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Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
02-14-2014, 01:17 AM
Post: #1
Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Casio advertises that their calculators have plastic keys (see pic below). This throws up the question whether there are any calculators which *don't* have plastic keys. Maybe some NASA custom made space calculators with heat and UV resistant ceramic keys? Or heavy duty construction calculators with metal keys?

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02-14-2014, 05:07 AM
Post: #2
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Well, plastic keys are much better than rubber keys like the HP49G had.
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02-14-2014, 07:32 AM
Post: #3
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
HP used to put emphasis on the plastic keytops of the 33S in their ads (after the 49G desaster).
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02-14-2014, 08:05 AM
Post: #4
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
If you look closely at many of the very cheap calculators sold in local discount shops, many still have rubber 'keys'. In fact what appear to be keys are just protrusions from a rubber sheet. I once took apart such a keyboard (after it had failed) and found it was partly made of cardboard. Of course, to sell a scientific calculator for GBP1 (which I had paid for that one) a lot of corners have to be cut.
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02-14-2014, 08:26 AM (This post was last modified: 02-14-2014 11:27 AM by HP67.)
Post: #5
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
That's funny. I came across the statement looking at the page for the 991ES Plus and had the same reaction as Stefan. But even more I was wondering have things gotten SO bad since I last looked at a new calculator than now even plastic is considered a prime key material? What are they making the new ones out of, recycled newspaper!?

Anybody have a 115/991ES Plus? I've seen some good reviews and they're cheap. If they were programmable I'd probably go ahead and grab one.
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02-14-2014, 08:30 AM
Post: #6
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Plastic keys are also well suited for foot use (don't you see a foot icon in the bottom right?). Smile

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02-14-2014, 12:21 PM
Post: #7
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Plastic is fantastic
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02-14-2014, 12:37 PM
Post: #8
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
@HP67
I recently got a fx-991ES Plus because all but one of my calcs are not allowed on my next exams. (The one I have which would be allowed is the fx-991MS, but this doesn't have the "natural display" which I don't want to miss after getting used to it).
I'd say the 991ES Plus is an okay calculator. It feels cheaper and not so robust compared to the earlier casios like the fx-991MS.
The worst thing about the 991ES Plus is that if you enter big formulas, the input becomes so sluggish that it misses key presses. So better don't type too fast ;-). Although I read somewhere that the *Plus* version of the 991ES should have fixed this "sluggish entry" bug, I think it's as bad as it was for the 991ES (without plus).
Also it looks like that Casio has removed the possibility to define Variables with the "=" sign as an alternative to "STO". This was possible in the 991MS and combined with the multi-statement operator ":" allowed tricks like described here, which comes pretty close to programming: http://nayuki.eigenstate.org/page/casio-...and-tricks
Another thing I don't like is that it looses entry history everytime you shut down the calc (Variables are retained though).
And to enter constants you *need* to know the number of the constant, which is written on the slide-on case. If you loose the case you are lost :-P

If I would recommend you a calc which has a comparable feature set, I'd say look at the Sharp EL-W506 (*NOT* EL-506W). Most important to me: It doesn't have the sluggish entry problem.
Then you have 4 user definable key shortcuts and 4 variables in which you can store expressions (which is why it is not allowed on my exams, because it counts as programmable *facepalm*). Furthermore it has engineering prefixes (like "n" for nano, "k" for kilo and so on).
All constants and unit conversions are listed in the corresponding menu, so you don't have to look it up on the case like you have to on the casio.
The Matrix mode allows 4x4 matrices (casio has 3x3), which gives one essentially the possibility to solve 4th degree linear equation systems.
The Sharp remembers everything even after shutting down. And the Font is a little bit smaller (but good readable) so you can display more on the screen.
Sadly it lacks the feature of multiple-statements. So you cant do those nice tricks either.

Another calc which I own and which has some more features than the fx-991ES Plus is the fx-991DE Plus. It has all the disadvantages of the ES Plus, but provides additional function to calculate prime factors (up to 4000 or so), GCD, LCM, additional statistic functions.
The DE Plus was especially developed for the German market (according to casio), but I think there should be an international equivalent. The annoying thing about the localization is that the decimal seperator is a comma instead of a dot. I find this very irritating, although I am German and hence usually write a comma on paper. But I got so used to reading a dot on a calculator that i find it really disturbing.

I think the HP-300s+ is *exactly* the same as the fx-991DE Plus, it has exactly the same features (minus the localization). Only the keypad is a bit different. (Does anybody have more information about that whether it is a contract work from Casio for HP?). It is cheaper (15€) than the Casio (21€), looks nicer and more sturdy in my opinion (But since I don't own the HP I can only judge this from the photos).

@Everybody who mentioned rubber keys: Right, I totally forgot those. compared to rubber keys, plastic is really a quality attribute ^^
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02-14-2014, 01:09 PM
Post: #9
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-14-2014 12:37 PM)Stefan Wrote:  The annoying thing about the localization is that the decimal seperator is a comma instead of a dot.
[Image: g010.gif]
<rant>
Somewhere in the history of computers MS decided to place a comma on the german numpad and to localize Excel. Those were two really bad ideas. I'd say it's even worser than keeping imperial units and about as stupid as rubber keys.
</rant>
To say something on-topic:

Plastic rulez *raising hand with pointer and middle finger up*
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02-14-2014, 04:02 PM (This post was last modified: 02-14-2014 04:03 PM by Katie Wasserman.)
Post: #10
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-14-2014 01:17 AM)Stefan Wrote:  Casio advertises that their calculators have plastic keys (see pic below). This throws up the question whether there are any calculators which *don't* have plastic keys. Maybe some NASA custom made space calculators with heat and UV resistant ceramic keys? Or heavy duty construction calculators with metal keys?

