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Anyone still use (RPN) calculators?
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Dork.
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Sep 26, 2007, 02:37 PM
 
I had gotten into the habit of doing calculations in Excel lately at work, but I changed jobs this year, and at my new job I've found things that just scream for having a calculating device on-hand. I like RPN calculators, since they match the way I think.

I pine for the HP48GX I used in College, but that broke a long time ago. Anyone has any recommendations for a good RPN calculator?
     
turtle777
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Sep 26, 2007, 03:28 PM
 
I had never heard of RPN calculators before.

I wiki'd it, but I'm not sure how usefull it would be for me

I'm an Excel-calculator person as well...

-t
     
wallinbl
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Sep 26, 2007, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I wiki'd it, but I'm not sure how usefull it would be for me
They're freaking amazing. There shouldn't be other calculators.
     
wallinbl
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Sep 26, 2007, 03:43 PM
 
I have a 48G that's still around from when I was in college. It's missing one of the rubber feet, so it wobbles and that drives me nuts.

I mostly use an HP 12C now because of the financial features (and the RPN).
     
Dork.  (op)
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Sep 26, 2007, 03:46 PM
 
RPN is good for engineering, especially when the display has multiple lines like my old HP did. I used the lines like a stack:

Typing "1" then enter would put a "1" onto the bottom of the "stack".
Typing a "2" then enter would put a "2" onto the bottom of the stack.
Typing a "+" would add the two numbers on the bottom of the stack, leaving a "3".

So it seems backwards to enter "1 Enter 2 Enter Plus" to add 1 and 2, but once you get used to the stack it makes complex calculations a lot easier.
     
Peter
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Sep 26, 2007, 04:16 PM
 
Ti-86 all the way.
we don't have time to stop for gas
     
turtle777
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Sep 26, 2007, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
So it seems backwards to enter "1 Enter 2 Enter Plus" to add 1 and 2, but once you get used to the stack it makes complex calculations a lot easier.
Why the heck would I do complex calculations on a calculator, and not Excel ?

There is no traceability and no way to verify that you didn't make a mistake while entering the numbers.

-t
     
Dork.  (op)
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Sep 26, 2007, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Peter View Post
Ti-86 all the way.
I did a little bit of looking around just now and I see the Ti series is still strong now, but I also found the HP50G. Decisions, decisions....
     
Dork.  (op)
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Sep 26, 2007, 04:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Why the heck would I do complex calculations on a calculator, and not Excel ?

There is no traceability and no way to verify that you didn't make a mistake while entering the numbers.

-t
For quick answers, there's no substitute for a good scientific calculator where every operation you would want is just two or three keystrokes away. And I'm finding plenty of times when I need quick answers to very complex math now....
     
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Sep 26, 2007, 04:55 PM
 
I use my fingers a lot. Or pictures of dice in my head.
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turtle777
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Sep 26, 2007, 05:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
For quick answers, there's no substitute for a good scientific calculator where every operation you would want is just two or three keystrokes away. And I'm finding plenty of times when I need quick answers to very complex math now....
Yeah, but that goes AGAINST the statement of COMPLEX calculations.

-t
     
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Sep 26, 2007, 05:11 PM
 
been using Ti 89 and don't think i could stop using it

excel has nothing on the 89

I GOT WASTED WITH PHIL SHERRY!!!
     
Laminar
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Sep 26, 2007, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Why the heck would I do complex calculations on a calculator, and not Excel ?

There is no traceability and no way to verify that you didn't make a mistake while entering the numbers.

-t
Unless your calculator offers traceability.

Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
I did a little bit of looking around just now and I see the Ti series is still strong now, but I also found the HP50G. Decisions, decisions....
In engineering there is NOTHING but TI. I have a TI-89 Titanium, as do most of the engineers here. Some do have the TI-92 (this one), but I think it's a bit too bulky/nerdy for me. I had my sister (a first year business major) get an 89Ti also, just because it's leaps and bounds better than the TI-86 or 83 she was considering due to the easy calc functions and traceability.
     
wallinbl
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Sep 26, 2007, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
So it seems backwards to enter "1 Enter 2 Enter Plus" to add 1 and 2, but once you get used to the stack it makes complex calculations a lot easier.
You actually only need to enter "1 enter 2 plus", so it's not any more keystrokes than a regular calculator - just a different order.
     
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Sep 26, 2007, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
I have a 48G that's still around from when I was in college. It's missing one of the rubber feet, so it wobbles and that drives me nuts.

I mostly use an HP 12C now because of the financial features (and the RPN).
Most of the HPs now have the option of running in RPN. At least the expensive ones do. Lotsa folks still use the 12C because it's more robust (physically) than many of the newer models. That thing will last forever.

