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Purchase advice questions
04-22-2016, 09:21 PM (This post was last modified: 04-22-2016 09:24 PM by SalivationArmy.)
Post: #1
Purchase advice questions
Are there any models that are not neutered for school/testing use?

Since I am not in school and facing testing requirement I am wondering if there are any models that are better than their school oriented brethren. TI models are hardly more than glossy version of 80's tech. I think someone held a gun to their heads to get them to upgrade their screens.

I intend to start learning again as my son is entering high school this fall. I want to be able to help him get into the higher maths. but I also want to explore on my own outside of the typical education path.

i've looked into:
ti-92 series - old, but interesting

ti-nspire, got one, hated it. (not in same class as other here I know)

ti-8x, used many but only one I liked, just cannot remember which it was. fading memories.

HP 300s - no rpn as far as I could tell. non-programmable.

HP 35s - new yet old. but has RPN. programmable i think.

Casio fx991ex - seems to wipe itself everytime you turn it off. Non-programmable. FAST though. This is just what I was reading.

Sharp EL-W516XBSL - lots of built in functions (552 I think) but gcd missing in all but the german model which has nearly 100 more functions. I hate that you cannot get a full featured model in an english language because of school requirements.

HP Prime - I have considered some of these full graphing models, but my experience with the nspire has turned me off. How much does the expanded abilities this provides get in the way of lower level usage?
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04-22-2016, 09:47 PM
Post: #2
RE: Purchase advice questions
(04-22-2016 09:21 PM)SalivationArmy Wrote:  Are there any models that are not neutered for school/testing use?

Can you clarify a few things, from your comments it's a bit hard to tell for sure:

1. Do you prefer RPN?
2. Have you used RPL (advanced flavor of RPN with far more power, but also more complex to learn)?
3. Do you plan to program the machine or is a rich set of built-in commands preferable?
4. Would you be open to a community sourced solution? (running advanced s/w on existing commercial machines)
5. What application areas are you interested in - EE, ME, CE, Pure Math, Statistics, Probability, etc.?
6. Will you use a CAS if available?
7. What is the best machine you've used in the past?

These answers will make it easier to provide advice useful for what you want (vs. what all of us prefer to promote Wink )

--Bob Prosperi
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04-22-2016, 10:09 PM
Post: #3
RE: Purchase advice questions
(04-22-2016 09:47 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  
(04-22-2016 09:21 PM)SalivationArmy Wrote:  Are there any models that are not neutered for school/testing use?

Can you clarify a few things, from your comments it's a bit hard to tell for sure:

1. Do you prefer RPN?

I have seen it used and I would like to learn it.

2. Have you used RPL (advanced flavor of RPN with far more power, but also more complex to learn)?

never heard of it.
3. Do you plan to program the machine or is a rich set of built-in commands preferable?

built in would be preferred but I am not against adding function through programming, but the more that is built in the less I have to program.

4. Would you be open to a community sourced solution? (running advanced s/w on existing commercial machines)

Please explain. do you mean custom firmware? if so, hell yes

5. What application areas are you interested in - EE, ME, CE, Pure Math, Statistics, Probability, etc.?

all of it, this is purely for learning's' sake. Though I know for a fact that I hate statistics as it has been taught to me. When you don't understand the value of a particular answer, it's hard to understand the problems themselves. My favorite example of this was from back in grade school. the teacher was instructing us on the use of pi in geometry. To her pi was just a number. she had no concept of WHAT pi was, what it represented, just memorize the damn formulas and stop asking hard questions damn it! Next day after I had figured out what it was, I shared it with the class and all of the sudden they all understood what we had been learning. She was very upset with me for interfering.

6. Will you use a CAS if available?

yes

7. What is the best machine you've used in the past?

a ti model that I forget. it was an 83 or 84 I think. at the time I had no clue that models were geared towards one type of math or another, you just bought the highest model number you could afford, which was stupid in retrospect. I think an 82 would have served best at that time (out of the TI's)

These answers will make it easier to provide advice useful for what you want (vs. what all of us prefer to promote Wink )
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04-23-2016, 01:32 AM
Post: #4
RE: Purchase advice questions
For HP, I typically recommend a 48G (or GX), or 48SX. The 49 and 50 added lots of features, but at great expense to usability, and also the physical design.

If you want a TI, try an 86. That was pretty much the last time they designed a calculator geared more toward engineers than students.
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04-23-2016, 01:35 AM
Post: #5
RE: Purchase advice questions
Although computers have dramatically sped up the processing in recent decades, the math itself was has not really advanced. It was already understood. High-school students did better in math before there were calculators.

