The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 18

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Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #1 Posted by pespen on 16 July 2008, 3:19 p.m.

A: A 15c with a 2230A serial number.

      
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #2 Posted by Geir Isene on 16 July 2008, 4:31 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

A: Any HP-41

            
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #3 Posted by pespen on 16 July 2008, 5:23 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Geir Isene

Quote:
A: Any HP-41

My shirt pocket's not that big.

            
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #4 Posted by reth on 17 July 2008, 6:20 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Geir Isene

I double that

            
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #5 Posted by Garth Wilson on 24 July 2008, 1:24 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Geir Isene

Quote:
A: Any HP-41
+1. The 15c had no I/O to be able to control lab equipment and take data from it.
      
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #6 Posted by Walter B on 16 July 2008, 5:06 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

A: Any 42s (for the time waiting for a 43s or 15s)

      
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #7 Posted by Egan Ford on 16 July 2008, 8:19 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

Two 15Cs.

      
Why?
Message #8 Posted by Randy Sloyer on 16 July 2008, 9:29 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

So what is better about a 15c with a 2230A serial number?

            
Re: Why?
Message #9 Posted by Mike Morrow on 16 July 2008, 11:19 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Randy Sloyer

I suspect it must be the earliest production of the HP-15C, from week 30 in 1982. That wouldn't mean much to me, especially if condition was bad. Most of these Voyagers tended to lose their rubber foot pads and many lost even the square "HP 15C" emblem. The silver paint on that emblem also wore off quickly. An early unit is more likely to suffer these defects. My unit has a 2605A serial, has missing foot pads, and has worn paint on the emblem. My HP42S, in daily use for 11 years, still looks almost new.

                  
Voyager emblem/logos
Message #10 Posted by Karl Schneider on 17 July 2008, 1:56 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Mike Morrow

Mike stated:

Quote:
Most of these Voyagers tended to lose their rubber foot pads and many lost even the square "HP 15C" emblem. The silver paint on that emblem also wore off quickly. An early unit is more likely to suffer these defects. My unit has a 2605A serial, has missing foot pads, and has worn paint on the emblem.

I challenged a similar statement of yours regarding the emblem/logo issue more than a year ago, in this post, excerpted below:

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv017.cgi?read=110776#110776

Quote:
With respect to mechanical properties, the HP-15C is very prone to losing its rubber feet, the small battery door, and/or the model/logo square insert on the front. The aluminum around the LCD is easily scratched. The chrome paint on the logo insert quickly wears off.

The poorly-adhering logos with non-durable paint were the plastic ones that debuted as part of cost-cutting measures in 1986 -- when yours was likely made. The metal chromed logos of 1981-85 "held up and held on" much better.


All my pre-1986 Voyagers have intact, shiny logos. Some of my 1986-and-later Voyagers show some wear on the logos, and the only ones I've seen with missing logos are those from 1986 and later.

I do share some sentiments with you regarding the Voyager design, though. The HP-15C's design did not appeal to me when I came in to the store in 1983 to buy an HP-34C. I believe what chagrined me was the 'dressiness' of the brushed-aluminum bezel and the raised logo more than the unconventional landscape layout. It seemed at the time a favoring of elegant appearance over rugged durability, and that is indeed the case: The bezel is easily scratched and the logo can get sheared off.

-- KS

                        
Re: Voyager emblem/logos
Message #11 Posted by Dallas Osborne on 17 July 2008, 10:36 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Karl Schneider

On the side note of the "15c" badge and the aluminum surface:

There seem to be a number of badges floating around that are actually copper based. (Keep a close eye on 'that' auction site and they do come up rarely, but I have managed to find and buy three there in the last two years. Patience.) On these, the deeper crevasses are black lacquered and the raised surface is plated copper (or copper alloy).

These are easy to identify if you have a loupe. If the emblem is worn, you will see the coppery color. Or, pop the emblem off and give the backside a scratch with a sharp pin). You can restore the bright shiny surface by carefully buffing off the raised surface to base metal with a nail buffer and re-plating it with a surface rub-on plating compound. I personally use Cool-Amp (www.cool-amp.com) to restore these. Reattachment is easy with a simpler epoxy; avoid superglue.

Now the brushed-aluminum surface is an easy fix. First, mask off sides, keyboard, and LCD with two layers of masking tape. Then use a scotch-brite pad to take out any light scratches. Be careful, go slow, and make sure to keep the direction of buffing linear; this is more of a medium pressure wipe and not a scrubbing action. Start by carefully setting the edge of the pad into the edge of the calculator against the plastic case. Wipe toward the other side and reduce pressure as you near the opposite side. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. You will need to get complete coverage to keep a uniform appearance. (And, please, pop the logo off first; it is impossible to mask.)