Plus, the newest 12cs will work in algebraic mode too.
     
Rumor
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Sep 26, 2007, 06:13 PM
 
I use one of these bad boys.

I like my water with hops, malt, hops, yeast, and hops.
     
Dork.  (op)
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Sep 26, 2007, 06:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
You actually only need to enter "1 enter 2 plus", so it's not any more keystrokes than a regular calculator - just a different order.
I know, but I figured adding the extra keystroke would make the concept easier to understand....
     
Dave N
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Sep 26, 2007, 11:19 PM
 
RPN is all I use

At home I have my "vintage" HP-11C, at work my newer HP-32S, and on my work Mac I have nonpareil HP simulator.

I really really really really wish that HP would put out a scientific calculator in the 11C or 15C format again. I would buy about 5 and just save them to use the rest of my life. Is HP even the same company it was when it made all of the great RPN calculators?
( Last edited by Dave N; Sep 27, 2007 at 08:16 AM. )
     
Ghoser777
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Sep 27, 2007, 07:00 AM
 
My Calculator.app is permanently in RPN mode. I also make my AP students implement an RPN calculator, so I keep spreading the joy every year.
     
fhoubi
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Sep 27, 2007, 11:32 AM
 
I have a HP-15C and 41CV both in mint condition. They still serve me well for now over 20 years. In a time HP was HP...
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highstakes
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Sep 27, 2007, 12:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by G4ME View Post
been using Ti 89 and don't think i could stop using it

excel has nothing on the 89
Amen. Couldn't use those calculators for some of the Calc tests, never felt so lost...
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wallinbl
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Sep 27, 2007, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
In engineering there is NOTHING but TI. I have a TI-89 Titanium, as do most of the engineers here.
Really? I know a variety of EE's, and they all use HP. Schools seem to focus on TI, but I find that the HP calculators are significantly better, part of which is due to the RPN functionality.
     
Laminar
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Sep 27, 2007, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
Really? I know a variety of EE's, and they all use HP. Schools seem to focus on TI, but I find that the HP calculators are significantly better, part of which is due to the RPN functionality.
Well, that's just been my experience. In four years of school I can honestly say I've never seen anything but TI. I can't speak for the workplace and what people that have been in the industry for a while are using, but I can tell you what the next generation of engineers are going to have.
     
Oisín
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Sep 27, 2007, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar
I had my sister (a first year business major) get an 89Ti also, just because it's leaps and bounds better than the TI-86 or 83 she was considering due to the easy calc functions and traceability.
I know sh́it-all about calculators, but I do remember liking the Ti-83. Very popular in high school with the kids who had maths.

My Ti-36X (just checked—I didn’t have a clue what number it had, and it took me a while just to find it) is more than complex enough for me.

And I hate doing calculations in Excel.

Originally Posted by turtle777
I had never heard of RPN calculators before.

I wiki'd it, but I'm not sure how usefull it would be for me
I had never heard of RPN calculators before, either.

I wikied it, and it scared me.
     
Dork.  (op)
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Sep 27, 2007, 12:51 PM
 
After looking around a bit, I decided against getting a shiny Graphing calculator, because I think a two-line calculator will do me just fine. And after looking at TI's non-graphing scientific calculators, I'm back to looking at HP's again....

Right now, I'm trying to decide of the 35s offers me anything more than the 33s....
     
wallinbl
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Sep 27, 2007, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Well, that's just been my experience. In four years of school I can honestly say I've never seen anything but TI. I can't speak for the workplace and what people that have been in the industry for a while are using, but I can tell you what the next generation of engineers are going to have.
When I was in school, it was all TI as well. I think TI caters to schools. In the finance world, the HP-12C is dominant, really dominant. Oddly, many business schools teach specifically to TI financial calculators (I forget which model). Odds are, though, your CFO has as 12C in his/her pocket.

In our house, there's a TI-81, TI-85, TI-92, HP-48G, and HP-12C. All three TIs are the result of the fact that they were required for classes. The TIs are easy to learn and do well. The HPs are hard to learn, but more powerful once you do learn them.
     
memento
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Sep 27, 2007, 02:55 PM
 
I think it's a personal choice. When I was in Engineering school, like 1/3 of the people swore by their RPN. I tried it. Didn't like it. It's didn't help me with complex calculations anyway. I always wrote out the equations so that I could go back to them and see what I did. It seemed that none of the nuclear engineers (like me) used them and more electrical engineers did than anyone. I don't know any mechanical engineers who did either. Maybe it's an EE thing?
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Sep 27, 2007, 04:41 PM
 
Never had one… I had a CASIO fx-8000G sci-graphic calculator which was great to draw 96*64 pixels pictures all day… pixel by pixel !!, that was like twenty years ago
     
ghporter
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Sep 27, 2007, 10:49 PM
 
You BETCHA!!! I have an HP 15-C that still is on it's third set of batteries. Can't beat RPN for efficiency!

