Musings and comments about our common interest
I make reference to this post from Ángel Martin, the developer of so many ROMs that we love to use (the Sandmath series of ROMs have been a permanent plug in my HP41CL memory). It includes some of the programs and exercises created by Valentín. While we are always in search of interesting programs, I bet that you will like more the accompanying articles. These are also referenced in Ángel Martín's article.
As an appetizer of what you can see there, there is a chess program! Due to the size of the printout of a chess table and the memory requirements, Valentin decided to settle on a 5x5 net instead of the standard 8x8 - but it is extremely interesting! The post provides the the manual that describes how to play it. It does not check the legality of your moves - but it does calculate its moves! Do not expect a fantastic performance, but with 50 times the speed of the original, it may amount to something.
Normally, it would require either fill in the program by hand (listing provided) or by barcodes (it requires to have the old HP41 barcode), but you don't need that if you have an HP41CL: you can upload the module with the seral cable and your computer!!
We have applied the same solution that we created for the lower posts to the upper posts: a grip that clips on the keyboard circuit, and strengthtens the grip with the introduction of the screws.
In the case of the upper posts there was a requirement to drill anyway - so it doesn't change the original procedure. But the piece has the same 3-petal grip that we use for the lower post:
The connection strengthtens when the screw is put in, since it makes pressure to the sides of the post and makes sure it doesn't move. We plan to put it in production already!!
We have received a new shipment of repair kits and we're going to produce the assembled repair kits off them.
What is an assembled repair kit? As we know that many of you (myself included) have fear of folding and adhering the flexible repair kit to an old, damaged battery plastic body, Nacho does for us. So far, it consumes a damaged old battery body - so it has to be taken from calculator bodies damaged beyond repair.
Hopefully one day I will set myself to create a 3D body that can be used for the purpose - but I haven't got the time so far. T
he assembled repair kit is a drop-in part for damaged-corroded battery contacts in the hp41c family of advanced scientific calculators. It solves the main issue that plagues old 41c units.
These days we have changed our web server. This was the reason that we had the website down for half a day during the morning of last Wednesday. I hope that the increase speed can provide a better site navigation. I also apologize in case you wanted to enter and could not do it.
Coming back to business: I have received a mail from the friends at Swissmicro.com, the ones that provided the credit card-sized HP15c. I have a couple of units of an early version; later versions were much better made and good looking.
The message was to announce the creation of the HP41c in exactly the same format. It can use alphanumerics, comes with a proper clock (so you don’t need the time module - it is included) and it even has overlays for stopwatch and others. I look forward to get some units. You can find it here:
Some sad stories in Ebay.
As many of you, I have been purchasing items in Ebay for both my own collection and for the shop. Most of the times you get good material - never a bargain, but what it is advertised. Then you find some guys that are quite liberal with adjectives - in particular, “working condition” and “good shape”. But in most cases they try to help.
But then you have a third type: those that give you a crappy product and then play with you. The aim is to dance with you until the 45 days period since the purchase has elapsed. A recent case comes to my mind. I bought an HP41c calculator sold as working. It took some time to arrive, in a plastic envelope, without any protection, dirty, battered, and, of course, not working. I paid for it “working” price, and it was in such a poor state that I did not venture into repairing it - I could have not sold it in such a state. I arranged the return of the calculator, which took some other days, since the delivery address was wrong, and then wait…and wait… and wait for the refund. “Do you want it in your account or in Paypal” “if in Paypal, then I need to put funds in it”. And then silence… the 45 days had elapsed.
Just in case you find him: the name is Pablo Alvarez Llinas, and his Ebay user name is beaviisb. In today’s world, anonymity is impossible. In linked he appears as working for HP Delivery Services.
I have another case, concerning an HP85 - but that’ll be the object of another installment of “shady calculator stories”
We have just included a number of additional hp41c items in the website:
In the next days we will include other items:
This way, we’ll populate the “HP41c corner” of our website. The old HP41c continues to be the most interesting calculator ever made!
Due to our work in converting HP41c into HP41CL, we have had to buy many calculators in internet. This has resulted in a number of calculators that were in less than pristine state. In fact, many of them had been repaired, and had fallen in the same traps again and again (by the way, the same traps I fell myself when starting, until a friend took me out of that ignorance!)
The typical part that always breaks first in a HP41 is the lower screw posts. The second is -guess it?- the upper screw post, but this time not the support in the main body of the calculator, but the part that supports the head of the screw in the back side of the calculator.
