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Perfect calculator based on WP34S
05-26-2018, 02:53 PM
Post: #1
Perfect calculator based on WP34S
Hi All,

Only recently I have discovered the beauty of wp34s. I have been using HP 48G series for very long time and like them very much. I have also tried HP 35S. It is a nice calculator. But I was always been bothered by the fact that it has only 4 level stack. How do you guys keep track how many level of stacking are you using? Even though I like my WP34S very much, my handy work is not so good that I can't put all key prints nicely.

Anyway, I work in Dongguan city, close to Shenzhen. Most of the HP calculators are made by Kinpo electronics in Dongguan city. Since the
quality control in most current HP calculators are going down hill, I am
thinking to create high quality calculators with right keypads by designing
and ask Kinpo to manufactory for us. The circuit could be based on HP
30B with all goodies of WP35S such as crystal oscillators, USB, infrared etc. I hate the shape of the 20B and 30B, so the shape is something like HP 16S. Of course the calculator will be based on the firmware of WP34S. We might enhance both hardware (add more memory) or software capability (ask
wp34S team)

Do you think this proposal is doable?

Best regards,

Everett
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05-26-2018, 08:43 PM
Post: #2
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-26-2018 02:53 PM)everett Wrote:  Hi All,

Only recently I have discovered the beauty of wp34s. I have been using HP 48G series for very long time and like them very much. I have also tried HP 35S. It is a nice calculator. But I was always been bothered by the fact that it has only 4 level stack. How do you guys keep track how many level of stacking are you using? Even though I like my WP34S very much, my handy work is not so good that I can't put all key prints nicely.

Anyway, I work in Dongguan city, close to Shenzhen. Most of the HP calculators are made by Kinpo electronics in Dongguan city. Since the
quality control in most current HP calculators are going down hill, I am
thinking to create high quality calculators with right keypads by designing
and ask Kinpo to manufactory for us. The circuit could be based on HP
30B with all goodies of WP35S such as crystal oscillators, USB, infrared etc. I hate the shape of the 20B and 30B, so the shape is something like HP 16S. Of course the calculator will be based on the firmware of WP34S. We might enhance both hardware (add more memory) or software capability (ask
wp34S team)

Do you think this proposal is doable?

Best regards,

Everett

It's a nice idea, but some key questions first....

A. Do you think Kinpo would realistically agree to manufacture a total of at most a few hundred units?

I say that because the 34S follow-on project, the 43S, is already well into planning (some years now) based on using the same hardware as SwissMicros uses for their DM42, with a huge LCD, lots of memory, excellent keyboard, etc.

Changing gears to a somewhat improved case/kbd for the current 34S design seems to be less ambitious and so I would expect most current 34S users would lean more towards the planned 43S, since it offers more.

Which is not to say there isn't interest, I think an improved 34S would appeal to some folks (more memory and better LCD and keyboard would help a lot) but I'm not sure there are enough to justify a new, dedicated hardware design.

B. What would you guestimate the cost of this new machine to be, assuming some s/w is developed by the community (so no s/w cost)?

Keep in mind the 20b and 30b machines could be purchased for as little as $20-$50, which is one reason (IMHO) that many of them were sold/made.

Of course the overlays, USB and IR enhancements added to the basic cost, but I'd guess probably less than 100 of those (usb) were made, probably more IR.

C. What software team were you thinking of? The 43S is not making much progress (absolutely no criticism meant here) because the prior developers have lives and jobs now taking most of their time; I certainly can't speak for them, but it seems unlikely they'd consider 2 projects.

I'd say you should research the latest planning for the 43S, and after understanding that, it may (or may not) seem less feasible.

In any case, if you do proceed and ultimately make one, I'll almost certainly buy one, so please don't take this as all negative.

--Bob Prosperi
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05-27-2018, 03:47 AM
Post: #3
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
I wonder if a special run of DM42 calculators could be made with the WP-34S key legends. It has an extra row of keys, so I'm not sure what they'd be used for, but surely there must be a way to make the WP-34S software run on the DM42 hardware.

Once SwissMicros releases the source code, attempting a port of the 34S software should be possible.

Yes, you'd be paying a large premium for it, but perhaps there is a market.
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05-27-2018, 04:35 AM
Post: #4
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
What we need is a perfect hardware base to be manufactured with proper old fashioned QUALITY HP keys. I'm not a fan of the DM42 keys - too stiff and hard, and pressing them makes the calculator body tilt and bend. HP Prime keys are good, as are HP-35S keys - but let's go for the best of the best from the past, if possible. Which model had the perfect keyboard feel - the 41?

As for a screen - something like the big screen of the DM42 - or even the Prime colour touchscreen. Plus IO ports/wifi/bluetooth, internet enabled.

Make the unit programmable in some kind of open software platform that is super easy to program in a high level language, like Python, Javascript or Go. Then together with an overlay + key sticker system for different keyboard layouts, we can all create our own calculators. :-)
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05-27-2018, 10:44 AM
Post: #5
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-27-2018 04:35 AM)tcab Wrote:  I'm not a fan of the DM42 keys - too stiff and hard, and pressing them makes the calculator body tilt and bend.

You must have really strong fingers!

Greetings,
    Massimo

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05-27-2018, 11:54 AM
Post: #6
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-27-2018 10:44 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(05-27-2018 04:35 AM)tcab Wrote:  I'm not a fan of the DM42 keys - too stiff and hard, and pressing them makes the calculator body tilt and bend.

