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17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
08-02-2017, 03:35 AM
Post: #1
17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
Good afternoon all,

A quick question or two about the 17BII/BII+ and 30B.
I received in the mail today a 17bii that I picked up for $10 AUD, in very good condition, and I'm quite happy with it. Certainly I don't need another financial calculator, but it's nice to have.

Initial impressions are that it feels instantly familiar, after having been using the 19B quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. Nice to have RPN back, I don't know how many times I've had to correct my inputs on the 19B....should probably try buy a 19Bii I guess! I do prefer the larger screen on the 19B, and it's initially a little strange to see that the menu keys don't quite line up with the screen. But anyway, I digress!

I'm looking for some insight as to whether there were any functional differences between the 17bii and the 17bii+, aside from the solver (LET GET) which I am already aware of. Looking through the manuals there seems to be little if any difference. I have noticed some loss of functionality coming from the 19B however.


The other question I have is comparing the calculator to the 20/30B.
I don't yet have either of these calculators, but looking through the manual it looks like an incredibly capable machine, with many more useful inbuilt functions than the 17bii+/12c/10B. I'm quite impressed by the math and statistics functions available. Mind you this is from an accounting/finance students point of view, not from someone in STEM.

To me it seems like; 10BII+ is a student's basic, do most-things, algebraic calculator, and no doubt generates a lot of sales. Here in Aus one of our major university only allows the 10BII+ for business students and gives them for "free" to new students. The 12C holds a special place, the CFA no doubt helps, it's legacy, and nostalgia. The 12C is my primary calculator for uni, partly because it's the only RPN calculator allowed, and partly because it's a very capable machine. Then the 17BII+ ought to be the top of the line, "do everything" calculator? But it doesn't cover the range of the inbuilt functions the other two calculators have (no break-even, no probability distributions for example, which the 10BII+ has)

To me the 30B seemed like a more capable "do everything" (well, everything a finance/economics/business/accounting student might need to do) machine. Does anyone know where HP saw the 30B sitting in the hierarchy; was it designed to replace something else, or was it going to be a continuing line? And why did they ultimately decide to discontinue it but continue on with the 17B?


Thanks,

Zac
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08-02-2017, 06:03 AM
Post: #2
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
I can't really do justice to the 17BII/17BII+ question, although I did plug the trig equations written for the former into the latter (Gerson Barbosa's) and these worked nicely (the L and G functions seem to be OK). The manual says it has >250 functions, but add to that the 7K memory useful for solver equations, and it can be turned into quite the versatile machine. Its simple layout and menu system is ergonomically underrated.

The 30b is a different beast. It boasts >250 functions too, but also has trig built in and some programmability. It is more powerful than the 12C in that regard. Why HP stopped building it is beyond me. Here in Australia (me too!) it's hard to find, but a couple of years ago I was able to get 2 for $20 US each! One I kept as a 30b and the other I converted to a WP34S, which has lots of probability distributions (more so than any other machine anywhere, I reckon, thanks to Paul, Walter, Marcus etc.) The latter also has some TVM capability with the programs loaded into Flash RAM. Although it would be interesting to see dedicated keys for TVM and other financial functions in any kind of future build/model.

The HP 27S, if you can find one, is an intriguing machine that does much, probably more, of what the 10BII+ does -- its a 'do everything' machine, but also has that 7K solver capability. Plenty of scientific functions plus TVM all built in. No bond calculations, or Black-Scholes, but that's doable with the solver.

Good luck with the studies!
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08-02-2017, 06:39 AM
Post: #3
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
Thanks for the reply Jim,

I'm thinking maybe it came down to sales figures, or profit margins or some other consideration such as this.

I've seen the 30B being sold new here, through eBay and through calculatorking, for $75. I don't think that it's a bad price. I think I paid about $60 for my 19B, and would be willing to pay more than that for a 19BII, so for a brand new 30B it's pretty good.

The 27S sounds nice, but algebraic drives me mad now, I have to think way too much about what I'm trying to calculate, and not start typing in numbers before operators. And as I'm going to be sticking with the 12C for uni, I'm not likely to want to make a switch.

