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Recommendations for RPN Calculators? 580

sg3000 asks: "My trusty old HP 48S graphing calculator, that served me since engineering school, seems to be giving up the ghost. I haven't used it in a few years, but recently I put new batteries in it. It works, but it makes a loud static/white noise sound when it's on. The noise is not as noticeable when I hold it, but when I set it down on a hard surface, it's really loud. Then it sucks the batteries down incredibly fast (I put new batteries in it, and two days later, they were drained). Any suggestions on what I should buy as a replacement?"

"I'm in graduate school now, and since I'm taking an accounting course, where they don't want us digging out our laptops during a test, I need to buy another calculator. I'm a big fan of reverse polish notation (RPN), so I'd prefer to get another HP calculator.

Do companies still make calculators? I'd love to get another HP 48, but I'm not even sure if HP even makes calculators like that any longer -- on their web site, they're all cheapo-looking single line deals. I've read about something called an HP 48g, but HP has nothing about it on their web site."

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Recommendations for RPN Calculators?

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  • HP 48GX (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mr.henry ( 618818 ) * on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:44PM (#7051062) Journal
    Buy an HP 48GX [outpost.com]. It's the last decent HP scientific calculator and the RPN works great. The new HP's (like the 49G+) are crap, and aren't even made by HP. (They're rebranded.)

    Why does HP's current calculator lineup suck [slashdot.org]?

    • Re:HP 48GX (Score:5, Informative)

      by StarFace ( 13336 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:54PM (#7051140) Homepage
      That's a good recommendation. I have the 48G, no expansion slot, never needed it. Great calculator and the transition from the 48S is minimal. They revamped some of the applications to make them a bit easier to use, but you can still access the old 48S methods if that is what you prefer.
    • Re:HP 48GX (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:11PM (#7051287) Journal
      I am all agreed on the Fiona is a bitch link. But I thought that HP committed the travesty of killing of its wonderful calculator line before Fiona took charge. I may be wrong.

      Regardless, HP created the greatest engineering calculators ever made. TI just doesn't cut it--their calculators are for students. What does a student need with a graphing calculator anyway? He should be learning to multiply, divide, and take the square roots of insanely large numbers in his head. That's what school is all about. (That's an overstatement, but still, most of the advanced functions on a graphing calculator are a damaging crutch until you have learned the stuff. Until you are past differential equations, you shouldn't be using anything more than a scientific calculator. And in any advanced math course after that, you barely need any calculator at all. Engineering and Physics are different stories.)
      • Re:HP 48GX (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dogberto ( 102257 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:39PM (#7051451)
        I'll have to disagree with your statement that "TI just doesn't cut it." True, their low to mid range graphing calculators (e.g., 73, 85, etc.) can't compare to any of the HP's current (or past) graphing calculator offerings. However, the TI-92 PLUS and TI-89 can very much hold their own in comparison to the HP's.

        My primary calculator is the TI-92 PLUS (I used to use a TI-85) and the HP 48 series can't beat the ease of the TI-92 PLUS in terms of entering/performing symbolic operations. What do I use it for? I use it to check that I haven't made a mistake in my pencil and paper grunge work (i.e., arithmetic or algebraic manipulation [my level of math is well beyond calculus so basic algebraic manipulations are considered somewhat grungy]).

        The symbolic manipulation of Mathematica is vastly superior to that of the TI-92; however, it is inconceivable that I have ready access to my laptop or another public computer that has Mathematica on it. So, in those moments, I whip out my TI-92 to verify that I didn't make a silly error such as sign dropping or whatever in those calculations which require a page long worth of algebraic manipulation.
        • Re:HP 48GX (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:55PM (#7051551) Journal
          I know what you are talking about, and I agree that the TI beats HP in symbolic computation. I have known people who use it for just what you do, and they're pretty good with it. But for me, I am far more likely to make the errors when I am entering the equation into the machine. That is probably from lack of use, but I still prefer to do my own algebra and do the basic checks at the end. I am very fast with the HP when it comes to actually crunching the numbers at the end if necessary.

