neath luna

Don’t open that bin!

Things … happen when you open the storage bin containing most of your calculator collection.

I mean … everyone … has a calculator collection … right?


I wrote “most of” because obviously, a few of the calculators currently have batteries in them and are in residence either 1) on the bed, intermingled with the book-bricks in the book-wall with which I sleep, or 2) on the couch. These calculators are in more or less “active” mode, which means that for one of them I might be learning how to use it with the help of a book or manual and for a couple of others I might fire them up once in a while just to poke around, only to shut them down again, frustrated, when I can get nothing out of them but beeps (I’m looking at you, HP 50G).

And then there’s the storage bin on the floor, where the other calculators sit, battery-less.

Some of the members of the collection have some historical importance, and while I don’t have anything extremely rare, a few of them might be worth something one day (they’re worth something now, just not much something). Here’s a partial list: HP 25C, HP 28S, HP 16C, HP 41CX, HP 48SX, TI 89 Titanium, HP50G, DM42*, DM41X*. It’s obviously skewed HP-ward.

Things that happen when you open that storage bin:

  • Darn! I want to fire this one up, but it needs some … unique batteries;
  • Oh, right: I never figured out how to use this one, and now it doesn’t turn on correctly;
  • Crud! There’s something rattling around inside this calculator, and the Torx screwdrivers I have can’t reach the screws that hold it together;
  • Damn, the LCD on this one has a dead line on the left — is it even worth researching that to see if it’s fixable?
  • I guess I need to decide which one(s) I really want to learn to use correctly, at last.
  • My collection needs … something … but … what?

I’m fairly ashamed that I have all these and can’t really claim to be terribly adept at using any of them. I’m trying to remedy that, but it’s become clear to me at the age of 61 that, well, I have too many enthusiasms and that the formulation “jack of all trades, master of none” fits me pretty well. Ugh.

* The DM42 and DM41X are recent ‘replicas’ of the HP42S and HP41CX created by the company Swissmicros. They’re … well, they’re exquisite. They really are. If you can’t lay hands on one of the originals (and they do several other models as well) or feel like you would be wary of actually using one if you had it, check out They’re not cheap, but if HP/RPN is your bag, it’s hard to beat these.

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