Next trimester when I'm doing a finance subject I'm going to try and get one of the other HP models approved (I'm guessing 17BII, as 10B and 12C are already allowed) for use in the university. It's pretty crazy that they allow the 12C considering the things that can be done with programming, and I wonder how much attention they would pay to the 17BII+ solver function's abilities if they do consider it. I doubt that they would like the idea of allowing the 30B as it is now out of production.

Where did you get a serial cord to be able to convert to a WP34s? I probably won't do a 30B but if I can find a 20B cheap I might consider it, as a fun sort of project. And where did you buy the overlays from?


Thanks again,

Zac
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08-02-2017, 06:53 AM
Post: #4
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
@zac

The 17bii+ has much more memory than the 17bii, for things like solver equations and sum lists.

@jimp

Actually, the G() function works fine in both machines, as does the L() function as long as you don't use it with variables that appear on the menu (I believe, I haven't tried it in years but that is my recollection). Since my interest in the 17b is "programming," I only use the 17b and 17bii.
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08-02-2017, 07:01 AM
Post: #5
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
I like to think that 99.9% of 30b's have been converted to 34S's. I know I'm dreaming Smile

I've got a serial cable to reprogram 20b's and 30b's. I don't have any extras anymore but can program devices if they are sent to me. Eric at hpcalc.org supplies the overlays. He still sells converted calculators but without guaranteed keyboards (see http://commerce.hpcalc.org/34s.php).


I've a couple of unused converted 34S's (including crystal) and a 31S (20b based) which are surplus to my needs. I'm willing to sell these cheaply and even autograph their back plate (it will probably reduce value though). I can't guarantee their keyboards are squishy key free which is a known problem with the 30b hardware which Eric has encountered.


Pauli
(I'm in AUS too)
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08-02-2017, 12:14 PM
Post: #6
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
Thanks for the replies,

It doesn't sound like I would have much to gain from buying a 17BII+, at least at this stage. I haven't played around much with the solver as yet, I'm guessing once I'm further through my degree I'll run in to problems that can't be solved using the inbuilt functions and I'll be inspired to use the solver to, erm, solve! What's the comparison between the 30B and 17BII+ in this regard?

I'm hoping to pick up a 20B some time over the next week; mostly going for that first because it's much cheaper than a 30B. Maybe if I then buy a 30B I'll think about getting in contact with you Paul and you could repurpose it for me? Or how cheap are we talking for your surplus 34/31s?

This problem with the keyboards; I thought that the 30B's were a big improvement over the 20B's? And if I buy a new 30B from a retailer, is this something that is going to show itself straight away, or do they deteriorate over time? I'd hate to think I'd throw down $75 on a calculator that is going to end up junk in a short period of time. Actually I'm still pretty upset about the $30 I spent on the 300s+ which was junk when it came out of the packaging...


Regards,

Zac
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08-02-2017, 01:03 PM
Post: #7
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
(08-02-2017 03:35 AM)Zac Bruce Wrote:  I'm looking for some insight as to whether there were any functional differences between the 17bii and the 17bii+, aside from the solver (LET GET) which I am already aware of. Looking through the manuals there seems to be little if any difference. I have noticed some loss of functionality coming from the 19B however.

I believe the only two notable differences are the inclusion of more memory (32 KB vs. 8 KB), and the currency conversion function also seen in the 19B/19BII. So nothing significant. If you want a big upgrade over the 17BII, pick up a 95LX. The combination of a big-screen 19BII (I think it might be lacking one or two features from the "real thing") and Lotus 1-2-3 is outstanding for finance.

(08-02-2017 06:03 AM)JimP Wrote:  The HP 27S, if you can find one, is an intriguing machine that does much, probably more, of what the 10BII+ does -- its a 'do everything' machine, but also has that 7K solver capability. Plenty of scientific functions plus TVM all built in. No bond calculations, or Black-Scholes, but that's doable with the solver.

The 27S is great; I carry one around with me daily. I needed something that could record a few separate lists of numbers (medical data) throughout the day, and I figured I might as well get a calculator that has the same solver, TVM, and amorts as the 17BII, but also scientific functions, stats, probability, binary/base conversions (I'm probably the only CS major here that cares about financial calcs), etc. The only downside is that it's algebraic.