The third part that tends to be damaged is the battery bay contacts - but we have discussed it already - see our Repair kit page for more detail and how to solve the problem.
And when the problem happens, everyone retorts to the typical glue these days: a Cyanoacrylate compound, that dissolves plastic and makes a mess of the rest (apart from not being too good in resistance once dried, due to the damaging of the plastic used by HP. Here is an example on our right: you can see the state in which the posts are now.
In the versions of the HP41c that can be converted in HPCL, these posts are abosolutely critical to ensure that the board and the main body of the calculator make good contact.
On the other hand, a calculator that seems to be completely broken can in many cases be repaired with just putting good attention in fixing the posts, so that even pressure is achieved.
It is good practice not to tighten too much the screws once repaired. No only due to the possibility of breaking them beyond repair (you need to be aware that these calculators are 30 years old already!), but because it affect the much-loved HP keyboard feel! The difference can be appreciated between keys in the middle of the keyboard and keys just above the posts. This is not too agreable!
Coming back to the repair. The key for avoiding the problem just cited is to use a "hybrid" type of glue. Here below you can see an example that works well:
This product does not dissolve the plastic and creates a lasting bond. Test it!
I had just received 10 more units of the flexible adhesive circuit used to repair the destroyed battery bays of many HP41c machines. I put it up in the website at 3h15. The 10 units had flown by 19h00 !
When talking with the producer, I asked him for 15 units more - but he only has 10 for me. I have ordered them immediately.
This is a fantastic part, that has helped to revive many calculators. It is a pity that so many HP41c, for many the best calculator ever, are in non-working condition due to rust contacts. This product is well conceived, elengant in its application, works well and lasts long..
The current batch of HP 41c battery connector repair kit are leaving us much faster than the first time. There was a comment in the web, whereby the user found that it was quite difficult to find the product in the search engines. I will now put it as first in the accessories list, so that it is easier to find it in the web; and also will announce it in google adwords.
If you have not seen it, I will make a brief description of it. If you have seen HP 41c/cv/cx in internet, you will find that a good number of them have rusted connectors. In many cases, this rusting impedes connection and therefore the calculator does not function. Many otherwise good HP 41c are not used and sold at discount prices, while the rest of the circuit does work (there are very few calculators that have a real circuit failure - it is either the connectors or the screw posts that are broken and do not provide enough pressure)
Diego Diaz designed a printed circuit in a foldable, adhesive material, that can be used to replace the original, rusted one. He has also prepared a short instruction sheet that make clear how to do it. So far, all users that have bought it from us have succeeded. The HP 41c repair kit is for everyone!
Be sure to download the instruction sheet that you can find in our website to make sure you don’t spoil your repair kit circuit.
You can see in the pictures that the result is impressive. However, I think that it is important to follow the instruction to “cook” it at 90º, so that the bends in the flexible circuit remain.
It is a pity that so many calculators are thrown out and discarded, when a fast, clean and elegant solution is available.
Should you think that it is still too much for you, you can try contacting us to do the repair for you at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are in Europe, or to www.fixthatcalc.com if you are located in the US. They have fixed rates for repair, while we do prefer to see the calculator and then quote (in many cases a few pictures will suffice)
The HP 41c is the most successful calculator in HP’s history. While HP has never revealed the total number of 41s produced, it seems to be week over the million. Due to their robustness, many of the are still in use. And due to its easy programmability, they can still be used successfully for many applications where a graphic calculator is not required.
I had the opportunity to purchase a defective fullnut HP41c, in pristine state, a couple of weeks ago. When testing it, in front of the vendor, it was sad to see it was not working. On the other hand, the keyboard feel was excellent, and all ports and battery compartment were in good shape, and I figured that it could at least be a good spare parts source.
This was the unit I got. When seeing how well it felt, I opened it. It seemed that the only problem was the typical one: the screw posts broke down and the circuit did not press enough on the contacts. One fixed, it worked! But now I had something that could be converted in a HP41 CL. So I ordered one unit from Monte Dalrymple. Now it's on its way from the US. I ordered the whole bunch - including the serial connector.
I look forward to experiment with it.
If someone is willing to sell his fullnut 41c, please give me a call - I am interested!
On the other hand, I am looking to get the only thing that the HP41cl comes without: the time module. If you want to sell one, I am interested too!