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Hypothetical WP 35S
01-16-2016, 11:25 AM (This post was last modified: 01-16-2016 12:15 PM by walter b.)
Post: #1
Hypothetical WP 35S
Hi all,

Following some recent threads, we think just copying the WP 34S or 31S on another platform may be not worthwile. Instead, we look for a platform offering some progress. Scanning the market, there are only a few possibly repurposable pocket (!) calculators found in the target area. Looking for such calcs with a reasonable display further reduces the population. After all, a full dot matrix display is an almost inevitable requirement for any calc needing more than mere numeric output. And a big key at a location where we'd expect or at least accept an ENTER is another mandatory requirement. What we know of so far (sorted following their date of appearance on this forum):
  1. The HP-17bii Silver.
  2. The Reptiles (aka DIYx) which triggered the design of the 43S.
  3. SwissMicros' DMxxL relaunching the Voyagers.
There may be more products or projects in the target range but nothing we're aware of right now. All platforms mentioned have their pros and cons. The first would be only repurposable if its electronic would be removed completely (except the display), the second lacks availability beyond one or two prototypes and hasn't got a proper mechanical case yet, the third falls short in memory thus inevitably requiring an electronic upgrade. In the years that passed, the UI and SW specs for the 43S have reached quite some detail and stability. Although its opportunities promised remain unsurpassed, it's nothing more than that so far (reminds me of OpenRPN), so it may be wise moving the focus to an alternative.

Right now, it seems SM offers the highest odds for a 35S. If that would materialize, it could feature a single row of four softkeys and a longer alphanumeric display window, being a clear advantage over the 34S. Though both alphanumeric display and softkeys can't be shown simultaneously. Anyway, a 35S will run with two prefix keys (f and g) only. And it will not include more arcane math unless there are very (!) good reasons.

Questions to the forum members:
  1. Do you share our view of the situation?
  2. Which other target platforms do you know of?
  3. Which features did you miss on the WP 34S?
  4. What else is important and wasn't mentioned above?
Thanks in advance for your responses.

d:-)
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01-16-2016, 01:03 PM
Post: #2
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
Maybe we can add some modularity to the software concept. I'm thinking of the equivalent to the HP41 modules which almost seamlessly add new commands. This way, the "arcane" math functions or the "geeky" programming and I/O functions can be packaged as independent modules.

Marcus von Cube
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01-16-2016, 02:16 PM (This post was last modified: 01-16-2016 02:23 PM by jebem.)
Post: #3
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
Halo, Walter.
Danke for this new thread and project.

I believe SwissMicros have the right technology and know how to create a new fully customizable hardware calculator for DIY projects, sporting adequate specs (cpu, memory, keyboard, display, etc.).

In this way, there would be no need for sticky labels on the keys, and this alone would be a great improvement against the WP-34S.

The big question is if they are willing to do it and at what cost.
If this new hardware can be made as generalist as possible, I believe this can generate sufficient interest from SM to drive them to produce it and eventually supporting part of the costs.
Are you planing to call and propose a business plan to them?

I have contacted SM in the recent past concerning their new keyboard design and from their answer I understand that a customized keyboard would have a low cost per unit but requires a large batch to the produced in order to pay for the mold costs.

So, the big (7000USD) question is:
Are there enough people here interested in such a project to raise sufficient money to pay the keyboard relabeling and new PCA with a better processor?

Please note that the mold already exists, we do not need a new one.
We just need new printed labels on the keys, so our production costs would be significantly lower!

Your list of candidate buyers can have my name included.

Jose Mesquita
RadioMuseum.org member

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01-16-2016, 03:23 PM
Post: #4
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
I actually have a different idea. As i am an electronics developer, i would rather make a new calculator. This would allow us to customize each and everything. The electronics part is one big piece of work, which i could mostly solve after a big brainstorming. Making professional PCBs in china for cheap is easy, and affordable (i stopped self-etching my home projects, i usually order them in china - depending on the size, the cost 10-225 US per 10 pcs (!!). They usually arrive in less than 3 weeks here in germany. The same is what i did for my CASIO USB-Interface for the Casio Basic Calculators or the 2.25 MB Ram-Upgrade for my HP48G).

I actually would keep much of the 20b design, but allow e.G. an expansion port, for adding modules or reading in data and such.

But the housing is a different part, in which i do not have much knwoledge. We might just design a housing and upload it to shapeways...

Alternatively, how about transplanting a new (oled? nice readability, easy graphics, needs some current, or lcd - less current, but not as beautiful) display into a 30b or 20b? this would allow keeping much of the wp34s codebase. I would help rewriting the display driver. Still, 20b are not very nice, and 30b start to get infrequent or expensive.

I know, the DIY calcs are somewhat heavy work - but why shouldnt we tackle it?

maybe, if the project goes well, we might even kickstarter the project...
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01-16-2016, 03:24 PM (This post was last modified: 01-16-2016 06:29 PM by Luigi Vampa.)
Post: #5
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 11:25 AM)walter b Wrote:  Do you share our view of the situation?
100%
(01-16-2016 11:25 AM)walter b Wrote:  Which features did you miss on the WP 34S?
1st. Better alphanumeric display.
2nd. Softkeys.
3rd. USB.
4th. More memory.
5th. (&last) Graphical display... certainly a very nice-to-have feature, but not a must-have one in my personal case.
(01-16-2016 11:25 AM)walter b Wrote:  What else is important and wasn't mentioned above?
This forum's gifted minds (you, Paul, Marcus, and a plethora of collaborators) have shown (to this forum's mere readers, me included:) all of you are more than capable to provide what is needed to reach the point of production of a calculator that could make history, the WP43s. IMHO now the first priority would be trying to avoid the risk of spending countless messages and hours of effort to get an absolute fantastic WP35s... emulator :.! IMHO again, some lines in the forum from SM regarding any prospect interest would be the definitive trigger for the project.

Needless to say I would certainly buy one WP35s, but writing these words is free. The best way to show true commitment is giving some money in advance; as a rookie I keep on wondering whether an RPN Jedis' team, in joint effort with SM, could save us by launching a crowd-sourcing campaign to get enough funds.

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01-16-2016, 03:43 PM
Post: #6
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 01:03 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  Maybe we can add some modularity to the software concept. I'm thinking of the equivalent to the HP41 modules which almost seamlessly add new commands. This way, the "arcane" math functions or the "geeky" programming and I/O functions can be packaged as independent modules.

I have posted in other threads some enhancements I would like to be added to the wp34s. One of them, I think, is clearly related with this, that's the ability for the user to customize the platform in a more or less, no pain way (no SVN + full dev environment needed). This concept of modules, which I assume will be like XROM code packages (perhaps with the addition of user customizable menus), seems to fulfil such desire, so I definitely vote for it. Such wp34s+ will be more like a 41 in steroids than a 15C in steroids.

Regarding the platform, being the mechanical part the obvious bottleneck, the SM way seems to me much more feasible than the others. In fact, although the electronics may need a new design, such design seems simpler than a new mechanical design, so the SM way seems a winner move to me.

About the 7000$, apparently there are at least 300+ wp34s users worldwide (according to the number of v3.3 manuals sold), so I suppose such cost can be assumed. Problem is to get such money prior to manufacturing.

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01-16-2016, 05:25 PM
Post: #7
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
@damaltor: Since the HP-30b supply will decrease as you mentioned, did you consider using the HP-17bii Silver housing and LCD instead? It may become a suitable home of your homegrown electronics IMHO, and its display is far more versatile than the one of the HP-20b/30b. Production is still running AFAIK. So you won't need bothering with housing and LCD hardware in your first step. Some new keys would do. Just food for thought.

d:-)
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01-16-2016, 06:04 PM
Post: #8
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
That actually sounds like an idea. Will try to get one sooner or later, to disassemble.
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01-16-2016, 08:40 PM
Post: #9
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
You might know that already, though way (!) back some people disassembled it already and - even better - published pictures of it, e.g. here. Of course, nothing comes close to your own disassembly. Wink

d:-)
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01-16-2016, 08:52 PM
Post: #10
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
The 17bii images are gone :-(

Marcus von Cube
Wehrheim, Germany
http://www.mvcsys.de
http://wp34s.sf.net
http://mvcsys.de/doc/basic-compare.html
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01-16-2016, 09:59 PM
Post: #11
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
Well, one picture of the innards has survived there.

d:-)
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01-16-2016, 10:59 PM
Post: #12
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 09:59 PM)walter b Wrote:  Well, one picture of the innards has survived there.

d:-)

No, that's Lyuka's 35S photo.

Greetings,
    Massimo

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01-17-2016, 09:43 AM (This post was last modified: 01-17-2016 09:45 AM by EdS2.)
Post: #13
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 11:25 AM)walter b Wrote:  3. SwissMicros' DMxxL relaunching the Voyagers.
... falls short in memory thus inevitably requiring an electronic upgrade.
Just a thought: the DM-41L costs more than the other L models, likewise the smaller DM-41 costs more than the other small models. Do you know if the 41 models have exactly the same electronics, or might they have extra capacity?
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01-17-2016, 10:13 AM
Post: #14
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 10:59 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(01-16-2016 09:59 PM)walter b Wrote:  Well, one picture of the innards has survived there.

