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I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
12-04-2019, 10:33 PM
Post: #1
I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
II recently got a HP 17Bii which was originally gifted to someone by his employer, but was never used. The price was low enough to take a gamble, and upon picking up the calculator, it passed the self test.

What I didn't fully realise is how useful the solver is! I already translated everything I had in memory of my 11C, and since I don't need trig functions for my work and hobbies, that was quite easy. The best part for me are the statistics and date/time calculation functions.

It would be great if the same functionality, with the same ease of use, would have been in the HP 42S / Free42 implementation. Then the DM42, with the larger screen area, and the import/export functionality, would be an easy next buy for me ;-)

Anyway, it looks like I don't need a programmable calculator; a configurable one is good enough for me. I will surely experiment further with the solver (currently I have some running related equations in memory).
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12-04-2019, 11:03 PM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2019 11:03 PM by pinkman.)
Post: #2
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
With HP/DM/Free/42s, statistic registers don’t store the input data details.
But good news! the solver is quite the same (despite the fact that you need to program the functions to be solved in RPN) and the date/time operators exist, allowing you to create a custom menu with them or with a few programs of them.
But I’m like you, my 17bii is my everyday calculator at work, and I really love it!
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12-05-2019, 02:00 AM
Post: #3
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
The 17bii really is a versatile little number, and generally can be found fairly cheap on auction sites. Reading about its Solver here a few years ago, and then buying one to try out, was what got me hooked on collecting. If you're looking for mathematical support but not ready to spend so much on a 42S/DM42, consider the HP27S in the same Pioneer form factor. They tend to be hard to find and therefore a bit expensive, but they are generally overlooked by hp calc fans since you can't switch to RPN entry like the 17bii. You probably won't be competing with ten other bidders for the same calc.

The 27s is my go-to handheld for every day computing!

Who decides?
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12-05-2019, 03:34 AM
Post: #4
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-04-2019 11:03 PM)pinkman Wrote:  With HP/DM/Free/42s, statistic registers don’t store the input data details.

Correct, but the 42 does let you feed a 2-column matrix directly to the Sigma+ function. Put the x values in column 1, and the y values in column 2.

17BII and Solver fans should take a look at the 19BII and the 27S, both great machines that also use this same solver.

The 27S doesn't have RPN, but it's got TVM, amortization, and date calculations from the 17BII, plus full scientific functions and base conversions.

The 19BII is a little clumsy to carry around, but it makes a great desk calculator. It has unit conversions and trig, a little bit of graphing, and you can use TVM functions inside Solver equations.
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12-05-2019, 08:38 PM
Post: #5
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-04-2019 10:33 PM)jthole Wrote:  II recently got a HP 17Bii which was originally gifted to someone by his employer, but was never used. The price was low enough to take a gamble, and upon picking up the calculator, it passed the self test.

What I didn't fully realise is how useful the solver is! I already translated everything I had in memory of my 11C, and since I don't need trig functions for my work and hobbies, that was quite easy. The best part for me are the statistics and date/time calculation functions.

It would be great if the same functionality, with the same ease of use, would have been in the HP 42S / Free42 implementation. Then the DM42, with the larger screen area, and the import/export functionality, would be an easy next buy for me ;-)

Anyway, it looks like I don't need a programmable calculator; a configurable one is good enough for me. I will surely experiment further with the solver (currently I have some running related equations in memory).

How about a nice short number base conversion equation for the 17bii solver. This one is by Thomas Klemm (a true genius). It will even do hexadecimal (base 16) conversions if you specify the base 10 number as base 100 instead.

BC:ANS=N+(FROM-TO)\(\times\Sigma\)(I:0:LOG(N)\(\div\)LOG(TO):1:L(N:IDIV(N:TO))\(\times\)FROM^I)​
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12-05-2019, 10:07 PM
Post: #6
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
Yes, I found some other impressive equations as well.

I already start to wonder whether it makes sense to get a backup, now that they are still available.
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12-05-2019, 10:13 PM
Post: #7
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-05-2019 10:07 PM)jthole Wrote:  Yes, I found some other impressive equations as well.

I already start to wonder whether it makes sense to get a backup, now that they are still available.

Certainly couldn't hurt - they're cheap!
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12-05-2019, 11:54 PM
Post: #8
Welcome to the club of 17B II admirers
You've made a great discovery. This is one of my favorites too and I carry one with me everywhere in my computer bag. Then I have another 2 (or is it 3?) in better condition at home.

The solver is the outstanding characteristic. It's compatible with everything written for the HP CALC app on the palmtop 95LX/100LX/200LX family members too, so there is a good amount of useful material out there.

