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WP34s 20b Repurposed
02-11-2015, 11:04 PM (This post was last modified: 02-20-2015 06:47 AM by MarkHaysHarris777.)
Post: #1
WP34s 20b Repurposed
Greetings, my 20b came in the mail today, so it is the first time I've actually had my hands on that baby/ repurposed it this afternoon including crystal and caps; woke up and runs well.

I thought I might give a contrast and comparison, since there has been some discussion about it, and since I was somewhat surprised by what I found myself. First, the machines are identical; same weight, same board(s), same keys, same bezel(s). From the back and from the side the 20b and the 30b cannot be differentiated. Both machines weigh in at +/- 111g. Both are the same size and shape (trapezoidal bezel) grey upper, glossy black lower (the back plates are identical)

The differences between the 20b and the 30b are noticeable, but not drastic. Both machines have a recessed LCD; however, the 30b has a mylar coating over its brushed metallic look which covers the LCD recess... in other words there is a 'space' of about 1.5 mm on the 30b between the mylar clear top coating over the LCD recess. On the 20b the recess is open. The 30b has a little more protection over the LCD. The 20b has the LCD exposed to touch, scratch, etc. The 30b has a brushed metallic top bezel, while the 20b has a glossy (classy) black finish... the HP emblem is more distinct (metal) on the 20b. The keyboard is the biggest difference between the 20b and the 30b. The keys on the 30b are classic rotate and click metallic dome HP style buttons (with beveled front edges as one might expect). The keys are also beveled on the 20b but ARE NOT rotate and click metallic dome (even though they look like it) but are modern plastic key tops over silicone bubble dome mat (confirmed through disassembly). The keys are NOT bad. If you are used to the keys of the 36x Pro, or the fx115es plus, then you'll be right at home with these keys... they are standard modern calculator key buttons (and they DO NOT fail, no missed key strokes, no double keys, no dead keys). For those of you expecting 'real' HP rotate and click keys, well, you'll be disappointed because they will feel mushy to you. Also, and this affects everyone, because the front edges of the 20b are also beveled (like the 30b) the tendency is to try to rocker them forward (which feels strange).

The LCD displays of the 20b and 30b are a slightly different type (perhaps different vendor). I have provided photos for reference:

[Image: 30b_lcd.jpg] [Image: 20b_lcd.jpg]

The 30b LCD is a softer grey tone, nice clarity, with good viewing angle; the 20b has a slight yellow|green tint, very distinct clarity (but only from one viewing angle). Looking into the 20b LCD directly is fuzzy (needs angle of 75-80 deg to normal). The 30b LCD is very clear from a wider viewing angle, and IMHO is the slightly better display. Having said that, the 20b display is not BAD; in fact, without a direct comparison side-by-side its very nice too.

The previous pic(s) was posted to show contrast with each display (angle) in its best light, for color and clarity.

The following pic is posted to show both units at the same angle; as noted, the clarity of the 30b is consistent at a range of viewing angles, while the 20b is clear only for one viewing angle +/-

[Image: 20b_30b_lcd.jpg]

In practice, the difference between the two displays is very minimal; really.

The second time of installing caps and crystal went three times faster; the flash-box worked on the first shot, and I have now three functioning units, counting the 30b I gave to my son. I'm probably going to be transitioning to the 20b since I don't have to fight the keyboard (my 30b key clickers miss too frequently for my liking). I bought the 20b used on ebay for $12, so I didn't get a case with it (not to worry, have a clam-shell case from an old disc unit that just fits)

CONCLUSION: Don't be afraid of the 20b, its really very nice (looks great, feels great, has a modern keyboard).


Cheers
marcus
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marcus
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02-12-2015, 06:21 AM
Post: #2
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
I have to agree with all. My '20b became a WP 34S about three years ago and gets serious use every day. It has yet to let me down. I have a '30b that I intended to use as a backup WP 34S but haven't had the need to do so since the '20b version is working so well. So the '30b is in my car's door pocket for use on the road.

Nice to have both available though! My hat is off to the tiny team of talented and hard working folks at HP who pushed both through into production, complete with the modify-ability that made the WP 34S possible.
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02-12-2015, 06:47 AM
Post: #3
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
Jim; HP's Sam Kim never took credit but was clearly proud of what his people (Cyrille et al) had done on the new 12c, 20b & 30b when he snuck/demoed the 12 to Dave and me before they came out. He had high hopes for them, one being a high quality smart keyboard for other manufacturers to buy and use. Think Surveying instrument faces and retail data collection. He didn't envision the 34s as far as I know, but how many of us did?
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02-13-2015, 08:03 AM
Post: #4
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-12-2015 06:47 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Jim; HP's Sam Kim never took credit but was clearly proud of what his people (Cyrille et al) had done on the new 12c, 20b & 30b when he snuck/demoed the 12 to Dave and me before they came out. He had high hopes for them, one being a high quality smart keyboard for other manufacturers to buy and use. Think Surveying instrument faces and retail data collection. He didn't envision the 34s as far as I know, but how many of us did?

