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When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
03-25-2020, 11:44 AM
Post: #1
When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
I took delivery of a 32E, in beautiful condition (apart from the white streaks between some of the keys) but, when I took it out of the box, I noticed that it felt really light: of course, no batteries, right? Wrong. Battery pack was in there. It weighs nearly 50g lighter than my 33E, feels light and flimsy in my hand and the keys don't have the same amazing, tactile quality that I remember from my original 32E and that's present in my 33E... they feel even worse than the keys on the 41C, and that's saying something. It seems like HP dialled back the build quality at some point in the calc's lifespan...

S/N 33E: 2022S34670

S/N 32E: 2250S30111

Both manufactured in Singapore.

[Image: 49697031436_9c23f9b51b_b.jpg]

TIA,

Tim
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03-25-2020, 12:08 PM
Post: #2
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
From this very site:

https://www.hpmuseum.org/tech30.htm

For the 30 series, HP designed an entirely new way of assembling their calculators. Behind the keyboard was a thick sheet of metal. On the back of this sheet was a foam pad and a single flexible circuit was wrapped around the metal/foam board. In front, an insulating sheet with holes for key contacts was placed over the flexible circuit and a snap disk contact sheet was placed over that and spot welded into place. (The welds made contact between the snap disk contact traces and the main flexible circuit.)

The flexible circuit wrapped around the metal and was attached to the foam in back. A hard plastic backbone held the chips in place on the flexible circuit with the foam supplying pressure against the circuit under the chip leads. The chips were NOT soldered to the circuit!

This arrangement was quite easy to assemble and also gave the 30 series keyboard a level of rigidity even greater than that of the 20 series while still making keyboard repairs easy as on the Classic series. (The 20 series heatstaking made keyboard repairs difficult.)

Unfortunately, the original design didn't measure up to the reliability of earlier HP calculators so HP redesigned the 30 series interior. The redesigned models used a more conventional design with a single rigid circuit board with snap disks on one side and ICs soldered in place on the other side. A plastic spine provided extra rigidity but didn't hold the chips in place as on the earlier version. These later models weigh about 1.5 oz less due to the removal of the metal sheet.


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03-25-2020, 02:17 PM
Post: #3
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 11:44 AM)Ignatz Wrote:  they feel even worse than the keys on the 41C, and that's saying something.

You must own a defective unit, then.
41's one is the ultimate keyboard.

Greetings,
    Massimo

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03-25-2020, 03:37 PM
Post: #4
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 02:17 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(03-25-2020 11:44 AM)Ignatz Wrote:  they feel even worse than the keys on the 41C, and that's saying something.

You must own a defective unit, then.
41's one is the ultimate keyboard.

+1
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03-25-2020, 05:05 PM
Post: #5
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
My 34C once was repaired and the sheet accompanying it (in German) after repair says it is lighter now.
See the attachment here
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03-25-2020, 05:44 PM
Post: #6
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 02:17 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(03-25-2020 11:44 AM)Ignatz Wrote:  they feel even worse than the keys on the 41C, and that's saying something.

You must own a defective unit, then.
41's one is the ultimate keyboard.

None of the 41s I've owned can hold a candle to the original Spice keyboards... that beautiful , tactile 'chunk' as you press the keys down: only the 67 comes close (never used a 65 but imagine it would be similar)..

TIA,

Tim
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03-25-2020, 05:46 PM
Post: #7
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 05:05 PM)AndiGer Wrote:  My 34C once was repaired and the sheet accompanying it (in German) after repair says it is lighter now.
See the attachment here

Das Blatt ist Kopf runter! Wink

TIA,

Tim
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03-25-2020, 05:48 PM
Post: #8
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 05:05 PM)AndiGer Wrote:  My 34C once was repaired and the sheet accompanying it (in German) after repair says it is lighter now.
See the attachment here

And that's marketingspeak for "We've sent you unit that's cheaper for us to produce."

TIA,

Tim
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03-25-2020, 07:20 PM
Post: #9
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 05:44 PM)Ignatz Wrote:  
(03-25-2020 02:17 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  You must own a defective unit, then.
41's one is the ultimate keyboard.

None of the 41s I've owned can hold a candle to the original Spice keyboards...
   
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03-25-2020, 08:04 PM
Post: #10
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 05:44 PM)Ignatz Wrote:  
(03-25-2020 02:17 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  You must own a defective unit, then.
41's one is the ultimate keyboard.

None of the 41s I've owned can hold a candle to the original Spice keyboards... that beautiful , tactile 'chunk' as you press the keys down: only the 67 comes close (never used a 65 but imagine it would be similar)..

You have only owned defective units then.
Funny how the "Economy" "low-end product line" series got the best keyboard... :D

Greetings,
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03-25-2020, 11:51 PM
Post: #11
RE: When Did They Change the Build Quality of the Spice Series?
(03-25-2020 05:48 PM)Ignatz Wrote:  
(03-25-2020 05:05 PM)AndiGer Wrote:  My 34C once was repaired and the sheet accompanying it (in German) after repair says it is lighter now.
See the attachment here

And that's marketingspeak for "We've sent you unit that's cheaper for us to produce."

Not sure I would totally agree with this based on the reason for the change. Personally, I’d prefer a calculator with the chip contacts held firm vs one with a somewhat better keyboard. I like the tactile feedback abundance the snap disks of a (later and presumably “updated” 34c) do feel a tad lighter than the 65 but I still feel the feedback. I think for me all I really notice is the travel distance, which is longer with the buckle springs.

My problems with the -65 keyboard over the years was more of a tendency to develop extra bounce or intermittent keys—not the feel, per se.

Maybe I’m just not as much of a keyboard aficionado, but i am probably one of the few here who knows and loves a VT-61 terminal keyboard over any modern keyboard for the feel.
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