          Mathematica is an amazing program, and I have loved using it whenever I have come into contact with it. But I usually find that its symbolic capabilities are only useful for problems that I should be able to do myself. When I need numeric answers, it is usually MATLAB, or more often C++ armed with Boost and Blitz.
        • Re:HP 48GX (Score:4, Interesting)

          by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:32PM (#7051769)
          One way in which the TI-89 (and upwards) blows away my HP48G+ is in integration. The HP is so slow at definite integrals that it is actually quicker to get out a piece of paper and a pencil and do it the old way. The TI, however, spits out the answer almost instantaneously.
        • Re:HP 48GX (Score:3, Informative)

          by Desert Raven ( 52125 )
          The problem with the TI units is that they're just downright fragile, and tend to let you down when you need them most.

          I've got a 20-year old HP-11C that I still use heavily, also an HP 48G that's served well for a few years. These things have been dropped, spilled on, carried in back pockets, etc with not a single problem. These things are built like tanks.

          In the same period of time, my wife, who treats her stuff really well, has gone through over a half-dozen TI calculators. They just don't last. And, e
      • (ahem) (Score:5, Informative)

        by bodrell ( 665409 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:28PM (#7051749) Journal
        You make it sound like students don't do real math. Unless you're a mathematician, an electrical engineer or scientist who writes modeling software, there are few occupations that require the level of math of college level classes.

        And there are many occasions where the graphing functions of my TI have proved useful in the workplace. To name a few:

        - being able to view every key I've entered before evaluating the expression

        - being able to revise and edit incorrect expressions

        - to determine linear regression fits for data sets

        - to perform functions like logarithms and square roots on said data sets, in order to linearize them (linearity being checked, of course, by the R^2 correlation of my fit)

        - anything at all to do with linear algebra, especially solving systems of equations or matrix manipulations. RREF is a bitch by hand.

        For more "pure" math (like Diff. Eq.), I agree that pencil and paper are generally easier. But any applied math (a.k.a. engineering) requires an insane amount of busy work that could not be handled with a puny scientific calculator. I know you said Engineering and Physics are different stories, but everything I just wrote could certainly apply to all sciences (even the "soft" ones like Psych. and Sociology), or anything at all requiring data collection.

        For the record, I use a TI-86 daily at a bio-tech job. It has the stats capabilities of the 83, plus all the good parts of the 85.

        • Re:(ahem) (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ninewands ( 105734 )
          Quoth the poster:

          - anything at all to do with linear algebra, especially solving systems of equations or matrix manipulations. RREF is a bitch by hand.

          I absolutely, positively HAVE to second this statement. I would not have passed Numerical Methods absent the matrix manipulation capabilities of the TI-92 PLUS to check my grind-it-out pencil-and-paper homework!

          Sidebar comment: try doing a Newton-Raphson solution of a system of non-linear equations by hand some time. IIRC, that sucker took about eight

        • Calm yourself (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cavemanf16 ( 303184 )
          While we're having out the HP vs. TI flame war, let me add my kindling...

          I have been a user of the TI-series of graphing calculators since they first came out with the TI-85/TI-82 line when I was in high school. My Physics teacher even did work for TI over the summers testing out their "new-fangled" (back then) IR sensors, radar sensors, and the 'CBL' which was basically a hand-held data collection microcontroller that could feed data directly into the TI calc's. Since then, (and since doing regular physic
      • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Thursday September 25, 2003 @12:49AM (#7052157) Homepage Journal
        But I thought that HP committed the travesty of killing of its wonderful calculator line before Fiona took charge.
        She was definitely in charge when HP shut down ACO, the Austrailian Calculator Operation.

        HP's new calculator division is based in San Diego. I was just at the HHC conference this past weekend, and the division director, marketing director, engineering manager, and lead software engineer were there. They seemed to be very concerned about customer feedback and fixing any problems (or perceived problems) with product quality.

        Their first new high-end RPN calculator in four years is the HP 49G+, which will be officially announced in the US on October 6. (It's already available in some parts of the world.)

        The HP 49G+ has similar capabilities to the HP 49G, but with a larger display (25% more pixels), faster processor (75 MHz ARM), more memory, better keyboard, USB interface, and an SD slot for flash memory expansion.

    • Re:HP 48GX (Score:5, Informative)

      by jemfinch ( 94833 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:14PM (#7051304) Homepage

      The new HP's ... aren't even made by HP. (They're rebranded.)

      Absolutely untrue. They're made by the same calculator division that worked on calculators before HP spun off Agilent. It's just that Agilent got the calculator division.

      The division was rebranded, not the calculator.