I am wondering why HP does not offer an 'empty' Armed generic framework (with cables) for all kinds of purposes... wp34s just being one of them; I cannot believe this would not be a good business move. What if the unit could be 'ordered' with multiple skins? A group like the HHC could contract with HP for (x) number of 'custom' skins (no more stickers) which could then be loaded at a central site, or distributed and loaded at local site(s). I think the 43s is re-inventing the wheel, as it were. A very successful wheel exists, it just needs to be customized, then redistributed. Key tops can be 3D printed easily these days... customizing could occur on-line. Voila.

Anyway, pat on the back for Sam Kim! Thank you! whoohoo

Cheers,
marcus

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02-13-2015, 08:35 AM
Post: #5
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
The plastic on the front of the 30b was apparently insanely expensive, there was only one supplier and they knew it and charged accordingly.

When I queried some years ago, the minimum order for a custom front was 2,000 units and there is no way we could fund that many WP 34S's. I rather doubt that that many have been made/sold ever.


I'd love to have the WP 34S produced and sold commercially but I doubt it will ever happen.


- Pauli
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02-13-2015, 08:48 AM
Post: #6
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-13-2015 08:03 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  Key tops can be 3D printed easily these days [...]
Why hasn't it been done for the wp34s?
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02-13-2015, 03:58 PM
Post: #7
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-13-2015 08:48 AM)Thomas Radtke Wrote:  
(02-13-2015 08:03 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  Key tops can be 3D printed easily these days [...]
Why hasn't it been done for the wp34s?
a) cost
b) amount of work to replace them
c) Eric Rechlin's overlays are pretty robust
d) Key assignments may be changed by two methods and some people do
e) inertia
f) all of the above
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02-13-2015, 07:34 PM
Post: #8
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-13-2015 03:58 PM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  
(02-13-2015 08:48 AM)Thomas Radtke Wrote:  Why hasn't it been done for the wp34s?
a) cost
b) amount of work to replace them
c) Eric Rechlin's overlays are pretty robust
d) Key assignments may be changed by two methods and some people do
e) inertia
f) all of the above

I think what Thomas wanted to express is it's easy claiming that something's done easily while it's harder to make it really happen.
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02-13-2015, 10:57 PM
Post: #9
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-13-2015 08:48 AM)Thomas Radtke Wrote:  
(02-13-2015 08:03 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  Key tops can be 3D printed easily these days [...]
Why hasn't it been done for the wp34s?
3D printing technology still has problems with the finish of surfaces. I don't know if there are 3D printers available already which would be able to create a surface as smooth as one would expect it from key caps. It might be possible with some (chemical or temperature) post-processing, though...

Greetings,

Matthias


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02-14-2015, 06:03 AM
Post: #10
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-13-2015 10:57 PM)matthiaspaul Wrote:  
(02-13-2015 08:48 AM)Thomas Radtke Wrote:  Why hasn't it been done for the wp34s?
3D printing technology still has problems with the finish of surfaces. I don't know if there are 3D printers available already which would be able to create a surface as smooth as one would expect it from key caps. It might be possible with some (chemical or temperature) post-processing, though...

I first must admit that I haven't actually seen the results yet; however, micro 3D printing is promising, and should have the expected finish. Post processing | finishing may be required (details) and maybe the first units are vinyl labels, while the process is being refined. The point is that its doable ; just needs the effort.

marcus

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02-14-2015, 08:38 AM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2015 03:31 AM by Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.).)
Post: #11
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
<<<<<< NOTE: ACCOUNT BANNED FOR BEING A SECOND ACCOUNT OF WALTER>>>>>>

(02-14-2015 06:03 AM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  I first must admit that I haven't actually seen the results yet; however, micro 3D printing is promising, and should have the expected finish. Post processing | finishing may be required (details) and maybe the first units are vinyl labels, while the process is being refined. The point is that its doable ; just needs the effort.

So please do it.
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02-15-2015, 02:51 PM
Post: #12
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
can one "micro 3D print" onto an existing plastic surface? how about refinishing keytops back to blank with paint (applied through a mask), laser etching recessed writing, then micro 3D printing to fill in the recesses? this should produce a finish that is very similar to double-injection moulded keys.

the process would be impractical as a one-off, but possibly economic if someone were game to set up everything and do perhaps 100 calculators as a small production run.

btw, i'm advocating this just for the writing on the keytops. the writing on the escutcheon - which is subject to far less touching - is still (i believe) better handled with an adhesive label of some sort.

cheers,
rob :-)
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02-15-2015, 03:23 PM
Post: #13
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-15-2015 02:51 PM)robert rozee Wrote:  the writing on the escutcheon - which is subject to far less touching - is still (i believe) better handled with an adhesive label of some sort.
Even HP did that with the 30b. Collects some dust at the edges, so black on black would be much nicer.
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02-15-2015, 07:14 PM (This post was last modified: 02-15-2015 07:15 PM by MarkHaysHarris777.)
Post: #14
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-15-2015 02:51 PM)robert rozee Wrote:  can one "micro 3D print" onto an existing plastic surface? how about refinishing keytops back to blank with paint (applied through a mask), laser etching recessed writing, then micro 3D printing to fill in the recesses?
. . .

