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HP Forum Archive 18

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HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #1 Posted by Tom Mathes on 3 Mar 2008, 11:01 a.m.

I finally got around to calling HP a few weeks ago about the problems I had with my 35S and it's keys. My unit had problems properly missing ENTER key, the 4 key, and less often some of the other number keys when they were pressed. I would always feel/hear a definitely click but the calc would't detect the keystroke. When I called about the problem, I was asked to send in the unit for 'evaluation'. I sent it to Beaverton, OR.

I got the replacement calc on Friday. The unit was sent from a warehouse in Los Angeles; total time it took from sending in the unit to getting a new one was about 3 weeks. The new unit was sealed like a regular retail package. If HP is indeed shipping new units without paper manuals then this unit is older stock. I got a unit with the manual in book form and the HP calculator story DVD.

This new unit doesn't have the same keyboard issues the old unit had (so far), but the gold Arrow key is definitely soft compared to any other key. It doesn't have the distinct 'click' feel/sound the others have.

I don't care what the HP people say about how much time they spent on engineering the keyboard; it doesn't show. The 33S is maligned but it's keyboard, while stiff, was consistent in feel and never gave me a lick of problem. Something got lost in translation between the design and the final product for the 35S keyboard.

BTW, if you have to call HP about the problem, do NOT bother calling the HP INVENT number. That will route your call to India, and if you have the experience I had it will make you laugh and growl at the same time. I got a rep, with a heavy Indian accent who said her name was "Jenny" (the laugh part). It took about 3-4 minutes to get it through her head that HP sells calculators and get the call transfered back to the US. If you have to call calc. support, call 1-800-443-1254, and selection option 3 and then 0. That will get you someone who is in HP calc support directly and will likely be a US based person.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #2 Posted by Sean Kelley on 3 Mar 2008, 7:51 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Tom Mathes

Hi all, when you call 1-800-HP-INVENT you get to Calculator support by saying technical support -> More Products -> Calculator -> Home, Home/Office or Business (All lead to the same place).

In the US there is only one calculator support team, located in Oregon, so no matter the number you call you will end up with the same support team. If you get routed outside the US then the system failed to correctly recognize your verbal cue and it passes you off to a team who then re-routes your call based on the product type.

You can also email the team through the webforms located at, You need to choose a calculator category (Financial, Scientific or Graphing) and then product before you can send the email.

If you have any specific comments, you can email me at

Thanks for reading.

Sean Kelley

Customer Experience Manager

HP Calculators

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #3 Posted by Tom Mathes on 4 Mar 2008, 11:15 a.m.,
in response to message #2 by Sean Kelley

Thanks Sean. I thought I hit that sequence but I still got routed to India. The woman there had to be convinced HP sold calcs.

I still stand by my assertion that something is amiss in the keyboard still in the 35S. That gold Arrow key is quite soft out of the box, and I thought it missed a "0" and decimal point yesterday. I won't swear to it yet though.

BTW, my original support contact was via e-mail I sent. The man who called me back on that e-mail said "our e-mail systems are down" which is why the phone call. I know several on this forum have had the exact issue more than once.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #4 Posted by bill platt on 4 Mar 2008, 7:17 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Tom Mathes

"but I still got routed to India"

LOL all roads lead to Calcutta, not Rome!

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #5 Posted by BRIAN HEALY on 5 Mar 2008, 1:20 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Tom Mathes

I just got off the phone with HP customer service regarding my HP 35s not registering the decimal key at random times. They told me it was probably a static discharge that built up, and this can happen around computers and machinery. Well, like most people in an office, I have a computer! I have never had another calc not register like this, not even the 33s.

The solution according to HP: take out the batteries and put a dime in each battery slot to totally discharge the calculator. If that doesn't work, I have to send it to them for evaluation, and if they agree that it needs replacement they'll send me a new one. The problem is that sometimes it will operate fine for a while, and sometimes it won't. Also, I have a large number of stored programs and equations that I will loose. I didn't spend $55 for this kind of cr@p! I did really like the 35s, but it is too unreliable. They just don't seem to be able to do a good calculator anymore. I am completely disgusted.

HP, you've blown it.

If HP ever make a successor to the 35s, and IF I decide to risk my money on it, I will certainly wait along time before buying it.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #6 Posted by Tom Mathes on 5 Mar 2008, 4:46 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by BRIAN HEALY

Wow Brian, it must be a script. I got the same "fix" at first, then to send in the calc on my second call for "evaluation". I knew the static charge thing was BS as this issue had been going on for months. This isn't some multi kilovolt device for crying out loud. Yeah it could have a charge pump that runs at higher than 6V to run the display, but static charge is not an issue with my 48G nor my 33S. I still did the battery removal thing to rule it out. As expected, it was a waste of time.

So, I played their silly game and then sent it back. The 'evaluation' took 3 weeks, as my replacement took that long. This new calc has a soft 'gold' arrow shift key but it works. So far.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #7 Posted by brian healy on 5 Mar 2008, 9:13 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Tom Mathes

I also had to send an HP33s back because one of the keys became loose, I think it was the decimal key. Rather than making me send it in, they just sent me a new one.

