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My quest for the elusive HP 42S

Posted by Jeff Kearns on 18 Dec 2008, 10:24 p.m.

In 2003, an admin assistant in a company I worked for was handed a pristine 42s that was found in a men's washroom. She sent an email alerting staff of the find and asked the owner to come and retrieve it. No one did and I took first dibs on it if it was not claimed after several months. When it was clear that no one would claim the calculator I tried to get it but I was too late; she said her teenage son now had it even though he could not understand how to use it... I tried to persuade him (through her) to give it up for the latest and greatest TI but to no avail. What a waste! I had to settle for the excellent, but not at all the same, Free42 for my Palm Treo.

In 2008, I came across another user of a 42s who was willing to trade his excellent condition (but for one small blemish) machine including Owner's Manual for an RPN unit that could easily solve a 3x3 system of linear equations - which was all that he really needed it for nowadays. I offered him a brand new 35s in exchange and he accepted, knowing full well what the 42s was worth on online auction sites. He knew I was a user and would take good care of it so he let me have it. How lucky is that? Although I still consider myself a user rather than a collector, I have added it to the following modest collection: 21; 32E; 33E; 41C with QUAD mem, Advantage, Stat/Math, and Machine Design Pacs; 15C; 32sii; 33S; 35s; 48G; 49G+ with improved keyboard.

Although the display is rather poor compared to the 32sii and especially the 15C, I like the calculator a lot and am amazed at its 1988 era capabilities, despite the non-expandability. I now consider my collection complete - although that will likely change in due course. Now back to reading the Owner's Manual!

Flash forward 3 years... I acquired a spare 42s (along with 3 spares for the 15C) and have added a 35, 67, 34C, 12C, 19BII, 41CV with Nac Pac, Ext Fcns, Time module, 48SX, 48GX with TDS GOCO, and the new 15C LE to my collection.

Edited: 15 Dec 2011, 2:31 p.m.


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