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I have had occasion/inspiration to get an HP-97 card reader operational again.

I used RTV on the card drive motor "clutch."
It was fairly easy to do, I hope it is an appropriate fix.
But that darn ribbon cable is falling to pieces!!!!

In honor of this success and to check out the read portion of the drive, I have made some videos of output from some old cards I have in my collection. You can view them at:

https://youtu.be/_jXGb-CR1Tg Living Words
https://youtu.be/JMuMz623ub4 HP Poem
https://youtu.be/0z8UiZz2Bm0 HP Commercial
https://youtu.be/3FN5eCvkoPM Coca Cola
https://youtu.be/libGuLCyikY HP Seasons Greetings 1976/77

And to check out the write portion of my drive, let me know if you would like copies of these cards. But it may take me a while, I haven't located my stack of blank cards recently.

There is probably something about these cards in the journals of the day (I have not looked for this), so I have no idea how they were made.

In my collection also, I have a lot of "Word Cards" which I think used to do something... but I can't make them do anything on the 97. Perhaps they were for 67 only? But that seems unlikely. I will try the 67 later anyway.

I also do not remember where I obtained these cards from, so if one of you sent them to me many years ago -- THANK YOU!
Gene, does this look familiar?
HP-67/97 Words/Phrases Magnetic Cards found
Message #1 Posted by Gene on 31 Jan 2002, 7:56 a.m.
Hi. These were all the rage back in 1976-1978. Using NNNs, PPC members were able to synthesize many crazy words and phrases that would show up on the calculator. They are described in the PPC Journal. Problem has always been that to create them required things like "phase I interrupt switches" unless someone had already done that and recorded them to magnetic card. WARNING, however, never never print any of these if they are displayed on an HP-97, unless you never want to print again.

Well, I was going through my big stack of HP-67 cards I got from an estate sale and noticed I have about 8-10 cards with goodies like this on them.

I have: 6 cards of words and phrases, 1 card with an HP Poem about the retirement of the HP-35/45/55/65, 2 cards that are a running "commercial" for the HP-67/97 in the display, and 2 cards for keyboard generated words/phrases

I'd like to make these available to the community, but really don't want to be copying cards for months. :-)

I'd like to ask for 5 volunteers who would be willing to make copies (after I send them copies) when people request them. So, if you want to be a HP-67/97 card copier and want copies of these cards, email me. I will ask for 10 blank cards on which I will record these goodies and mail them back to you. Include enough postage to get them back (can't be more than a normal US stamp).

I'd also like to see if there's a way we can continue to let people here at the museum know about these...they are really cool.

And, finally, does anyone else here have a collection of some of these?


New location of my "HPGENE" webpage...

In fact, is that My handwriting on the cards? :-)

Thanks for the videos... these are great.
Gene, thanks for distributing out those cards way back then!

Now I remember a little bit about how I got them, thanks again!

There are my checking-cards for if my card reading function works, they are fun to use.

Do you know if the "Word Cards" do their thing on the HP-97? I still can't get them to show anything.

If anybody would like copies, let me know... and then I can test out my card writing function. I don't have enough blank cards with me know to copy out any sets, but I have a large quantity of them at home somewhere.

May 2018 be a good year, all year!
Hi DanM,

This is now a few years after your post and you've probably moved on to other things, but ...

Word cards were all the rage in 1976-1978. I got my HP-67 in 1978 so I came in on the tail end. The leading edge was an article in 65 Notes V4N1 (Jan 1977) by Louis Cargill. He and someone named Gene were responsible for working out the program codes for the HP-67 and, during that process, they discovered you could get Non-Normalized Numbers (NNNs) like 0.00000002 x 10^0 (not a valid number in SCI notation) and these produced long delays in divides and strange effects in the display.

The more interesting NNNs had letters in them and Louis and Gene were able to determine that the letters for "Error" and "Crd" came from specific hexadecimal digits (a-f) in positions within registers. Their work is how we know that digits a-f display as "rCodE " (f gives a blank space).

Much of the work on HP-67 tricks stems from their work over what was probably a lot of very intense nights. We may even owe the alphanumeric display of the HP-41 to the fact that words became a thing as a result.

Perhaps when the HP-41 came out, the hoops we'd had to go through to get words on the '67 were forgotten. It is easy to forget as there was a lot to it. Newer initiates to HP calculators probably never even heard of words on a HP-67 - much less the process to get them.

To refresh older member's memories and explain for newer members:

The process for creating words involves getting hex digits (specifically a-f) in parts of the mantissa in a storage register. The HP-67 stores numbers internally in SCI notation. There are 14 digits stored for every number. The format is:
mantissa sign, 10 digit mantissa, exponent sign, 2 digit exponent. Sign is "0" for +ve or "9" for -ve. The values normally look like this:
05000000000000 = +5.0 x 10^+00 ie 5
01230000000002 = +1.23 x 10^+02 ie 123

This is why 0.00000002 x 10^+00 is a Non-Normalized Number. It is stored as: 00000000020000 when it should be stored as 02000000000992 (992 in the exponent sign and value means -8).

