This document addresses display questions for the HP 10b, 12c, 17bii, and 19bii calculators.
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HP Business Calculators  Calculator Display Questions
Calculator symbol key
The procedures in this document use the following text to represent symbol keys:
Key

Description

Text Representation


colored key; shift key

SHIFT


Divide

divide

Restoring decimal points when numbers contain commas
Digit Separators
As a number is keyed in, each group of three digits to the left of the decimal point is automatically separated in the display. When the calculator is first turned on after coming from the factory  or after Continuous Memory is reset  the decimal point in displayed numbers is a dot, and the separator between each group of three digits is a comma. The calculator can be set to display a comma for the decimal point and a dot for the threedigit separator. To do so, follow the instructions below for the calculator model.
10b
Press SHIFT, then [.] (decimal point key)
12c
Turn off the calculator. Press and hold down the [.] (decimal point) key. While holding it down, press and release the ON key. Then release the [.] (decimal point) key
17bii
Press DISP, [.] (decimal point) key
19bii
To change the decimal point and digit separator, press DISP. Specify the decimal point by pressing [.] or [,]. [.] sets a period as the decimal point and comma as the digit separator. For example, the number "one million" is displayed as 1,000,000.00. [,] sets a comma as the decimal point and period as the digit separator. For example, one million is displayed as 1.000.000,00.
Changing the number of decimal places the calculator displays
10b
Press SHIFT, then DISP and the number of decimal places required.
12c
Press the gold f key, then the number of places past the decimal point that is required. In the following example, notice how the displayed form of the number inside the calculator  14.87456320, for example  is rounded to the specified number of digits.
Keys

Display

Description

Press f, then 4

14.8746
 
Press f, then 1

14.9
 
Press f, then 0

15.
 
Press f, then 9

14.87456320

Although nine decimal places were specified after f, only eight are displayed since the display can show a total of only 10 digits

The standard display format, plus the specified number of decimal places, remain in effect until they are changed; they are not reset each time the calculator is turned on. However, if Continuous Memory is reset, when the calculator is next turned on, numbers will be displayed in the standard display format with two decimal places shown.
If a calculated answer is either too small or too large to be displayed in the standard display format, the display format automatically switches to scientific notation. The display returns to the standard display format for all numbers that can be displayed in that format.
17bii
To change the number of displayed decimal places, first press the DSP key, then either:

Press FIX, type the number of decimal places desired (from 0 to 11), and press INPUT
OR

Press ALL to see a number as precisely as possible at any time (12 digits maximum).
Determining what "E" in a number (for example, 2.51E13) means
10b
Whenever the answer to a calculation is greater than 999,999,999,999 or smaller than .999999999999, the calculator automatically provides an answer in scientific notation (or exponent of ten, for example, 2.51x10E13). See Scientific Notation below. Press C and the display will return to normal.
Scientific Notation
Scientific notation is used to represent numbers that are too large or too small to fit in the display. For example, if the number 10,000,000 [X] 10,000,000 [=] is entered, the result is 1.00E14, which means "one times ten to the fourteenth power" or "1.00 with the decimal moved fourteen places to the right." Enter this number by pressing 1, SHIFT,[E], then 14. The E stands for "exponent of ten."
Exponents can also be negative for very small numbers. The number 0.000000000000 is displayed as 4.00E12, which means "four times ten to the negative twelfth power" or "4.0 with the decimal point moved 12 places to the left." Enter this number by pressing 1, SHIFT, [E], [+/], then 12.
17bii
There are two possible answers:

Whenever the answer to a calculation is greater than 999,999,999,999 or smaller than .999999999999, the calculator automatically provides an answer in scientific notation (or exponent of ten, for example, 2.51x10^{13}). The display format does not need to be reset; this means that the numbers are greater or smaller than the calculator can display.