(08-02-2017 12:14 PM)Zac Bruce Wrote:  This problem with the keyboards; I thought that the 30B's were a big improvement over the 20B's? And if I buy a new 30B from a retailer, is this something that is going to show itself straight away, or do they deteriorate over time? I'd hate to think I'd throw down $75 on a calculator that is going to end up junk in a short period of time. Actually I'm still pretty upset about the $30 I spent on the 300s+ which was junk when it came out of the packaging...

I bought a 30b for conversion to a 34S, and the one thing holding me back from using it regularly is that the keyboard is just awful, even right out of the package. At least two keys often fail to respond unless pressed with substantially more force. It's a neat toy, but it's just not trustworthy.
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08-02-2017, 01:17 PM
Post: #8
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
(08-02-2017 12:14 PM)Zac Bruce Wrote:  ...I'm guessing once I'm further through my degree I'll run in to problems that can't be solved using the inbuilt functions and I'll be inspired to use the solver to, erm, solve! What's the comparison between the 30B and 17BII+ in this regard?

The 30b has limited programming, similar to keystroke recording, which is arguably easier to learn, but less flexible and powerful than the Pioneer series Solver. Also, the 17BII+ behaves exactly like you would expect (inside it is a Pioneer, and except for the L() and G() limitations Don mentioned, is all-around excellent).

In short, the 30b has more built-in functions, but the UI (modes, etc.) is very quirky, it has a disappointing screen, and even the best samples of 30b have poor keyboards compared to the 17BII+.

Also, the 10BII+ is a very nice machine with lots of functions, and if it wasn't limited to Algebraic mode (chain is still algebraic), would be much more popular here with the MoHPC crowd.

--Bob Prosperi
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08-02-2017, 01:22 PM
Post: #9
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
The keyboard on the 30B isn't the best. Furthermore, the programming model is very limited. 290 bytes and even the arrow keys counted as a step.
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08-02-2017, 01:59 PM
Post: #10
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
The 30b was aimed squarely at the TI BAII Plus calculator in terms of operations and function set. For the first time, the 20b/30b met and exceeded the built-in function set of the TI flagship business calculator.

Review of the 30b: 30b review

Review of the 20b in Datafile: 20b review
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08-02-2017, 03:12 PM
Post: #11
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
(08-02-2017 01:59 PM)Gene Wrote:  The 30b was aimed squarely at the TI BAII Plus calculator in terms of operations and function set. For the first time, the 20b/30b met and exceeded the built-in function set of the TI flagship business calculator.

Review of the 30b: 30b review

Review of the 20b in Datafile: 20b review

The big problems with the BAII Plus family are that the keyboard response is crap (no two-key rollover, and missed fast repeated keystrokes), and it's got no rubber feet (so you'll be chasing it all over the desk). I'd take an original 10B or 14B over one of those any day.
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08-02-2017, 05:01 PM
Post: #12
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
Oh, I agree with your BAII Plus comments.

It still sells like crazy, so the 20b/30b approach it in the market by operating in a similar way with "worksheets" for data, etc.

The 10bII+ is the real BAII Plus killer. It has every piece of functionality of the BAII+ and then some. In the review of the BAII Plus, it was suggested that TI change the name to BAII- instead.

10bII+ review
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08-02-2017, 10:32 PM
Post: #13
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
(08-02-2017 03:35 AM)Zac Bruce Wrote:  The other question I have is comparing the calculator to the 20/30B.
[...]
Does anyone know where HP saw the 30B sitting in the hierarchy; was it designed to replace something else, or was it going to be a continuing line? And why did they ultimately decide to discontinue it but continue on with the 17B?
The HP 30b was meant to be the successor of the 20b.

The calculator was discontinued in 2015 when the supply of the processor it was built around (Atmel AT91SAM7L128) was exhausted and there was no direct successor or alternative part on which HP could have rebased the platform without significant efforts in porting the firmware.

Atmel had announced the processor to be discontinued in 2013 (with extended sale options ending in 2014), when the French wafer fab LFoundry Rousset SAS, where the processor was manufactured, filed for insolvency and went bankrupt at the end of 2013, and the special low-power manufacturing process on which the L series was based could not be transferred to another fab for technical or economical reasons.

