HP-32SII scientific calculator

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The calculator.

Brand name Hewlett Packard
Model number HP-32SII

Picture of HP-32SII keyboard [link opens in new window]. (Provided by the author of this page.)

Logic system. Does your calculator use algebraic or RPN (reverse Polish notation) logic? How do you tell? An algebraic calculator has an = key; An RPN calculator has an ENTER key. To add two numbers (say, 2 & 3) on an algebraic calculator, you type the keys "2 + 3 =". On an RPN calculator, you type "2 ENTER 3 +".
Algebraic or RPN? RPN.
Algebraic calculators can be further subdivided into AOS and DAL. If you know which type yours is, you can write that here. Otherwise, you will figure that out later on the form. n/a for an RPN calculator

Shift keys. Shift keys are used to get the second (or third) function for a particular key. If there are two shift keys, list both.
What is the label on the "shift" key(s) "left shift": bent arrow pointing to the left (orange key)
"right shift": bent arrow pointing to the right (blue key)
Where is the shift key? Both are on left side, near bottom.

Scientific notation; entering. Identify the key used to enter the exponent. (It is usually EE or EXP, or similar.)
* A special case concerns entering a number that starts with 1x in scientific notation: do you need to enter the 1? Try it... Calculate 1x1012 * 2. Do it twice, once with the first 1 and once without it. Do you need to enter the 1 to get the correct answer, 2x1012?
* The key for making an exponent negative is the same key used for entering negative numbers.

What is the label on the key for entering exponents? E
Where is that key? 3 keys right of "ENTER"
When entering a number that starts with 1x in scientific notation, do you need to enter the 1? (e.g., 1x1012) no; ok to enter just E 12
What is the key for making an exponent negative? +/-
Where is that key? To left of "E".

Scientific notation; display.

Most scientific calculators allow you to "force" the display to use (or to not use) scientific notation.

Many calculators allow you to set the number of decimal places displayed.

(Some calculators also have an option for "Engineering notation", which is a variation of Scientific notation. Not important for most people.)
For scientific notation: Left shift, DISP, LN, then number of decimal places to display.

For fixed notation: Left shift, DISP, square root key, then number of decimal places to display.

Logarithms (and anti-logs). In intro chem we most often use base 10 logs (log10), for example with pH. The log10 is the power of 10 of the number. For example, the log10 of 1000 is 3; and then the antilog10 of 3 is 1000.
* On some calculators, you press the LOG key before the number, and on some you press the number then the LOG key.

How is the log10 key labeled? LOG (in orange).
It is left-shift LN.
How is the base 10 antilog key labeled? 10x (in orange).
It is left-shift ex.
To take the log10 of 1000 which do you enter first, the number or the LOG key? The number. That is, enter 1000 LOG (= left-shift LN).
That holds for other one-key functions, such as antilog and square root: enter the number first, then the function.

Base e logs (loge or ln) are called natural logs. We do not use these in intro chem, but you are likely to use them if you go much beyond that.
How are the keys labeled for natural logs and antilogs? LN (no shift needed)

anti-log: ex (no shift needed)

Miscellaneous. These are functions we do not use in intro chem, but which you are likely to use in other math and science courses. Briefly noted here.

Angles: degrees or radians

(Some calculators also have an option for "grad". The grad is 0.9 degree, so that a right angle is 100 grad. Not commonly used.)
For degrees mode:
   Left-shift MODES Square-Root
For radians mode:
   Left-shift MODES LN
MODES is on the +/- key.

To convert an entry to the other mode:
   left-shift -->DEG
   right-shift -->RAD
Both -->DEG and -->RAD are on the 6 key.
Polar vs rectangular coordinates left-shift -->θ,r
right-shift -->y,x
Both -->θ,r and -->y,x are on the 4 key.
Both of these functions work on a pair of values, in the X and Y registers.

You. Please provide your name and e-mail, so I can check back with you if there are questions (and maybe have you proofread the web page for your calculator). We will not list your name at the web site without your explicit permission. We will not make your e-mail available in any case.

May we list your name in the collection (at the web site), to give you credit for providing this information?
If yes, how would you like your name listed? ("handles" ok.)

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Last update: November 29, 2021