Tom, I wish you luck with your replacement calc, but I would be worried about the soft shift key.

Why can't they get something as basic as the keyboard right? I read an article where someone at HP said words to the effect that the keyboard was over-engineered. I don't know if this is a design flaw or a manufacturing flaw, but something is clearly not right.

Another bad thing is that the 35s and the 33s are the only HP calcs allowed by NCEES. I have my PE, but am considering getting my SE license which means taking another test. Using sommething that is not RPN is not an option for me, but being limited to only the 33s or the 35s would certainly add to the anxiety.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #8 Posted by Tom Mathes on 5 Mar 2008, 9:38 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by brian healy

I am keeping an eye on that key (and all others) and will call before the warranty is up if it gives problems. Maybe by then if enough of us return the calc they'll fix the issues.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #9 Posted by Brad Davis on 16 Mar 2008, 12:30 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Tom Mathes

Wow, bad news. My 35s missed a few keystrokes early on and it's gotten much worse as I've used it over the last 5 months. As of yesterday, I switched back to my 48G which hasn't had the first problem, ever, in well over 10 years.

Like most in this thread, I am totally disgusted at this problem. It's such a shame because the calculator seems about perfect to me in every other way. At this point, mine probably misses a keystroke in every other equation I type, which is completely unacceptable.

I'd say new HPs will be extinct soon unless they make a complete turnaround. 49g, 33s, now 35s -- 3 loser calculators in a row. Not good. I'd throw the 50g in there also, but just because the keys are so stiff that my fingers literally hurt if I use it much. Why are these simple issues so darn hard to get right?!? Make any big graphing calculator work about like the 48G except enhanced. Make any scientific calculator work about like the 32 or 42 except *maybe* enhanced. Same hardware--they were perfect, so why use something different now and risk causing problems?

Edited: 16 Mar 2008, 12:34 a.m.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #10 Posted by Thomas Radtke on 16 Mar 2008, 4:52 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Brad Davis

Even when Pioneers were still in production, there was a significant degradation in key haptics when production moved from Malaysia to Indonesia. Earlier, metal domes were replaced with plastic domes in the 18C, causing failures unseen before. The choice of cheaper materials, less careful production and testing made HP calculators lost their advantage over calculators made by competitors over the time.

What's left except RPN? Still, no non-graphing TI or Casio even comes close to the versatility of the 35s, but its bugs are liquid menure in the winecask, to stress Schopenhauer. The keyboard still has an excellent tactile feedback, but again, it is not reliable for some users.

As long as HP don't recognize the niche market of engineers and focus on the mass market instead, the situation won't change. My opinion: An HP calculator should not earn money, but should be designed to earn credits. HP brought the electronic slide rule to the market with the legendary 35. No one except hardcore HP fans will remember in a couple of years. And the 35s isn't able to change that.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #11 Posted by Brian Healy on 16 Mar 2008, 9:34 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Brad Davis

Brad, if you contact HP please let us know what they tell you. I tried putting coins in the batter slots per their suggestion, and I have noticed improvement. Unfortunately all of my programs were deleted, and I've only restored one program and one equation.

I too wonder why it is seemingly so hard for them to get a reliable keyboard. They probably have the lowest bidder manufacturing these calcs for HP, and you get what you pay for. Once the manufacturing of HP's left Singapore it seems like it's been all down hill form them.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #12 Posted by Tom Mathes on 17 Mar 2008, 9:32 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by Brian Healy

Brian, I can tell you what they told me. The customer service rep said they'd not had any complaints about the keyboards. I got my replacement unit at the end of last month, and now it seems the new calc has occasional problems registering the decimal key. I'm not sure if it's me or the calc but I'm keeping a eye on it. No other keystrokes seem to go missing (so far).

The new unit had no real paperwork inside it except a shipping form saying it was a warranty replacement. If new 35S's are shipping with a CD-ROM manual and no paper manual, then the replacement was likely old stock. What I got was a sealed unit with the manual in books form.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #13 Posted by Paul Brogger on 17 Mar 2008, 5:31 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Tom Mathes


Both of mine work fine -- even my home unit with its many-hundreds-of-lines Sudoku solver.

Too bad more of us haven't had my experience -- I love it.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #14 Posted by Tom Mathes on 18 Mar 2008, 9:41 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Paul Brogger

Paul, when did you purchase yours, and from whom? I bought mine in November and it was from I wonder if when you purchased your unit makes a difference as to the keyboard? Maybe earlier models like mine had a problem and has since been corrected?

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #15 Posted by Paul Brogger on 18 Mar 2008, 10:39 a.m.,
in response to message #14 by Tom Mathes

Bought bright & early -- first immediately upon 35s' availability, from H-P; second a few months later (IIRC) from Wal-Mart online.

Re: HP 35S replaced (keyboard problems)
Message #16 Posted by Tom Mathes on 18 Mar 2008, 11:05 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by Paul Brogger

Okay, there goes that idea. I still like the calc, definitely more than the 33S I own. The 33S isn't a bad machine, it's the keyboard layout and aluminum keyboard face that's the problem. It's poor ergonomic design. HP got it right with the 35S on those fronts.

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