The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 13

[ Return to Index | Top of Index ]

Need recommendation on a RPN calc
Message #1 Posted by Gene J (Chicago) on 24 Oct 2003, 1:28 p.m.


I already have a 48GX and the new 49g+ but I'm wondering if someone could recommend the best HP model that has...

* RPN (don't want to go algebraic);

* scientific functions (mostly trig, log, and inverse functions, units and matrices would be nice too); and is

* non-programmable.

A multi-line display (at least two lines) would be nice too.

I need such a calculator as a requirement for certain exams and as a backup at times when a proctor might be sceptical. I'm planning ahead for January '04, so whether it is an old model that I might be able to find on eBay or something new on the horizon, any recommendation would be great.

Another general question is whether all HP scientific calculators have RPN? I thought RPN was pretty much standard for HP but when I've viewed calculator descriptions recently on the HP web I see algebraic mentioned but not RPN.

Sorry if these sound like dumb questions but having a 48GX workhorse, I haven't been in the market for a new calculator for over 10 years.

Thanks in advance!

HP-21 or HP-31E
Message #2 Posted by Paul Brogger on 24 Oct 2003, 1:40 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Gene J (Chicago)

You haven't missed many non-programmable RPN models in the last 10 years!

I think the last two non-programmable RPN pocket calculators were HP-31E, and the HP-21 before that. The HP-91 desktop printing calculator was also non-programmable RPN.

All have one-line LED displays, and are considered collectible as well as actually useful for their designed purpose.

H-P hasn't made a non-programmable RPN model for some time, and the 12C is the only pure RPN model left in production (it doesn't have trig functions and is programmable).

A lot of us would like to have a quality, low-cost, RPN-capable, not-necessarily-programmable scientific available -- some of those attributes may be found in H-P's latest offerings, but I'm afraid not all.

Re: Need recommendation on a RPN calc
Message #3 Posted by Patrick on 24 Oct 2003, 1:54 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Gene J (Chicago)

Wow. What you ask for is tough.

If you look over the list of legacy HP calcs elsewhere on this site, you'll see that not many of them are non-programmable. All of the scientific LCD models are programmable, so that leaves you with LED models. I see the following candidates:


Many of these are viable choices in the sense that you can still pick up perfectly functioning examples. Batteries will be another story, not to mention having to lug the wall wart around with you. I doubt exam rooms still run power lines along the desks anymore so that students can plug in their (now solar powered) calculators!

You could pick up any one of these for under $100 on eBay, with the exception of the HP-27, which commands a premium.

If you relax the non-programmable criteria, then that opens up a whole slew of other models for your consideration. I would suggest the HP-42S as it has the multi-line display and support for matrices that you asked for. For me personally, other great alternatives would be the HP-15C and HP-11C.

As far as your other question regarding the presence of algebraic models on the HP web site... therein lies a long and twisted tale, much discussed on this site. The short answer is nobody knows why. Happily, this hasn't prevented the folks here from giving their opinions! If you take a look back through the forum archives, you're bound to see what I'm talking about.

Good luck Gene.

Re: Need recommendation on a RPN calc
Message #4 Posted by Mark Hardman on 24 Oct 2003, 2:27 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Gene J (Chicago)

Strange as it may seem, the HP-19BII Business Consultant II might be a good fit for what you are looking for:

* Selectable RPN mode

* scientific functions (trig, log, and inverse functions, unit conversions -- but no matrix functions.

* non-programmable in the classic sense -- though we could argue the merits of HP Solve.

* A multi-line display -- three line stack and one line soft menu.

Mark Hardman

17BII will do a perfect job...
Message #5 Posted by on 25 Oct 2003, 1:05 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Mark Hardman

.... has all you need...

....AND includes a solver that is quite difficult to detect... might help you in your exam !

Re: Need recommendation on a RPN calc
Message #6 Posted by SV on 25 Oct 2003, 1:40 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Gene J (Chicago)

You need to go directly into the hp calculators website:

This site shows the full range of HP calculators which are being sold.

HP33s will be allowed by NCEES
Message #7 Posted by Brian S on 25 Oct 2003, 8:24 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Gene J (Chicago)

NCEES (they administer the professional engineering exams) has banned the TI-83, HP 48 series and 49 and other calculators from upcoming exams. However, they do allow the 32s and the yet to be releases HP 33s. If you're looking for a 2 line display with rpn, the 33s is your best bet. Should be released by the end of the year.

For additional info on the NCEES calculator ban, go to:

Hope this helps.

Re: HP33s will be allowed by NCEES
Message #8 Posted by Gene J (Chicago) on 25 Oct 2003, 2:12 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Brian S

Thanks a bunch to everyone for all the useful info and the link to the NCEES calculator ban.

I'm planning to take the ABHP exam next summer and while they state the calculator requirements, they're much more general than what NCEES says. Given the communication-capability ban, not even my old 28c would have cut it.

At approximately $60 when it becomes available, it looks like the 33s is the safe and cost-effective way to go in my exam case and as a general backup, although some of those old LED models would be pretty cool to have.

Thanks again!

[ Return to Index | Top of Index ]

Go back to the main exhibit hall