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HP-12C Financial Programmable Calculator

The Hewlett-Packard HP-12C is a sophisticated financial programmable calculator (click here to see our fully functional online version) that has become the world's standard business calculator. First lauched by Hewlett-Packard in 1981, it's still sold today as part of the HP Voyager series of calculators and is their longest-selling model. Despite newer models, some with more or less features, it became a top-selling calculator through to this day.

HP-12C Calculator History

Over the years, Hewlett-Packard has released several different models of the HP-12C calculator. The original model was released in 1981 and was known as the HP-12C. This model was followed by the HP-12C Platinum in 1997, which included a number of enhancements and additional features, such as the ability to store more data and a backlit display.

In 2003, Hewlett-Packard released the HP-12C Platinum 25th Anniversary Edition, which was a special edition of the calculator that included a number of commemorative features and improvements. This model was followed by the HP-12C Platinum Plus in 2005, which added even more features and enhancements, including a new design and improved battery life.

In recent years, Hewlett-Packard has continued to release new models of the HP-12C calculator, including the HP-12C Platinum Plus Professional in 2010 and the HP-12C Platinum Plus Special Edition in 2011. These models include even more advanced features and improvements, such as a higher-resolution display and improved calculation speed.

HP-12C Calculator Features

The remarkable longevity of this calculator is due to a number of innovative features:

  1. It uses RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) for data entry (which removes the need for an Equals key) instead of the traditional algebraic entry (which uses an Equals key like a traditional calculator). This improves speed of use by saving keystrokes and increases mathematical and computational efficiency. Click here to learn more about RPN.
  2. In addition to the normal calculator features, it offers many business-specific functions such as loan payment calculations, depreciation, amortizing interest and date arithmetic.
  3. Unlike most earlier calculators, it has 99 lines of programmable memory.
  4. When using programming mode, it's very intuitive and works more like a computer than a calculator.
  5. HP cleverly enhanced the "computer feel" and usability of the calculator by giving it a horizontal shape. Their research showed that many users thought a vertical shape felt like "calculator" while a horizontal shape felt like a "computer".
  6. HP-12C Financial Programmable CalculatorThe calculator was manufactured in black and gold tones which gave it a sense of luxury and prestige and increased its appeal.
  7. It's very robust and can handle being dropped onto a concrete floor.
  8. It has very long battery life. From personal experience, it can be years between battery changes, even with regular use.
  9. It came with a substantial manual that was more like a financial text book. It included informative chapters on real estate, investing, savings bonds, lending and leasing.

We're often asked what the "C" in the model name HP-12C means. It stands for "Continuous Memory" and means that the memory contents are saved when the calculator is turned off.

How To Use The HP-12C Calculator

One of the first things you need to know about the HP-12C is that it's a programmable calculator. This means that you can store sequences of calculations and recall them later, which can save you a lot of time and effort. To store a calculation on the HP-12C, you first need to enter the calculation using the calculator's keypad. Once you have entered the calculation, you can press the "STO" key, followed by a number from 0 to 9, to store the calculation in that memory location. To recall a calculation, you simply press the "RCL" key, followed by the number of the memory location where you stored the calculation.

One of the key features of the HP-12C is its ability to perform time value of money (TVM) calculations. These calculations are used to determine the present or future value of a series of cash flows, given a certain interest rate. To perform a TVM calculation on the HP-12C, you first need to enter the following information: the number of periods, the interest rate per period, the payment amount per period and the present value. Once you have entered this information, you can press the "FV" key to calculate the future value of the cash flows or the "PV" key to calculate the present value.

Another useful feature of the HP-12C is its ability to solve for the payment amount in a loan or annuity. To do this, you need to enter the loan amount, the interest rate and the number of periods. Once you have entered this information, you can press the "PMT" key to calculate the payment amount. You can also use the "n" key to solve for the number of periods, the "i" key to solve for the interest rate or the "PV" key to solve for the present value of the loan or annuity.

In addition to its financial functions, the HP-12C also has a number of other useful features. For example, it has a built-in calendar that allows you to quickly and easily determine the day of the week for any given date. It also has a set of statistical functions, including mean, standard deviation and regression analysis, that can be used to perform statistical calculations.

Clearly, this calculator is iconic and is possibly the only electronic product to survive in constant use over so many decades.

If you need instructions or more information about using this calculator, please click here.




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