Although the processor filled a niche with no other processor offering a similar combination of low power consumption, performance, relatively high I/O pin count with LCD driving capabilities, and RAM size, the L128 variant was already the top of the line of the L series (with 128 KB flash), and with the whole family of processors based on the proven but dated ARM7TDMI architecture, there was apparently too low a demand to continue and further develop the family.

(03-07-2015 06:32 PM)matthiaspaul Wrote:  the 2008+ HP 12C model (F2230A?) as well as the 20b (F2219AA) and 30b (NW238AA) seem to be discontinued or about to be discontinued as well. The 12C utilizes an Atmel AT91SAM7L128-AU processor (with ARM7TDMI core - also of the ARMv4T architecture) in LQFP-128 package, whereas the other two calculators incorporate AT91SAM7L128 dies under the glob. These processors were manufactured in the French wafer fab LFoundry Rousset SAS, which was owned by Atmel before 2011, filed for insolvency in 2013 (after Atmel significantly cut down their order volume), and was declared bankrupt on 2013-12-26.

According to Atmel's part change notifications RE133101, SE133406, SE133406A, and RE150402, the AT91SAM7L128 processor was consequently announced to have reached end-of-life status by 2013-08-13 (some sources say 2013-12), with last shipments ending 2014-09-30 (some sources say 2014-12). Reasons cited were low demand and unability to transfer the special manufacturing process to another fab. Unfortunately, there is no direct replacement in the ARM7TDMI family, so even if Hewlett-Packard or its Chinese manufacturer would have stocked up chips, supply must be limited.

The HP 17bII+ (F2234A) utilizes a Sunplus Technology SPLB31A processor, which appears to be still available.

Greetings,

Matthias


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08-03-2017, 11:48 PM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2017 11:07 AM by striegel.)
Post: #14
TI BA II Plus Pro has rubber feet
(08-02-2017 03:12 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  The big problems with the BAII Plus family are that the keyboard response is crap (no two-key rollover, and missed fast repeated keystrokes), and it's got no rubber feet
...
There is a TI BA II Plus Professional on my desk with 4 rubber feet. It's possible that this is a later model with some improvements.

But there is still terrible keyboard response.

Alan
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08-04-2017, 12:35 AM
Post: #15
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
Thankyou so much to everyone for the replies, it's been very informative, as I would expect from these forums.

It's a real shame to hear about the quality of the 20/30B keys. I guess I just have to hope that I get a good one?


(08-02-2017 05:01 PM)Gene Wrote:  Oh, I agree with your BAII Plus comments.

It still sells like crazy, so the 20b/30b approach it in the market by operating in a similar way with "worksheets" for data, etc.

The 10bII+ is the real BAII Plus killer. It has every piece of functionality of the BAII+ and then some. In the review of the BAII Plus, it was suggested that TI change the name to BAII- instead.

10bII+ review

Have you had any experience with the casio FC- or sharp EL- series calculators, to compare, or know of any place that has done a direct comparison between all the major financial calculators available?

What would your recommendation be for an undergrad in finance/economics given the choice of the BA's, the 10BII+, 12C, the casio and the sharp? Or is it really a matter of preference, and getting to know the calculator well? Certainly I have a preference for my 12c at the moment and it's the one I reach towards most often when doing simple calculations or TVM, simply because of RPN, but I haven't moved on to doing bond valuations, uneven cash flows, IRR, NFV, break-even etc., let alone anything more complex, and so wonder whether any of the other available calculators are going to make things simpler.

I'm thoroughly enjoying working through your book, by the way. I'm reading in preparation for my intro finance class next trimester, and though it would be a good way to get familiar with the formulas and also learn more about the operation of my calculator, and it's achieving both those aims, so thank you.


Regards,

Zac
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08-04-2017, 12:59 AM
Post: #16
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
(08-03-2017 11:48 PM)striegel Wrote:  There is a TI BA II Plus Professional on my desk with 4 rubber feet. It's possible that this is a later model with some improvements.

Ah, I knew they had to have added something to make it "professional". Wink The standard "Plus" has never had rubber feet, at least as far back as I'm aware.

(08-04-2017 12:35 AM)Zac Bruce Wrote:  Have you had any experience with the casio FC- or sharp EL- series calculators, to compare, or know of any place that has done a direct comparison between all the major financial calculators available?

