|Re: Collecting, restoring, displaying, using, but not an investment. ;-)|
Message #33 Posted by Dan Grelinger on 3 Apr 2009, 11:23 a.m.,
in response to message #31 by Nigel Bamber
Nigel, you've got some very good questions, I'll try to do them as must justice as I can.
The HP-41 "PCB" you reference is not really a PCB. It is a flexible copper/plastic connector wrapped around a plastic block, that delivers power from the batteries to the main circuit boards, display logic, and I/O ports. And it also connects the I/O ports to the main circuit boards, through a set of contacts that are made through pressure. If the battery corrosion made its way far enough along this connector, then it would easily interfere not only with the main logic connection to the I/O ports, but also with power delivery to the rest of the calculator, due to corrosion at the pressure contact with the rest of the system. Bottom line is, if the corrosion heads 'south' out of view, then there is a chance that some or all of the I/O ports won't function.
Generally, non-working battery corroded HP-41CVs and CXs will go for $40-$50 ballpark pricing, on ebay. Therefre I would say that 28 pounds would be a fair price for a battery corroded, modified, but working unit.
By the way, it is possible, with the correct part, periodically supplied by a third party HP-41 guru, to fix the problem that you describe. His name is Diego, he posts here often, and is truly a scholar and a gentleman.
Where will it end? Well, we all know that all endeavors undertaken by men end up only one place. But, as has been eloquently stated before, it is the journey, not the destination. I very strongly suspect, based on what you have posted here, that you will catch the bug, and thoroughly enjoy your time with all things HP-41C. There are few things I would rather do than sit down with a new HP-41C manual or book, and read about some new piece of gear that I just aquired, or learn something new about the HP-41 internals. Check out the "Memories" section of this site. About 10 years ago, I wrote about my early experiences with the HP-41.
Concerning the other calculators that you mentioned; compare the huge investment people have made in HP-41 web related content with any of those others. That is an indication of how strong the HP-41 'bug bite' can be.
Ebay is good, and ebay is not so good. It is a convenient way to find new HP-41 stuff and have an opportunity to purchase it. Better deals can be had elsewhere, but the effort required to find them is at least an order of magnitude higher. But, ebay deals generally come at a high price. And sometimes there are nasty surprises, although in my experience, if one is willing to put forth the effort both before and after the sale, they will come out eventually satisfied. Ebay and Paypal know that buyers have to continue to trust the market they have built, or their business dies. I have had to file a few PayPal complaints on calculators, but have always received satisfaction.
Concerning your last question; Since you are in this for fun, and messing around with stuff that does not work quite right can be really fun, initially stay away from the prime units on ebay, the ones that would go for 170 pounds. Start with the ones that need some help, like battery corrosion that can be repaired. I have fixed up a few of these types, aquired for around $50, and they make useful work tools to carry abound in my laptop bag. After that, if you want a complete set in excellent condition from ebay, then yes, you'll spend 170 pounds (or more) buying one, but you'll have a much better idea of what you are doing.
Happy collecting! Long live the HP-41!