The HP 17B, HP 17BII, and HP 17BII+ are a series of high end business calculator in the HP Pioneer line.
|Entry mode||ALG (infix notation with precedence)|
|Entry mode||RPN with optional ALG|
|Entry mode||RPN with optional ALG|
HP 17B[edit | edit source]
Introduced along with other Pioneers on January 4th 1988, code named "Trader", and retailing at $110 (slightly more expensive than the HP 42s), the HP 17B was considered the most premium of the Pioneer business models. There are two revisions, one English only and one International version offering one of six languages, software selectable. All revisions were shipped with dark bezel and yellow shifted legends. It was quickly discontinued by January 1990, superseded by the BII version.
The HP Pioneers line was meant to be a unified platform where many calculators can share the underlying hardware and support varied feature sets using advanced RPL language (which was hidden from the user, unlike its clamshell predecessors). As such, the HP 17B shared its hardware with the HP 42s with the exception of an additional ROM chip for international language support, displayed using its two-line dot-matrix LCD, and had the capability to output text only to a thermal printer (HP 82240) and raise alarm via a buzzer.
Like its less prestigious business siblings (HP 10B, HP14B), It featured Algebraic entry method, a notable deviation from its business line predecessors (chronologically HP 12C(1981) then HP 18C(1986) respectively, which were both RPN). It superseded the HP 12C whilst bringing many advanced clamshell HP 18C features like the Solver and a real-time clock. By grouping financial and math functions into menus, it provided for a clean keyboard layout with little shifted keys, and was able to spare an entire row to map to the on-screen softkeys (whereas its scientific counterpart had the top-row do double duty). This provided for an intuitive and flexible interface for built in financial application.
In lieu of HP 12C's keystroke programming, the HP 17B featured an algebraic Solver from the HP 18C which allowed users to store, evaluate and solve for unknown given a valid equation or expression, with rudimentary algebraic manipulation capability for when an unknown appears for a single time, otherwise a numerical interative approach is used. Variables are shared between programs and are persistent. When the expression is evaluated (CALC), it generates menu softkeys for each functions automatically (or as defined by user) and behaves like built in financial application. The Solver can be further exploited to write complicated programs using conditional checks and looping with dummy variables. Some possibilities include complete trigonometry functions, numerical integration, series expansion, the N-queens problem, etc., There are two undocumented functions (Let and Get) that is carried over from its clamshell predecessors that allow assigning intermediate variables and retrieving its value. The utility of this capability is enhanced by the large 6.5KB RAM available to the user.
The real-time clock is closely integrated with many functions and can be directly used for TVM or date-time arithmetic. Accuracy is specced at "within 3 minutes per month" from a 32.768KHz clock frequency. The Time application also takes appointments and can sound alarm when one is due, displaying a custom message.
Much like the HP 42s and the HP 27, it features a memory editor/debugger, with much the same memory layout, and the Fast Mode hack also works on it. It does not affect the clock (although the clock may be polled at different frequency, internally its running on the constant bus speed). It is also possible to write machine code replacing the content of a normal Solver program and execute it using Solver.
HP 17BII[edit | edit source]
Perhaps reflecting the somewhat stunned reception of an ALG HP calculator from traditional business buyers, HP 17BII was introduced on the 4th of January 1990 and discontinued in 2003, when NEC was unable to continue Saturn chip manufacturing. RPN was reintroduced as an optional input method. Externally, it was differentiated from HP 17B by the small "ENTER" legend in white below the equal key. Two hardware revisions are known, one with brown overlay and yellow shifted legends, one later model with black overlay and white shifted legends (the shift key remained yellow). All BII had gold-coloured bare metal bezels.
HP 17BII+[edit | edit source]
The HP 17BII+ is the modern continuation of the HP 17B line. There are two revisions, colloquially known as the "gold" and the "silver". The immediate successor to BII was the "gold" revision had a yellow metal bezel much like the older BII around the display and the top two rows of keys respectively, with the keyboard overlay being plastic. Keys were slanted and pentagonal instead of rounded and rectangular. The calculator had an irregular shape. Introduced in 2007, the later "silver" revision had a simplified one-piece white metallic front cover and slanted rectangular keys and returned to a rectangular (if curved) chasis. This replaced the "gold" version in production and is still available today.
In both versions the memory has been extended to 32KB and the display significantly improved in contrast. Despite the addition of trigonometry mode announciator in the display, trigonometry functions were not added. Feature wise, the optional (region dependent) currency conversion menu was also updated to include the Euro (introduced in 1999). All versions had RPN as optional. Curiously, all models retained the infrared printing capability, despite the corresponding HP 82240 being discontinued much earlier. (It is perhaps intended to be used with compatible IR printers from other brands).