vintage calc for school work
07-10-2014, 02:05 AM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2014 02:08 AM by brian42.)
Post: #1
 brian42 Junior Member Posts: 2 Joined: Jul 2014
vintage calc for school work
I was recently searching for some old algebra texts and came across some 70's vintage Ti calculators. Which got me thinking, would it be possible to use a vintage calc for school? I'm about to head back to college after being out for years and I will be taking several math classes. I've been contemplating getting a new calculator for these classes but now I'm thinking maybe it would be better to get an older one. I already own a few Ti's and Casios and I'm not completely happy with any of them.

From what I've read on different forums, the HP's and Ti's made in the 70's and 80's were much better quality than the one's they make now. Something that stuck with me was a woman who said she bought an HP in 1979 before she went off to Pharmacy school, and how it still works after all these years.

So is this a good idea or am I crazy? And what models would you guys recommend? I know most people on the forum think the HP41c/cx is the pinnacle of calculators but I'm not willing to spend 400 dollars on a calc. If something happened to it I would *hit a brick.

So a few things I'm looking for:

1. Cheap, 20 bucks or less would be nice but I guess I could spend up to 50.
2. Reliable and accurate
3. If I could get a model that was made in the USA it would be even cooler yet. Although, I guess I'm not against a well made japanese calculator.

I've read about certain models having unusable keyboards and others having errors in their logic. Unreadable screens is another problem I've read about. These are things I'm trying to avoid.
07-10-2014, 02:48 AM
Post: #2
 Don Shepherd Senior Member Posts: 713 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: vintage calc for school work
(07-10-2014 02:05 AM)brian42 Wrote:  I was recently searching for some old algebra texts and came across some 70's vintage Ti calculators. Which got me thinking, would it be possible to use a vintage calc for school? I'm about to head back to college after being out for years and I will be taking several math classes. I've been contemplating getting a new calculator for these classes but now I'm thinking maybe it would be better to get an older one. I already own a few Ti's and Casios and I'm not completely happy with any of them.

From what I've read on different forums, the HP's and Ti's made in the 70's and 80's were much better quality than the one's they make now. Something that stuck with me was a woman who said she bought an HP in 1979 before she went off to Pharmacy school, and how it still works after all these years.

So is this a good idea or am I crazy? And what models would you guys recommend? I know most people on the forum think the HP41c/cx is the pinnacle of calculators but I'm not willing to spend 400 dollars on a calc. If something happened to it I would *hit a brick.

So a few things I'm looking for:

1. Cheap, 20 bucks or less would be nice but I guess I could spend up to 50.
2. Reliable and accurate
3. If I could get a model that was made in the USA it would be even cooler yet. Although, I guess I'm not against a well made japanese calculator.

I've read about certain models having unusable keyboards and others having errors in their logic. Unreadable screens is another problem I've read about. These are things I'm trying to avoid.

I'd recommend waiting until you enroll and then ask the teacher.
07-10-2014, 02:56 AM
Post: #3
 brian42 Junior Member Posts: 2 Joined: Jul 2014
RE: vintage calc for school work
I'm not worried about getting a graphing calculator. My first time around in college all they let us use in the math department was a scientific calculator. Which is what I'm looking for right now. I may get a graphing calculator at some point.

(07-10-2014 02:48 AM)Don Shepherd Wrote:
(07-10-2014 02:05 AM)brian42 Wrote:  I was recently searching for some old algebra texts and came across some 70's vintage Ti calculators. Which got me thinking, would it be possible to use a vintage calc for school? I'm about to head back to college after being out for years and I will be taking several math classes. I've been contemplating getting a new calculator for these classes but now I'm thinking maybe it would be better to get an older one. I already own a few Ti's and Casios and I'm not completely happy with any of them.

From what I've read on different forums, the HP's and Ti's made in the 70's and 80's were much better quality than the one's they make now. Something that stuck with me was a woman who said she bought an HP in 1979 before she went off to Pharmacy school, and how it still works after all these years.

So is this a good idea or am I crazy? And what models would you guys recommend? I know most people on the forum think the HP41c/cx is the pinnacle of calculators but I'm not willing to spend 400 dollars on a calc. If something happened to it I would *hit a brick.

So a few things I'm looking for:

1. Cheap, 20 bucks or less would be nice but I guess I could spend up to 50.
2. Reliable and accurate
3. If I could get a model that was made in the USA it would be even cooler yet. Although, I guess I'm not against a well made japanese calculator.

I've read about certain models having unusable keyboards and others having errors in their logic. Unreadable screens is another problem I've read about. These are things I'm trying to avoid.

I'd recommend waiting until you enroll and then ask the teacher.
07-10-2014, 03:00 AM
Post: #4
 Les Bell Member Posts: 188 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: vintage calc for school work
(07-10-2014 02:05 AM)brian42 Wrote:  I was recently searching for some old algebra texts and came across some 70's vintage Ti calculators. Which got me thinking, would it be possible to use a vintage calc for school? I'm about to head back to college after being out for years and I will be taking several math classes. I've been contemplating getting a new calculator for these classes but now I'm thinking maybe it would be better to get an older one. I already own a few Ti's and Casios and I'm not completely happy with any of them.

