|Re: Why is the HP 42s so expensive?|
Message #8 Posted by Mike Morrow on 17 July 2007, 2:32 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Seth Morabito
I'm in the camp that considers the HP42S to be the best RPN calculator yet made. I bought my first HP (HP-67) in 1976, and I've collected some 30-odd other HP calculators in the interim, so I've used many HPs in the past 30 years. My 24-year old HP-41CX and 21-year old HP-15C don't come close to matching the functions contained in the HP42S, nor its speed (five times that of the HP41C or HP-15C) and precision.
Unfortunately I didn't decide I wanted one until 1997, two years after the HP42S was discontinued. Even then the HP42S was almost as unobtainable as it is today. I was really lucky to find two new units in stock at the nearby University of Alabama at Huntsville bookstore for $114 each. They had been there unsold for four years, and had long dead batteries. You better believe I bought them immediately.
One of the best things about the HP42S is its full-spectrum support of complex number calculations. If a complex result is appropriate, it appears naturally. Try calculating the square root of -3, the arcsin of 1.5, the natural log of -5, etc. on most machines. The HP42S will return the appropriate complex domain answer.
The other thing I like is the ease of performing matrix operations.
These two categories of operations are far far easier on the HP42S, compared to the HP-41C or HP-15C. Complex number support of the HP32S, HP32SII, HP33S, and apparently the new HP35S is far inferior.
I have never found the 8K-byte RAM of the HP42S to be limiting in any practical sense. My largest program is a full-blown fourth-order Runga-Kutta differential equation solver, about 330 steps. I still have plenty of RAM left with it and several other programs in residence.
Currently, the calculator I use most often is a HP49G+, whose capabilities far exceed the HP48GX and HP42S. But I much prefer programming in RPN on the HP42S, rather than the RPL of the HP49G+. I'd really like to have a HP50G type of machine that had a choice of programming models...either RPL or RPN.