I've got a lot of unusual calculators in my collection and the only ones that don't have plastic (or rubber) keys are the Royal Digital III and IV. They don't have "keys" per se, instead they use gold plated PCB pads and a metal-tip stylus for entry. More about them here.

In addition I think that the very special keys on the Calcupen are made out of aluminum.

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02-14-2014, 05:22 PM
Post: #11
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-14-2014 04:02 PM)Katie Wasserman Wrote:  In addition I think that the very special keys on the Calcupen are made out of aluminum.

I assume the HP-01's keys are metallic as well.

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Mark Hardman

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02-14-2014, 06:11 PM
Post: #12
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-14-2014 05:22 PM)Mark Hardman Wrote:  I assume the HP-01's keys are metallic as well.

Unfortunately not. They are somewhere between rubber and plastic (some kind of soft plastic) and wear quickly when anything other than the original tool is used for pressing them.
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02-15-2014, 02:01 PM
Post: #13
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Plastic is epic
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02-15-2014, 05:03 PM
Post: #14
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
That Calcupen is really neat. Could be the great-grandfather of the Livescribe pen.
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02-16-2014, 10:27 AM
Post: #15
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Thanks for the info on Casios etc., Stefan!
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02-20-2014, 06:10 PM (This post was last modified: 02-20-2014 06:21 PM by jebem.)
Post: #16
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-14-2014 12:37 PM)Stefan Wrote:  I think the HP-300s+ is *exactly* the same as the fx-991DE Plus, it has exactly the same features (minus the localization). Only the keypad is a bit different. (Does anybody have more information about that whether it is a contract work from Casio for HP?). It is cheaper (15€) than the Casio (21€), looks nicer and more sturdy in my opinion (But since I don't own the HP I can only judge this from the photos).

@Everybody who mentioned rubber keys: Right, I totally forgot those. compared to rubber keys, plastic is really a quality attribute ^^

I have one HP-300s+ in my collection.
- The case is made of resistant nice plastic Smile in nice piano black color except for the gray side ring, very compact and sturdy build;
- 4 x rubber feet, hiding the 4 case fixing screws;
- The keys are made in hard plastic, but there is no click when pressing them, we just feel the rubber membrane underneath being pressed.

After reading you post, i was curious to find some more information.
So I opened it (it was quite easy in fact) and I can confirm how good are the materials and build. No cracking plastics when separating the upper and lower sides.
So yes, there are good and bad plastics, and this one uses the good quality plastic.

There is no sign of CASIO signatures anywhere in the PCB.
I don't know if there are extra information on the other side of the PCB (besides the keyboard membrane and plastic keys) as the PCB is fixed to the upper case cover with plastic rivets and I didn't want to break them.

The CPU is covered with black resin (maybe plastic? Smile ).
The solar panel gave me a reading of 2.6 Volt under direct sunlight (with a professional digital multimeter).

The PCB itself is not very informative, but shows some prints:
Juniper EA-631
K800-000EA631-A2-0
The attached picture show the details.

A few sites like "hpcalc.org" reports that HP subcontract Kinpo Electronics since 2001 for their calculators:
http://www.hpcalc.org/goodbyeaco.php
Can someone comment on that?

Jose Mesquita
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02-21-2014, 02:47 PM
Post: #17
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Although the HP-300s+ is my calculator of choice for teaching Technical Mathematics, 300s+ = Fx-911+ eluded me due to the external layout and placement of keys/functions. However, I find the book Calculator Techniques by Tolentino for the Fx-911+ useful with the 300s+. Give me 3 Homers (doh-doh-doh) for overlooking the obvious?

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02-21-2014, 05:57 PM
Post: #18
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-20-2014 06:10 PM)jebem Wrote:  A few sites like "hpcalc.org" reports that HP subcontract Kinpo Electronics since 2001 for their calculators:
http://www.hpcalc.org/goodbyeaco.php
Can someone comment on that?
I can't, but something is strange here. From your link:

"Although ACO initially started out small (the 48G+), they went on to redesign several older HP calculator products to reduce production cost (the 12C and 17BII, among others). Their first big project was the 49G. Other notable releases were the 39/40 and the 30S."

The 30S? C'mon, this very much smells like a Casio.
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02-21-2014, 06:16 PM (This post was last modified: 02-21-2014 06:19 PM by Mark Hardman.)
Post: #19
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
(02-21-2014 05:57 PM)Thomas Radtke Wrote:  The 30S? C'mon, this very much smells like a Casio.


Craig Finseth's HPDATAbase entry for the 30S has compelling evidence that the calculator was manufactured by Kinpo and was definitely not a product of the ACO.

Mark Hardman

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02-21-2014, 07:44 PM
Post: #20
RE: Yes, calculators are made from plastic ^^
Thanks for the link, Mark.

BTW, I was under the impression Casio develops calculators themself, then I found this:

http://portexaminer.com/trade-data/kinpo...042672633/

There may be a clear public statement somewhere about the relationship between Casio and Kinpo, but I haven't found anything.
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