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WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
03-28-2014, 03:01 PM (This post was last modified: 03-28-2014 03:05 PM by jebem.)
Post: #1
WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
Hi all WP-34S fans!

After looking out for a low cost RPN calculator from HP, like the 42S, and failing on that, I decided to re-purpose an HP-30B with the alleged excellent WP-34S project.

I know that I'm arriving late, but I still believe in the merits of such a machine.
I must say that I start using RPN calculators since the 70's (at school), but I like all kind of new technological environments, so I have got an HP-Prime as well... we need to keep our minds as open as possible.

To prepare the new calculator, I have ordered:
- One used HP-30B calculator from eBay (Italy, TheKingOfCalculators);
- Two sets of Keyboard Overlays from Eric ( http://commerce.hpcalc.org/overlay.php );
- One 32.768 KHz Quartz Crystal 20ppm DT-26 with two Ceramic Capacitors 12pF from eBay UK;

To make the serial cable (USB version for Windows PC, with internal 3.3Volt regulator to act as power supply to the calculator during the flash ROM programming), I've ordered:
- One USB to RS232 TTL serial cable adapter Model PC-PL2303HX Chipset from eBAy China;
- One DC/DC 4.5V-7V to 3.3V AMS1117-3.3V Power Supply Module from eBay China;
- 18 Crown Spring Loaded Pogo Pin JTAG from eBAy Canada;
- One small plastic box, two Push buttons (Reset and Erase), three LED's (Power, Reset and Erase) and a couple of 1Kohm resistors from a local shop.

Now I have to wait until all components are delivered, specially the China ones that can take more than 30 days to reach South Europe.

My question is:
As the KB Overlay stickers are printed on vinyl, what are your experience so far using the calculator? Does it stay over the keys after a few months of use? Does it wears out?

Thank You all for reading this!
Any feedback is very appreciated.

Cheers,
Jose

Jose Mesquita
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03-28-2014, 05:46 PM (This post was last modified: 03-28-2014 07:55 PM by Steve Simpkin.)
Post: #2
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
I created my WP 34s in late 2011 (V2.2 layout) and all of the labels look just as good as when I applied them. I don't use it every day but I do use it quite a bit. I believe the labels are vinyl with a clear coat applied after printing. I did thoroughly clean the keyboard area with an alcohol swab before I applied the labels.
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03-28-2014, 06:13 PM
Post: #3
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
Same observations here - two WP 34S in random use - lots of sunshine sometimes; both look like new. The older overlay is even from a very early run without coating.

IIRC, Gerson is a real WP 34S power user. He should know about the durability of those overlays in the real world.

d:-)
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03-28-2014, 06:17 PM
Post: #4
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
I have had my WP-34S for more than a year, and I am amazed at how well the stickers stay in place.
They show no signs of wear. The vinyl overlays are much better than I thought they would be.

I had thought that sliding the calculator in and out of the case would cause the stickers to come off, but
they are all just like new.

It is difficult to tell that the overlays are there. When I show the calculator to friends, they almost don't believe that the calculator wasn't manufactured that way. I have to show them an unconverted HP-30B before they
believe me.
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03-28-2014, 07:25 PM
Post: #5
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-28-2014 06:17 PM)BarryMead Wrote:  I have had my WP-34S for more than a year, and I am amazed at how well the stickers stay in place.
They show no signs of wear. The vinyl overlays are much better than I thought they would be.

I had thought that sliding the calculator in and out of the case would cause the stickers to come off, but
they are all just like new.

It is difficult to tell that the overlays are there. When I show the calculator to friends, they almost don't believe that the calculator wasn't manufactured that way. I have to show them an unconverted HP-30B before they
believe me.
I am unfortunately not as positive and even concerned that the overlay may not last very long. The bottom of the background is unsticking because of the case and some stickers on keys are rotating. To be fair, this is so far the weakest aspect of the 34s (that and complex numbers ;-) ) this and also the light weight of the calculator which I find unstable on the desktop. For the rest it is an amazing beast and I start using it instead of my legacy 15C (and the less legacy LE).
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03-28-2014, 07:54 PM
Post: #6
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
I recently ordered a WP 34S. I hope it comes with the double shot cast stickers.
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03-28-2014, 08:25 PM
Post: #7
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-28-2014 07:54 PM)colinh Wrote:  I recently ordered a WP 34S. I hope it comes with the double shot cast stickers.