    • Or just get yourself a PDA running version 5 of PalmOS (lower versions are supported for certain PDAs) and use an emulator [mobilevoodoo.com] to turn the PDA into your old HP48S.

      The emulator seems to get good reviews. Unfortunately it doesn't run on my Treo 90. :(
  • just change it to silent mode
  • Real Soon Now (Score:5, Informative)

    by chennes ( 263526 ) * on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:46PM (#7051082) Homepage
    I have the HP48GX - it's a great calculator, but slow as molasses. According to this page [hpcalc.org] HP will be releasing the 49G Real Soon Now(tm). I'll believe it when I see it, of course, but we can dream, right?
    • Re:Real Soon Now (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GarthSweet ( 514087 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:52PM (#7051127)
      Slow!?!? Compared to what, your brain, a pencil and paper? It should beat both of those. A PC? Yes, it is slower than that. If you are doing the quantity and depth of calculations on the HP48 where it's speed is an impact then you are using it for the wrong job. It's like using an electric drill as a hammer. My 2 cents. P.S. My HP48sx is still going strong after almost 10 years.
      • Re:Real Soon Now (Score:3, Informative)

        by ImpTech ( 549794 )
        Hmm... gotta disagree w/the parent and agree with the grandparent. HP48s are sloooowww! Mine's only a 48G, but afaik its exactly the same as the GX except with less memory and no expansion slot. And its gross, really gross. It takes around half a second just to refresh when I put a number on the stack, nevermind trying to do more intensive things. I guess if all you do with it is basic arithmetic its fast enough, but otherwise forget about it. The thing drove me crazy years ago and sent me running to
    • Re:Real Soon Now (Score:3, Informative)

      by eweu ( 213081 )
      I'll admit HP calculators are a bit sluggish in the overall "feel" of operation. They don't seem "instantly" responsive, but they are speedy enough where it counts. I certainly can't do matrix transformations in my head quite as quickly. (heh)

      What they lack in a whiz-bang fast processor, they make up for in efficiency. I've had the same batteries in my HP-48SX since 1994 and it is still going strong. A fast calculator will do you no good if it runs out of juice.
    • Buy new batteries (Score:4, Informative)

      by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:56PM (#7051557)
      I have the HP48GX - it's a great calculator, but slow as molasses.

      Buy new(alkaline) batteries for it. I kid you not, it'll speed it up- if you haven't noticed, performance is noticeably dependent upon battery voltage, and the thing crawls when the batteries get low- possibly on purpose, I dunno.

      I've had mine since the early 90's, and I never though of it as slow at anything except menus, graphing, and equation solving. For standard math and even running RPN programs, it's pretty quick- I never felt it was a 'hinderance'.

    • speedup (Score:4, Informative)

      by morcheeba ( 260908 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:38PM (#7051802) Journal
      The calculator is slow to respond and update the screen, but it does have a wonderful type-ahead buffer. Once you're confident with the commands (takes time to memorize) and the buttons (their high quality makes it easier to trust), go ahead and type as fast as you want. The calculator will skip screen updates during this time, so you'll get the answer soon after you stop typing.

      Once you know that secret, the speed isn't a problem (and I've got a 48S and a 48SX... that's a 1 MHz processor vs. the 2 MHz processor of the G's)
  • My choices... (Score:5, Informative)

    by kwiqsilver ( 585008 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:47PM (#7051097)
    I have a HP 48GX and love it. If you can find one, get one.

    I also wrote a GTK based one:
    ghsilop [sourceforge.net].
  • Inverter toast? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:49PM (#7051104)
    Sounds like its power supply inverter is toast. Rip it apart, trace down the IC that is making all the noise (or look for a small IC mounted xformer near on IC) and do some home work. Replace what makes noise and what ic is a PWM if it has one, unless its home brew PWM inversion and learn.
    • The 49G has been available for over a year now. The link you provided is to the 49G+ an entirely new beast. I assume they didn't want to move to 50G, not quite as catchy. ;)
      • The 49G has been available for over a year now.

        Over a year... over four [area48.com] is more like it. The 49G+ is cool though - way faster and a larger screen, but it's too bad that it's got a cheap painted plastic casing.

