HP-42S display
09-02-2017, 12:42 AM
Post: #1
 Guido Junior Member Posts: 12 Joined: Jan 2016
HP-42S display
I had the opportunity to buy a HP-42S recently. I love the keyboard very much compared to the DM42 I own too. But I'm very unhappy with the display of the HP-42S and the angle of view. It's much too dark in my eyes. Can it be changed in any way?

Example:

09-02-2017, 03:05 AM
Post: #2
 d b Senior Member Posts: 489 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
Hold down the on key while pressing the + or - for the desired effect.
09-02-2017, 08:31 AM
Post: #3
 grsbanks Senior Member Posts: 1,219 Joined: Jan 2017
RE: HP-42S display
The display on the HP-42S was one of its shortcomings (the other was the paltry I/O). It had very poor contrast. Dot matrix LCDs in the '80s weren't what they are nowadays

The keyboards on older HP machines were absolutely second to none. I don't think anyone can get close to them.
09-02-2017, 08:55 AM
Post: #4
 Guido Junior Member Posts: 12 Joined: Jan 2016
RE: HP-42S display
Thank you very much for your kind answers. The manipulation of the contrast now works fine.
09-04-2017, 09:07 PM
Post: #5
 RMollov Member Posts: 259 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-02-2017 08:31 AM)grsbanks Wrote:  The display on the HP-42S was one of its shortcomings (the other was the paltry I/O). It had very poor contrast.
Add the ridiculous alpha input and small memory - both for no reason, that's why I never bought one back in the day.
Cheers,
09-05-2017, 02:02 AM
Post: #6
 toml_12953 Senior Member Posts: 1,795 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-04-2017 09:07 PM)RMollov Wrote:
(09-02-2017 08:31 AM)grsbanks Wrote:  The display on the HP-42S was one of its shortcomings (the other was the paltry I/O). It had very poor contrast.
Add the ridiculous alpha input and small memory - both for no reason, that's why I never bought one back in the day.
Cheers,

I find the alpha input of the 42S (and DM42 classic mode, of course) much easier than that of the 41C/CV/CX calculators. À chacun son goût, I guess.

Tom L
Cui bono?
09-05-2017, 04:59 PM
Post: #7
 Jake Schwartz Senior Member Posts: 318 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-05-2017 02:02 AM)toml_12953 Wrote:
(09-04-2017 09:07 PM)RMollov Wrote:  Add the ridiculous alpha input and small memory - both for no reason, that's why I never bought one back in the day.
Cheers,

I find the alpha input of the 42S (and DM42 classic mode, of course) much easier than that of the 41C/CV/CX calculators. À chacun son goût, I guess.

Well, I am sure there were reasons inside HP for both decisions. With respect to the ALPHA input (which I personally didn't like because every letter required two keystrokes), you would think that making such a radical change in the user interface might cause a backlash. It seems to me that there was room on that keyboard to have the ALPHA input that they chose, PLUS the old way as well. Making it flexible like that might have won (or kept) some additional fans.

Also, based on the cost of RAM in 1988, I can see why it only had 8K. Off-line storage would have helped a bit in this area, but we learned later that at that particular time, the Corvallis division chose to support only one line with I/O - and that ultimately morphed the 28S into the 48SX with plug-in cards and serial and two-way IR. However, a prototype of a 42S with I/O was apparently shown at a user's-club meeting in the northwest. I doubt anyone got any photos of that one, though.

Jake
09-05-2017, 05:21 PM
Post: #8
 Thomas Okken Senior Member Posts: 1,485 Joined: Feb 2014
RE: HP-42S display
(09-05-2017 04:59 PM)Jake Schwartz Wrote:
(09-05-2017 02:02 AM)toml_12953 Wrote:  I find the alpha input of the 42S (and DM42 classic mode, of course) much easier than that of the 41C/CV/CX calculators. À chacun son goût, I guess.

With respect to the ALPHA input (which I personally didn't like because every letter required two keystrokes), you would think that making such a radical change in the user interface might cause a backlash. It seems to me that there was room on that keyboard to have the ALPHA input that they chose, PLUS the old way as well. Making it flexible like that might have won (or kept) some additional fans.

This is a topic that has been discussed at length over on the DM42 forum. The quick summary: it's not as easy as you might think. One difference between the 41C and the 42S is that the latter has a full set of lowercase characters, so with only one shift key, that's 26 keys for nothing but the alphabet, and given the special roles for EXIT, Up, Down, R/S, Backspace, and ENTER, you don't even have enough keys left for the digits.

Also: having to press two keys for every letter is cumbersome, sure, but just how often do you have to enter text into a 42S?