What would your recommendation be for an undergrad in finance/economics given the choice of the BA's, the 10BII+, 12C, the casio and the sharp? Or is it really a matter of preference, and getting to know the calculator well? Certainly I have a preference for my 12c at the moment and it's the one I reach towards most often when doing simple calculations or TVM, simply because of RPN, but I haven't moved on to doing bond valuations, uneven cash flows, IRR, NFV, break-even etc., let alone anything more complex, and so wonder whether any of the other available calculators are going to make things simpler.

I have a Sharp EL-738C, and I think it's fantastic. It easily beats the TI. The keys feel great, the number and operator keys are very large, and they all have great response. The display is very readable, and it uses a "worksheet" paradigm much like the TI BAII Plus or HP 14B. It's also got a full loadout of scientific and statistical functions. I think the HP 10BII+ just slightly edges it out on usability for power users, as it's easier to carry figures between problems (taking results from an amort and using them in further calculations was a bit cumbersome on the Sharp, as I recall). However, the "worksheets" on the Sharp are more user-friendly, and so might be better suited for undergrad studies. The Sharp keyboard feels nicer overall than the 10BII+. Sacrilege, I know, but you have to try one to see what I mean. It's one of the nicest keyboards I've used.
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08-04-2017, 02:02 AM
Post: #17
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
IMO, the BAII Plus Professional is heads above the BAII Plus itself. Keys have good click, it has weight and heft that make it seem like a good machine.

Essentially the same function set between the Prof and the regular plus.


As to Casios and Sharps, the market share of both of these brands in the USA financial market is very small. You might be on your own if you have to figure something out. I also suspect there aren't going to be many books / training materials that use these brands keystrokes.

The TI models will win out there.


If you are considering HP's, then the 12c is hard to beat, although the 10bII+ is an awesome machine sans RPN. Nothing wrong with the 17bII either, but it is a "list" based machine as opposed to a keystroke machine, so that might take some getting used to.

Any of these will probably work for you, so choose what feels best and what you can solve problems reliably on.
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08-05-2017, 03:48 AM
Post: #18
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
For finance I would lean towards the HP 12C or HP 10bII+. Third for me would be the BAII+ (newer keyboard).

The one big strike I have against the BAII+ (and BAII+ Pro) is that it only allows dates for days between dates and other date calculations between 1950 - 2049 (maybe future versions will expand to four digit years).
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08-05-2017, 06:13 AM
Post: #19
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
Thank-you both for your opinions.

I think I will stick with my 12c, although I'll pick up a 10Bii+ some time to see what it offers. They're cheap second hand here as it is the standard financial calculator for university students. Maybe if I find a cheap enough Sharp and TI I'll pick them up too, just because I've developed a bit of an obsession.

HP really seems to have gotten things just right with the 12c, I've found that I can be incredibly quick and accurate working through formulas or through the various functions. The combination of the button size, response and layout, the size of the calculator and horizontal format just seems to work so well. RPN has also been such a revelation to me throughout the last year or so that I've been using it.


Thanks again,

Zac
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08-08-2017, 02:13 AM (This post was last modified: 08-08-2017 02:15 AM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #20
RE: 17bii, 17bii+ and 30B, or "Why did the 30B die?"
There were two major issues with the 30b.

1. The "metal" look was done using a process that was designed for (at the time) high end cell phones. That manufacturing process is for very high volume (like each roll does 50 million units, but quite expensive for the volumes calculators sell at. Unfortunately, someone (huzzah ID...) didn't do the research and the printed foil that gets sandwiched into the plastic "expires" after 1 year. So basically, they (the company with the proprietary process) refused to make any more without buying another roll of expensive foil after using only a fraction of it. Cost wise, it wasn't feasible to do another roll and hence that killed it right there.

2. The 20/30B just wasn't selling at the levels wanted. Basically, it was "new" and nobody (calculator vendors) could understand why they should sell that vs the already selling fine 12C, the exising 10<something> calculator (they don't have any idea, just know that the HP 10 unit sells fine), and the BA-II TI units. Even though you could basically use the 20/30B as a direct drop in replacement for the BA-II textbooks and materials, nobody could effectively communicate that to anyone.

So there you go. Nothing to do with microprocessor.

TW

Although I work for the HP calculator group, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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