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The story of a globe trotting HP-15C

Posted by Ala'a H. Jawad on 1 Apr 2002, 7:45 a.m.

Awhile back in 1988 at Monmouth College (now M. University) - New Jersey, I was in my Physical Electronics class when our professor commented on how power efficient modern electronics were. As an example, he mentioned that his HP-15C, which he had purchased some 5 years earlier - still runs on its original batteries. To that I jokingly commented that my HP-15C - purchased in 1985 – had at least 2 years to go before I need to change the batteries. Even then at that time, the 15C was not my main calculator (that would be the HP-28C), it has been relegated to an early retirement as a “desk” assistant. Flash forward to 2002. My HP-28C is still with me; it’s my “desk” calculator at work. I also have a HP-28S that I used years ago to crack the length of the Synodic Month (a story for another day), and more HPs all over. I still use the HP-15C, although now I have changed its status to my “travel” calculator, and so I don’t use it frequently now. I’m an eclipse hunter and for determining solar contact timings I use customized graphs and tables that I’d calculate before traveling to my destination, and along with a GPS receiver to determine the exact log/lat of the location I’d calculate contact timings and totality duration on my 15C. The calculator, GPS receiver and notes take a lot less space in my gear bag than a PowerBook, space that is saved for filters, observing and photo equipment.

Oh, I forgot to mention. My 17-yr old HP-15C still runs on its original batteries!


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