    • Have you ever happened to put the three batteries in the calc with the wrong polarity? This may have caused the zener diode to fry, which may be why it is draining the batteries so fast. I heard that its a common problem in HP graphing calcs.
  • depends (Score:2, Interesting)

    by c4ffeine ( 705293 )
    It depends on how much money you have, really. I've had great results with my TI-89- it's a calculus student's best friend. The only problem is, it costs about US $120 (at least mine did about 8 months ago). Visit http://education.ti.com/us/product/graphing.html for TI calculators. Better yet, go to http://www.graphingcalculators.net/ before it gets /.ed.
  • New Hp49G+ (Score:2, Informative)

    by dduardo ( 592868 )
    HP has begun producing new calculators with the Hp49G+ just released. Features include: 75Mhz processor, USB cable, IrDa, SD flash card support Here is a link to pictures, etc of the new hp line. http://www.hpcalc.org/hp49gplus.php I'm looking forward to getting the Hp49G+ and hp33s. Hope that helps!
  • Another RPN junky. (grin) I got hooked on it way back when as well, but I usually pull out my HP only for taxes these days. I get by with an HP emulator [hpcalc.org] for my pocket pc, which works the way you expect it too - but is no replacement for the real thing if you are doing more than currency conversion for your expense reports.
  • replace the burnt out capacitor
  • HP is getting back into the calculator business, see this info page: HP 49g+ [hpcalc.org]

    This new calculator even uses a RISC ARM processor, so it should be fairly speedy. However, I don't know if these calculators have been made available for sale yet.

  • Wow, I was pretty sure RPN was something my data structures prof made up when he was introducing the concept of stacks.
    • Yes, and once you start using RPN, you can't imagine going without it. It's truly brilliant. Plus, anyone that borrows your calculator will give it right back because they can't use it.

      There is one drawback - I have a hard time with "regular" calculators. I tend to lose numbers because I expect the RPN behavior of keeping my stack.
  • TI-89? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Josh Booth ( 588074 )
    My friend recently got a TI-89 and, while it's not an HP, it is able to download programs from the computer. He was able to download an RPN shell and he loves it. Of course, we are both high school seniors, so he gets bored. Since he doesn't have any games on there, he winds up putting in random equations and having it solve for x. Last time, it took the calculator about a day of computing and it would have taken more had the batteries not run out.
  • by Bilestoad ( 60385 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:56PM (#7051170)
    The RPNs worth buying are:

    16C - awesome calculator for programmers, especially embedded work. There is no better number system converter available at any price. No I can't do bin/dec/hex in my head faster than the 16C and neither can you. Expensive due to relatively low numbers produced.

    42S - pricey, even used, but excellent. Two line display, a replacement for the 15C.

    32SII - somewhat like a 42S but with single line display, not so nice to use.

    15C - same form factor as 16C. At the time HP's top scientific.

    11C - a simpler 15C

    10C - a simpler 11C

    All the above have solid old-HP build quality, excellent key feel and outstanding battery life.

    Older HPs are also usable (and may be preferred) - but they have even greater collector status and sometimes fetch higher prices. They will go through batteries faster and the red LEDs can be harder to see.

    Forget the 48 models, the 49 and all the new stuff. The 48GX is OK if you have to have graphing but the single and dual-line models have better UI for daily use. The 49? HP died when Carly took over. Now they make pretty colored plastic boxes that only work with windows and they have forgotten how to spell "engineering". In fact they fired all the engineers and HP is now run by MBAs in shiny suits.

    (I own 16C, 42s, 15C and 11C models.)
    • The RPNs worth buying are:

      16C - awesome calculator for programmers, especially embedded work. There is no better number system converter available at any price. [ ... ]

      I've had one of these for -- can I say this? -- about 20 years. I think I changed the three button cells once in that time. The thing is still on my desk, and it still works. And you're right, the thing is great. I find the lack of scientific functions a bit of a drawback, though.

      15C - same form factor as 16C. At the time HP's t

    • I can't believe you left out the HP 19B [hp-collection.org] Got one 'free' with a HP mass spectrometer. Bought my bride a 48G when she needed one for school, because I was not willing to share. Still use the thing...
    • by Noehre ( 16438 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:27PM (#7051383)
      The same team that made the 48 worked on the 49.

      The only 'problem' with the 49 is the soft non-clicky keys.

