HP48 FAQ Section 2: Miscellaneous Questions
Start by perusing the HP48 manuals. You'd be amazed how many questions can be answered if you read the manuals.
Earlier HP48 S/SX manuals came in two volumes. The first volume dealt with operating instructions, and the second volume dealt with programming. Later HP48 S/SX manuals combined these two volumes into one.
HP48 G/GX models come with a one-volume owners manual that covers all of the non-programming aspects of the calculator. An Advanced User's Reference (AUR) is available that covers programming aspects. It is highly recommended. They also come with a Quick Start Guide, a guided tour of some of the HP48's capabilities.
Also, look over the section "Answers to Common Questions", in Appendix A of the manual. If you have a two-volume manual, it will be in volume II.
Primary HP48 newsgroup.
Occasionally, HP48 information is posted to this newsgroup.
This newsgroup has been dead for years, but was once a moderated group for HP48 Programs.
Is a spanish newsgroup for the HP48.
Articles posted to the newsgroup comp.sys.hp48 are archived at ftp://wuarchive.wustl.edu/usenet/comp.sys.hp48/. Articles are archived by year and month, with a general index covering approximately the past two years.
The AltaVista search engine at http://www.altavista.digital.com also accesses these archives (for a Usenet search), and automatically uncompresses any relevant articles you may select.
DejaNews http://www.dejanews.com/ is another fast Usenet archiver/searcher, with many extra features such as Author profile and article search. The only drawback is that it strips attachments from posts (uuencode, MIME) to save space.
Another good way to find HP48 posts is through one of the various search engines available on the web. For example, Netscape, Lycos, and Magellan and others all seem to be able to find Usenet articles on the HP48. The search may even find articles that have long since expired from your local news server!
Many HP48 programs can be found on the following FTP sites:
Rather than list out a long list of HP48 related WWW resources, here is a single HP48 Page which contains links to other HP48 pages:
Another well maintained site is http://www.hpcalc.org/.
Yes, try connecting to an EFNet server and join channel #hp48. Many of the most knowledgeable HP48 users frequent it, making it a nice place to get your questions answered. There are even two IRC robots (hp48b and RPL) on the channel. The following information will get you started:
First, download an appropriate IRC client. Collection of clients are available at http://www.irchelp.org or ftp://ftp.undernet.org/
Second, find a working EFNet server and join #hp48. A list of servers is given at http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/networks/servers/efnet.html
If you know the all or part of the filename of an HP48 program, you can use the proper Internet search services instead of bothering all the readers of the newsgroup. The following server is especially good, it seems to find HP48 files from just about anywhere.
There is a CD-ROM called the X-Philes on the market that includes many HP48 files. See the next question for more details.
Toll Free: (800) 788-8080
This is another company on the web that sells HP handhelds, including the HP48. Their address is http://www.wholesaleproducts.com or you can mail inquiries to <email@example.com>
The Mall At Wholesale Products 400 West Cummings Park Suite 1725-122 Woburn, MA 01801 781-438-8622 (Telephone, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Boston time) 781-438-8307 (FAX, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Connections Incorporated (formerly Connection Point, Inc.) 50 South River Street, Suite 105, Janesville, WI 53545 Tel: (608)-752-9548 or (608)-752-1537 Oxford Educational Supplies (U.K.) Tel: 01869 343369 (mail order) Notes: No shipping charge for within U.K. Spectrum Office Equipment 22 Stokes Croft Bristol (U.K.). 0117 9428278 Best (Western U.S., used to be La Belles) 1-800-950-2378 Calculators Inc., Minneapolis, MN, U.S. (612) 866-8908 Carrington, (800) 982-3731 J&R Music World - Computer World 1-800-221-8180 Office Depot (U.S. and Canada) Service Merchandise (East Coast U.S.)
EduCalc, which had been one of the best sources for HP48's and accessories, went out of business on 31 December 1997.
Yes, there are a few CD-ROMs with HP48 software I know of:
The most current set of files at http://www.hpcalc.org/ is always available on a custom burnt CD-R. Details are at the same URL.
The X-Philes is a CD-ROM made by Synchron Data that contains most HP48 programs to date. All together the CD-ROM contains over 21,000 files and more than 620 MB of information, mostly zipped.
The HP48 sections contain 3194 files and make up 38.5 MB of the total. This includes all of the Goodies disks (aka Horn disks) 1 through 10.
There are also files for HP95, Psion, TI-82 and TI-85 calculators, as well as information and programs on:
Jokes, Star Trek, Sports, Midi, History, Strange files, Conspiracy, Law and Business, Internet & Networks, Atari, BBS-Systems, Hardware, Computers, 3D-Objects, Anarchy, Hacking, Movies, X-Files, Music, Magazines, Science, UFO and Aliens, Occult, Security & Privacy, Amiga, Cyberspace, Subcultures, Radio, Virus hunting, Survival, Phreaking, PC utilities, Game cheats and levels, and Programming.