                        
Re: Voyager emblem/logos
Message #12 Posted by Jeff Kearns on 17 July 2008, 11:03 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Karl Schneider

I concur with Karl. The brushed bezels are easily scratched but is appears to be the post-1986 units that had the logo problem. I have two 15C's: a 2237A that has seen much use since I bought it second-hand in 1985 and the logo is still shiny and like new; and a 2638A with the silver paint almost completely worn away from the logo. This second unit, I purchased at a garage sale for $5 but the owner told me he hardly used it... One of its feet (the one just below the stats register table) is also depressed and causes the calculator to not sit perfectly stable.

Nonetheless, I love the 15C. It has one of the best displays of all HP calculators and is to this day a strong contender as the best overall calculator ever made, even if it is a little slow. A 41C without the Advantage ROM doesn't really compete with this baby. Hopefully this will get some reaction on the forum!

Jeff

                              
Re: Voyager emblem/logos
Message #13 Posted by Antonio Maschio (Italy) on 17 July 2008, 12:13 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Jeff Kearns

15C! 15C! 15C!

-- Antonio

                                    
Re: Voyager emblem/logos
Message #14 Posted by Walter B on 17 July 2008, 3:11 p.m.,
in response to message #13 by Antonio Maschio (Italy)

= some reaction ;)

                  
What about the hippo test?
Message #15 Posted by pespen on 17 July 2008, 4:06 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Mike Morrow

Quote:
My HP42S, in daily use for 11 years, still looks almost new.

Yeah, but what would it look and work like if a hippo consumed it and then pooped it out.

                        
Re: What about the hippo test?
Message #16 Posted by Walter B on 17 July 2008, 5:26 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by pespen

Quote:
Yeah, but what would it look and work like if a hippo consumed it and then pooped it out ?
(question mark set by me - I'm a bit old school)

Answer: Brown.

2nd thought: Yeah, that must be the ultimate test for a *calculator*. Forget function sets, layouts, designs, and all the other details - the hippo is it!

HTH, Walter

      
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #17 Posted by Mike Morrow on 16 July 2008, 10:52 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

I used a HP-15C at work for 11 years. Excellent calculator. I still have and treasure it. I also had a HP-41CX, but I felt that the HP-15C was actually a more advanced and attractive machine. I then acquired an HP42S which I've used since. Most excellent calculator! For my purposes (and I imagine for almost anyone else who doesn't get upset over trivia like not being able to key in four complex numbers direct to the stack) the HP42S is a tremendous upgrade from the HP-15C in every particular except appearance. Many who have long experience with HP's calculator product line (mine goes back to 1972) consider the HP42S to be the best RPN calculator ever made by wide margin. IMHO, the HP-15C deserves second place, but it's a distant second. It's a real pity that HP hasn't advanced the state of the art in small RPN (vice RPL) calculators since the HP42S appeared more than 20 years ago! HP32SII, HP33S, HP35S...all damnable humbug! :-)

      
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #18 Posted by gileno on 17 July 2008, 1:16 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

Sharp PC1262 is the best !!

            
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #19 Posted by Mark Edmonds on 22 July 2008, 1:34 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by gileno

Actually, I think the Voyagers are a little over-rated! I'm not denying they are great machines because they are but I'm not keen on the form factor and there is something about them that just doesn't float my boat. The 16c is neat though, just because it is so absurd! :)

If it has to be a pocketable machine, I much prefer the Pioneers so based on feature set (and playing with the emu as I haven't got this particular one yet), I'd vote for the 42s (but... I'd hate to be without a 48g).

Mark

                  
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #20 Posted by Mike Morrow on 23 July 2008, 10:41 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Mark Edmonds

I bought an HP48SX when it first came out, followed by two HP48GX units when they came out. But I was never very impressed by these machines (slow, with blurred LCDs) so my HP-15C or HP-41CX continued to be my most used units. I dropped out of the HP calculator hoarding clique for about ten years.

In 2006 I bought a used HP49g+ for $20. Its programming features were very impressive to me. It was the first HP calc in a decade (other than the HP42S) that I found really interesting in terms of speed, LCD sharpness, features (including CAS), programming features (including Saturn and ARM machine level support), and SD card support. I can't understand why SD card support isn't usually emphasized when HP people contrast the HP49g+ and HP50g series to various TI offerings. It is a tremendously valuable feature.

Sure, the HP49g+ keyboard is often problematic, but the later HP50g pretty much corrected that. My three HP48 units never get used now that I have the HP50g. They are far less capable, unless you define capability only in terms of where the ENTER key is located.

Mike (HP calc user since 1972)

                        
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #21 Posted by Jeff Kearns on 23 July 2008, 11:54 a.m.,
in response to message #20 by Mike Morrow

In early 1993, I worked alongside a contractor who had a 'fancy' HP-32s. This calculator seemed on the surface to be a much more advanced calculator than my trusty 15C that brought me through Mechanical Engineering in the mid-80's. Of course, I was never a super-programmer like many of the fine contributors on this forum and did not have resources like the hpmuseum to compare features - so I went out and bought the latest and greatest HP-32sii - what a machine!