      Although, it has the added benefit of not being piss slow and has a (thank God) hard case.
      • I went through the old 41cx, then a 48sx, and now a 49g. I actually like the 49g. It's much faster, can emulate the 48 key patterns, and with good ol' Kermit, I've had no trouble loading firmware and software (with a slight custom cable) from my iBook. It's got a whack o' RAM, and some decent dev capabilities of course, and a fair bit of in-memory libraries. Add to that the quite useful symbolic calculus that actually doesn't do a number of bizarre, useless Laplace transforms to get a solution, and it w
    • 16C - awesome calculator for programmers, especially embedded work. There is no better number system converter available at any price. No I can't do bin/dec/hex in my head faster than the 16C and neither can you. Expensive due to relatively low numbers produced.

      I bought a 16C in 1983 when I got a new job with a 30% pay raise. I figured it was a tool of the trade. I was right, too - and not only is a tool, it's a Snap-On. The thing is damn near indestructible.

      The going price for these on eBay is from $125
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:57PM (#7051175) Homepage Journal

    If you have a PalmPilot, you might consider RPN [nthlab.com]. Given your stated requirements, it may not be powerful enough, but it's served me well.


  • Can be fixed (Score:5, Informative)

    by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (aol.com)> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @09:57PM (#7051177) Journal
    This sounds like subharmonic oscillation in the inductor core used in the DC-DC converter. Pop it open, find the inductor, and replace it - thing should be good as new.
    • by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:22PM (#7051353) Homepage Journal
      This sounds like subharmonic oscillation in the inductor core used in the DC-DC converter. Pop it open, find the inductor, and replace it - thing should be good as new.

      The sad part is I still have not figured out if you are making a Trek funny or have a soldering iron and know how to use it. God help me, I actually thought to see how the mods would tag it to decide...
    • Re:Can be fixed (Score:5, Informative)

      by dozer ( 30790 ) on Thursday September 25, 2003 @12:48AM (#7052147)
      This sounds like subharmonic oscillation in the inductor core used in the DC-DC converter.

      It's funny that someone would think that this comment is funny.

      A DC-DC converter converts one voltage (battery voltage) to another (operating voltage). They often work by converting the DC signal to AC oscillations, transforming, and then back to DC.

      Subharmonic: a harmonic less than the fundamental frequency. The DC-DC converter switches at a frequency much higher than audible range so you could never hear its switching but you could hear subharmonics.

      Inductor: Used to transform the AC current. An introductory electromagnetics text will describe how. Inductors are usually made of coils of wire. Transformers are just two coupled inductors.

      Core: Winding the wire around an iron or more exotic core will increase the inductor's efficiency.

      If there is damage (i.e. cracked inductor core), you might actually be able to hear the switching used to convert the DC voltages. The cure: replace the inductor.
  • The truth about RPN (Score:2, Informative)

    by n3xup ( 411763 )
    Check out this website here [calculator.org] to find out what RPN really is.

    I hope when he wrote- "Do companies still make calculators?", he meant 'still make RPN calculators.'
  • I use the HP48 software emulator on my pc. I don't need a portable calculator, so I leave my old hp48sx in my closet. The emulator has a gui with all of the buttons that the physical calculator has. Just do a google search on "hp48 emulator" and you can find a download for your os. By the way, legally you need a physical calculator to use the emulator rom. No batteries required.
  • ...because they come with indemnification.
  • FYI, if you want to use your new calc on a PE exam, read this [ncees.org] and this [ncees.org] first. Basically, all calcs from the HP-48G/49G series are banned as of next April. I'm glad I already got my PE; I would hate to take it without RPN...
  • Why do people like RPN calculators, but dislike languages like Forth or Joy? Or what about prefix notation maths like in Lisp?
    • by pHDNgell ( 410691 )
      Because it's really efficient to input data and perform operations with RPN, but maintaining an application written in something like forth is difficult.

      It's the same reason I live in tcsh, but write all my shell scripts using sh.
  • While it's not RPN, i'm gonna trow out a mention of the TI calcs. Great pieces of wequipment. The TI-89s are really powerful (use the same software as the top of the line 9x, but in a normal calc. form (as contrasted with th 9x's which have a qwerty keyboard and is really big.
  • Here is something [asianideas.com] that is more reliable, and falls in the under $15 category, and is less likely to be outdated.
  • by oZZoZZ ( 627043 )
    I use the TI89 from Texas Instruments (obviously), and It's served me quite well, the solve() function is fantastic... there's nothing I've come across that it can't do.
  • is a TI-82 with "Drug wars 2: extreme doobie-smack" loaded onto it.

    What? It got me through AP calc. The trick is to buy low.

