|Re: Anyone want hp 41 to 41 infra-red data transfer?|
Message #10 Posted by Howard Owen on 21 Sept 2005, 7:14 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by don wallace
I'm an HP-IL enthusiast, so I'd be using it whether I had a practical application or not. But as of now, HP-IL is the best way I have to move data back and forth between my HP-41s and the rest of the world, what I like to call "the 21st Century" in this context. I realize that you are planning to do a better solution for the 41, and that the MLDL2000 will enable USB for a similar, but not identical purpose. But neither of those solutions are here right now, or, more to the point, were six months ago when I started feeding my old HP equipment habit.
But there are several things I do with HP-IL that no HP-41 based solution will do. Those are a) all the stuff I do with an HP-71B, and b) all the stuff I do with an HP-75. Enthusiasm for the HP-41 doesn't often translate to an equal enthusiasm for the 70 series. That means there are fewer options for a 70 series user today. So HP-IL remains the best solution for transferring data to and from those systems. I may be interested in purchasing any soluion for two way HP-41 data transfer you come up with, but it won't replace my need for HP-IL, let alone my enthusiasm. 8)
But a discussion of HP-IL's merits and demerits is interesting. It obviously failed, or was killed in the marketplace. HP announced the death of HP-IL at the same time they withdrew the HP-71B. Some HP-IL peripherals remained on the price list until the HP-41C reached end-of-life. But HP-IL as a commercial solution for data collection died with the 71B. HP noted then that they had basically no replacement to serve the market niche HP-IL was aimed at. That was low cost, battery operated test equipment. I think that partly this reflected the lowered cost of other interfaces, RS-232 in particular, and the systems that hosted them, such as the IBM PC and its clones. But partly this may have reflected lessened importance of battery powered data collection generally. I don't know if such systems were actually needed less, or if they just didnt grow as fast as other segments. Either way it would have lead to less market share.
Surveying is one place where battery power remained important, and where the HP-41C therefore remained popular. But that soon enough transitioned to specialized systems, and also the combination RS-232 and the HP-48. Today we see the HP-48GX holding on to importance in the surveying world, partly because of excellent custom hardware and software systems to interface to "total stations." I'm not a surveyor, so I don't know for sure why they remain so popular. But I can guess that they are relatively low cost, and low power solutions. That's the niche that HP-IL was designed to fill, oddly enough.