Slept normally last night, and I feel pretty well today. Still a little groggy, but much closer to "normal," whatever that is anymore.

I mentioned the other day being distracted by old Hewlett Packard handheld computers. Well, that turned into owning another HP. I already had an HP-71b, the baby brother to the HP-75C.

I was a little bored, and I made the mistake of looking for calculators on There I saw an amazing "find." Someone donated a fairly complete HP-75 setup, computer, micro-cassette drive, thermal printer, 8KB memory expansion, RS-232 interface, a bunch of magnetic strips, several rolls of thermal paper and a couple of micro-cassettes. And the boxes and docs! I "favorited" it and planned to make a bid. The auction ended last night.

I know how these Goodwill auctions go, at least for "vintage" electronics. The prices get crazy. So I went to eBay to see what 75s were going for these days. There I found a roughly similar set-up, although not as all-inclusive: 75, cassette drive, thermal printer, HP-IL cables for all. Only one wall wart for the lot, no docs, no mag strips, one micro-cassette. Seller didn't appear to normally offer electronics and it was listed at $350, which was where the Goodwill listing was sitting right about then. They had a "make offer" option.

Price-wise, $350 was a reasonable deal with the peripherals and the case, but I always make an offer and it was accepted at $325.00.

That package arrived yesterday, prompt shipping and well packed. Computer works, but the battery pack is shot, which was no surprise. I've ordered an adapter battery holder that allows me to put rechargeable NiMH batteries in place of the NiCads. I won't charge them in the computer.

Computer is nearly pristine, so I'm quite pleased. Haven't tested the peripherals yet. Rubber rollers seem to be the main things that fail. We'll see.

While I was waiting for the Goodwill auction to come up, I looked for an 8KB expansion module, and found one of those and made an offer. Computer comes with 16KB onboard, 8KB more is nice to have, though not essential for the little "fun" diversions for which one buys these things.

Also spotted an HP-IL video interface, which was kind of pricy at $225, no "offers" entertained. Looked brand new, but who knows? Bought that too. Isn't here yet.

So last night I had to figure out my strategy. Computer looked like it'd seen use. Photo of the manual showed it was very worn, and there were little figures or something added to the keyboard. So that added some uncertainty about the state of the peripherals. They didn't have a closeup of the computer, but I'm confident the one I already have is cosmetically superior.

I did my math and figured that to buy that lot piecemeal on eBay would come in over $700. If I won the auction, I'd keep the best of everything and sell the remainder as a lot by auction. So entered my bid of $713 with about 56s remaining on the auction. Someone came bid $687 with 23s left, which wasn't enough to beat me. Don't know what their final bid was, but same bidder was able to get another one in with 11s remaining, and got it for $714.

Shipping and "handling" was estimated at over $40, so I'd factored that into my price. Add some sales tax and I think the final bill likely approached $800. The buyer can probably make some money piecing it out on eBay, but I don't think it'll be a windfall. Of course, if they're a collector it's a decent price, but not an eye-popping bargain. You're paying for the convenience of getting nearly everything in one package, though.

I'm not terribly disappointed. I went back on eBay and bought a package of mag strips for a ridiculous price, and the manual for the micro-cassette drive. I have pdfs of all the manuals, but I like paper ones for important things. I'll get a couple of new battery packs for the printer and micro-cassette drive. I won't miss the RS-232 interface very much.

I ask myself what the hell I'm going to do with this crap? I don't know. Leave it as a problem for my kids to figure out, I guess.

The HP-71b I bought came with the HP-IL interface module already installed, so it can use the other peripherals as well.

Lesson here is to stay off when I'm bored!

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 09:13 Saturday, 5 August 2023