  • 48G vs 49G (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dr. Mojura ( 584120 )
    I have both a 48G and a 49G. I keep the 48G at work, and bring the 49G around with me to school. While I much prefer the 48G's feel (I can can enter keystrokes on the 48G's quick, plastic keys almost twice as fast than on the 49G's hard-to-press rubber keys), I use the 49G exclusively for schoolwork due to it's vastly improved equation editing, algebraic manipulation, calculus handling and unit conversion. The 49G is much better in this regard.

    In the end, it really depends on what you'll be using it for. I
  • I'd love to get another HP 48, but I'm not even sure if HP even makes calculators like that any longer...

    They no longer make calculators at all [hpcalc.org]. I'm suprised there are still any for sale on the web site. When I mentioned this business change to a calculator geek I know (he was just out of physics grad school), he got this pained look on his face, as if his favorite rock star had been killed or arrested for pedophilia, or both.

    This is why I couldn't take any interest in that HP-Compaq soap opera. The dis

  • PDA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:14PM (#7051311) Homepage
    Depending on how hard you work your calculator, you might do better to get a PDA and run a calculator program on it. If you bang on your calculator keys for hours, get a real calculator.

    I use Palm PDAs (my current one is a Tungsten T) and I run a program called RPN [nthlab.com] on it. It's programmable and it has graphing, but I haven't used those features; but as a general-purpose RPN calculator, it's kept me happy.

    What I really want is something similar to Palm RPN that is programmable in Python.

    Anyway, the best thing about this is that I always have it with me. I used to have an HP calculator, but it was never handy when I wanted it.

    • I'm an old time HP calc user (still have my trusty 12C (which is still running on original batteries!) and my 48G) I first fell in love with them back when I was in high school and a friend of the family brought his old (pocket size LED display model, not sure which) HP over and taught me how to use it.

      I recently got a Palm OS device I can use, a Treo 300 (I'm Graffiti-challenged - way to sloppy a handwriter to ever train myself to make the symbols consistently enough) and have been looking around for a go
    • I've got Power48 [mobilevoodoo.com] on my Tungsten T. It emulates 48SX, 48GX, and 49 pretty well. It can do a lot of operations faster than my 48GX.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Emulation of the HP 48SX, 48GX and 49G is here and it's free. Best with a very hi-res device though

  • i work in the financial industry and the HP 12c is by far the biggest standard.

    As a geek, I appreciate the fact that they have had a good 20 years (!) to nuke any bugs. The technology is well-thought out and there are no annoying "modes" and menus to deal with.

    I recommend using the 12c standard (gold) versus the "platinum".

    The manual is written really well, particularly for those who are still warming up to RPN.

  • Graphing or not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kinema ( 630983 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:19PM (#7051332)
    Do you need a graphing calculator? If not go for HP's 32SII. I have one that I carry pretty much everywhere with me (my 48GX is a bit bulky and usually overkill).

    On the other hand if you need to be able to graph get a HP 48G or 48GX. The GX is expandable but in my experience most people never end up using the expansion packs. Also HP is scheduled to release their new 49G+. Don't let the name fool you though. It is more like a 48 then a 49. None of thoes crappy soft-touch rubber buttons. Also it is based on some ARM processor that will be *much* faster then the 48s and 49.

