Author Topic: What's your calculator of choice?  (Read 7982 times)

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Offline rossmoffettTopic starter

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What's your calculator of choice?
« on: January 31, 2010, 01:39:53 am »
I was browsing through the HP calculator museum forums when I saw Dave's name come up in a thread about the wrist-watch calculator.  I looked at the specs and it occurred to me that he must be an HP calculator user too..

I've been using a TI-86 for years because it has built-in constants and unit conversions which were extremely useful for engineering and physics class.  It was stolen recently, so I researched a replacement and decided on the HP 50g.

For those who don't know, the HP calculators are a different class of calculator entirely from the standard.  They offer RPN data entry, and the 50g supports an SD card with up to 2 gb of memory!  In addition, it comes with an equation library filled with the standards in physics and engineering courses, with diagrams to match!  It also includes built-in unit tools and a huge constant library.  I never thought about giving up my TI until this, now I don't ever want a TI again!

What kind of calculator do you use for your engineering/science/math needs?
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Offline XynxNet

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 02:32:47 am »
I work in physics and until three month ago I used an old TI 36X Solar. Unfortunatly the multiply-key broke.
I also own an Ti-82, an Casio CFX-9850GB Plus and an TI-92, but for me these calculators suffer from feature overkill and are to complicated for everyday use. I don't need their special features for handheld use.
For  scientific data evaluation I use Maple, Mathematica or custom software.

I often wonder, who might be the intended target group for the midrange and toprange calculators. On the one hand they have a lot of features, which are complicated to use. On the other hand these features are quite limited compared to modern math-software like Maple, Mathematica, etc.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 02:42:23 am by XynxNet »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 02:50:22 am »
Actually I'm not a HP fanboy, although I do have a couple of HP's, I rarely use them. I hang out at the MoHPC forum because there are a good bunch of calculator design nuts there.
I prefer the Casio non-VPAM scientifics, I rarely have need for a programmable.
I love designing calculators, and my latest is the uCalc, details on the forum somewhere.

Dave.
 

Offline rossmoffettTopic starter

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 04:37:01 am »
I often wonder, who might be the intended target group for the midrange and toprange calculators. On the one hand they have a lot of features, which are complicated to use. On the other hand these features are quite limited compared to modern math-software like Maple, Mathematica, etc.

Field/application engineers, in my case.. The features are complicated to use, especially with this new and different calculator.  I've spent days learning how to even do the basics, but with a 75Mhz ARM processor and the ability to accept GCC it's easy to put some application-specific software on there.  I noticed a lot of truss solving programs for people in building/bridge design and a centrifugal pump solver for people working with fluids. 

Those are two examples of problems that you might hit in the field and need to make phone calls and wait for answers, while a lot of people stand around doing nothing.  In those cases, a laptop might be cumbersome to use in the field and take time booting up where a handheld calculator is handy.  For example, once during my oil field internship someone had decided to swap a centrifugal pumps electric motor for one of a higher speed so the flow would increase, but did not increase the power.  Of course it was not able to handle the torque, and then a group of people collected to look at it and scratch their heads for what to do.  After a half hour, someone called a supplier, and after another half hour, the correct motor/pump combination was decided.  This is a pretty common problem, and if the persons responsible for those decisions had some field resource available to make the decisions I think it would have been correct the first time.  The field persons in this case did not have ruggedized laptops for travel and there's hardly room for a library of tables, I hope I can find ways to work that out for myself with this calculator.

It'll probably see 90% of its use while I finish college though, and in this case the huge equation library, constants library and math manipulation tools are essential to make the curve.

Actually I'm not a HP fanboy, although I do have a couple of HP's, I rarely use them. I hang out at the MoHPC forum because there are a good bunch of calculator design nuts there.
I prefer the Casio non-VPAM scientifics, I rarely have need for a programmable.
I love designing calculators, and my latest is the uCalc, details on the forum somewhere.