Our sons were supposed to get TI graphing calculators for their high-school math classes. The older one just used my old TI-59 (which came out in 1977 or '78) and did fine. He said the only thing the students used their graphing calcs for was playing games anyway. Three years later, my wife caved in and bought our younger son the required graphing calc, and he never really used it for graphing, and aced the classes anyway.

A college student asked me about things like FTTs and convolution integrals, trying to get past the ultra-sterile theory they get in school and to get a practical understanding of what they do; so I explained them, in English, and showed him things I was doing in my work, doing these with thousands of points. He didn't understand why, because in school they were only doing very few points (like eight), just enough to do the function. The reason of course was that in a math class you won't have instrumentation collecting thousands of data points super quickly and inputting them to a computer, and you don't need it anyway to do the math. It's a math class.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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04-23-2016, 01:53 AM
Post: #6
RE: Purchase advice questions
If you want RPN (RPL) and CAS capability you are pretty much restricted to the HP-50G and the HP Prime for models that you can still buy new.
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04-23-2016, 02:29 AM
Post: #7
RE: Purchase advice questions
with the price difference between the 50g and the Prime being only $20(msrp) is there much reason to get the 50g over the prime?
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04-23-2016, 03:27 AM
Post: #8
RE: Purchase advice questions
(04-23-2016 02:29 AM)SalivationArmy Wrote:  with the price difference between the 50g and the Prime being only $20(msrp) is there much reason to get the 50g over the prime?

At the moment, the HP-50G is US$52 vs the Prime at US$139 at Amazon.com.
Aside from the price difference, they are very different calculators.
The Prime is more student focused while the 50G is more of a hand tool.
The Prime has a color, back-lit touch screen display and needs to be charged every couple of weeks or so. The 50G has a low resolution B/W screen and will run for months on AA batteries.
These are just a few of the differences. You can download the emulators and manuals for both to try them out.
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04-23-2016, 04:11 AM
Post: #9
RE: Purchase advice questions
i just figured out which calculator I was using in college. it was the ti-85
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04-25-2016, 01:32 PM (This post was last modified: 04-25-2016 01:34 PM by Ron Ross.)
Post: #10
RE: Purchase advice questions
To add my 2 cents.

As suggested by Dave Britton, a Ti-86 might be just the ticket for you. It is the direct upgrade of the Ti-85 (which was Ti's first real competition to the Hp 48S series calculator). It has 128K of RAM and is on par with the Hp 48G+ calculator.

If you want RPN and power, the Hp 50G is the best option (and it has an algebraic mode, in case you decide to avoid RPN).

For your son, I would still suggest an Hp Prime (Hp's answer to the Ti Nspire). It is better and more versatile and boots up in a second (the Ti seems to take about 10 seconds, both are annoying, the Ti is unbearable as a calculator). Why an Hp Prime? Because Hp seems to be committed to this calculator vs they are dropping the Hp 50G, so you son may not readily find one later in school if his first calculator is broken, lost or stolen. And the Hp Prime has an excellent quality feel, reminiscent of the best calculators Hp made during the 80s and 90s, certainly better than anything Hp has made in the last 15 years (feels much better than the Hp 50G, quality wise).

If you decide to just buy a calculator (and not a graphing model, for yourself or your son), the Hp 35s is still readily available and is pretty good. No I/O, but that is intentional to keep it test compliant.

If you are or become a calculator connoisseur, the Hp 32sii would be a great choice. However, these are horded by nearly all of us, and usually sell for a premium. This is the predecessor the Hp 35s. It has FAR LESS RAM, so why would I suggest this? It is a twenty year + calculator ie if you were to buy in like new condition, it should last for 20+ years (where the Hp 35s would probably last about 3-5 years of college engineering use). The Pioneer line (Hp 32sii, among others) calculators were an excellent calculator line, second only to the Voyager line in build and quality. Then why didn't I recommend a Voyager? Voyagers have a landscape format with an older keycode programming paradigm. Both families are the best calculators ever made, quality wise. Coming in a close second to the Voyager line is damn good. The Hp 12c is a Voyager line calculator still in production (over 35 years in production as an FYI).
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04-25-2016, 01:47 PM
Post: #11
RE: Purchase advice questions
You might want to visit the classified section "NOW actually". If you ever get the chance to buy an Hp 42s, it was the best pocket calculator ever available for high end number crunching. Not expandable as was the Hp 41c series, but has a lot more math functions built in. Even a full blown Hp 41cx will come up short as a number crunching tool (However, the hp 41c is much more versatile as IT DOES HAVE real I/O).
.
But normally the Hp 42s isn't as readily available, and for general calculator use, the Hp 32sii is often preferred (easier to read screen, simpler to program, has an algebraic solver, nifty fraction mode, just a simpler calculator to use).
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