Hopefully this doesn't mean that both sides of the stickers got the sticky stuff :-)

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03-28-2014, 10:39 PM
Post: #8
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
Thank You all for your input, Steve, Walter, Barry, Tugdual, Colinh, and Han!

Tugdual, sorry to know about these problems You are experiencing with the overlays. Maybe it is time for you to get another set of new overlays?

Basically what I've learn from your answers is that one needs to be very careful when preparing the calculator to receive the sticker overlays, to maximize its useful life. I have ordered a double set of overlays, just in case.

I have just received my HP-30B this evening at home. The order was set to http://stores.ebay.co.uk/TheKingOfCalculator .
The delivery was really fast - just 4 days from Italy to Portugal, using low cost non registered regular mail!

I plan to post here the progress of this build, but I guess that it will take a few weeks before I get the materials to make the USB to Serial cable that I've ordered from China suppliers.

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03-29-2014, 11:24 AM
Post: #9
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
On one of my 34s, the key labels have been lifting from a few keys since they were applied. I had to inject a small dab of white glue under the label and apply light pressure. Some glue leaked out, requiring some minor cleaning.

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03-29-2014, 01:58 PM
Post: #10
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-29-2014 11:24 AM)Sanjeev Visvanatha Wrote:  On one of my 34s, the key labels have been lifting from a few keys since they were applied. I had to inject a small dab of white glue under the label and apply light pressure. Some glue leaked out, requiring some minor cleaning.

Thanks for your input, Sanjeev!
It makes me wonder if the original glue was defective, or maybe one needs to do a real deep cleaning of the keyboard before applying the stickers?

I just found this interesting video from HHC 2011, where Eric Rechlin explains the design process, the materials options, and details of the final product.
Pity that the video recording was stopped just before Eric could show us the last part of his demonstration on how to apply the overlay on the HP-30B:
"HHC 2011: Making HP Calculator Overlays"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUlO9btnFpo

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03-29-2014, 02:55 PM
Post: #11
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-29-2014 01:58 PM)jebem Wrote:  I just found this interesting video from HHC 2011, where Eric Rechlin explains the design process, the materials options, and details of the final product.
Pity that the video recording was stopped just before Eric could show us the last part of his demonstration on how to apply the overlay on the HP-30B:

Don't be afraid. Application is easy and straightforward using common sense. No sticker ever will stay fixed on fat Wink but dry wiping did do in my cases.

d:-)
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03-30-2014, 04:07 PM (This post was last modified: 03-30-2014 04:10 PM by jebem.)
Post: #12
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-29-2014 02:55 PM)walter b Wrote:  (...) Application is easy and straightforward using common sense. No sticker ever will stay fixed on fat Wink but dry wiping did do in my cases.
d:-)

Thanks again, Walter.
I can't wait to have the KB Overlays in my (greasy) hands... Smile
I guess I will use alcohol to clean the HP-30B faceplate and keys from any fat/grease that is accumulating now with the usage.

By the way, I just detected a small issue with my HP-30B keyboard:
Intermittently, one full horizontal row stops being registered (shift, 1, 2, 3, and "-" keys). At first, I thought it was a failing CPU, because I had to do a hard reset several times before it recovers from this missing keys issue.
Then, I suspected that it could be just a bad contact, and twisted the case a little bit... and it works without the need for resets. So it seems it has some kind of bad contact or PCB track failure.
I will have to open it to install the xtal and caps, and then I will have a look on this issue.

Has anyone experienced this kind of issues with the HP-30B's?

