Poll: Should I bother with this HP 34C?
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Should I bother? HP-34C in rough shape
05-13-2018, 01:37 AM
Post: #44
RE: Should I bother? HP-34C in rough shape
I was a bit ambivalent about voting on this, given I can see both sides of the equation. However, I voted "Yes".

So, first the list of pro's.
  • You'll have a classic LED calculator that was arguably the most powerful for its time aside from perhaps the HP-67.
    It wasn't totally superseded by the 41C, though that overtook it for sheer features available even if the features weren't entirely duplicated.
  • You'll have a sense of achievement. Not many people these days have the patience to work through
    repairing old calculators of that era and dealing with some of…the design issues of the era. Only you can
    decide for yourself whether it's worth it to you.
  • Batteries last longer these days, but see cons.
  • The calculator's fast enough for the job. People might disagree with me, but let's face it, you're not likely
    to be using it to solve for roots every time you pick up the calculator.
  • Almost all the functions of the calculator are exposed on the keypad. If you hunt hard enough, you'll
    eventually find what you want to hit, even if it's h-PI h-x!.
  • Oh yes! They implemented the gamma function! How cool is that?
  • Plenty of useful exploration can still be done with this calculator. I had fun trying to model an inverse
    to the Gamma function, only to find out decades later that such a function was undefined.

Now for my short list of cons:
  • It's an old LED-era calculator with the energy demands they had. Your batteries won't last anywhere
    near as long as they would do in a LCD calculator. Thankfully, rechargeable batteries will last longer than
    they used to merely by having far higher capacity.
  • Batteries might have to be "retro-fitted" or sourced with flat tops so they fit the battery holder.
  • Those batteries will probably have to be charged in an external charger, instead of relying on the slow
    trickle-charge of the original power pack.
  • Apparently, the battery hatch and the framework nearby have a weakness in design. Other forum posts
    have referred to this.
  • The LEDs aren't really very visible in bright lights. I struck this when I was using it in a supermarket on a regular basis.
  • It's definitely a far slower calculator with less memory capacity than later ones. That's only to be expected
    for its age. You have to balance register requirements against lines of code.
  • It's keystroke-programmable. Looking at listings (basically column-row pairs plus bits) can do your head
    in until you get used to the disconnect, especially if you're looking "through" indirect register references.
Conclusion: If I was going to have a Spice calculator, this would be it, though I'd go for one of the later
soldered models, not the earlier press-fit models.

(Post 218)

Regards, BrickViking
HP-50g |Casio fx-9750G+ |Casio fx-9750GII (SH4a)
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RE: Should I bother? HP-34C in rough shape - brickviking - 05-13-2018 01:37 AM

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