Hewlett Packard HP-17B, HP-17BII, HP-17BII+


Serial Number HP-17B 2811A96443: 1988, 11th week, America
Accessories Leather pouch, very good condition
Condition Excellent! There is a bit of dust behind the display and on the back a sticker "ivellio-vellin"
Acquired 16.6.2003

Serial Number HP-17BII 3228S08360: 1992, 28th week, Singapore
Accessories Manual: HP-17BII Financial Calculator, December 1989 (German): quite good condition, some marks inside

Leather pouch, very good condition, name mark inside

Batteries
Condition Excellent! The only flaw is a small "H" scratched into the back of the unit.
Acquired 27.8.2002

Serial Number HP-17BII+ CNA 61804217
Accessories Pouch
Manual: hp 17bII+ Finanzmathematischer Rechner Benutzeranleitung (German, 2nd edition, Jan 2004), still sealed

Original cardboard box
Condition Bought new
Acquired 22.2.2007 from B÷ttcher Datentechnik (www.taschenrechner.de)
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HP codename, series Trader (HP-17B), Pioneer
Type, Precision, Input Mode Business, 12 BCD digits, exponent ▒499, Algebraic (HP-17B)
Algebraic and Reverse Polish Notation (HP-17BII)
Programmable No, but it includes a versatile equation solver
Memory Permanent memory, 8000 bytes, 6750 bytes available to user
Display 132x16 LCD dot matrix, 22x2 characters.
However, the bottom line is always occupied by menu choices.
Special features Equation solver, lots of memory, time/date function, calendar, appointments, selectable algebraic or UPN input mode (HP-17BII only), user-definable menus, 2-line dot-LCD display.
Works with the HP Infrared Printer.
Original Pricing, Production
HP-17B 4.1.1988 ($110) - 1/1990 ($110)
HP-17BII 1/1990 ($110) - 2003 (approx. 106€)
HP-17BII+
2003 - now, 125 Euro
Batteries 3x small button sized cells
Dimensions Length 14.7cm, Width 7.8cm, Height 1.5cm
Links Using Financial And Business Calculators (PDF)
HP-17BII+ Financial Calculator Owner's Manual (Chapter 1-10, PDF, English, 140 pages, 6/2003)
HP-17BII+ Financial Calculator Owner's Manual (Chapter 11-end, PDF, English, 170 pages, 6/2003)
HP-17BII+ Financial Calculator User's Guide (PDF, English, 309 pages, 2nd edition, undated)
HP-17BII+ Finanzmathematischer Rechner Benutzeranleitung (PDF, German, 327 pages, 2nd edition, Jan 2004)
Resetting the HP-17BII+
Comment This is a pretty neat unit! At a first glance the empty keyboard suggest that there's not much functionality. But there's a surprising number of features hidden in various menus. And best of all is of course the support for both RPN and algebraic entry mode. (The only other model with this capability is the HP-49G.) In RPN mode the arrow up/down buttons scroll the stack - very neat. 
The only drawback I can see is the permanent "waste" of one display line for menu choices.
The main difference between the two version is that the HP-17BII supports both algebraic and RPN entry mode. To support RPN it features stack roll down and X-Y register swap keys. Furthermore, there is a RND key (which rounds to the selected number of display digits) and under the MODES menu an option for double payments. Other than that they seem to be identical.
Unfortunately, I don't have a manual for the HP-17B and it is not included on the MoHPC CD-ROMs.
From Mike at CSUN about the HP-17B:
Has anyone else played with machine code programming on the HP-17B, 27S, or 42S? I seem to have acquired a 17BII accidentally, and have been exploring its hardware. This machine has a memory editor just like the 48 does (so do the 17,27, and 42.) You get in the same way: ON-4th menu key, then <- to enter editor. Press . immediately after entering to show your version number. Keys are: ^v X divide + - move around by varying amounts, 0-9 and menu keys enter hex, PRT sends line to IR (potentially to 48 running INPRT, then to PC for disassembly), and . executes at the current address. Note that execute is a call, doing a RTN goes back to the editor from your ML code. Basic architecture is 64KB (128K nybbles!) of ROM at 00000, display at 40000, and 8K of RAM at 50000. The first part of RAM changes on the fly, so around 51000 or 52000 is good for experim- ental code. One can do small machine language programs simply by writing the code on the PC, using SASM on it, and typing in the hex digits in the .L file. If one creates a Solver equation with a recognizable pattern, then scans from 54000 (end of RAM) back- wards, one can easily find it. This is a way to enter ML without wrecking normal memory. Has anyone played with this? Where are the hardware registers? How well could one integrate user-written code with the operating systems on these machines? They are RPL machines internally; could you write system RPL as well as machine code?
Bug reports on the HP-17BII:
  • From Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz: There is an oddity in the RPN stack of this (and the 19bii) in that the stack ranges in size from 1 to 4 entries, depending upon how much data has been entered. For example, if you do:
    Switch to RPN mode, 1, Enter, 2, Rv, Rv
You will see "2" in the display, not zero.
  • From John H. Meyers: Early models of the HP17BII have a bug which is activated when the HP17BII is in RPN mode and the [+/-] and [x<>y] keys are pressed one after the other. A harmless way to see the bug is as follows:
  1. Put a positive number on the stack, for example press 9 and [INPUT].
  2. Change the sign by pressing the [+/-] key next to [INPUT].
  3. Exchange x and y by pressing the key with x<>y above it.
  4. Now type a digit, for example 8; you will see a minus in front of it. (This is the bug; after +/- to change a positive number to negative, immediately followed by x<>y and a number, the number has a spurious minus sign placed in front of it.)
  5. Press [INPUT] and you will see the number is really positive.
  6. Type another number; it will again have a minus sign.
  7. To deactivate the bug safely press the [CLR] key.
The bug is dangerous, if you get to step 4 and see a number which is negative though it should not be, you might be tempted to press the backarrow key to remove the number and the minus sign. Since the minus sign is not really there, if you try to delete it, you confuse the calculator - it stops for a moment, then clears the stack and displays the MACHINE RESET message. The bug can also lock up your keyboard - in that case you should reset the calculator by pressing the [CLR] key and the third key from the left in the top row both at the same time. If you ever see the bug, press [CLR] at once to kill it!
There are some variations on the bug. If you type a number, immediately change its sign, then press x<>y, the calculator will beep and refuse to swap x and y. If you press the rolldown key next to x<>y, that will beep and refuse to work too. If you press the backarrow key until only the minus sign is in the display, then press [INPUT] or try to use this minus sign, nothing will work except that the [-] key will put a second minus in the display. If you do steps 1 through 4, then press [INPUT], [+/-], x<>y, and a digit key again, you will see two minus signs, and you can repeat this process adding one more minus sign each time. If you press [CLR] now, then type a number, press [+/-], [INPUT], x<>y, [+/-], x<>y and then a digit key, you will see a zero (if the display mode is ALL) or a fraction mark (if the display mode is FIX) in front of the digit instead of a minus.

It can also appear whenever there is a negative number already on the bottom of the stack when CALC is pressed in the Solver, any typing of a new value also generates strange stuff in the display, and the backspace key not only causes a warmstart, but has given me a "memory lost" as well.

The same bug exists in early HP19BII models, though it behaves a little differently. It was removed early in 1991.

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