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HP-42S The Museum of HP Calculators HP-42S This small but powerful calculator was designed to be software compatible with the. It lacked the HP-41C's expandability but it offered, a two line dot matrix screen with customizable menus, greater speed, smaller size, and a lower price as compensation. The calculator had over 600 built-in functions. Obviously many of these were not printed on the keyboard but could be accessed by catalog, by typing their name after the XEQ key or by assigning them to the custom menu.
Functions included: • Basic scientific functions including hyperbolics. • Statistics (including curve fitting and forecasting.) • Probability. • Solver (.) • Numeric integration. • Matrix operations (see below.) • Complex numbers (see below.) • Variables and registers (see below.) • Graphic display functions. • A beeper which optionally sounded on errors or under program control.
• Binary, octal, decimal and hexadecimal bases with integer arithmetic and logic functions. • Infrared printing. • 7.2K Bytes of user memory. • Programmability (see below.) Variables AND Registers The HP-42S had numbered storage registers and named variables. Initially, 25 numbered registers were allocated but this number could be changed to use as much memory as the user required. (Only registers numbered 00-99 could be accessed directly.
Higher numbers required indirect access.) The calculator also had named variables. When STO or RCL was pressed the catalog of variables was displayed. The variable could be selected from the menu or typed alphanumerically. (Or two digits could be entered to select a register.) Variables were more powerful than registers because they could hold complex numbers and matrices.
(However, the registers were really just a matrix named REGS so the user could make all the storage registers complex.) Strings were still limited to 6 characters as on the when stored on the stack, in a register or a variable. Strings of up to 44 characters were allowed in the Alpha register. Menus The calculator had a sophisticated menu system. Multiple line menus could be traversed by using the up/down keys. Mode settings were indicated by a square dot. Menus could lead to submenus and where most Pioneers had a clear key, this model had an EXIT key to return to the previous menu. Alpha Like several earlier Pioneers, the HP-42S allowed alpha data to be entered via an alpha menu.
Characters could be typed into the Alpha register, used to specify a variable name or a program label or entered as program instructions. The Alpha register held up to 44 characters. ASTO and ARCL was used to move data between the alpha register and other registers and variables.
Complex Numbers Complex numbers were integrated into the calculator such that they appeared naturally when required (for example the square root of a negative number.) Each complex number required a single stack element or variable and was display like X iY. To enter a complex number, two real numbers were entered and COMPLEX was pressed to convert them to a single complex number.
A new feature on this model allowed both polar and rectangular forms of complex numbers. Matrix Operations Matrices could be stored on the stack or in variables. A new Matrix could be created in the X register by entering its dimensions on the stack and pressing MATRIX NEW. This left [ YxX Matrix ] displayed in the X register. To enter values, the user pressed the EDIT key and then used the arrow keys and GOTO to move about and pressed EXIT when finished. Matrices could be real or complex and matrix functions included: • Basic arithmetic.