The CD comes with easy to use Windows software for browsing and searching for keywords. This software contains an upload feature that allows you to transfer programs directly to your HP (or modem) using X-Modem.
More information on obtaining the X-Philes CD-ROM is at:
Synchron Data Tranbarsvagen 25:14 372 38 Ronneby Sweden
There is a CD-ROM by a German company called Yellow Computing named SHAREWARE Volume 1 for Hewlett-Packard. It sells for DEM 49.80 (U.S.$ 34.00), and is distributed from:
Yellow Computing Phone +49 7136 951143 Computersysteme GmbH Fax +49 7136 951111 Postfach 1136 D-74173 Bad Friedrichshall Germany
This is the German company which offers PC <-> HP-48 transfer cables together with Windows software for transfering files (the "Transfile Win 48" package).
The CD-ROM comes with a 16 page booklet in German and English which shows how to use the included Windows 3.1 transfer program (with program and catalogue files in both languages).
It's sampled in Aug 95, pressed Oct 95 and contains about 85 MB of software for the HP48 SX/GX, 95LX, 100LX and 200LX; the Horn disks 1 through 9, and about 710 additional HP-48 programs in the 9 categories: Animation, Data, Games, Graphic, Programming, Maths, Memory, Science, Utility and Communications. It also has about 200 other unsorted, compressed HP48 files. Decompression software is included.
It's not an ISO CD-ROM, since it contains directories and files, whose names contain exclamation marks, hyphens and dollar signs.
This collection contains 13,611 files for a total of 314 MB of compressed software for HP Handhelds. The principal groups of this collection are:
Platform files total 30 MB, additional documentation is 18 MB, various collections including the Horn disks and SysRPL collection total 106 MB, and finally 58 MB of information from HP groups around the world.
For more information, orders, and pricing send e-mail to <email@example.com>
This is another German CD issued by Harald Kresin and Franz Lorenz. It contains roughly 67 MB of HP Software. Their web page is http://home.t-online.de/home/05713201317 and their e-mail is <firstname.lastname@example.org;
Their address is
Franz Lorenz Pocketcomputer & Zubehoer Bruchstr. 51, D-32423 Minden Germany
Jake Schwartz maintains a list of videotapes of HP handhelds meetings / demos / conferences going back as far as 1986 and the intro of the HP18C. They are available at relatively low cost to anyone who is interested. The URL is http://www.waterw.com/~jake-s/video.htm.
A fully functional HP48 emulator by Eddie Dost called "x48" is available. It runs in X-Windows on any Unix based operating system like Linux or Solaris. However, it requires a ROM dump of an HP48 to run. Of course, due to copyright laws such a ROM dump cannot be distributed with the x48 package.
Therefore, you must be the proud owner of an HP48 (S/SX or G/GX) in order to create your own ROM dump. The emulator will look and act either like a S/SX or a G/GX, depending on what type of ROM dump you give it. Further instructions are contained in the x48 package itself. The latest version of x48 is available at http://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/pc/emulators/
There is also a freeware emulator for Windows called Emu48. It is written by Sebastien Carlier, and runs under either Windows 95 or NT. It offers many exciting features, including fast speed, saving of memory, direct loading of files onto the stack, a greatly customizable interface, and support for ports through 33. It supports both S/SX and G/GX ROM dumps, and comes with a "RomDump Wizard" to help you create one.
The binaries and full C++ source code, distributed under the GNU Public License, as well as more information, are available at http://www.epita.fr:8000/~sebc/Emu48/. There are also a series of "Unofficial Service Packs" available at http://privat.swol.de/ChristophGiesselink/.
An emulator for the HP38, based on Emu48 has also been created. It is available at http://www.epita.fr/~avenar_j/hp/38.html
There is also an HP48 S/SX/G/GX Emulator for Amiga computers called Alcuin. See http://www.cis.tu-graz.ac.at/home/schupfer/Alcuin/index.html for more information.
Emulators for the HP48 generally require an image of your HP48's internal ROM, also known as a "ROM Dump". Currently the best program to make a dump of your ROM is ROMDump Wizard by Christoph Giesselink. It is available at http://privat.swol.de/ChristophGiesselink/
From: Jack Levy
The S/SX/G/GX are allowed on the SAT's. The S/SX/G/GX are allowed on the SAT II Math IIc test, but no calculators are allowed on any of the others. The S/SX/G/GX are allowed on the AP Calculus exam. However, only the S/SX are allowed on the AP Chem and AP Physics exams because the G/GX has the built in equation library.
