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Archive for October 10th, 2011

HP-48GX Calculator Disassembly: Case Rivets

The keyboard on my trusty HP 48GX calculator finally deteriorated to the point of unusability, so I tore the thing apart following the useful instructions there. The warning about applying force to the rivets that hold the case halves together gives you not the faintest concept of how much force is actually required to pry the mumble thing apart at the battery compartment; I finally invoked force majeure with a chisel scraper

HP-48GX case rivets

HP-48GX case rivets

I expected the calculator would not survive this operation and I wasn’t disappointed.

An HP 50g is now in hand. Here in late 2011 I’d expect HP’s top-of-the-line RPN calculator to sport a crisp high-resolution display, but noooo the low-contrast 131×80 LCD seems teleported directly from the latter part of the last millennium. The manuals are PDFs, which is OK, but their content is far inferior to the HP 48GX manuals. In particular, the editing / proofreading is terrible. I infer that the HP calculator division can barely fog a mirror and is on advanced life support; HP’s diverting all their money to, uh, executive buyouts or some other non-productive purpose.

The fact that HP sells new-manufacture HP 15C calculators doesn’t crank my tractor, even though I lived and died by one for many years. A one-line 7-segment display doesn’t cut it any more, even if the new machinery inside allegedly runs like a bat out of hell.

My HP 16C, now, that one you’ll pry out of my cold, dead hands. At one point in the dim past, I’d programmed the Mandelbrot iteration into it to provide bit-for-bit verification of the 8051 firmware for the Mandelbrot Engine array processor I did for Circuit Cellar: slow, but perfect. That calculator has a low duty cycle these days, but when I need it, I need it bad.

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