I think HP faced some difficult decisions with cramming so much functionality in a calculator with a 37-key keyboard, and they came up with a reasonable compromise. Most of the people who decry the design as awful don't seem to have thought things through to the end; they criticize but don't offer better alternatives. Witness the ongoing evolution of alpha entry on the DM42 to see how hard it is to get that right.
09-07-2017, 10:21 AM
Post: #9
 RMollov Member Posts: 259 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-05-2017 05:21 PM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  One difference between the 41C and the 42S is that the latter has a full set of lowercase characters, so with only one shift key, that's 26 keys for nothing but the alphabet, ...
Also: having to press two keys for every letter is cumbersome, sure, but just how often do you have to enter text into a 42S?
And what's the use of lowercase letters? HP41 did just fine with only a few. Still does.
Unlike 41, 42 did not get any further improvements. I can't believe HP abandoned it to come up with 48 as the next great thing after 41. But that's what happens. If Swiss micro 42 gets released as advertised it would be exactly what 42sx would have been back in the day.
That's how I see it...
09-10-2017, 02:16 AM
Post: #10
 d b Senior Member Posts: 489 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-07-2017 10:21 AM)RMollov Wrote:
(09-05-2017 05:21 PM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  One difference between the 41C and the 42S is that the latter has a full set of lowercase characters, so with only one shift key, that's 26 keys for nothing but the alphabet, ...
Also: having to press two keys for every letter is cumbersome, sure, but just how often do you have to enter text into a 42S?
And what's the use of lowercase letters? HP41 did just fine with only a few. Still does.
Unlike 41, 42 did not get any further improvements. I can't believe HP abandoned it to come up with 48 as the next great thing after 41. But that's what happens. If Swiss micro 42 gets released as advertised it would be exactly what 42sx would have been back in the day.
That's how I see it...
Thomas and RMollov;
Not really important to your points here but refresh my memory: didn't the Extended I/O module give the 41 lower case at least for some printout? I doubt that all would have been readable on the screen, but think of the wow factor in printing a well formatted resume with what you carried into the interview in your briefcase......... in 1984.
09-10-2017, 02:54 AM
Post: #11
 Thomas Okken Senior Member Posts: 1,485 Joined: Feb 2014
RE: HP-42S display
(09-10-2017 02:15 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Not really important to your points here but refresh my memory: didn't the Extended I/O module give the 41 lower case at least for some printout? I doubt that all would have been readable on the screen, but think of the wow factor in printing well formatted resume with what you carried into the interview in your briefcase......... in 1984.

You could always print lowercase on the 82143A, using lowercase mode (flag 13) if nothing else, but my most recent memories of using a 41 were with a 41CX, where you could put lowercase letters in the alpha register using XTOA (or synthetics, of course). Which you would also have been able to do with a 41C or 41CV with an Extended Functions module. The calculator would only show lowercase a-e on the display, f-z being rendered as all-segments-on blobs, but they would all print correctly.
09-10-2017, 03:16 AM
Post: #12
 Gerson W. Barbosa Senior Member Posts: 1,429 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-10-2017 02:15 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  but think of the wow factor in printing well formatted resume with what you carried into the interview in your briefcase......... in 1984.

09-10-2017, 03:21 AM
Post: #13
 Sylvain Cote Senior Member Posts: 1,717 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP-42S display
(09-10-2017 02:16 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  didn't the Extended I/O module give the 41 lower case at least for some printout?

ALPHA functions from HP-82180A X-FNC/MEM
Code:
ALENG   : Returns the length of the string in the ALPHA register to the X-register. ANUM    : Searches the ALPHA register for an ALPHA-formatted number and returns the numerical value to the X-register. AROT    : Rotates the contents of the ALPHA register by the number of characters indicated by the number in the X-register. ATOX    : Moves leftmost ASCII character out of the ALPHA register and places its character code in the X-register. XTOA    : Converts the character code in the X-register to the corresponding ASCII character and appends the character to the ALPHA register.

ALPHA functions from HP-82183A Extended-I/O
Code:
ALENGIO : Places in X the length of current ALPHA string. Skips leading nulls. ANUMDEL : Returns to X the value of a number represented by a string of numerical characters in code in Y. Deletes from ALPHA all characters from beginning through the numerical character used. ATOXL   : Removes first character from ALPHA and places in X the corresponding ASCII character code. ATOXR   : Removes last character from ALPHA and places in X the corresponding ASCII character code. ATOXX   : Replaces number in X with code for character in ALPHA position indicated by that number.  XTOAL   : Converts the character code in the X-register to the corresponding ASCII character and appends the character to the left side of the ALPHA register. XTOAR   : Converts the character code in the X-register to the corresponding ASCII character and appends the character to the right side of the ALPHA register. YTOAX   : Converts the character code in the Y-register to the corresponding ASCII character and replace the character in ALPHA register at X-register position.
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