Words involve "numbers" like 0ec54f1dcff009. If you can get that into STOrage register 6, RCL 6 will produce "Easy Ida" (Eo54 1do) in the display. "4" on a HP-67 looks like a "Y" and the "o" looks like a small square. Seeing that as an "a" isn't a stretch.

How do you put stuff like that in a STOrage register?

The process was not very straight forward in 1977. Louis and Gene used a HP-65 and a HP-67 and wrote magnetic bits from one onto cards for the other.

Another approach they used involved turning the HP-67 off during a card write. That allowed them to put a DATA header (f W/DATA) on a PROGram card. You'd key in program steps, save them, overwrite the header, and then read the program steps back in as DATA. Data is (should be) always 0-9. Program steps are two hexadecimal digits so each step is two "digits". You get 00-FF instead of 00-09,10-19,20,...,99.

Another approach that came a little later, involved program step 992. If you got to program step 992, you're keying program steps into the wrong part of the calculator's internal memory. You're keying steps directly into the STOrage registers! The "phase I interrupt switches" that were mentioned in the post quoted by SlideRule enabled this approach. The special hardware wasn't strictly necessary. You could achieve the same result by: sliding the HP-67 power switch to the point where it just turned on, and then pressing the switch in slightly. This broke the circuit briefly and did the same thing as the special hardware. It does wear out the power switch though (eventually, and due to sparking rather than mechanical failure).

The easiest approach was to get a card after someone else had created them. Once they were in STOrage registers you could write them to mag cards and read them back - just like any other DATA.

Given that Gene of the Forum was tinkering with these in 1976 and that the original article on them was published in Jan 1977, one might draw a conclusion about the Gene mentioned in the article.

Modern Tricks (Cheating).

These days, with what we have available now, there is an even easier approach. It is in many ways cheating but it is very easy to do. All you need is an emulator that allows access to the calculator internals. My hp67u (http://www.sydneysmith.com/products/gss-...n/app.html) or Teenix's emulator (http://www.teenix.org/) both allow you to do this. With mine, you tap the calculator display to bring up a menu, tap Data and paste the following in to the input box:

00: '00000000200000
01: '05eedffffff009
02: '0badf2fffff009
03: '0900df90dff009
04: '0ff4e5f51af009
05: '09eac1dffff009
06: '0ec54f1dcff009
07: '0819fedffff009
08: '09c4fac11cf009
09: '0decafe11cf009
10: 0
11: 0
12: 0
13: 0
14: 0
15: 0
16: 0
17: 0
18: 0
19: 0
20: '01fc9aeefff009
21: '0d15c9aeeff009
22: '04e5f8055ff009
23: '0aec1fbcc1f009
24: 0
25: 0
You click "Back" to get to the HP-67 display and keyboard. As you do the values above get loaded into the STOrage registers. You can press RCL 1 to display "Seed", RCL 6 for "Easy Ida". The above contains all of the words from the original article, and the 0.00000002 x 10^+00.

With Tony's emulator the process is similar. Run CCE33.EXE with HP-67 selected, right-click, choose "For the inquisitive...", make sure the calculator is ON and that MEMORY Bank 0 is showing. Click on a register and key in 14 digits from the list above. Bank 0 registers 0-9 are STOrage registers 0-9. Bank 0 registers 10-14 are STOrage registers A-E. You then click RCL 0-9 or A-E to display the word you keyed in.

Other words can easily be created in my or Tony's emulators by keying in hex digits where you need them. In mine, just go back to the Data input box and change digits. Mine needs the leading single quote mark for it to copy what follows it directly into the STOrage registers.

There are other emulators that may allow you to use NNNs. To cover off some of the common ones ...

Bernhard's emulator (http://panamatik.de/html/hp-67.html) doesn't provide access to the calculator's internals and his card format doesn't mention a 14BCD override (like the '0955f67ffff009 trick I use). So that doesn't seem to support NNNs (yet?).

The Cuvee Software emulator doesn't match the original internals so it is unrealistic to expect it to support NNNs. Its strengths are numerous; but in other areas. (I still remember the times when I needed a 225th program step in a HP-67, and the effort required to prune that back to 224.) It has lots of enhancements so I can see why many forum users love it, but NNNs are probably not for it.

If you have them, the old nonpareil emulator and Jacques Laporte's java one probably do support NNNs.

The Videos.