You must have really strong fingers!

But I have to agree, three Swiss Micros keys are too stiff. This is what prevents me from using the machines as I intended.
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05-27-2018, 12:04 PM
Post: #7
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-27-2018 11:54 AM)Harald Wrote:  
(05-27-2018 10:44 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  You must have really strong fingers!

But I have to agree, three Swiss Micros keys are too stiff. This is what prevents me from using the machines as I intended.

Mine are not, but to bend the calculator stainless steel body...

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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05-27-2018, 12:33 PM
Post: #8
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
Quote:... but to bend the calculator stainless steel body...
Yeah ok :-) perhaps a better description is that the DM42 tilts - I think its because of the placement of the rubber feet combined with the force needed to push the keys. The rubber feet need to be closer to the edge of the calculator and lower on the body.

I've addressed the problem on my DM42 by adding a strip of support along both edges using a thin layer of blue-tack covered in masking tape:
[Image: DM42_extra_support2.jpg?raw=1]
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05-27-2018, 03:01 PM
Post: #9
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-27-2018 12:04 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(05-27-2018 11:54 AM)Harald Wrote:  But I have to agree, three Swiss Micros keys are too stiff. This is what prevents me from using the machines as I intended.

Mine are not, but to bend the calculator stainless steel body...

"You're holding it wrong." - Apple

Tom L
...other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?
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05-27-2018, 06:35 PM
Post: #10
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-27-2018 03:01 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  
(05-27-2018 12:04 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Mine are not, but to bend the calculator stainless steel body...

"You're holding it wrong." - Apple

Excellent ;-)

HP48G, DM42, CASIO fx 180p, fx 7000GA.
YES, one can like both RPL & RPN calcs.
This hybrid guy does exist in this forum.
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06-03-2018, 11:47 PM
Post: #11
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(05-26-2018 08:43 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  _____________________________________________

It's a nice idea, but some key questions first....

A. Do you think Kinpo would realistically agree to manufacture a total of at most a few hundred units?

I say that because the 34S follow-on project, the 43S, is already well into planning (some years now) based on using the same hardware as SwissMicros uses for their DM42, with a huge LCD, lots of memory, excellent keyboard, etc.

Changing gears to a somewhat improved case/kbd for the current 34S design seems to be less ambitious and so I would expect most current 34S users would lean more towards the planned 43S, since it offers more.

Which is not to say there isn't interest, I think an improved 34S would appeal to some folks (more memory and better LCD and keyboard would help a lot) but I'm not sure there are enough to justify a new, dedicated hardware design.

B. What would you guestimate the cost of this new machine to be, assuming some s/w is developed by the community (so no s/w cost)?

Keep in mind the 20b and 30b machines could be purchased for as little as $20-$50, which is one reason (IMHO) that many of them were sold/made.

Of course the overlays, USB and IR enhancements added to the basic cost, but I'd guess probably less than 100 of those (usb) were made, probably more IR.

C. What software team were you thinking of? The 43S is not making much progress (absolutely no criticism meant here) because the prior developers have lives and jobs now taking most of their time; I certainly can't speak for them, but it seems unlikely they'd consider 2 projects.

I'd say you should research the latest planning for the 43S, and after understanding that, it may (or may not) seem less feasible.

In any case, if you do proceed and ultimately make one, I'll almost certainly buy one, so please don't take this as all negative.

rprosperi, I like your detailed response to Everette's "Perfect calculator based on WP34S." ... unlike some, I happen to like the original HP30b calculator design as it's been re-purposed for the WP 31s and 34s. I don't have one yet.

I was intrigued by the hypothetical HP 43s design; I love the mechanical layout, especially its very neatly-place four scrolling arrows, a terrific design. Everything on it looks quintessentially HP as it really should. But hypothetically, should the HP 43s be rolled-out by the people designing it, would it be badged with the HP logo?

Regarding the stiffness of the DM42's keys that many are experiencing which causes a bending of the case (and one mentions he doesn't even use it as he intended) --hypothetically, if, on a long-haul interplanetary mission to Mars that took place today I would think the astronauts would use their DM42 with both hands anyway since flat table space inside a Mars command module would probably be nonexistent.

But I'm wondering if using both hands operating the DM42 is cumbersome(?)
/Regards

   
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06-04-2018, 06:23 AM
Post: #12
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(06-03-2018 11:47 PM)Lonewolf Wrote:  Regarding the stiffness of the DM42's keys that many are experiencing which causes a bending of the case [i]

Again: no bending of the back, stainless steel, side.

Greetings,
    Massimo

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06-04-2018, 07:44 AM
Post: #13
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(06-03-2018 11:47 PM)Lonewolf Wrote:  I was intrigued by the hypothetical HP 43s design; I love the mechanical layout, especially its very neatly-place four scrolling arrows, a terrific design.

The 43S picture you've attached is a pretty old one, there has been some significant changes to the keyboard layout. You'll find the latest 43S updates here.
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06-05-2018, 10:38 PM
Post: #14
RE: Perfect calculator based on WP34S
(06-04-2018 07:44 AM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  
(06-03-2018 11:47 PM)Lonewolf Wrote:  I was intrigued by the hypothetical HP 43s design; I love the mechanical layout, especially its very neatly-place four scrolling arrows, a terrific design.

The 43S picture you've attached is a pretty old one, there has been some significant changes to the keyboard layout. You'll find the latest 43S updates here.

Thank you for this update!
/Regards
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