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Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #1 Posted by Vincent Weber on 31 Aug 2003, 6:56 a.m.

Hi all,

In these days where old HP calculators are missed, I would like to share my experience of HP calculators for PDAs, since I never found the posts on this subjects exhaustive. I hope the follwoing info will be useful. I think it is pretty complete, but please feel free to add to the list !

1) HP-41: -----

The queen of the 80's, still very useful today, especially with the Advantage ROM, making it one of the very few calculators on PDA supporting matrixes.

- For PalmOS: P41CX is a faithful, accurate and fast emulator for the 41CX (with time & extended memory functions). I use this program daily. It can be found on What is remarkable of this emulator is that it allows hot-swap of nearly of the modules made for the 41. You have also printing to memo, 2-lines display, object loader - all this for a mere $10. A fantastic program. There was another emulator for PalmOs called Coconut... but the author has decided to discontinue it. It was good, but not as accurate and fast as P41CX. It integrated a full printer display, though.

- For PocketPC: eV41 is also a very good emulator. It does not support 2 lines nor printing, though. But the look and feel is very good.

2) HP-48/49 --------

The queens of the nineties...

- For PalmOS: A fantastic emulator called Power48, totally free. It can be found at: Absolutely fast and accurate, with very realistic faceplates. Lucky owners of Sony Clie NX and NZ series with Hires+ mode (320x480) can enjoy a full size calculator without having to zoom the screen. Sadely, there is not (yet) emulation of port2 nor custumizable faceplates ("KML"s in Emu48 terminology).

- For PocketPC: There is Emu48CE V1.23 ( Sadely, this is not a vey good piece of software... not so stable, and can lag. A (not so good) adaptation of Emu48 for PocketPC, which has not been updated for a long time. Far less usable than its PalmOS counterpart, Power48. (Yet another) good reason to go for a Palm ?

- For EPOC32 (PsionOS): For die-hard Psion lovers (I used to be one), there is a recent very good emulator: Emu48E 1.4. It can be found on

3) HP-15C ------

A fantastic calc ahead of its time, the first one to integrate matrixes and complex numbers on the stack.

There is no actual emulator... The HP-15C is a closed system from which the ROM cannot be uploaded. However, there is fantastic SIMULATOR for PocketPC: Pocket15C ( A simulator of HP-41 and HP-48 calculators would be a little interest since the machine code programs would not work; but for a HP-15C which is not very "hackable", never mind. A simulator gives the opportunity to enhance the calculator. Pocket15C, unlike an atucal HP-15C, is able to display programs in alphanumeric form (this was the major complain against the very good 15C - programs were very hard to edit), is very fast (The 15C is very slow), has plenty of memory (999 registers + 64 registers per matrix). A must have for PocketPC owners. I really wished there was such a product for PalmOS... Of course the squarish screens of Palm devices make it a bit cumbersome to display the rectangular-shaped Voyager series, but the NX or NZ series should do this just fine. Wait and see...

4) HP-12C ------

The best selling HP calculator is also widely emulated. I will just quote two "emulators" (simulators actually).

- PalmOS: KK-12C ( A very nice product, very accurate able (unlike the actual 12C) to load external programs. It deals with the squarish screen of the Palm (vs. the rectangular shape of Voyager calcs) by cutting the screen into two possible views. Not perfect, but usuable.

- Pocket12C: The business counterpart of Pocket15C from Lygea, described above, with the same qualities. Note that Lygea also make a "10B+" simulator (extended 10BII) but I find this of little interest...

5) HP-16C ------

- PalmOS: Palm16C 1.0.0 ( A bit rough, does not look very sexy, but does the job.

- PocketPC: Nothing yet - but I heard from Lygea that they are preparing a Pocket16C ! Wait and see...