Alan
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12-08-2019, 08:09 AM
Post: #9
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
Indeed, yesterday I realised how easy it would be to “program” a DoF (depth of field) calculator. I didn’t have time to put it in the calculator yet, but already arranged the equation on paper in a logical way.

Which brings me to another question; don’t Let and Get work at all for menu variables in the new 17Bii+, or is that only an issue for specific cases?
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12-08-2019, 02:32 PM
Post: #10
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-08-2019 08:09 AM)jthole Wrote:  Which brings me to another question; don’t Let and Get work at all for menu variables in the new 17Bii+, or is that only an issue for specific cases?

The 17BII is indeed a great machine, and they are so inexpensive I have many of them located all around my shop for basic daily calculations (I got one for $9 w/ship!).

The issues with the 17bII+ have been documented in many places here on the Forum, initially I believe by Don Shepherd, however I think the best and most comprehensive write-up about the solver and Let/Get issue was done by Martin Hepperle in 2015, copy attached below. Like all projects Martin tackles, the work is thorough, helpful and professionally documented. It should answer all your questions, but in summary, even though workarounds exist for some issues, the core problems make the 17bII+ unreliable for extensive Solver use, which is a shame as this is easily the best HP machine still in production.


Attached File(s)
.pdf  Solver GET-LET.pdf (Size: 266.79 KB / Downloads: 24)

--Bob Prosperi
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12-08-2019, 03:11 PM
Post: #11
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-08-2019 08:09 AM)jthole Wrote:  don’t Let and Get work at all for menu variables in the new 17Bii+

I was really excited when the 17bii+ came out with much more memory than the 17bii, but I was disappointed that many equations that worked on the 17b and 17bii would not work on the + model. I was able to figure out a workaround for two of the equations (GCD/LCM and prime factors) in the Technical Applications Manual for the 27S and 19B (a must have for every Solver programmer), but the bottom line is this: if you use the Let function for a menu variable on the +, you will be disappointed. I eventually stopped using the + because the 17b and 17bii Solvers work perfectly.

Another user, Mike Ingle, showed me how you can actually exit a solver loop early, with some limitations. If you are in a loop and you want to end the loop and the equation, load the value you want into a variable (Let function), do a divide by 0 or log(0), and the equation will end with an error message but you can RCL the variable and it will have your value in it. That trick won't work for all applications, obviously, but it does work for some.

That solver application was way ahead of it's time. Good luck and please post any equations you come up with.
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12-10-2019, 10:22 AM
Post: #12
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-08-2019 03:11 PM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  That solver application was way ahead of it's time. Good luck and please post any equations you come up with.

I am thoroughly impressed indeed. I had never thought that I could run a base converter (even converting to and from hexadecimal) in a "simple" equation solver Wink

The team that created the original solver has done an outstanding job! It's a pity that the 17Bii+ solver is a step backwards. I'm afraid we won't see a 17Biii which runs fast, and "solves" the existing issues. At least not developed by HP (I don't have too much confidence in Kinpo).
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12-10-2019, 05:41 PM
Post: #13
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-10-2019 10:22 AM)jthole Wrote:  I am thoroughly impressed indeed. I had never thought that I could run a base converter (even converting to and from hexadecimal) in a "simple" equation solver Wink

The team that created the original solver has done an outstanding job! It's a pity that the 17Bii+ solver is a step backwards. I'm afraid we won't see a 17Biii which runs fast, and "solves" the existing issues. At least not developed by HP (I don't have too much confidence in Kinpo).

The 200LX Connectivity Pack includes the same HP Calc application from the Palmtop, and that can solve plenty fast if you run it on modern hardware.
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12-10-2019, 09:32 PM (This post was last modified: 12-10-2019 09:57 PM by jthole.)
Post: #14
RE: I got a HP 17Bii, and I love it!
(12-10-2019 05:41 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The 200LX Connectivity Pack includes the same HP Calc application from the Palmtop, and that can solve plenty fast if you run it on modern hardware.

I run the 17Bii simulator from RLM on my iPhone, and that is blazing fast indeed. They should partner with a electronics manufacturer to create a real calculator; it is brilliant.

For fun, I put the equation suggested here (https://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-14...#pid124879) in my 17Bii and in the iPhone simulator. I had already established that 1.000.000 iterations gave a decent approximation of PI (using the iPhone):

1.000.000 runs:
iPhone 7, 17Bii app: ≈ 19 seconds
real 17Bii: interrupted after 7 minutes Wink

1.000 runs:
iPhone 7, 17Bii app: << 1 second
real 17Bii: ≈ 58 seconds

I could have waited over 16 hours for the 1.000.000 runs result Wink
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