The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 15

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"new" and "old hp33s
Message #1 Posted by brian healy on 28 Oct 2005, 2:15 p.m.

I was just at my local wal mart and noticed that behind the improved hp33s, there were still the older ones with the horrible decimal point. I will try not to laugh when I type this, but I think that HP should have recalled the older version with the bad display. And if it costs a lot of money, then that's the price for letting a product into the market with an ovious design flaw. I know that I'm not being realistic, but on this website you can read about the bug in the HP35 and Dave Packard's response. HP, learn from your history and do it right.

33s versions
Message #2 Posted by bill platt on 28 Oct 2005, 2:33 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by brian healy

Hi Brian,

There have been even more versions than old nad new. There was "prototype" (of which I think Gene may have one:-) "early Wal-mart Pre-release (of which I have one) and 1st initial production...and now "improved decimal point".

I would love it if you could put it through its paces, checking to see if any of the known bugs are resolved....There are detailed lists/discussions in the archives.

Best regards, Bill

Edited: 28 Oct 2005, 2:34 p.m.

Re: 33s versions
Message #3 Posted by brian healy on 28 Oct 2005, 2:59 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by bill platt

I occaisionally use it, as I mostly use my 32sii, which was made in singapore in 1993, and is in mint condition. It is a total pleasure to use. I haven't encountered any of the bugs mentioned, but that is not to say they have been fixed. It's just that in my line of work (structural engineering) that I don't need the functions that are buggy. One nice thing about the 33s is that due to the larger memory, I can have more than the 3 programs and 1 equation that fit into my 32sii. The improved display and keyboard have made what in my opinion was unusable into a calculator that I can use at work. I have a version of the 33s with the bad display and poor keyboard, and I felt that I just couldn't trust it.

Re: 33s versions
Message #4 Posted by Crawl on 28 Oct 2005, 5:00 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by bill platt

I've tried a newer version, and most of the important glitches have been fixed (ones involving polar conversions, or similar complex math).

The glitch involving the wrong indicators being displayed after a self test is still present.

Re: *any* hp33s?
Message #5 Posted by Paul Brogger on 28 Oct 2005, 7:08 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by brian healy

Well, I went to my local Wal-Mart, and they don't have any HP-33s on display. (The slot is there, but it's empty.)

I think it's curious that this particular model is sold out. I'll be watching to see if it's re-stocked.

(It does appear to be still available via their web site.)

How do you distinguish between the....
Message #6 Posted by Al In FL on 28 Oct 2005, 10:31 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by brian healy

old and new HP 33s if you wanted to order it online?

Re: How do you distinguish between the....
Message #7 Posted by Howard Owen on 28 Oct 2005, 10:54 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Al In FL

I believe the answer to that is "you don't."

According to reports on this forum, HP itself won't tell you if the machine you are ordering from them directly is the new model. the only way I can see to be sure is to press the "ON" button through the plastic and squint at the decimal point. So far, I haven't found one in the SF Bay Area, but I've only looked in the Lawrence Expwy Fry's.

Re: How do you distinguish between the....
Message #8 Posted by david bowers on 29 Oct 2005, 10:55 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Howard Owen

hi i called hp from taiwan and they said all the shipping ones now are from august 05, the lady put me on hold to query it, anyway they said when you order online there is a space for special instructions and to mention that you want only the latter ones i was about to order online from here, but it wouldnt accept overseas credit cards, so many engineers go home to the states on leave, one guy said, ha no problem, i will get the right one for you, so i shall see. i offered him local currency if he could use his card and have it shipped hassle free to his house to bring back here. one guy on this site did offer to get me one through my cousin, but my cousin lost his email address, thanks again anyway. i just want one to crap around the jobsite, are they as dropable as my old 42. i dont know how to post photos on this site but i can email anyone who does, a photo of my retired 42s that a lot of people said wasnt dropped as i claimed cheers david

I'm not sure how HP could know which 33s you would get
Message #9 Posted by John on 30 Oct 2005, 4:42 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Howard Owen

After all, remember that the calculators are not in a closet in San Diego where the HP calculator staff is located.

They are probably in a big warehouse somewhere in Asia (or perhaps smaller ones in different countries). I'd be very confident that no one associated with ordering, the hp website, or the phone tech support has the ability to go get one off the shelf.

While it is possible that HP in San Diego might be able to get one or two that way, keep remembering how many different products HP actually sells.

In the large corporate scheme of things, calculators are lost in rounding to HP's bottom line, I'm sure.

We are fortunate HP corporate has not decided to write them off entirely. After all, that would mean only TI and Casio (perhaps Sharp) making any new models at all today.

Re: Found a "good" one.....
Message #10 Posted by Al In FL on 29 Oct 2005, 1:04 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Al In FL

Decided to check out the local Wal-Mart and if you press hard enough you can hit the C key! AS luck would have it, they have some newer ones....

This "good" or "better" one is definitely an improvement.

Not only is the comma much bigger and the decimal point about, what, 25 to 30% bigger....

The biggest improvement is that the clarity of the display is better. Side by side, you can see that the upper projection layer is not as far apart from the there is less shadow or separation effect if you're not looking at it head on.

FWIW: The original pre-order WalMart one I got is a CN4040...

The newer off the rack model at WalMart is a CNA 4420...

Al in Fl

33s versions
Message #11 Posted by bill platt on 29 Oct 2005, 1:33 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Al In FL


My pre-order is CN40402051

The one I got from Amazon right when they 1st got them (the second production batch) was CNA....

The only difference, after extensive testing, had to do with the function of the x<>y feature under "Algebraic" mode (which is descibed in detail under the archives). Everything else was the same---all the bugs were the same, e.g. polar,, Permutation --- not showing overflow for over-sized args etc etc.

Edited: 29 Oct 2005, 1:34 p.m.

Re: Found a "good" one.....
Message #12 Posted by ECL on 29 Oct 2005, 3:49 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Al In FL


Note that the number spacing has INCREASED. ie, there is more space between each number on the screen. This greatly improves legibility.

My new machine CNA 52707099 does have a bad alignment of the solve and display keys. They rub against the ENG and MODES keys when I depress them.

Also it 'tic-tacs' on the table. This is irritating, but twisting the case seems to ameliorate the condition.

Still, I am very satisfied for now. I'd be even happier to see an 'anniversary ed' of these internals in the 32sii casing.


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