    What ever you do, stay HP. HP builds the best damn calculators on the market.
  • Offtopic... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by fm6 ( 162816 )
    But I have to tell this story. My mother, who's being using office machine since FDR's day, learned to use pre-electronic calculators, with purely mechanical logic. For obvious reasons, these were all RPN. (If you can call simple strings of very basic arithmetic functions "notation".) When she got her first electronic calculator, I had to explain to her what algebraic notation was!
  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:22PM (#7051352)
    I'm afraid you're out of luck if you're looking for a new HP graphing calc. The HP32SII is nice, and there are still some sources around the internet (Amazon used to carry them), but it doesn't graph. The TI-83+ isn't a bad graphing calc, especially if you install this, [ticalc.org]
    a slick RPN emulator...it preserves all the functionality of the TI-83+ while giving you the standard 4-register stack-based RPN functionality.
  • by jensend ( 71114 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:24PM (#7051361)
    Contrary to what others here (your usual /. cranks with rose-colored nostalgic memories of ancient hardware) may tell you, the 49G is a great calculator despite the flaws in the design of the keys and display as well as the "new-wave" case. However, don't run out and buy a 49G now; HP is finally gearing up to release new calcs [hpcalc.org]: the 49G+ and 48gII replace the aging Saturn processor (2-4 mhz, I forget what the process was but it probably was 3 microns or so) of older HP's like the 48S/SX/G/G+/GX and 49G with an ARM9 processor (48-75 mhz, probably a .18 micron process). (I think the ARM9 doesn't do quite as many IPC as the Saturn, and low-level saturn emulation will give some performance penalty, but still, this is going to be a lot faster- hpcalc.org just states it will be 3-7 times faster than the 49G, that's a pretty wide range). In addition, they appear to have fixed many of the case/key/display problems which plagued the 49G, and battery life should be about the same as it was for the earlier 48/49 series. I have absolutely no doubt that the new calcs will be fantastic deals.
  • Meh. Who needs buttons?
  • by rossz ( 67331 )
    Mine still works. It's sitting right here on my desk. Screw those newfangled models. Nothing beats hacking on an HP41CV.
  • by dendyjm ( 93650 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @10:51PM (#7051516)
    I'm in the same boat. I've returned to engineering graduate school after 7 years, and I've found an HP calculator emulator at the following website: http://power48.mobilevoodoo.com/

    It works really well. Hope this helps.
  • by StandardCell ( 589682 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:01PM (#7051586)
    Since I use a Dell Axim as my organizer/music/movie player, I carry around emulators for all my favorite old toys. One of them is GNU Emu48CE [personales.jet.es]. It emulates most flavors of HP48, and replaces my need for the built-in calculator or to carry around my beloved HP48GX. In fact, through emulation I have the equivalent of a desk full of equipment with me wherever I go. It's pretty neat, though it runs a Small-and-Flaccid OS.
  • Ha! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2003 @11:11PM (#7051640)
    My "real" first calculator was an RPN one, handed down by my engineer father. That makes me a real geek.

    But, anyways, this reminds me of a funny story. I'm sitting in a low-level C++ class, when the teacher decides to show us some Lisp. I found this quite interesting and reminescent of my days with the RPN calculator, so (stupidly) I raised my hands to inquire whether or not the design of Lisp was based on Polish Notation (PN), which would at least cement in my mind how to treat the language.

    Teacher: "WHAT! What did you say about Poles?!"
    Me: "Polish _Notation_. You know, the mathematical format."
    Teacher: "You're making it up!" (at this point, I was fairly stunned)
    Me: "It's called that because, theoretically, those Polish mathematicians knew what they were about, you know?"

    It was probably the lowest day of my school career. We were getting CS teachers who _didn't know what RPN was_. How embarassing.

    As for your calculator, no bloody idea, I just use my TI-83+ whenever the batteries still work.

  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Thursday September 25, 2003 @01:00AM (#7052227) Homepage
    for my HP 48G. Does anybody have one they'd be willing to unload? Or a .PDF I can grab from somewhere? HP wants $40 for the book, which is ridiculous IMO.

    I'll bake ya some bad-ass cookies if you can give me that .pdf.

    I'm also looking for a hard case. I love my 48, and you can pry it from my cold dead hands. Or from my newly distracted hands when I can get a Palm that'll run the emulator. : )
  • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday September 25, 2003 @01:08AM (#7052261) Journal
    For One, I, Overlords RPN welcome our new . . . .

  • Nitpick (Score:3, Informative)

    by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Thursday September 25, 2003 @07:29AM (#7053417)
    it's reverse Polish notation. It comes from the name of the country and not from its shiny surface :-)

    Brits stole our Enigma credit, the French took Maria Sklodowska-Curie so at least let us keep our good ole RPN.

  • A capacitor or two! (Score:3, Informative)

    by viktor ( 11866 ) on Thursday September 25, 2003 @04:25PM (#7058035) Homepage
    I suggest buying a replacement capacitor or two - it sounds likely that one or more capacitors in your beloved calculator has dried out. Happens all the time in old electronics that hasn't been used for a long period of time.

    You could at least try opening it up to see if there's big (relative to the rest) "can" capacitors (not sure of the proper english term, sorry :-) They often feature in the 100+ uF range.

    When they dry out they often (but not always) start looking like they're about to explode (which they sometimes do). And best of all - if the solution is that simple it will probably cost you $2 in parts and a few minutes with a soldering iron.

There's no future in time travel.