Re: Why is the HP 42s so expensive? Message #8 Posted by Mike Morrow on 17 July 2007, 2:32 p.m., in response to message #1 by Seth Morabito
I'm in the camp that considers the HP42S to be the best RPN calculator yet made. I bought my first HP (HP67) in 1976, and I've collected some 30odd other HP calculators in the interim, so I've used many HPs in the past 30 years. My 24year old HP41CX and 21year old HP15C don't come close to matching the functions contained in the HP42S, nor its speed (five times that of the HP41C or HP15C) and precision.
Unfortunately I didn't decide I wanted one until 1997, two years after the HP42S was discontinued. Even then the HP42S was almost as unobtainable as it is today. I was really lucky to find two new units in stock at the nearby University of Alabama at Huntsville bookstore for $114 each. They had been there unsold for four years, and had long dead batteries. You better believe I bought them immediately.
One of the best things about the HP42S is its fullspectrum support of complex number calculations. If a complex result is appropriate, it appears naturally. Try calculating the square root of 3, the arcsin of 1.5, the natural log of 5, etc. on most machines. The HP42S will return the appropriate complex domain answer.
The other thing I like is the ease of performing matrix operations.
These two categories of operations are far far easier on the HP42S, compared to the HP41C or HP15C. Complex number support of the HP32S, HP32SII, HP33S, and apparently the new HP35S is far inferior.
I have never found the 8Kbyte RAM of the HP42S to be limiting in any practical sense. My largest program is a fullblown fourthorder RungaKutta differential equation solver, about 330 steps. I still have plenty of RAM left with it and several other programs in residence.
Currently, the calculator I use most often is a HP49G+, whose capabilities far exceed the HP48GX and HP42S. But I much prefer programming in RPN on the HP42S, rather than the RPL of the HP49G+. I'd really like to have a HP50G type of machine that had a choice of programming models...either RPL or RPN.
Mike