Update from: Sandler Rubin
As of 1996, HP 48G calculators are allowed on the physics and chemistry APs, but only for the free response section. All calculators are now banned on the multiple choice sections on the physics and chemistry APs. As for calculus, the HP 48G is allowed on one half of the multiple choice and all of the free response. The other half of the multiple choice on the calculus test must be completed without any calculator.
These changes have occurred because the AP tests are now more conceptual and depend less on pure "number-crunching". In the free response sections of the chemistry and physics tests, lists of important physics equations are include for student use which basically make the HP 48G EqLib redundant.
Update from: John Goerzen
After a lot of discussion with Candance Noble <Noble@act.org> of ACT, they changed their policy to allow it only if the IR port is covered with opaque tape. Their response follows:
This notice is in response to questions ACT has received about acceptable calculators. Please pass this clarification on to others.
Effective Fall 1996, examinees may use calculators on the ACT Assessment and PLAN Mathematics Tests. Students taking the ACT Assessment should review page 3 of Registering for the ACT Assessment. Students taking PLAN should review page 4 of the Planning Guide for Students and Parents. All makes and models of calculators are acceptable -- including programmable calculators and hinged calculators with mathematical formulas printed by the manufacturer on the inside flap -- provided the calculator does not have any of the unacceptable features specified in the ACT publications noted above and further clarified below. Examinees using unacceptable calculators will be dismissed from testing.
The following information is provided to help students select an acceptable calculator if they choose to use one on the ACT Assessment or PLAN Mathematics Test.
All such devices are prohibited.
Such models are readily recognizable due to the pen or stylus used to input data. All such devices are prohibited.
The term QWERTY derives from the first six letter keys (left to right) of the top row of typewriters, personal computers, most handheld and laptop computers, pocket organizers, and specialized calculators. All models with QWERTY keyboards are prohibited.
If a calculator has a feature that provides paper output, the paper must be removed to make the calculator acceptable.
Calculators that have a "talking" or audio feature are acceptable in a group testing situation only if the sound feature has been turned off.
Calculators that can communicate (transfer data or information) wirelessly with other calculators can be recognized by the "window" or infrared data port on the top edge of the calculator, similar to one on a television remote control. Such calculators are acceptable only if the wireless transfer capability is disabled by placing opaque material (such as masking tape) over the infrared data port.
If a calculator can run on either battery or electrical cord, the electrical cord must be removed to make the calculator acceptable.
On May 21st, 1999, at the OpenHP Conference in Paris, France, Hewlett Packard announced the HP49G graphic calculator. The following information comes from Jean-Yves Avenard of HP's ACO (Australian Calculator Operation).
FOR(i,1,100) DISP(i,1); IF I+1-5==50 THEN DISP("Hello World",2) ELSE DISP("I'm off",2) END STEP(1)
The HP49 is the most powerful calculator ever announced at any time. It works in two ways: one fully compatible with the HP48 series, including RPN but faster, and the other algebraic, easy for users of other calculator brands to learn to use.
Although you may not agree with some of the specifications above, please wait until you touch it before complaining. After all, the HP49 was developed by HP48 users and tested by HP48 users!
For more information, visit the HP Calculator Archive at http://www.hpcalc.org/
From: Chin-Yu Hsu <email@example.com>
What are the differences between the HP48 and the TI?
Before listing the differences, I wish to let you know that the HP48 has much more functionality than the TI's. However, these additional functions are usually of no help in high school than the TI. Instead, they are only helpful in college depending on the course you take. The TI is probably a better choice on tests in high school since it is easier to use (to most people) and does calculations faster (because it offers speed at the expense of the higher precision of the HP48). Please note that the HP also offers the HP38 which is more comparable to a TI-82.
Also, you should realize that if you want support for the graphing calculator, the HP48 is the one to get. Although you can get support from Texas Instrument (by phone and by web), and also by teachers in school, you can get support for the HP48 from a larger group in the world. There are far more web sites related to the HP48 than to the TI graphing calculators. Also, the HP48 has its own newsgroup and its own IRC channel (usually up 24 hours a day and maintained by a bot that can send you programs at your request). Please note that although the calculation and graphing capabilities may not be available for a particular calculator, you can usually download a program that extends such a capability to it.
If you find that part of the information below is incorrect, please tell me about it. You may need to provide additional proof, if I am unable to confirm it. Any additional information on the TI-92 is helpful because much about it is still a mystery.
