Hackaday Links: May 28, 2023

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The Great Automotive AM Radio War of 2023 rages on, with the news this week that Ford has capitulated, at least for now. You’ll recall that the opening salvo came when the US automaker declared that AM radio was unusable in their EV offerings thanks to interference generated by the motor controller. Rather than fixing the root problem, Ford decided to delete the AM option from their EV infotainment systems, while letting their rolling EMI generators just keep blasting out interference for everyone to enjoy. Lawmakers began rattling their sabers in response, threatening legislation to include AM radio in every vehicle as a matter of public safety. Ford saw the writing on the wall and reversed course, saying that AM is back for at least the 2024 model year, and that vehicles already delivered without it will get a fix via software update.

In other corporate oopsie news, HP has apparently borked a bunch of printers with a firmware update. The issue appears to go back to around May 8, and impacts OfficeJet 902x series printers. HP customer service reps seem to have been taken by surprise by this at first, telling people that the “83C0000B” error displayed on the locked-up screen on their printers was due to a print head problem. It didn’t take long to figure out that something had gone wrong with a firmware upgrade, but HP didn’t have much to offer by way of a solution. As of this writing, there still doesn’t appear to be a fix, so if you own one of these printers, you’re out of luck for now.

Speaking of HP, they’re now selling a 40-year-old calculator for $120, and we’re not the slightest bit mad about it. The HP-15C “Collector’s Edition” is a reissue of the iconic scientific calculator that first hit the market in 1982, a machine that many engineers made their bones on. Everything about the look and feel of the original, from the chunky and satisfyingly clicky keys to the blocky LCD display to the landscape-format layout is just like you remember it. We never owned one of these; we never really got the hang of RPN, so the HP-22S was a better fit for us. But we’ve been banging on this thing for the better part of 40 years now, so maybe it’s time to grab one of these. And really, $120 is a bargain considering that the 15C was originally priced at $135, and that was in 1982 dollars. Expect more unboxing videos like the one below as people get their hands (back) on the 15C.

Thallasophobia warning: those who wisely fear the yawning depths of the ocean really don’t need to check out the new 3D scans of Titanic in her watery grave. The ill-fated ship, which has been lying off the coast of Nova Scotia in almost 4,000 meters of water since 1912, has been photographed hundreds of times since being discovered in 1985. But getting a full portrait of the ship has never been possible, at least until now. A deep-sea mapping company, Magellan Ltd., spent most of 2022 collecting thousands of images with ROVs, which served as raw data for producing the 3D scans. The results are eerie, to say the least, and the level of detail is astonishing. Check out this guided tour of the wreck, from someone who really knows the Titanic, from stem to stern.


And finally, if you’re looking for the best in automotive repairs and you just happen to be in the Houston metro area, you should check out Hackaday’s own service center. Sure, maybe they spell the name a little differently, but there’s no doubt they’ll get you fixed up and on your way in no time.

20 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: May 28, 2023

    1. Don’t ask me why height is measured in feet, but depth in measured in fathoms (don’t ask me why either). So traveling up/down in in feet/fathoms, but if you travel sideways it’s in miles/leagues/kilometers which regarding the mile seems to vary if you travel on land or sea. If you travel in space over really great distances, it’s measured in light years but that another story.

      Anyway, 4000 meters is 2187 fathoms (one fathom is about 6 feet)

  1. HP-15C reissue? Such a difficult decision for the money. I haven’t an original anymore, but the swissmicros does more, unfortunately without quite the same feel. I use an 11C every day (I have several, all showing age), a 35 is my shop bench device (I’m old, and so is it. It works fine still, but for the cells being replaced with NiMH and the charger cable having the need to be wiggled. LED’s are readable even when the lights are lowered for optical work, and the red color doesn’t mess with accommodation much), as well as the swissmicros 15C knockoff, but must wonder if this will be more like the feel of the 35s (an insult to the original), with the almost, but not quite, feel that is not even as good as the swissmicros models.

    Will it have the multishot keys? or the screen printed 35s style that wear off in two years of moderate use? Is it bug-fixed? Will it sip electrons like a connoisseur with a fine wine, as did the original, or chug a battery flat like a frat boy at a beer blast?

    Or is it, like the assorted 12C versions (my 1980’s version is still going,the ‘platnum’ from the 2010′ s has failed keys and never felt quite right, aside from the subtly changed behaviour for a few operations), a downgrade, but with a fancy package to make it look better?

    I want this to be awesome. I want this to let me retire my 1980’s 11C’s, which are wearing out. Will it? Will one of these outlive me?

    1. I don’t have any answers to your questions.
      I bought a (well) used 15c during the 1990s, for $15 and it came with the owners manual.
      I’m skeptical about the quality of this reissue, I hope Kinpo, or whoever is building these, makes a sincere effort to replicate the keys and power consumption.

    2. The reissue 15C I got a few years back: no to all your questions.
      No to double injected buttons, the action is bad, battery life is not epic and uses modern 2023 cells… it’s emulated
      But it is still a 15C. It does native complex numbers, programming is as good as ever. I love it.

  2. I bought a reissue 15C a few years ago and it’s pretty great. Right off Amazon for retail price right before they shot up to $600. I regret nothing. Looking now I can’t find the “new” ones on Amazon, HP site or anywhere else.
    Links someone??

  3. Really? Because of the high pressure, you can’t take a proper camera down to the Titanic? Sigh…
    Most importantly: It is dark down there and water is not perfectly transparent. Like standing in the fog at night. Photography up close – no problem. From further away, you lose contrast

  4. For years Hackaday staff has been telling us none of the articles are paid promotions, and then they post a photo and comment about their automotive service center.
    Hypocrisy, hypocrisy I say!

  5. So Ford and co are adding back AM radio… and doing what to mitigate electronic interference from their vehicles? These are inherently very powerful electrical devices and should be accountable for it.

    Unless of course the interference is confined to the vehicle?

    1. Even if it’s confined to the vehicle, i hope i won’t affect let’s say a passenger with a pacemaker or some other medical device (insuline pump, insuline measuring device, …).

    2. And if it interferes with the whole AM band badly enough to make radios useless, then it probably is broadband enough to interfere with all sorts of other low-band services that aren’t always talked about, right?. I really appreciate my watch being able to receive radio time instead of being stuck with GPS or internet time, but it’s a weak signal. As it should be, because you use the lower bands because they propagate to a large radius compared to the transmission power, but if you raise the noise floor because every car turns into a modern version of a spark gap transmitter…

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