Jose Mesquita
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03-30-2014, 07:39 PM
Post: #13
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
I recorded a new video showing how to build your own WP 34S:



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03-30-2014, 08:47 PM
Post: #14
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
Excellent video plenty of practical hints. Thanks for sharing this (I hope I had seen this before I applied stickers...)
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03-30-2014, 09:10 PM
Post: #15
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
Fantastic video, Eric. Thank you for preparing and sharing it! I appreciated the practical tips related to soldering and applying the overlay.

-- Sanjeev Visvanatha
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03-30-2014, 09:50 PM
Post: #16
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-30-2014 07:39 PM)Eric Rechlin Wrote:  I recorded a new video showing how to build your own WP 34S:

Wonderful video! As I said in my youtube comment:

Thanks Eric! I was watching the HHC video where you almost got started putting on the decals when the video cut off. It was great to see this demo. Even though I've done one myself, I learned several things about how to do it right!

-Jonathan
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03-30-2014, 10:47 PM (This post was last modified: 03-30-2014 11:00 PM by jebem.)
Post: #17
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-30-2014 07:39 PM)Eric Rechlin Wrote:  I recorded a new video showing how to build your own WP 34S:

Thank You so much, Eric!
Excellent professional work, I really enjoyed and learn from it.

By the way, from your experience, is it easy to remove the pcb to inspect the keyboard tracks, as my HP-30B is intermittently failing a single row?

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03-30-2014, 11:42 PM
Post: #18
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
I've never tried to remove the PCB. The keyboards have some serious quality control issues; I have boxes with dozens of 30b calculators that have one key that isn't quite as responsive as the rest, though I've never encountered one with intermittent problems as you describe.
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03-31-2014, 12:22 AM
Post: #19
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-30-2014 11:42 PM)Eric Rechlin Wrote:  I've never tried to remove the PCB. The keyboards have some serious quality control issues; I have boxes with dozens of 30b calculators that have one key that isn't quite as responsive as the rest, though I've never encountered one with intermittent problems as you describe.

Thanks, Eric.
I bought this one second hand from eBay (24.99 Euros inc. shipment).

Today, after looking to your demo video, I have opened as per your instructions.

The PCB seems to be fixed using plastic rivets that are not meant to be removed.
However, I detect a lot of solder resin flux around the battery connectors, covering a few pcb tracks, so I will unsolder them, clean the whole thing, and re-solder it back.
I have nothing to lose, because as it is now it's worthless. I will not return it because that will cause more delays and whining around.

The prices here in Europe are quite high for these HP-30B machines, compared to the asking prices in USA. I just prefer to order from our "local" sellers to save time, as posting from USA to Europe can take a few weeks to arrival (custom's control included...).

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03-31-2014, 01:39 AM
Post: #20
RE: WP-34S keyboard overlays wearing out?
(03-31-2014 12:22 AM)jebem Wrote:  
(03-30-2014 11:42 PM)Eric Rechlin Wrote:  I've never tried to remove the PCB. The keyboards have some serious quality control issues; I have boxes with dozens of 30b calculators that have one key that isn't quite as responsive as the rest, though I've never encountered one with intermittent problems as you describe.

Thanks, Eric.
I bought this one second hand from eBay (24.99 Euros inc. shipment).

Today, after looking to your demo video, I have opened as per your instructions.

The PCB seems to be fixed using plastic rivets that are not meant to be removed.
However, I detect a lot of solder resin flux around the battery connectors, covering a few pcb tracks, so I will unsolder them, clean the whole thing, and re-solder it back.
I have nothing to lose, because as it is now it's worthless. I will not return it because that will cause more delays and whining around.
Jabem,
I have removed the PCBs from 3 of my hp30B's with bad keyboard issues. The problem that mine had was the plastic pin behind the key was bent. Remove the pcb by cutting off the tops of the melted plastic heatstakes (rivets). Then do whatever repairs are appropriate. To put it back together, mount the pcb over the plastic stubs and apply a drop of 5 minute epoxy over each stub. I used rubber bands to hold the pcb and front case together until it dried. It worked on all 3 of mine. Good Luck.
Shawn
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