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Quick Start Guide

1) Obtain an HP-20b or HP-30b calculator

The most important part of repurposing a calculator to become a WP 34S is to have the 'donor' calculator. In this case, you'll need either an HP-20b or HP-30b calculator. Either calculator is fine for repurposing; it's primarily a matter of look and feel on your part as to which calculator you like more. The HP-20b is shiny black and less expensive, while the HP-30b has a brushed silver look, arguably a much better keyboard and slightly better display. It's also a bit more expensive (usually US $10, on average).

Otherwise, both calculators are essentially the same in terms of their hardware. Here are some links to places to purchase these calculators:

2) Get a copy of the WP 34S firmware

The WP 34S firmware is open-source software created primarily by Walter Bonin and Paul Dale. It is freely obtainable below.

Download the file at the green button location on this page:

Unzip that file into an appropriate directory. The actual calculator ROM image is in the “real” subdirectory, and will be titled “calc.bin” in all cases.

3) Find a programming cable to buy, beg or borrow

If you attend an HHHC conference, chances are good that someone will “gift” you one of these cables for free. If you're unable to attend, try politely asking Gene Wright and he may be able to get you one. Similar cables to these are available for purchase online (links??) if everything else fails.

4) Download the programming software

In order to program (or “flash”) the calculator, you will need a copy of the programming software. The software needed is available here, for free, from Amtel, the manufacturer of the CPU in the calculator. Download this software and install it.

Note: From the Atmel SAM-BA site it is evident that Windows XP is required for serial port (RS-232) support. On Windows Vista and Windows 7 platforms, SAM-BA 2.10 only provides USB support.
We have found that the SAM-BA v2.9 or v2.10 software works best. If you're having problems, stay with either of those versions.

5) Flash your calculator

Complete and full instructions are available here. Note that these were written for the HP-20b, but are fully applicable to the HP-30b.

If you are flashing an HP-30b, select “at91sam71128-ek” in the BOARD TYPE field of the SAM-BA software.

The basic steps in flashing your calculator are:

  1. Connect the programming cable to your computer, and the other end to your calculator's programming port.
  2. Press and release the calculator's ON button one time.
  3. Press and HOLD the ERASE button on the cable. Do not let go until specified below.
  4. Press and release the RESET button on the cable one time.
  5. Press and release the calculator's ON button one time.
  6. NOW you can release the ERASE button on the cable.
  7. Press and release the RESET button on the cable one time.
  8. Press and release the calculator's ON button one time. The display should remain OFF! If it does not (i.e., the display comes on at all), start over again at step 1.
  9. Start the SAM-BA software on your computer.
  10. Select the appropriate COM port and make sure the board type is “at91sam71128-ek”, then click on Connect.
  11. Select the .BIN file you want to upload (your new ROM image; typically “calc.bin”) in the Send File dialog, then click Send File. The SAM-BA software should now send the image to your calculator, showing progress as it does so.
  12. When finished, the SAM-BA software will ask if you want to “lock the region”. Click on No.
  13. In the Scripts area, select “Boot from flash” and click on Execute.
  14. Press and release the RESET button on the cable one time.
  15. Press and release the calculator's ON button one time. It should come up running the new software.
  16. You're done!

6) Use your new WP 34S calculator!

A user's manual is under development, but you can get started here for now.

Eric Rechlin has created an amazing keyboard overlay for the WP 34S. It completely changes your calculator. You can see details and pictures here, and contact Eric for ordering information. The overlay looks a bit better on the HP-20b calculator due to the black casing and the black overlay background, but will work with either calculator model.

General comments (unverified)

  1. Although a real serial port on the computer is recommended, some have had success with a USB to serial converter on WinXP.
34s/quick_start.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/01 21:22 by admin