|WP34S - Worth The Time and Cost?|
Message #1 Posted by Les Wright on 4 Mar 2012, 7:02 p.m.
I post the question and answer a resounding YES!
I am proud to have two units, and the overall cost for all things I have splurged on this comes out to $88 per unit. This includes two 30b's ($88 including shipping), the proper FTDI USB/Serial adapter from Eric ($25), three overlays from Eric ($15, I got an extra just in case I botched one), flashing cables from Gene ($35, which is because I damaged a pin on the first and needed a replacement AND I sent Gene more than requested for his time and trouble), laser printing a bunch of overlays to tide me over with 2.2 until version 3 came out ($7), and 20 cheap 2032 batteries from TAS ($6, good to have a supply since flashing is hard on them).
I am eminently aware that my per-unit expenditure is higher than it should be (e.g., I ordered too many paper overlays, I really didn't need the extra Rechlin overlay, and if I weren't such a klutz I wouldn't have needed a second cable), but even still I think the WP34s is a bargain. In my impatient "gotta have it" collector days, I paid too much for a working but far from mint 42S that I barely use. My eagerly anticipated 15C LE sits pristine and unused in its lovely box, and, unlike many, I have no desire to acquire another. But the 34s project has engaged me so much that I just can't leave these things alone.
As for the time investment, I initially shied away for fear of it being too technical. I am a Mac user (even though I run XP under Fusion for some things) and I thought the flashing process would be too much hassle. So imagine my joy when, once I got the proper USB adapter and learned by way around MySamba, that flashing succeeded the first time in under half a minute. I have since become familiar with the command-line assembly tools, and it is no trouble to build libraries and move my programs back and forth between calculator and emulator. This is the very I/O ability that I wish the 15C, 42S, and 35S all had, but don't.
I have no qualms about recommending the WP34s as today's preeminent RPN keystroke programmable. I was thinking that it would be great if those of us who have all of the flashing gear could offer assistance to those who don't--for example, if a fellow Canadian sent me a 20b or 30b I would cheerfully flash and return it for the cost of mailing--but I still have to say that in order to fully enjoy the calculator, having one's own paraphernalia really is necessary so one can keep abreast of firmware updates move data and programs between the calculator and the emulator. Writing, compiling, an transferring programs is all the fun for me.
Edited: 6 Mar 2012, 9:13 p.m. after one or more responses were posted