|HP42S: scary moments|
Message #1 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 30 July 2003, 7:57 p.m.
again, one new episode of the not-so-unknown Scary Moments.
This time with an HP42S.
Yesterday I was reviving some healthy memories form the time I was a newcomer in the world of the HP42S and I took the previously mentioned Load Flow program in order to verify some storage techniques when dealing with indexed matrices. I remember that when I bought my NIB HP42S (still deceased) and I began to deal with it, I already had an HP28S, an HP15C and an HP41CX, amongst a few others. I also remembered that I took the HP42S as the easiest and most powerful "numeric" calculator. In time: I do not compare a numeric to a symbolic calculator as a whole because there is no way to balance their resources in a fair way.
Well, this is not the subject and, after being corrected once (thanks, Valentin), I'm actually "loosing focus".
I got the HP42S I recently took with the others after cordial and friendly arrangements (hey, R.L.A.) and switch it ON. I created a [100 × 1 Matrix] , pressed [ENTER], [SHIFT][COMPLEX] and while the busy indicator flashes, the low battery indicator turn itself ON, also. "New batteries, please!" I thought. At last, there it was: [100 × 1 Cpx Matrix] and the low battery indicator still ON. I decided to remove the MATRIX menu by pressing [EXIT] ([ON]) and then I store the complex matrix in DT ([STO][ALPHA] DT [ENTER]). Then the nightmare begins: Freddy Kruger and Jason in my back looking at the HP42S vanishing the display and... resting in peace?
New batteries, no batteries for a night, new batteries, shorting batteries connector... Cutter, hands, fingers... Back case removed and let's inspect. As I had an extra 32KRAM chip waiting for the chance to become something more than a number, I removed the original RAM in this HP42S and transplanted it. I did not think that it would put it back to work, but if it returned from the dead, then it would be back as an HP42S+.
I decided to inspect components and I saw a suspicious SMD that seemed to be a capacitor: no polarity marks and a somehow revealing inscription: 102K. I took 102 as 10E2 pF, or 1000 pF or 1KpF or 1nF. What called my attention was the fact that the soldering terminals were too "recessed", meaning it was easy to see a considerable space between the component body and its terminals. I re-soldered it and nothing. I re-soldered the terminals of all remaining components and nothing. I removed the mainboard and added a strip of tape between the foam and the keyboard "sheet" to increase pressure and enhance contacts, but nothing. I was about to give up when I remember that I'm the first one to insist with others not to give up. Then I thought with myself: "Are you a man or a rat?" It took me a couple of minutes till I realize there would be no answer, so I decide to move on. I removed the suspicious capacitor and measure it: nothing! Great! Let me take another capacitor and solder it in place. I searched for another SMD capacitor and the one I found that was closed to 1nF (1n2) was too small and tinny. Well, the HP42S is a 4.5V designed calculator, why using capacitor with a lot bigger isolation voltage? Something was not right. Then I decided to take extreme measures: I used the soldering iron and pressed both terminals till they could touch the body's surface, as I thought they should be. Then I decided to measure it again: I did not understand the reading, one thousand times the one I thought it should be: 1µF. So, I should read 102K as 10E2 × K = 1000Kpf = 1µf. Interesting!
Oh, yes, the HP42S? Now it is a working HP42S+, thanks! And please, don't ask me to explain what happened... I'm still collecting my brain, spread around the room.
Edited: 30 July 2003, 8:03 p.m.