Yes. Painted keys can be resurfaced; and theoretically, the unit could than be micro 3D printed; very expensive at this point.

Think about it; the HP35s is not assembled from 'pre-made' keys. That is what made the double injection molded keys (and previous units of the past) so pricey. The HP35s is assembled from generic rotate and click keys and then the unit is painted (micro 3D printed, or some such).

(the keys might be painted in a jig, and then applied to the unit together under automation, either way)

Color(s) is an issue, adherence, wear, and feel are also considerations. By the way, I'm only theoretically advocating the possibility. I'm NOT politically advocating an agenda, nor am I suggesting a priority; just thinking out-loud at this point...

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marcus
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02-17-2015, 07:11 PM
Post: #15
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-13-2015 08:35 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  The plastic on the front of the 30b was apparently insanely expensive, there was only one supplier and they knew it and charged accordingly.

When I queried some years ago, the minimum order for a custom front was 2,000 units and there is no way we could fund that many WP 34S's. I rather doubt that that many have been made/sold ever.

I'd love to have the WP 34S produced and sold commercially but I doubt it will ever happen.

- Pauli

hi Pauli, I am wondering now how one might go about making a determination of how many WP34s units have been made|sold since 2011? We might start a poll on this forum to at least count the units from MoHPC membership... its the conundrum of open hardware | open software projects... they float around out there and because nobody is doing the marketing metrics only 'nobody' really knows for sure! :-}

People (geeks) on engineering campuses would buy this thing if it was marketed; geared for them precisely, and with a hip campaign, &c.

Has Eric ever reported any of his metrics?

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marcus
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02-17-2015, 07:24 PM
Post: #16
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
One was started :

http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-940.html

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02-17-2015, 08:35 PM
Post: #17
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-17-2015 07:11 PM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  I am wondering now how one might go about making a determination of how many WP34s units have been made|sold since 2011? We might start a poll on this forum to at least count the units from MoHPC membership... its the conundrum of open hardware | open software projects... they float around out there and because nobody is doing the marketing metrics only 'nobody' really knows for sure! :-}

People (geeks) on engineering campuses would buy this thing if it was marketed; geared for them precisely, and with a hip campaign, &c.

Has Eric ever reported any of his metrics?

Mark, I'd really appreciate if you took the time to search the archives before suggesting what has been done before. Marcus made such a poll some months ago.

d:-/
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02-17-2015, 10:29 PM (This post was last modified: 02-17-2015 10:30 PM by MarkHaysHarris777.)
Post: #18
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-17-2015 07:24 PM)Sanjeev Visvanatha Wrote:  One was started :

http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-940.html

This is excellent... I voted (I have three) if it makes a difference... I wonder if its possible to tie the survey to the top of the forum, so that its always up there and folks can vote (again) if they add to their collection.... also , new WP34s (real) users would remember to chime in as they come on board... it seems like the numbers on the survey (thus far) are very low. its a shame this thing isn't marketed commercially.

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marcus
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02-17-2015, 10:36 PM
Post: #19
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-17-2015 07:11 PM)MarkHaysHarris777 Wrote:  Has Eric ever reported any of his metrics?

I believe Eric once quoted the number of overlays made. That was a while back and more have been made since. Still, this is probably a decent estimate of the total.


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02-17-2015, 10:38 PM (This post was last modified: 02-17-2015 10:42 PM by MarkHaysHarris777.)
Post: #20
RE: WP34s 20b Repurposed
(02-17-2015 08:35 PM)walter b Wrote:  Mark, I'd really appreciate if you took the time to search the archives before suggesting what has been done before. Marcus made such a poll some months ago.

hi Walter, long time, I know what you're after here (RTFM and all the rest) but its just not gonna happen. That is the consequence of information overload. There is literally an exponential amount of information that I need to read, a larger amount I would like to read, and an even unsurmountable amount I'll NEVER read. (I don't think I'm any different, in this regard, than anyone else on this forum... or any other forum, for that matter).

On a related and interconnected matter, you and I differ on this one point as well... I value relationship(s) with people; and that requires dialogue. Yes, I could spend my entire life searching forums, databases, and blog spots ad infinitum--- and you know what, there is no relationship in that-! Its as important to talk to people, as it is to get the information. Also, in that way, we not only develop relationships (we become less prick-like) and we share the research load. If I know something off the top of my head I would rather give that to someone else (improve our relationship) and save them HOURS of research time READING.

I'm not as smart as you are, and I'm a slow reader... but I'm trying-!

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marcus
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