Dave.

The uCalc was the reason I was looking at the thread that I saw your name in.  It's a neat little toy, I took a little trip to SparkFun and it had me musing about whether any of their miniature OLED touchscreens might be suitable for a wristwatch calculator.  Same as with your design though, the enclosure is pretty difficult to come by, and your elegant solution wouldn't fit a touchscreen quite the same.  Then there's battery life, LOL!
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 05:13:10 am »
The uCalc was the reason I was looking at the thread that I saw your name in.  It's a neat little toy, I took a little trip to SparkFun and it had me musing about whether any of their miniature OLED touchscreens might be suitable for a wristwatch calculator.  Same as with your design though, the enclosure is pretty difficult to come by, and your elegant solution wouldn't fit a touchscreen quite the same.  Then there's battery life, LOL!

Yeah, the battery life is the killer for the OLED display, LCD is the only viable option
Any calc watch design is limited by the keyboard interface, and I have several options for my Mk2 uWatch, if I ever get around to finishing them!

Dave.
 

Andrew

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 09:53:12 am »
What kind of calculator do you use for your engineering/science/math needs?

Like so many engineers HP. And it is the classic story. An HP28. I bought it new as a student, it was a huge investment for a student, and I had to work odd jobs to earn the money. I still use it  regularly. It is just sitting 30 cm away from me at the moment.

When it comes to electronic devices it is the best investment I ever made. It is the piece of electronic I own longest and still use. It has earned its money a thousand times or more. I own older electronics stuff that I use, but that was typically bought surplus and I don't own it as long as the HP.

It will be a sad day when my HP28 breaks. HP doesn't make calculators the way they used to make them decades ago. Some time ago HP even closed down their whole calculator design unit. They rebuild it later, now largely selling OEM stuff designed for HP by some Asian company, running HP48 emulator software to make the classic stuff work. For me they have transformed from the leading innovator of pocket calculator technology to just a "me  too" company.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 02:10:07 pm by Andrew »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 10:03:21 am »
Everyone likes to talk about the longevity of the old HP's, but to be honest other calcs can last just as long as well. I have a couple of budget Casios that still work great after more than 20 years.

Dave.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2010, 01:15:14 pm »
It depends on what you want.

For me I'm happy with my Casio fx-991ES because it has all the functions I need and more.

If you want a cheap but very powerful calculator buy an old laptop. :D
 

GeekGirl

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2010, 01:18:48 pm »
I love my Casio Fx 100au, does all I need and more.

It lives with my laptop, usually you will find me doing a design (eg filter) with ADS09 and using the calculator to work out component values (too hard to alt tab over to the windows calc, easier to stay in AD)
 

Offline armandas

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2010, 01:24:36 pm »
I also own a Casio fx-991ES, since these calcs are approved by my university (for exams). Casio is very easy to use.

I had HP-15C emulator on my phone for some time, and it's funky. I quite liked the RPN and would buy such a calculator just for the awesomeness :)

When I'm on my laptop though, nothing can replace python command line interpreter.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 01:26:28 pm by armandas »
 

Offline Murphy

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2010, 06:11:28 pm »
TI92+ for heavy stuff (good equation solver, easy to program with the keyboard), Spacetime on an ipaq for basic graphing (pretty and fast), Casio fx-115s for everything else.
Love the button layout on the Casio, don't know what I'll do if it breaks
 

Offline yoshiki

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2010, 06:27:02 pm »
TI-Voyage 200!

I simply love the full keyboard!!!
 

Offline charliex

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2010, 09:16:28 pm »
casio fx6000g i've had for a long time, bought and it used it when i was working on the old computer game elite, that was a while ago! even made a little 3d renderer on it.

i want to like RPN's but its hard switching :)
 

Offline desolatordan

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Re: What's your calculator of choice?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 04:39:40 am »
TI-89 all the way! Symbolic variables are soooo nice.
 


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