HPTalx Manual

HPTalx 1.3.1a

Rafael Ostertag

1. Preamble

HPTalx Copyright© 1999, 2000 by Bruno Barberi Gnecco

HPTalx Copyright© 2001 Bruno Barberi Gnecco and Alen Kovac

HPTalx Copyright© 2005 Bruno Barberi Gnecco and Rafael Ostertag

HPTalx Copyright© 2007 Bruno Barberi Gnecco and Rafael Ostertag

Icons Copyright© 2000 Hewlett Packard and Jean-Pierre Bergamin

This is HPTalx, a HP Calculator<->PC communications program for Linux, initially written by Bruno Barberi Gnecco, extended by Rafael Ostertag and released under the GNU Public License; see the COPYING file for further information. Use it at your own risk; the authors are not responsible for any damage from its use or misuse.

You can get the latest version of HPTalx at http://hptalx.sourceforge.net

2. Features

The main features of HPTalx are

  • Data transfer between HP Calculators and PC.

  • Backup and restore of HP Calculator memory.

3. Supported HP Calculators

  • HP 48

  • HP 49

  • HP 49G+

  • HP 50g

4. Requirements

In order to build and run HPTalx, you need following additional software installed on your system:

To connect to a HP 49G+/50G via USB Serial Kernel Module, a Linux Kernel capable of USB Serial is needed.

5. XModem Protocol

Though HPTalx 1.1.0 supports the XModem Protocol, this release does not. The author focused on the greatest common denominator, which is the Kermit Protocol for both HP 48 and HP 49/50G Calculators.

6. ROM Upgrade

HPTalx 1.1.0 supports ROM Upgrade for HP 49 Calculators. However, this release does not. It was tried to achieve support for all HP 48/49 Calculators. The HPTalx 1.1.0 ROM Upgrade function does not support HP 48 Calculators, so this functionality does not meet the criteria for this release.

7. Upgrading from earlier versions

Starting with HPTalx 1.2.0, the format of the preferences file .hptalx has been changed. To be on the safe side, delete your old .hptalx file found in your Home directory prior the first launch of HPTalx version 1.2.0 or later.

8. Building HPTalx

This is for the impatient ones. For details, see the INSTALL file accompanying this package.

8.1. Configuration

After unpacking the tar-archive, change to the directory hptalx-1.3.1a. In a console, type:

       $ ./configure

Do not type the dollar-sign, it stands for the command prompt

If you want a different installation directory than the default one, append --prefix=PREFIX:

       $ ./configure --prefix=PREFIX

Where PREFIX is meant to be the directory where the files will be installed.

8.2. Compilation

After the configure script has finished, type:

       $ make

This will build the binaries.

8.3. Installation

When the build is done, type:

       # make install

Remember to login as root before issuing this command, in case you want to install HPTalx in a different place than your Home Directory. After the installation took place, you will find the HPTalx binary hptalx installed in the directory PREFIX/bin.

9. Getting started with HPTalx

Assuming the build process described above, succeeded, you are ready to launch HPTalx. In a console, type

       $ hptalx

if you have installed HPTalx in a directory where the PATH environment variable points to, or

       $ PREFIX/bin/hptalx

if you have configured it with the --prefix=PREFIX argument, whereby PREFIX is unknown to the PATH environment variable.

9.1. Device Permissions

HPTalx is using either the ttyS* or ttyUSB* device entries in /dev depending on whether you use the serial line or USB for connecting your HP Calculator to the computer (see Section 9.2). Therefore, the user using HPTalx has to have the proper access rights (read-write) on these device nodes. How the permissions are granted depends on the taste of the system administrator. The author recommends to either create a separate group for HPTalx users or putting the users requiring access into the group assigned to these nodes. On ancient Linux systems, granting access is accomplished by using chmod(1) and chgrp(1) on the node(s) in question. More recent Linux systems employ udev(7) for dynamically managing the device nodes in the /dev directory. Refer to the system documention for those systems on how to set the access permissions on the device node(s). Chmod(1) and chgrp(1) most likely will not work on those systems, since the changes will be overwritten upon next system reboot.