What's in the videos uses an extra technique that shows numbers w/out a decimal point. However, with a decimal point, the "numbers" involved are:


Living Words

 67 118ror4///     067f118aca4009
 Error     ///     0eaacafffff004
  45170d d4///     0f45170dfd4001
 5r 52  8oo///     05af52ff8cc009
 67 15 Coo1///     067f15fbcc1009
   rEod4   ///     0ffaecd4fff006
   4E 1o5E ///     0ff4ef1c5ef008
   5EEd    ///     0ff5eedffff005
 r CodEd 10///     0afbcdedf10009
 C C0d 8o4 ///     0bfb0df8c4f008
 oo     0 0///     0ccfffff0f0009
 d13 8o5E16///     0d13f8c5e16009
 E 5Eo80ord///     0ef5ec80cad009
   Co1orodo///     0ffbc1cacdc009

HP Poem

  C1o551C5 .///    0fb1c551b5f009
 o1o5 o1o5 .///    0c1c5fc1c5f009
   o11 orE .///    0ffc11fcaef009
  d15CordEd.///    0fd15bcaded009
    9ood   .///    0fff9ccdfff009
  5o1d1Er5 .///    0f5c1d1ea5f009
 dEod Eor14.///    0decdfeca14009
 50 ro15E o.///    050fac15efc009
 91o55 8045.///    091c55f8045009
  ErE 4E   .///    0feaef4efff009
  o150 orE .///    0fc150fcaef009
  rECo11Ed .///    0faebc11edf009
  rE1Eo5Ed .///    0fae1ec5edf009
  . rEC4C1Ed or    0ffaeb4b1ed0ca (switches to SCI 9)
 08501E5CEd.///    008501e5bed009

HP Commercial
 o 67 or 97.///    0cf67fcaf97009
    15 o   .///    0fff15fcfff009
  9ood dEo1.///    0f9ccdfdec1009

Coca Cola
 C0Co C01o. ///    0b0bcfb01cf008

HP Seasons Greetings
 8E dEC 25 .///    08efdebf25f009
 o 91od do4.///    0cf91cdfdc4009
   o11 do4 .///    0ffc11fdc4f009
  o o o o o.///    0fcfcfcfcfc009
   8E 1977 .///    0ff8ef1977f009
  o 9ood   .///    0fcf9ccdfff009
   4Eor    .///    0ff4ecaffff009
  o11 4Eor .///    0fc11f4ecaf009
  90d 81E55.///    0f90df81e55009

Note: the HP-67 rounds what is displayed to the display precision (the DSP n setting). The rounding process will normalize, Non-Normalized Numbers so things like " Error. " ('0eaacafffff004) show in FIX 2 mode as as 51131.66. To avoid rounding, always put the dot at the right-most position (use 009 in the three exponent digits), or press DSP 9 before displaying a word with an embedded decimal point.

For the hp67u:


00: '067f118aca4009
01: '0eaacafffff009
02: '0f45170dfd4009
03: '05af52ff8cc009
04: '067f15fbcc1009
05: '0ffaecd4fff009
06: '0ff4ef1c5ef009
07: '0ff5eedffff009
08: '0afbcdedf10009
09: '0bfb0df8c4f009
10: 0
11: 0
12: 0
13: 0
14: 0
15: 0
16: 0
17: 0
18: 0
19: 0
20: '0ccfffff0f0009
21: '0d13f8c5e16009
22: '0ef5ec80cad009
23: '0ffbc1cacdc009
24: 0
25: 0

and so on ....

Don't forget the most important tip from that era: be really careful with NNNs on a HP-97. They mess up timings or produce unprintable characters that end up burning out the printer.
Great reminder, thank you Greg.
FYI to avoid confusion here...

I am the Gene who made copies of these words/phrases cards several years ago because they came with an HP 67 collection I acquired...

But sadly (for me) I did not see the light and become an HP fan until the advent of the HP-41C. I was a follower of the dark side until then. Don't worry... I repented!

But I am not the Gene in the PPC Journal back in the 1976-1978 timeframe referenced in this post.
Great reminder, thank you Gene.

(09-04-2019 06:56 PM)Gene Wrote: [ -> ]FYI to avoid confusion here...

I am the Gene who made copies of these words/phrases cards several years ago because they came with an HP 67 collection I acquired...

But sadly (for me) I did not see the light and become an HP fan until the advent of the HP-41C. I was a follower of the dark side until then. Don't worry... I repented!

But I am not the Gene in the PPC Journal back in the 1976-1978 timeframe referenced in this post.


In that V4N1 (January 1977) issue of PPC Journal, in Lou Cargile's article "HP-67 Internal Codes and Quasi-Alphanumerics", he mentioned Gene Hoffman (PPC member 859) as his cohort in the "missing codes" search. An earlier extensive article by the two of them appeared in V3N7 (Aug 1976) starting on page 3, with Richard Nelson's preface titled "What Are the Limits?", discussing internals of both the HP65 and 67. Those back issues are always a fun read.

Hi Gene,

Sorry for mistaking you and the article Gene. I did say "might draw a conclusion" - so I'm technically not on the hook for the mistake - but I did mistake the two of you. Thank you for your work copying the cards. It was amazing to see the videos of them running.

I'm assuming the program on the cards was just a RCL, g FRAC to put the mantissa into the right internal register (probably A) and then a long series of f LBL (i) instructions to show it.

I remember many arguments with friends that had calculators from the dark side. They had their points, there were some benefits to those infernal devices (the ability to repartition memory should have made NNNs on those things quite easy); but I'm glad you're using your powers for good.
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