Now, what is missing:

1) HP-42S: ------

Probably the most complete (with no I/O, but this could be patched in an emulator) pre-RPL HP calc... and sadely, no emulator for PDAs. There is none emulator for Windows by Christoph Giesselink:

It is quite fine, but the ROM is -not- included for obscure copyright reasons within HP (I fail to understand why 41/48/49 ROMs are available while the 42 is not !). Christoph has no intention to port it to PalmOS or PocketPC. I am trying to make a 42S -simulator- (with extensions such fractions & equations support from the 32SII, better (direct) alpha entry, user-redifinable keyboard, to address the (very few) weaknesses of the '42). It is still an early project, but I think it would be welcome... any interest ? :)

2) HP-32Sii: --------

Would be nice to have. Not as powerful as the 42, does not handle matrixes, handle complex numbers in a rather primitive way, limited to only 27 variables. But very easy to use and nice touches, such as equation and fractions support. Looking at the 'Power Rangers' look of the new 33S calculator supposed to replace the 32SII... There may be some room for developping a 32SII simulator / emulator :) But the 32SII is another 'closed' system, with no way to get the ROM other than asking HP...

3) HP-17Bii --------

Same remark as above: Looking at the new 17B+ '10Bii-syle- case... there may be some room for a 17Bii emulator !

4) Others ------

- 28C/S: I don't think an emulator would be relevant: No PDA has big enough a screen to emulator the double keyboard, while a 48 emulator does most of the things better than the 28 (expect for the catalogs...) - 19Bii: Same remark (same case). - Pre-41 models: Would be nice for nostalgy, altough the 41 or even 15C can do most of the things they did. Nevertheless, a 65/67/25C/29C/34C emulator would certainly be sucessful :)

My 2 cents... Vincent

Re: Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #2 Posted by Patrick on 31 Aug 2003, 5:14 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Vincent Weber

Excellent post, Vincent.

I am a pretty staunch supporter of the Palm platform, but I tell you that Lygea 15C emulator may someday force me to buy an (old?) PocketPC just for that one program, despite it being a Microsoft platform. I am a 15C fanatic and am always on the lookout for 15C related materials.

Thanks again.

Re: Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #3 Posted by Andrés C. Rodríguez (Argentina) on 1 Sept 2003, 8:56 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Vincent Weber

While not exact emulators or simulators of HP models, MathU and MathUPro for the Palm platform (from are Voyager-like RPN calculators.

Also BizCalc for PocketPC (from operation is based on the 12C.

There are many other RPN calculators for Palm or PocketPC, but not quite similar to the HP units.

Re: Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #4 Posted by christof (NoVA US) on 1 Sept 2003, 11:01 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Andrés C. Rodríguez (Argentina)

Don't forget RPN by nthlab. It's not a direct emulator, but it's very good and really cusomisable/programmable.

I'd like to see more developments not tied quite as heavily to the exact operation of a specific calc. Given the capabilities and OS features of palmos and embedded linux*, A good calculator making the most of the capabilities and programmability of RPN machines should be possible.

nonetheless, don't forget nthlab :)


* (I'm over the pocketPC stuff. MS has tries hard to make wure you can't get full effective use out of one of these devices with out a pc plugged in and I think they've done the job too well)

Re: Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #5 Posted by Mark Ordal on 9 Sept 2003, 9:19 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by christof (NoVA US)

I wanted to remind everyone that these emulators can be very slow compared with stack-based calculator programs that are simply somewhat HP-like, rather than being exact emulations.

Obviously, if you only want to run programs already written for a particular HP model, then something like the P41CX emulator running on a PalmOS PDA is a very convenient thing to have.

On the other hand, if you plan to write your own programs, the difference in run time between a "modern" calculator program and an emulator can make the emulator seem like a waste of time.

A case in point: one of my programs takes 250 seconds to run on my rebuilt HP41CX; the same program runs in 120 seconds under the P41CX emulator on my Palm m505 (33 MHz Dragonball cpu); a program to do the same calculation under version 3.10 of nth Lab's RPN calculator program on my m505 takes 8.9 seconds; and finally, a program for Creative Creek's "MathU Pro" on my m505 takes just 3.1 seconds.

So 120 seconds versus 3.1 seconds: your choice.


Re: Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #6 Posted by Sam on 8 Sept 2003, 6:13 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Vincent Weber

PLEASE Please please finish your 42s emulator - I'm very interest!

Re: Recap of HP calculators emulators for PDAs
Message #7 Posted by Erik Ehrling (Sweden) on 9 Sept 2003, 11:48 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by Sam

I can only agree with the previous speaker... a port of Emu42 to either a Palm or a Windows CE/Pocket PC environment would be great. I would, personally, vote for trying to retain 100% compatibility with the real HP-42S...

Best regards, Erik Ehrling (Sweden)

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