HP 41C calculator

From: Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed Nov 17 17:07:22 2004

> Hmmm... Maybe I should have kept the 41C after all. Oh well, maybe I'll
> find a working one some day...

You will.. They're not particularly rare (heck, if I can find them...)

> What makes it so much better than say an HP 48GX or even an HP 42S?

A lot!. Firstly the build quality is a lot better (the quality of HP
calculators really went down when they came out with the clamshell models
(18C, 28C, etc) and has kept on going down. Secondly they're very
different machines.

The HP48 series are good _calculators_. Everything you want is most
likely built-in. And that's why I use my 48SX, 48GX and 49G for

The 42S is, IMHO, a sick joke. It's a 41 with all the good stuff taken
out. No expansion, no I/O apart from the IR printer output. No extended
functions, none of the interesting stuff from the HP41 modules. OK, the
Advantage ROM is sort-of there, but that's the 41 module I use the least.
And you can't do synthetic programming on it [1].

The 41 is what I call a system calculator. On its own it's a nice
machine, but it's not got that much. But you can add stuff to it. I've
had my 41 talk to a disk drive, plotter, thinkjet printer, HPIB interface
to a logic analyser and a data logger all at the same time. Try that with
any other calculator (OK, the HP71 can do that too, of course...).
There's a down side to this, though. You may not think you'll want all
the add-ons, but you will. You'll spend many times the cost of the 41 on
add-ons, and your little calculator will end up taking over your

[1] Basically undocumented multi-byte user language instructions
'synthesised' by combining parts of other instructions. You can do things
like treating the alpha (text) register as 3 or 4 more numeric registers,
you can edit progam memory (or key assignments) from within a running
program, etc, etc, etc. You don't need any extra hardware for this
(unlike true machine code programming).

Received on Wed Nov 17 2004 - 17:07:22 GMT

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