How did you discover SwissMicros?

General discussion about calculators, Swiss Micros or otherwise
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Russel
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How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by Russel » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:30 pm

I’ve been using an old HP12c, and a HP11c that was my Dad’s. Well, my older brother wanted Dad’s old HP11C, so I decided to get a newer HP scientific calculator. I picked the HP35s which has worked well up until recently. The low battery indicator was showing on the display, so I replaced the batteries. No luck, 3 volts each cell (CR2032) but the low battery indicator persisted and the calculator would shut off after a few seconds. Wondering if it was a common problem, I searched the Internet. I found out that HP calculators aren’t built to the same mechanical standard that they once were. Then, while looking around at hpmuseum.org, I found out about SwissMicros. I ordered a DM15L and absolutely love it!

Meanwhile, I checked the voltage from the two batteries in the HP35c and found a cold solder joint on the positive terminal connector of one of the batteries. After re-flowing the solder joint, and a few other “frosty” looking solder joints, the calculator works fine.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from ordering a DM42. Something that I really don’t need. But, we all got to have our toys!

toml_12953
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by toml_12953 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:36 pm

Russel wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:30 pm
No luck, 3 volts each cell (CR2032) but the low battery indicator persisted and the calculator would shut off after a few seconds. Wondering if it was a common problem, I searched the Internet. I found out that HP calculators aren’t built to the same mechanical standard that they once were. Then, while looking around at hpmuseum.org, I found out about SwissMicros. I ordered a DM15L and absolutely love it!
I found SwissMicros one day when I was walking down the street. It was on the sidewalk and I almost tripped over it. Since I don't own a pick-up truck(one of very few Americans who don't) I couldn't bring it home with me so I left it lying there. Actually, I found out about it in the hpmuseum forum, probably like you did.

Oh, and the DM42 is a "frivolous necessity".
Tom L

Ducator meus nihil agit sine lagunculae leynidae accedunt

DM42 SN: 00025 (Beta)
SN: 00221 (Shipping)

grsbanks
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by grsbanks » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:47 pm

For me it happened a year ago to the day, almost.

I was looking for a used HP-16C and coming to terms with the fact that I'd have to mortgage the house if I wanted to buy one. I then heard about SwissMicros via the MoHPC forum, headed over to their website and promptly ordered a DM16L. It's a move that I absolutely don't regret even though I did end up acquiring an original HP-16C later on.

After that I did some work on the DM1x encoder/decoder page and actually ended up rewriting it with full support for all of the DM11/12/15/16 machines and struck up a working relationship with Michael.

Later last year I offered to lend a hand with this forum. From that point onwards I ended up testing pre-release firmware for the DM42, feeding information back and helping massage the firmware into form before letting the other beta testers loose on it.

The rest, as they say, is history!

I now own a DM15, DM16, DM41, DM11L, DM12L, DM15L, DM16L, DM41L and a beta and a production DM42.
Not SwissMicros staff, just an enthusiast.

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pcscote
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by pcscote » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 pm

I discovered SwissMicros in 2012 through hpmuseum.org.
Because I was not impressed by their keyboard I did not buy any of their models.
The release of their L series finally convinced me to buy a DM16L, which was soon followed by a DM41L, which was soon followed by ... you get the pattern ;)
Today, I own a DM10, DM11, DM11L, DM12, DM12L, DM15, DM15L, DM16, DM16L, DM41L and a DM42 but still missing a DM10L.
[DM1x/DM1xL/DM41/DM41L/DM42]

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Russel
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by Russel » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:43 pm

I am seeing a couple trends here.

First, HPmuseums.org seems to be a common discovery point for SwissMicros.
Second, these calculators seem to be addictive.
grsbanks wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:47 pm
[...] I now own a DM15, DM16, DM41, DM11L, DM12L, DM15L, DM16L, DM41L and a beta and a production DM42.
pcscote wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 pm
[...] Today, I own a DM10, DM11, DM11L, DM12, DM12L, DM15, DM15L, DM16, DM16L, DM41L and a DM42 but still missing a DM10L.
I see more SwissMicros calculators in my future.
toml_12953 wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:36 pm
[...] Oh, and the DM42 is a "frivolous necessity".
Yep! When I decided to get the DM15L, I looked at the DM42, but decided the DM15L would do the trick. Once I had the DM15L in my hands I couldn't resist ordering a DM42. I'm guessing that may not be the end of it!

These calculators make me think of the first one I ever used. I remember my Dad taking us kids on a trip to the city to buy a Sharp EL-8. I remember learning the multiplication table on it.

keithdalby
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by keithdalby » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:14 am

During my schooling in the 1990s I'd occasionally heard RPN mentioned by my teachers, but only as a passing comment. I struggled with mathematics at school when I shouldn't have. At primary school, times tables were taught thus: all pupils would stand, teacher would ask you a times table, if you got it wrong, you sat down, last standing was the best. Towards the end of primary school I wouldn't even bother standing to start with. I still don't know my times tables. I'm actually pretty strong mathematically, as you might expect from someone with a master's degree in Physics and doctorate work involving computer simulations, but I had little grasp of numeracy. Difficult to explain. I finished school with a grade E in Advanced Level Mathematics, yet still managed to get into university studying physics.

At university, numeracy was less important. The mathematics, we quipped, was 'maths without numbers', and I could handle that. I actually scored very highly in the mathematics modules, but still struggled with numeracy.