The display format is set to "All" which displays any number to its full precision. It is probably desirable to set the calculator to "Fixed" mode. Press DSP FIX, the number of places past the decimal point that are required, and INPUT.
19bii

Whenever the answer to a calculation is greater than 999,999,999,999or smaller than .999999999999, the calculator automatically provides an answer in scientific notation (or exponent of ten, for example, 2.51x10^13). (See Scientific Notation below). The display format does not need to be reset; this means that the numbers are greater or smaller than the calculator can display.

The display format is set to "All" which displays any number to its full precision. It is probably desirable to set the calculator to "Fixed" mode. Press DISPFIX, the number of places past the decimal point that is required, then INPUT.
Scientific Notation
Scientific notation is useful when working with very large or very small numbers. For example, the 1984 Gross National Product of the United States was $3,662,800,00,000. Scientific notation writes this number as a smaller number (called a mantissa) times 10 raised to a power. In this case, the decimal point is moved 12 places to the left, and the number is written as 3.6628 x 10^{12}. The same process is used for very small numbers, except that the decimal point is moved to the right, and 10 is raised to a negative power. For example, 0.00000752 can be written as 7.52 x 10^{6}.
When a calculation produces a result too large or too small for the 19bii to display, the number is automatically displayed in scientific notation, using a capital E in place of "X 10".
To key in numbers in scientific notation:

Key in the mantissa. If the mantissa is negative, use [+/] to change the sign.

Press either the alphabetic E or SHIFT, then E to start the exponent.

If the exponent is negative press [].

Key in the exponent.
Keys

Display

Description

Press 4.78, E, 13, divide, 8, E, 25, then [=]

5.98E13

4.78 X 10^{13} Divide 8 X 10^{25} equals 5.98 X ^{13}

Press 2.36, [+/], SHIFT, E, [], 15, x, 12, then [=]

2.83E14

2.36 x 10^{15}x 12 = 2.83 x 10^{14}.

Adjusting the contrast on the display
10b, 17bii
Hold down ON and tap [+] to darken the contrast. Hold down ON and tap [] to lighten the contrast.
19bii
There is a list of keystrokes on the left side of the calculator that shows how to adjust the display contrast.
Determining what PEND in the display means (10b)
An arithmetic operation is pending (in progress).
Determining what [:] in the display means (10b)
The calculator is indicating that INPUT has been pressed. The INPUT key is used to separate two numbers when using two number functions or two variable statistics.
Attempting to set the P/YR, but when keying in the number of periods per year and pressing gold P/YR some other number appears on the display
10b
The wrong key is being pressed. P/YR is above the PMT key, not above the N key. Check the P/YR setting by pressing SHIFT, then CLEAR ALL. The number of periods per year will flash briefly on the display.
note:
This is a mode setting; it does not have to be set for each calculation.
The characters on the display are broken (running) (12c)
This display was not designed for alpha characters. A clever combination of annunciators is used to create the characters, some of which may appear unusual in size and shape.
Getting rid of "C" in the display (12c)
Press STO, then EEX.
Determining what a flashing asterisk (*) in the lower left hand corner of the display means (12c)
New batteries are required.
When running the selftest, other annunciators (USER and GRAD) appear in the display (12c)
USER and GRAD are used on other calculators that share a common LCD display. The HP12C does not have these features.
Changing the number of decimal places the 19bii displays
To change the number of displayed decimal places:

Press DISP

Perform a or b:

To specify the number of displayed decimal places, press FIX. Type the number of decimal places, (an integer from 0 to 11) and press INPUT

To display numbers as precisely as possible (up to a maximum of 12 digits), press ALL

Changing the number of displayed decimal places affects what is seen, but does not affect internal calculations. Regardless of the numbers of decimal places displayed, the HP19bii stores all numbers with 12 digits
Keys

Display

Description

Press 45, x, .1256, then [=]

5.65

Two decimal places are displayed

Press DISP, FIX, 4, then INPUT

5.6520

Four decimal places are displayed

Press DISP, then ALL

5.652

Trailing zeros are dropped

Press DISP, FIX, 2, then INPUT

5.65

Two decimal places are displayed

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