One of my projects in college was writing an RPN calculator application in Pascal (yes, this was a LONG time ago). It was a very cool project and very enjoyable. Then we had to follow that up with -without using the built in math functions, just like in the RPN project- a calculator app that ran like a simple TI calculator. That got to be hard.

I should point out that this really isn't an EE thing, or even a programmer of any kind of engineer thing. My wife, a registered nurse, uses my 15-C all the time and loves it. It's a great model that works very efficiently.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Sep 27, 2007, 11:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by G4ME View Post
been using Ti 89 and don't think i could stop using it

excel has nothing on the 89
too true...

I'm not sure what the allure of entering "[2] [enter] [4] [+]" is, but being able to enter "d/dx (x^4+3x^3-x^2+45)" or "factor(3x^2+2x-5)" is nice.....

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Sep 28, 2007, 12:24 AM
 
I used an RPN calculator (an HP scientific, can't recall the model, but it was programmable, graphing, etc) in college for a couple years. Haven't needed to do any heavy calculator work since, so I don't need RPN any longer.
But for calculus, statistics and physics, RPN was fantastic.

Edit: It was an HP 48SX I believe. Got it when it first came out in 1990.
     
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Sep 28, 2007, 01:03 AM
 
Casio Algebra FX 2.0
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Sep 28, 2007, 01:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
When I was in school, it was all TI as well. I think TI caters to schools. In the finance world, the HP-12C is dominant, really dominant. Oddly, many business schools teach specifically to TI financial calculators (I forget which model). Odds are, though, your CFO has as 12C in his/her pocket.

In our house, there's a TI-81, TI-85, TI-92, HP-48G, and HP-12C. All three TIs are the result of the fact that they were required for classes. The TIs are easy to learn and do well. The HPs are hard to learn, but more powerful once you do learn them.
That would be the TI-BA II Plus. It's crazy popular at business schools. In fact some textbooks are written with instructions specifically for the TI.
     
wallinbl
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Sep 28, 2007, 08:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by loki74 View Post
I'm not sure what the allure of entering "[2] [enter] [4] [+]" is, but being able to enter "d/dx (x^4+3x^3-x^2+45)" or "factor(3x^2+2x-5)" is nice.....
2 enter 4 + was too simple to explain the benefit. The HPs can do the derivatives as well.

When you enter (2+4)^2 * (6-2) on an RPN, you enter

2 [enter] 4 [+] 2 [enter] [y^x] 6 [enter] 2 [-][*]

The result is that you see the result of 2+4 (6), then 6^2 (36), then 6-2 (4), then 36*4 (144). You get to see the intermediate results of the calculations, which helps with understanding the parameters of the problem you are working on. When you enter (2+4)^2 * (6-2) [enter] on an non-RPN calculator, you just get 144. The RPN is 12 keys, the non-RPN is 14 keystrokes. It takes fewer keystrokes and gives you more information along the way.
     
fhoubi
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Sep 28, 2007, 08:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
2 [enter] 4 [+] 2 [enter] [y^x] 6 [enter] 2 [-][*]
2 [enter] 4 [+] 2 [y^x] 6 [enter] 2 [-][*]

Fixed. You just need [ENTER] to (either stack manually or) differentiate between 2 numeric inputs... After an operation [+], [Sqrt] or whatever it will be stacked automatically. Or alternative:

2 [enter] 4 [+] [x^2] 6 [enter] 2 [-][*]

11 or 10 keystrokes...
( Last edited by fhoubi; Sep 28, 2007 at 08:43 AM. )
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wallinbl
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Sep 28, 2007, 09:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by fhoubi View Post
Fixed.
I will admit to being a bit rusty on it, and not having one in front of me right now.
     
Dork.  (op)
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Oct 8, 2007, 05:39 PM
 
Yay! I found my wife's HP48G from when she was in college, and it works! So I don't have to shell out for a calculator now. I even found the manuals!

On a side note, it seems like nobody is marketing calculators to professionals anymore. TI seems to have given up catering to the professional market entirely, as all of its calculators are marketed based on what standardized tests they are approved for.

HP calculators are all but nonexistent in the brick-and-mortar stores I went to. Before dropping $60 or $90 on a calculator, I at least wanted to try it out....
     
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Oct 12, 2007, 01:01 AM
 
Here are a few RPN calculators for Mac OS X.

RLM Tools
Emu48 for Mac OS X
     
   
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