It really depends on what kind of math classes you'll be taking, along with the nature of your other studies. My experience has always been that, at college or university, I'd never use a calculator in math classes, but only in other subjects - in my case, electrical/electronic engineering and control theory, but you'd probably also use it in chemistry, biology, statistics, etc.

But don't be surprised if your lecturers recommend Mathematica, Matlab or similar PC software, rather than a calculator - either on college lab computers or via a site license or student license deal which will allow you to install it on your own computer. Once you're using that kind of software, calculator functionality is less important, as you'll mostly just use it for 'back-of-an-envelope' stuff.

--- Les
[http://www.lesbell.com.au]
07-10-2014, 03:22 PM
Post: #5
 Dave Britten Senior Member Posts: 1,452 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: vintage calc for school work
I'd also recommend finding out what sort of coursework you'll be doing and sizing your calculator needs appropriately. But vintage models are a totally viable option. There's not a lot you can do with that budget in HP land, but there are a few choices if you're patient with ebay:

20S - Algebraic programmable. Surprisingly capable.
48S/SX/G - These tend to be cheaper than the GX, which commands the highest prices of the family.
95LX - Has a bit of scientific capability, but the real draw is Lotus 1-2-3 and the financial calc. Not a bad choice if you're going to be doing finance or business math, or possibly stats.

If you want to look at other brands...

Casio fx-7000g - The world's first graphing calculator.
Casio fx-6000g - Smaller version of the 7000.
Casio fx-8500g - Like the 7000, but with more RAM and an expansion/printer interface.
TI-95 ProCalc - Really cool keystroke programmable with a lot of capability, though a bit bulky.
TI-86 - Probably my favorite of their non-symbolic graphers.
07-10-2014, 05:31 PM
Post: #6
 Ron Ross Junior Member Posts: 47 Joined: Mar 2014
RE: vintage calc for school work
First, I commend you for returning to school. Good luck with that.

Since you did not mention or imply that you had an existing Hp and I suspect you never had an Hp before, you might not be aware that nearly all of the older Hp calculators use RPN. While you may love it after you learn it, you may not. And you added the caveat that you want your calculator to be in the $20-50 range. Well….that restricts your options quite a bit, unless you get extremely lucky. You won’t likely find an LED Hp calculator in THAT price range (unlike Ti or Casio, which can be found in that price range, fairly easily). And LED calculators are battery hogs by todays’ standards anyway. The first calculator I would suggest is an Hp 20s. It is a nice algebraic calculator with a nice function set and you should be able to find one in your price range. If you get lucky, you might find a higher end calculator such as an Hp 22s or and Hp 27s, both nice upgrades, but the Hp 20s is the most common and a better calculator than nearly anything available today. If you get lucky or wish to reach out for the best, the Hp 27s is still the Queen of all pocket calculators, period. There is not a superior algebraic pocket calculator available, even today! (I am excluding the recently discontinued Casio 9860G slim) If you want to buy an older RPN model (to be technical, RPL but to a new user, RPN), I suggest an Hp 48G (although you could buy an Hp 50G for less than$100 NEW or an Hp Prime ($130), and these two HPs both offer RPN & Algebraic modes, something you should consider, especially if you have not used RPN). The Hp 48G is a low end graphing calculator (by today’s standard). And truth be told, it is a pathetic graphing calculator, always was, because it is slow at generating graphs. However, it is an excellent all-around number cruncher. It is far simpler to configure and use than an Hp 50G for general number crunching. A fan favorite, so to speak. Many here would suggest getting better i.e. a 48G+ or 48GX, but your upper limit of$50 will preclude that.

You may also consider an Hp 35s. While it is new (and therefore easy to acquire), it is about $50 and looks and feels very similar to the older models. (An Hp 20s is far better quality wise, but the Hp 35s DOES have 32K or RAM, the Hp 20s – 100 steps ie 0.2K to store a max of 6 small programs). I hate to advertise for any vendors on this site aside from Eric Rechlin (hpcalc.org) with whom I can heartily endorse. But Eric probably cannot help you on your quest for an older unit. That leaves Samson Cables. Samson Cables does sell vintage calculators and I believe still sells the Hp 20s. Their prices are going to be similar to ebay auctions, but they provide a 90 day warranty (which they will stand behind) which is far better than an ebay purchase of a non-working calculator. If you are just interested in a capable vintage calculator and you DON’T insist upon Hp quality and feel, you can look at a Ti-68 (very similar to an Hp 20s) or an even more capable Ti-66 (Horizontal layout, but really an LCD version of a Ti-58c w/o ROM card/chips, somewhat on par to an Hp 15c). You could also buy an LED Ti-58c for$20-50, but LED calculators tend to have bad rechargeable cells and Ti’s are notorious for bad keyboards, so I would still suggest an LCD model.

Last on my list would be a Casio fx 4000 as it is also a capable calculator, but it really doesn’t look or feel vintage. I guess Casio’s just don’t age…(8^0
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