The only problem is that with the exception of Equation entry (OK that's very nice), named variables, and base conversions, the 32s or 32sii was inferior in every way to the HP 15C. I should have sprung for the 42s instead...

                              
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #22 Posted by Mike Morrow on 23 July 2008, 5:51 p.m.,
in response to message #21 by Jeff Kearns

I very much agree. In 1997 I bought an HP32sii so I could save my treasured HP-15C from further daily use on my job. Overall, the HP32sii was not in the same league as the HP-15C, especially for complex number math. I then went looking for the highly reputed HP42S, but that model had been discontinued in 1995 and was already a very desired and rare piece. Just by luck I found that the nearby University of Alabama at Huntsville bookstore still had two new HP42S units that had been sitting unsold for more than four years. I eagerly bought both of them for $114 each, and I have never been so impressed by a RPN calculator. I was thankful that UAH Bookstore didn't have a policy of clearing out old calculator inventory that wasn't selling, and I was lucky that no other customers had been seeking HP42S units.

Of course, even the HP32sii now has its own band of enthusiastic fans.

                                    
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #23 Posted by Jeff Kearns on 23 July 2008, 9:56 p.m.,
in response to message #22 by Mike Morrow

Hey Mike! I will give you $120 for one of your Hp 42s units. Just kidding. Or am I?

                                    
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #24 Posted by designnut on 23 July 2008, 10:33 p.m.,
in response to message #22 by Mike Morrow

I thought my 15C excess, not knowing the future. I sent it to Estonia to a teacher. I had sent her an English keyboard portable to type her lessons and the 15C for her son. His math teacher was so taken with it he asked to borrow it over the summer. Who knew HP was going to default in the computer progression. I never had any interest in graphing calcs, now catching up is a bear! I want them for features that have nothing to do with graphing. My graphs are never linear scale. Usually some log-log form. Sam

                        
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #25 Posted by Mark Edmonds on 28 July 2008, 10:48 a.m.,
in response to message #20 by Mike Morrow

Mike,

I agree with much of what you say, especially concerning the power of the 49 and 50 models. One of the reasons I am holding off getting a 50 right now is that I am worried it might supplant the 48G as my main machine.

However, there are some good reasons (for me), why I am still attached to the 48G and why it will continue to be my first choice.

1. The keyboard layout is not compromised by trying to support both RPN and alg. That isn't just the position and size of the enter key, it is the shifted vs non-shifted keys and labels.

2. It looks and feels to me like a real HP (of that era) whereas the later models could easily be Casio or Sharps or any brand. I like the more "industrial" designs.

3. Speed - yes, the 48G can be infuriatingly slow at times and some functions I just don't use because of this. However, for programming, it brings back that interaction you get when you can sense how a machine is working through your code and not blasting it to one side in some multi-core gigafrequency frenzy. I like being rewarded for making microscopic efficiency improvements!

4. Good battery life.

5. The 48 series isn't so completely saturated in functions as the 49/50 models so it leaves nice scope for designing and coding your own.

I am sure there are more reasons I can't think of right now. The 48G remains top of my pile but if... a very big "if", HP released a machine like the 50 in a 48 style shell with a 48 style keyboard, I would move to the new model without any hesitation.

Mark

Quote:
I bought an HP48SX when it first came out, followed by two HP48GX units when they came out. But I was never very impressed by these machines (slow, with blurred LCDs) so my HP-15C or HP-41CX continued to be my most used units. I dropped out of the HP calculator hoarding clique for about ten years.

In 2006 I bought a used HP49g+ for $20. Its programming features were very impressive to me. It was the first HP calc in a decade (other than the HP42S) that I found really interesting in terms of speed, LCD sharpness, features (including CAS), programming features (including Saturn and ARM machine level support), and SD card support. I can't understand why SD card support isn't usually emphasized when HP people contrast the HP49g+ and HP50g series to various TI offerings. It is a tremendously valuable feature.

Sure, the HP49g+ keyboard is often problematic, but the later HP50g pretty much corrected that. My three HP48 units never get used now that I have the HP50g. They are far less capable, unless you define capability only in terms of where the ENTER key is located.

Mike (HP calc user since 1972)


      
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #26 Posted by Antoine M. CouŽtte on 24 July 2008, 4:38 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by pespen

... TWO 15c's ??? :-))

Edit :

Oops ! Sorry, I should have read the thread first, since at least TWO ( !! ) of us already came up with this very same reply

Edited: 24 July 2008, 4:41 a.m.

            
Re: Q: What's better than a 15c?
Message #27 Posted by Egan Ford on 24 July 2008, 10:08 a.m.,
in response to message #26 by Antoine M. CouŽtte

You are in good company.


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