As an RPN aficionado you should consider building yourself a WP 34S. We've put in all what we could do to make RPN programming a pleasure - think of local registers and flags, keyboard access, flash libraries, etc. Calling it "a nice little capable machine" has some understatement in it.

DIY is far more rewarding than buying one pre-made or second hand, You just need some manual skills if you want to add the chrystal and IR functions.

And Walter's manual is a work of art on its own. Not free but worth every € cent it costs.

FYI - I just posted something in the classified section, I'd like to get my hands on a pre-built WP 34S if anyone has a spare you'd be willing to sell. Looks like a really neat creation!

-Jason
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
11-23-2015, 07:36 PM
Post: #10
RE: It all started at a pawn shop...
(11-23-2015 03:07 PM)jjdietrich Wrote:  ... I'd like to get my hands on a pre-built WP 34S if anyone has a spare you'd be willing to sell. Looks like a really neat creation!

I can confirm it's a really neat creation. Alas, however, I've got no spare WP 34S I'm willing to sell.

d:-)
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 




User(s) browsing this thread: