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HP 41CV, first impressions
12-07-2017, 06:12 AM
Post: #1
HP 41CV, first impressions
Hi everyone! Thanks for all the help here. As you know I just bought my fourth HP calculator: the HP 41CV, and I have been playing with it for a couple of days.

This is now my oldest calculator, and so it is inevitable that it will seem a bit "primitive" compared to some of the newer models. I was actually looking for an old "retro" calculator so I only have myself to blame Big Grin. It is noticeably slower than HP 42S. This is not surprising of course. Some manual operations are also slow: using functions without assigned keys can be a bit slower than the HP 42S menus for instance (but much of the functions of the 42S built on the success of 41c, so there's that).

Having said that I really really like it! When it arrived I was surprised that I had not quite understood what it looks like from the pictures. It looks better "in person". Its chubby shape (without being very wide) actually sits very nicely in my hand. The buttons feel great to use. One more thing that I did not expect: holding it next to my HP 42S shows that it has a much brighter screen. It is one of the clearest screens I have seen on a calculator. I wonder why many later LCD screens are darker?

I also love the ability to switch back and forth between a User (assigned) keyboard and the normal one. The inclusion of a full alphabet on the keys is nice; typing in Alpha mode is faster than on the 42S.

Finally, I am waiting for my first module to plug into this thing (Stat Pac). That will be an interesting new experience too. Maybe I will start searching for a card reader next? I guess this modularity is what makes it really shine.

Thanks for all the feedback folks, looks like I have something interesting to play around with in this machine!
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12-07-2017, 06:15 AM
Post: #2
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
I am not a shrink but I sense an addiction taking control of you :-)
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12-07-2017, 06:22 AM
Post: #3
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 06:15 AM)AlexFekken Wrote:  I am not a shrink but I sense an addiction taking control of you :-)

My wife is already rolling her eyes Smile The good news is that I don't go overboard with these things. (I also have a small camera collection, but I am happy to keep it small).
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12-07-2017, 06:27 AM
Post: #4
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
Glad you liked it!

Now you are free to explore the connectivity at the top end. Have fun!

Screens vary a bit, there are at least three visibly different ones. I suspect you got a 1982-1984 model?

Håkan
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12-07-2017, 08:01 AM (This post was last modified: 12-07-2017 08:02 AM by Garth Wilson.)
Post: #5
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
The contrast of LCDs is much better on the ones with few segments or pixels, apparently because they can be fed with a much higher duty cycle. Notice also that there's no need for a viewing-angle adjustment on the 41.

The 41 might seem primitive compared to newer calcs; but the newer ones did not have the interfaceability that the 41 had with HPIL. In my early years with it, I used it to control automated test set-ups on the workbench (partly because it was much easier to program than PCs), interfacing to an HP3457A DMM, an HP8116A function generator, a Wavetek signal generator, a Cytek relay box with 128 relays, a Thinkjet printer, and a couple of other instruments connected indirectly, through the above. That's something you cannot do with a 42 and most others. The instrumentation was connected through the HP82169A HPIL-to-IEEE488 interface converter which was essentially transparent; ie, it made the IEEE-488 instruments look like they were on the loop. I also have the HP82165A HPIL-to-parallel interface converter, the FSI164A (like the HP82164A but with two channels) HPIL-to-RS232 interface converter, and the HP92198 80-column video adapter for it.

[Image: hp3457.jpg]

[Image: 8116A.jpg]

   

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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12-07-2017, 09:32 AM (This post was last modified: 11-23-2018 03:04 PM by Didier Lachieze.)
Post: #6
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 06:12 AM)Trond Wrote:  Having said that I really really like it! When it arrived I was surprised that I had not quite understood what it looks like from the pictures. It looks better "in person". Its chubby shape (without being very wide) actually sits very nicely in my hand. The buttons feel great to use.

The HP 41 is a great calculator. You may be interested by the following article published in HP Digest in September 1980:

[Image: mini_181123040450513811.jpg]
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12-07-2017, 12:03 PM
Post: #7
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 09:32 AM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 06:12 AM)Trond Wrote:  Having said that I really really like it! When it arrived I was surprised that I had not quite understood what it looks like from the pictures. It looks better "in person". Its chubby shape (without being very wide) actually sits very nicely in my hand. The buttons feel great to use.

The HP 41 is a great calculator. You may be interested by the following article published in HP Digest in September 1980:

[Image: 278787HPDigest767.jpg]

Thanks Didier, wasn't aware of this article.

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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12-07-2017, 02:29 PM
Post: #8
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 12:03 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Thanks Didier, wasn't aware of this article.

1 +

Yes, thanks very much Didier, you have an endless supply of interesting articles! I have this issue (got it back in 1980!) but don't recall this article at all. Could be that back then I was more focused on using my new '41 than how it came to be, but in any case it's nice that HP captured such stories when it was all fresh.

--Bob Prosperi
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12-07-2017, 02:30 PM (This post was last modified: 12-07-2017 02:34 PM by Thomas Okken.)
Post: #9
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 12:03 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 09:32 AM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  The HP 41 is a great calculator. You may be interested by the following article published in HP Digest in September 1980:

[Image: 278787HPDigest767.jpg]

Thanks Didier, wasn't aware of this article.

Interesting indeed! And I was particularly surprised at this:

Quote:To handle additional calculating functions, the revised HP-41C became a fraction wider and a couple of inches longer than originally planned.

(Emphasis mine.)
"A couple of inches" longer? What exactly was the original plan for the 41C?
*consumed by curiosity now*

Update: Oh wait, that makes more sense if you take it to refer to the size of the calculator including the card reader. Never mind. :-)
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12-07-2017, 03:43 PM
Post: #10
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 08:01 AM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  [...] HP3457A DMM, an HP8116A function generator [...]

Nice gear, Garth! My compliments.
I got a used HP 3468A Multimeter some years ago. It connects an HP41 via HP-IL so it doesn't need more interfacing than just this.

(12-07-2017 06:12 AM)Trond Wrote:  [...]
Finally, I am waiting for my first module to plug into this thing (Stat Pac). That will be an interesting new experience too. Maybe I will start searching for a card reader next? I guess this modularity is what makes it really shine.
[...]

Welcome to the world of HP41 modularity!
As original modules are rare but practically all ROMs are more or less easily available, a neat gadget to encase them and make them accessible to your HP41 are Diego Diaz' Clonix and NOV-Ram modules. However, I don't know if he is still active.
A module of its own to consider is the HP-IL (HP 82160A). It grants access to other peripherals, such as the HP 82162A Printer or the HP 82161A Cassette Drive. You may use the HP-IL to connect your HP41 to a computer via serial/USB link if you are interested in more recent uses of the device. Check J-F Garniers site (PIL-Box).
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12-07-2017, 05:11 PM
Post: #11
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 09:32 AM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  The HP 41 is a great calculator. You may be interested by the following article published in HP Digest in September 1980:

[Image: 278787HPDigest767.jpg]

Thanks for sharing! It was new to me. Note that the top row keys are different on one of the prototypes.

I wonder if the molds still exists... Maybe they could send to a model maker, "Make your own calculator model in scale 1:1 and go wild on its colors and layout, store treasures in its drawers", and we would have an endless supply of spare parts..

Håkan
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12-07-2017, 07:54 PM
Post: #12
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 03:43 PM)Frido Bohn Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 08:01 AM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  [...] HP3457A DMM, an HP8116A function generator [...]

Nice gear, Garth! My compliments.
I got a used HP 3468A Multimeter some years ago. It connects an HP41 via HP-IL so it doesn't need more interfacing than just this.

Thanks. HPIL was wonderful; but there was not much actual instrumentation available for it, whereas with the HPIL-to-IEEE488 interface converter, now there are hundreds, possibly thousands of different models of instruments you can connect. The hard-bound HP catalog used to come every year, 1.5 inches thick, full of such instrumentation. And HP (now Keysight) definitely isn't the only one. There are lots of other companies with such products too.

Quote:
(12-07-2017 06:12 AM)Trond Wrote:  [...]
Finally, I am waiting for my first module to plug into this thing (Stat Pac). That will be an interesting new experience too. Maybe I will start searching for a card reader next? I guess this modularity is what makes it really shine.
[...]

Welcome to the world of HP41 modularity!
As original modules are rare but practically all ROMs are more or less easily available, a neat gadget to encase them and make them accessible to your HP41 are Diego Diaz' Clonix and NOV-Ram modules. However, I don't know if he is still active.

Sure, he is. I just ordered a Clonix-D from him.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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12-07-2017, 10:38 PM (This post was last modified: 12-07-2017 10:41 PM by Didier Lachieze.)
Post: #13
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 05:11 PM)hth Wrote:  Thanks for sharing! It was new to me. Note that the top row keys are different on one of the prototypes.

Did you notice also the f key, the different sizes of the display and the HP-01?

It's great to get such insight on the HP-41C design process. There are other hidden treasures in the documents archives, such as the article on the HP calculators microcode development.
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12-08-2017, 03:05 AM
Post: #14
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 10:38 PM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 05:11 PM)hth Wrote:  Thanks for sharing! It was new to me. Note that the top row keys are different on one of the prototypes.

Did you notice also the f key, the different sizes of the display and the HP-01?

It's great to get such insight on the HP-41C design process. There are other hidden treasures in the documents archives, such as the article on the HP calculators microcode development.

Yes, I saw the f key, forgot to mention that. I did not notice the display size or the HP-01 though.

Is the microcode article the one in the 1980 HP journal (August?), or something else?

So they made the prototype out of polystyrene, I could see the liquid cement, looked a bit like when you scratch build houses for model railways, LOL!

Håkan
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12-08-2017, 04:59 AM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2017 05:03 AM by Didier Lachieze.)
Post: #15
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-08-2017 03:05 AM)hth Wrote:  Is the microcode article the one in the 1980 HP journal (August?), or something else?

It's the one in HP Digest Volume 3 from August 1977. In this article you can see an HP 19C connected to an external EPROM box. I'm amazed that such technical details were published in a product catalog and buyer's guide.
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12-13-2017, 07:29 PM
Post: #16
RE: HP 41CV, first impressions
(12-07-2017 07:54 PM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  
(12-07-2017 03:43 PM)Frido Bohn Wrote:  Nice gear, Garth! My compliments.
I got a used HP 3468A Multimeter some years ago. It connects an HP41 via HP-IL so it doesn't need more interfacing than just this.

Thanks. HPIL was wonderful; but there was not much actual instrumentation available for it, whereas with the HPIL-to-IEEE488 interface converter, now there are hundreds, possibly thousands of different models of instruments you can connect. The hard-bound HP catalog used to come every year, 1.5 inches thick, full of such instrumentation. And HP (now Keysight) definitely isn't the only one. There are lots of other companies with such products too.

Quote:Welcome to the world of HP41 modularity!
As original modules are rare but practically all ROMs are more or less easily available, a neat gadget to encase them and make them accessible to your HP41 are Diego Diaz' Clonix and NOV-Ram modules. However, I don't know if he is still active.

Sure, he is. I just ordered a Clonix-D from him.

Wow! Garth. It's been 30 years plus since I even thought about that wonderful, annual, HP catalog. It was a good read every year.

.....Art
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