9.2. Setup of HPTalx

Given HPTalx is running, select Setup from the File menu. Set the settings according your needs. For example, if your HP Calculator is wired to your COM1 port, select in the Connection Settings frame Serial and choose in the section Set COM port COM 1.

If you are the proud owner of a HP 49g+/50g, select USB (ttyUSB) and choose the port your HP Calculator is connected to. See the README.hp49gplus file for details about those models.

When you are done setting up HPTalx, press the Save button in the Setup Dialog to permanently store your settings. HPTalx then creates a file named .hptalx in your Home Directory which is used to store the settings. If you just press the OK button without first saving, your settings are only kept for the current session.

9.3. Connecting your Calculator

First make sure you set up HPTalx as described above. Then plug the data cable into the HP Calculator and the communication port on the PC you have specified in the Setup Dialog.

Next, you need to put the HP Calculator into Server Mode:

  • HP 48: Press Right Shift, then Right Arrow on the calculator.

  • HP 49/50: Press and hold Right Shift and press Right Arrow on the calculator.

It is important for HP49/50 users, to put their calculator into Kermit Server Mode. Make sure the calculator shows the message

       Awaiting Server Cmd.

in the display. If you read

       Xmodem Server Waiting for command

you have started the XModem Server, which will not work with HPTalx 1.2.0 or later.

Now, you are ready to connect HPTalx to your calculator. This is achieved by selecting the Connect menu item of the Connect. After the connection has been established, the content of the HP Calculator is displayed in the bottom half of the HPTalx window, hereafter referred to as HP Pane. The top half displays the content of the directories on your PC, which is hereafter referred to as PC Pane.

10. Using HPTalx

If the previous steps succeeded, you can now transfer data between your HP Calculator and your PC.

To transfer files from your PC to the HP Calculator, select the file(s) in the PC Pane and choose the menu item Transfer of the File menu. A window will appear and display the progress of the transfer. The file(s) are transfered to your HP Calculator and stored in the current working directory of the calculator.

To transfer variables and directories, hereafter referred to as Items, to your PC, select the Item(s) in the HP Pane and choose the menu item Transfer of the File menu. The Item(s) will be stored in the current working directory on the PC.

Generally speaking, all commands are applied on the place where the last selection took place, either on the PC Pane or the HP Pane.

10.1. The Copy Command

The copy command Copy of the File copies the current selection to a directory of your choice. However, it does not transfer data between the PC and the HP Calculator. This said, you copy files either on the PC or Items on the HP Calculator.

10.2. The Move Command

The Move command found in the File menu moves data from the PC to the HP Calculator and vice versa.

10.3. The Edit Command

You can either edit files on the PC or Items on the HP Calculator by selecting the Edit menu item listed in the File menu.

10.4. The Create Directory Command

HPTalx allows you to create new directories on both, the PC and the HP Calculator by using the Created Directory command of the Directories menu.

10.5. The Remove Directory Command

Using the command Remove Directory of the Directories menu lets you remove entire directories including subdirectories and directory entries on the PC as well as on the HP Calculator. Be careful using this command. The command removes all files and subdirectories in the selected directory.

10.6. The "Command" Command

You can issue RPL Commands on the HP Calculator and view their output by using Command of the Utilities menu.

10.7. The Backup Command

This command allows you to make backups of the HP Calculator memory. However, it does not backup libraries and other items installed in the memory ports of your HP Calculator. The flags used to customize your HP Calculator are backed up as well, and can also be restored.

10.8. The Restore Command

You can restore the HP Calculator memory using backups created with the Backup Command.

This command replaces the content of the HP Calculator memory with the selected backup image, thus you are loosing all changes since the last backup. However, since the Backup Command does not backup libraries and memory ports, it cannot restore those.

After a successful restore, there will be a program called FLAG, which does restore the calculator flags when run.

11. Contacts

Please contact Rafael Ostertag for comments, suggestions and bugs concerning this release of HPTalx.

12. Credits

Many thanks to Bruno Barberi Gnecco for writing HPTalx in the first place. Thanks to Michele Dunja Haering for providing a HP 48G Calculator and Anic Studer for doing some proof read. Thanks also to Ricky Marshall, Joseba Garcia Etxebarria, and Ramiro Polla for the patches.

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