|Type||Programmable, Computer science|
|Cost||150 USD (1982) - 120 USD (1989)|
|Display Type||LCD seven-segment display|
|Display Size||10 digits|
|Programming language(s)||Keystroke programming (fully merged)|
|Memory Register||203 bytes (shared with programs)|
|Program Steps||up to 203 steps (shared with data registers)|
|Power supply||3x LR44 1.5 V button cells|
|Power consumption||0.25 mW|
|Dimensions||128 x 79 x 15 mm|
The HP-16C is a pocket calculator that was produced by Hewlett-Packard between 1982 and 1989. It was specifically designed for use by computer programmers, to assist in debugging. It is a member of the HP Voyager series of programmable calculators, also known as HP's Voyager series. It was the only programmer's calculator ever produced by HP, though many later HP calculators have incorporated most of the 16C's functions.
The 16C can display numbers in hexadecimal, decimal, octal and binary, and convert numbers from one number base to another. To accommodate long binary numbers, the display can be 'windowed' by shifting it left and right. For consistency with the computer the programmer is working with, the word size can be set to different values from 1 to 64 bits. Binary-arithmetic operations can be performed as unsigned, one's complement, or two's complement operations. This allows the calculator to emulate the programmer's computer. A number of specialised functions are provided to assist the programmer, including left- and right-shifting, masking, and bitwise logical operations.
Apart from programmer functions, the calculator's abilities are limited to basic arithmetic (and reciprocal and square root), which meant that typical users would also make use of a general scientific calculator. However, it is still far more powerful (though also much more expensive) than contemporary competitors such as the TI LCD Programmer.
The base of the 16C features a printed reference chart for many of its functions.
The calculator uses the proprietary HP Nut processor produced in a silicon on sapphire process and featured continuous memory, whereby the contents of memory are preserved while the calculator is turned off. Though commonplace now, this was still notable in the early 1980s, and is the origin of the "C" in the model name.
Appropriately for a programmer's calculator, the 16C, like all other members of the Voyager series, is itself programmable. Keystroke programming is used. Up to 203 program steps are available, and up to 16 program/step labels.
Here is a sample program that computes the factorial of an integer number from 2 to 69. The program takes up 9 bytes. The codes displayed while entering the program generally correspond to the keypad row/column coordinates of the keys pressed.
(shift keys not shown)
|001||LBL F||43,22, F||Define label F (mnemonic for "factorial")|
|002||x<>I||42 22||Store x in register I|
|003||1||1||Store 1 in x|
|004||LBL 0||43,22, 0||Define label 0|
|005||RCL I||45 32||Recall register I into x|
|006||×||20||Multiply x and y|
|007||DSZ||43 23||Decrement register I and if not zero ...|
|008||GTO 0||22 0||... go back to label 0|
|009||RTN||43 21||Stop program - result displayed in x|
To run the program, enter the argument onto the stack, then press the keystrokes GSB F. The result is displayed when the program terminates.
HP has never (as of 2014) made another calculator specifically for programmers, but has incorporated most if not all of the HP-16C's functions in later scientific and graphing calculators, for example the HP-42S (1988) and its successors.
Like many other vintage HP calculators, the HP-16C is now highly sought-after by collectors, and several emulators are available for desktop computers, web browsers, and smartphones.
A smaller-scale clone of the HP-16C is included in the DM-1x series of calculators manufactured by Swiss Micros.
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