No, that's Lyuka's 35S photo.

Ooops, my fault, sorry!

d:-/
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01-18-2016, 03:18 AM
Post: #15
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
Crazy idea:

What about merging with newRPL project too?
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01-18-2016, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 01-18-2016 09:43 PM by Luigi Vampa.)
Post: #16
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-18-2016 03:18 AM)timofonic Wrote:  Crazy idea: What about merging with newRPL project too?
RPL has its own fan club.
An RPL-programmed scientific calculator always includes an RPN stack. Nevertheless, an RPN key-stroke-programmed scientifc calculator doesn't necessarily need to include RPL. I am not aware of any such model.
That being said, I must say I do enjoy RPL programing in my HP28s & HP48sx, but WP34s, and prospect WP35s project, seem to have a very strong base of 'pure-RPN' supporters.

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01-19-2016, 03:25 AM
Post: #17
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 11:25 AM)walter b Wrote:  Hi all,

Following some recent threads, we think just copying the WP 34S or 31S on another platform may be not worthwile. Instead, we look for a platform offering some progress. Scanning the market, there are only a few possibly repurposable pocket (!) calculators found in the target area. Looking for such calcs with a reasonable display further reduces the population. After all, a full dot matrix display is an almost inevitable requirement for any calc needing more than mere numeric output. And a big key at a location where we'd expect or at least accept an ENTER is another mandatory requirement. What we know of so far (sorted following their date of appearance on this forum):
  1. The HP-17bii Silver.
  2. The Reptiles (aka DIYx) which triggered the design of the 43S.
  3. SwissMicros' DMxxL relaunching the Voyagers.
There may be more products or projects in the target range but nothing we're aware of right now. All platforms mentioned have their pros and cons. The first would be only repurposable if its electronic would be removed completely (except the display), the second lacks availability beyond one or two prototypes and hasn't got a proper mechanical case yet, the third falls short in memory thus inevitably requiring an electronic upgrade. In the years that passed, the UI and SW specs for the 43S have reached quite some detail and stability. Although its opportunities promised remain unsurpassed, it's nothing more than that so far (reminds me of OpenRPN), so it may be wise moving the focus to an alternative.

Right now, it seems SM offers the highest odds for a 35S. If that would materialize, it could feature a single row of four softkeys and a longer alphanumeric display window, being a clear advantage over the 34S. Though both alphanumeric display and softkeys can't be shown simultaneously. Anyway, a 35S will run with two prefix keys (f and g) only. And it will not include more arcane math unless there are very (!) good reasons.

Questions to the forum members:
  1. Do you share our view of the situation?
  2. Which other target platforms do you know of?
  3. Which features did you miss on the WP 34S?
  4. What else is important and wasn't mentioned above?
Thanks in advance for your responses.

d:-)

  1. Completely
  2. Perhaps Casio may license the Classwiz design
    • Better alphanumeric display
    • Softkeys
    • Easy access to external connection port
    • Memory
    • Colored display segments/Graphical display (technically not missed but interesting to have since the WP 34s emulator has an emulated red LED display mode)
  3. The HP-17bii, silver or otherwise, if used as the machinery for a new true RPN scientific calculator has the problem that there is already a true RPN scientific calculator which uses (almost) this exact calculator as its machinery and it is well known and well respected in communities such as this forum in addition to itself being keystroke programmable. However, any variant of the HP-17bii has the advantage that it can show softkeys and alphanumeric display simultaneously and the full two-line display of that calculator fully advances over that of the WP 34s. Moreover, a DM-35L, if it is to be programmable, just makes no earthly sense to me as a one-line calculator because the programmable HP 35s has a two-line display. But the question there is: Will Swiss Micros ever produce a two-line calculator?
    Also, what exactly is the meaning of "more arcane math"?
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01-19-2016, 04:04 AM
Post: #18
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
(01-16-2016 11:25 AM)walter b Wrote:  And it will not include more arcane math unless there are very (!) good reasons.

Sad


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01-19-2016, 07:40 AM
Post: #19
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
Well, the SwissMicros have a graphical display - there shouldnt be any problem in making two lines on them. also, softkeys for the top row are realistic, at least for the buttons below the display.
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01-19-2016, 09:41 AM
Post: #20
RE: Hypothetical WP 35S
A picture tells a thousand words:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=3049]

d:-)


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