Time to retire the HP 28S

Looks like it’s time to retire my trusty old HP 28S calculator that I’ve had since my second year of undergrad.

Popped a fresh set of batteries into the calculator (after it had been sitting idle and battery-less for a while). Calculator powered up just fine, but the Enter row and G-L row of keys weren’t working. Twisting the body of the calculator a bit will make the Enter key work, but not reliably. Also makes using the calculator kind of awkward.

While searching the webs for documentation on how to disassemble an HP 28S, I came across this Museum of HP Calculators forum post about disassembling one that was having problems with keys not working.

Definitely not a trivial process.

I found that by pushing down on the keypad near the back arrow button, all of the keys that weren’t working would work again.

It seems like the whole calculator is held together by an array of posts that are “welded” to the upper and lower halves of the case. When some of those posts break, the connection between the keyboard and the rest of the calculator gets flaky because there’s less pressure holding everything together.

From one of the posts on the forum thread:

heat stakes that had sheared off, primarily from the case back, not the mushroomed heads. I suspect it is the physical force from opening the case that stresses the heat stakes in the latch area that causes them to fail. Once that happens, there is a zipper effect to the left that eventually leads to failure of the smaller diameter stakes under the display that causes the classic loss of keyboard to logic board contact.

The forum thread also mentions replacing foam that helps press the keyboard contacts against the calculator’s logic board. After almost 30 years, I’m sure that’s also part of the problem with this calculator too.

Probably not worth the effort to try and fix this calculator. I’ll keep it around as a museum piece and for sentimental reasons.

Fortunately the other one I bought a few years ago still works.

Happy birthday Theresa

You would have turned 41 yesterday.


How remarkable would that have been?

The hops plants have been growing really well on your hops tower. You would like the tower. It’s got a good spot in the Medicinal Garden. Normally winter makes the hops plants die back and they get cut back to the ground. This past winter being on the warm side, the plants just kept growing. There were quite a few hops flowers this year too.

Connie and I requested a Mass to be offered for you back in May, like we usually do. Even though I’m not Catholic, and even though you’re usually not very far from my thoughts, I find it offers a nice opportunity to bring back some memories.

I inherited a laptop from your mom because she wasn’t really using it anymore. It was a bit of an unexpected surprise, and I thought it was nice of her to let me have it. I put it to work as a development machine for when I want to work on some of my projects, but don’t want to be stuck in my office. It reminds me of your laptop, Pinky, but I think yours was a different colour as I recall.

Your parents also gave us a couple of rose bushes at our housewarming party last year. I don’t have much skill at growing things, but they managed to survive the winter and have been producing quite a few roses over the summer.

The bushes have some pretty fierce thorns, but the roses smell really nice.

I was happy your parents were able to join us for the housewarming. It seems like they’re enjoying their retirement down in Florida these days.

All of your family and friends miss you.

I miss you my friend.

Eclipse rainout

I am disappoint.

Unfortunately our eclipse experience here got rained out. We were all disappointed here, but had a good time hanging out with friends.

The day started off fairly decently with some high thin clouds, but then the cloud cover started getting denser, and by the time 2PM came around, the sky was getting pretty dark out to the west.

A few minutes later, the lightning started and a steady rain followed.

At least I was able to experience everything slowly getting dark, and then getting brighter again.

There’s another eclipse happening in 2024. Maybe we’ll have better luck with that one.