Calculator HP38 HP48(2) TI-82(3) TI-85 TI-92 List Price(4) $109 $135/$265 $125 $135 $250 Available Mem.(5) 32KB 32/128KB 28.2KB 28.2KB 70.0KB Batteries Req.(6) 3AAA 3AAA 4AAA+1 4AAA+1 4AA+1 Plug-in Cards No Yes(7) No No Yes (Plus) Infrared Transmit. Yes Yes(8) No No No Wire Transmit. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Cal-to-PC trans(9) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Overhead display Yes Yes(10) Yes Yes Yes CBL support(11) No No* Yes Yes Yes QWERTY keys(12) No No* No No Yes Screen capture Yes Yes via link via link via link Screen Resolution 131x64 131x64 96x62 128x64 240x128 Character Display 22x8 22x8 16x8 21x8 ?????
Calculator HP38 HP48(2) TI-82(3) TI-85 TI-92 Simple Eq. Solver Yes Yes No Yes Yes Simult. Eq. Solver ????? Yes No Yes Yes Poly. Root Finder No limit No limit No 30th order Yes # of matrices 10 No limit 5 No limit No limit max matrix size(12) No limit 125x125 15x15 30x30 99x999
Calculator HP38 HP48(2) TI-82(3) TI-85 TI-92 Simultaneous Graph Up to 10 No limit Up to 10 Up to 99 Up to 99 Zoom features 14 15 13 15 ????? Graph Tracing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fnc. Value Tables Yes No Yes No Yes Parametric Graphs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Polar Graphs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Recur. Seq. Graphs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Diff. Graphs No Yes No No No Conic Graphs No Yes No No No 3-D graphs No 7 types No No Yes Area under Curve No Yes Yes Yes Yes Extremum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Roots Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Slopes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Tangent Lines No Yes No No ???
Calculator HP38 HP48(2) TI-82(3) TI-85 TI-92 Scatter Graphs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes X-Y line Graphs No No No No Yes Box-Whisker Plots Yes No Yes No Yes Histogram Plots Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Regression Graphs No Yes Yes Yes Yes Bar Graphs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Truth Graphs Yes Yes No No No
From: Bernard Parisse
is not factored on the TI92).
The Universal Font Library, or UFL for short, is a set of libraries designed to help reduce the overhead of replacement fonts between a number of major HP48 programs. The basic idea is instead of each program containing its own replacement font(s), the fonts are stored in a cetral library to save room. In addition, the UFL comes with a Font Maintenance Library (FMnt).
If you use some of the programs in the Best Programs List, you may find you need a particular UFL library installed in order to use the program. The UFL is maintained by Andre Schoorl and is distributed under the GNU General Public License. For more information and to obtain the UFL package, see http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~aschoorl/ufl/.
If you like a smaller font, I would recommend TED by Mika Heiskanen, or MiniWriter by Jean-Yves Avenard. Both use FNT1 from the Universal Font Library (UFL) to allow font customization and to save space.
MiniWriter is very small and fast, and has cut, copy, paste, and search features. It is available at http://www.epita.fr/~avenar_j/
TED has slightly more features, such as a character map, but as a result is larger. TED is based on ED, which is the editor that comes with the Jazz library. The latest version is available at http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~aschoorl/.
If you prefer the medium font, I would recommend HP-Writer by Paquot Christophe. It's quite small, fast, and uses FNT2 from the UFL. Its features include cut, copy, and paste, as well as a macro key and built in User RPL key support. However, it only works on G/GX. The current version is available at http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Lab/1930/.
Other editors include StringWriter, also by Jean-Yves Avenard, which is a very complete and full featured library. EDEN, by HPFox, is another popular editor in France. Another is QED, which was originally written by Lutz Vieweg but is now maintained by Rick Grevelle.
Yes, there are several fonts on the Goodies Disks (see the Appendix), as well as some TrueType fonts available at http://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/pc/misc/
No. There is no electronic version of the HP48 serial number. This was apparently considered by the design team, but it was determined that the costs would greatly outweigh the benefits.
The HP48 serial number is printed on the back of the HP48, just above the battery compartment. There are two different serial number formats. The older format was used when the HP48 was first introduced and continued through the first part of 1997. The newer format has been used on HP palmtops since about 1993 and was started on the HP calculators in the first part of 1997.
The new serial numbers are in this format:
Place of manufacture (new two-letter code)
The known codes are:
Year of manufacture. This represents the last digit of the year. A 7 would mean 1997.
Week of manufacture (01-53).
The unit number for that week. (first unit on Monday is 00001)
For example, if your serial number were
SG72706543, the unit was the
6543rd unit manufactured in Singapore during the 27th week of 1997.
The old serial numbers are in this format:
The year the unit was made (add 1960 to this value)
Week of manufacture (01-53).
The manufacturing location (A for America, S for Singapore)
The unit number for that week. (first unit on Monday is 00001)
For example, if your serial number were
3321S07509, the unit was the
7,509th unit manufactured in Singapore during the 21st week of 1993.