When I started teaching physics, I would do all calculations on the board by hand. I discovered, perhaps years too late, that calculators had been holding me back. "Infernal Casios" and "Gods forsaken Casios" were expressions I'd use when students produced similar numeracy mistakes to what I used to produce because of their over-reliance on calculators and their unshaking trust in the answers they'd give. I'd write on students' exam papers, "you've been casioed" instead of "arithmetic error". Doing the calculations by hand on the board helped me learn numeracy, at age 29.

I met Prof Crawford a few times through my work. We discussed the issue of numeracy (lack of it) casually, and she remarked that she used RPN and couldn't use algebraic calculators. This sat in the back of my mind. On another occasion, a very intelligent colleague of mine was showing me work he'd done making a PostScript worksheet generator. I'd produced similar things, so we were sharing and comparing. This was my second contemporary introduction to RPN. The next day, I looked up RPN properly, switched RealCalc to RPN mode and never looked back. All of a sudden, I could perform complicated mathematics with multiple steps without atithmetic errors. It was as though a switch had been thrown and a whole new skill set immediate became available to me: one I'd struggled with for so long but was so fundamental to my profession.

I purchased the Elektronika Soviet calculator because it was cheap, enjoyed it for a bit but was unimpressed with the build quality, so I sold it. I purchased an HP 12c, enjoyed it for a bit but found the lack of scientific functions too limiting, so I sold it. That's when I purchased a DM15. The DM15 now goes everywhere with me at all times. It's the part of my brain that was broken for so many years. When I heard about the DM42, I wanted one. The sheer power of the machine was too much to ignore. I use that as my main calculator in the lab. I prefer the landscape form factor, and am ever hopeful of a DM42L, but I know it would be less functional than the DM42 due to the screen size issue. Currently saving up for a DM41L so that I can lend it to select students in the lab. I've a small group of students who have had their first taste of RPN and see how much better it really is. They want more too.

Edited to add: I discovered SwissMiscros by googling modern RPN calculators and someone's review of a DM15 came up. That was last year. I discovered the other fora via SwissMicros, really, but I don't use them. Further information for context: I was born in 1983 in the UK and I'm now the Head of Physics in one of the top schools in the country. But I still don't know my 3, 4, 6, 7 or 8 times tables.

grsbanks
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by grsbanks » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:00 am

pcscote wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 pm
Today, I own a DM10, DM11, DM11L, DM12, DM12L, DM15, DM15L, DM16, DM16L, DM41L and a DM42 but still missing a DM10L.
You should be able to put that right in the not too distant future... Every effort is being poured into the DM42 at the moment but there are plans to do a limited run of the DM10L at some point.
Not SwissMicros staff, just an enthusiast.

DA74254
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by DA74254 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:43 am

Like most, through MoHPC.

Being an "RPN-aholic" since my first purchase of a used HP-28s in 1992, I actually struggle using a (according to wife) "normal" calc. Through the MoHPC I found useful help, tips an programs for my collection of HP calcs.
A few threads referenced the "SwissMicros" and I got curious and headed over. Since I've never been a fan of landscape ("Voyager"?) calcs, I fairly quickly wrote it off as "just a clone-thingy" and interest lost. Well, the more I read about the SM and how happy "everybody" were with the DM41, I tried to convince myself that I should try one. I never got that far before the rumours of a DM42 with a portrait layout was out. So, I made myself a user of this forum, awaiting the DM42, which I (of course) bought :)
Still no fan of the landscape ones, but I might still get a 41(L) some time, maybe..
Esben
DM42 SN: 00245

grsbanks
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by grsbanks » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:53 am

DA74254 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:43 am
Still no fan of the landscape ones, but I might still get a 41(L) some time, maybe..
I have both a DM41 and a DM41L (and a HP-41C with quad memory, time and X-Func modules). The DM41 is certainly convenient for most things with its small form factor, the size of it plays against it for anything requiring intensive usage of the keypad. This isn't a problem if you also have a DM41L or if you use the DM41 encoder/decoder page to input programs and retrieve a RAM dump to feed the machine. Using the credit card sized DM41 to input programs is not as easy. The LCD is the same so the output is no more or no less readable.

The landscape/portrait thing doesn't come into it as far as I'm concerned; I'm equally at home with either. My brain seems to switch into a different mode if I switch from the DM41L to the HP-41C or back again -- I get stuff done at more or less the same speed regardless of which one I'm using -- and I'd wager that more or less anyone used to using several calculators would. The big advantage of the DM41(L) over the HP-41C is the speed increase (and that is going to get even better with the soon-to-be-released V26 firmware, which is running on mine and showing about a 15% speed gain in a loop with a bunch of transcendental functions).
Not SwissMicros staff, just an enthusiast.

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pcscote
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Re: How did you discover SwissMicros?

Post by pcscote » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:59 am

grsbanks wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:00 am
pcscote wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 pm
Today, I own a DM10, DM11, DM11L, DM12, DM12L, DM15, DM15L, DM16, DM16L, DM41L and a DM42 but still missing a DM10L.
You should be able to put that right in the not too distant future... Every effort is being poured into the DM42 at the moment but there are plans to do a limited run of the DM10L at some point.
Yes, I know, I have committed myself to buy two units to help reach the minimum quantity. :D
[DM1x/DM1xL/DM41/DM41L/DM42]

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