I want to begin looking into getting one of the modern HP-41 modules. The choices I am aware of are Clonix, NoV32 & NoV64, MLDL2000, and 41CL. Are there others I'm missing? Although the information is on the web on many pages requiring dozens or even hundreds of hours of study, I am not aware of any web page comparing the options side by side so someone like myself can arrive at a clear choice; so I hope to start a discussion here with those in the know, to benefit not just myself but others who have the same questions in mind. Having it here will keep it much easier to find than it would be on the hpmuseum forum, and much easier to update months or even years later. I asked in less detail on the hpmuseum forum some time back, and got good (but less detailed) answers, and it's far enough back in the archives that it cannot be added onto. 41CL wasn't out yet.
My own situation and desires are below. Others may wish to post their individual ones, which I expect will help everyone with any interest in one of these modern modules.
- I have a 41cx halfnut.
- I have two 82106A memory modules (made for 41c only) that I bought just to have the shell and connector. I can offer this if it is needed to build the new module into. The same goes for a card reader which I bought just for the shell. The guts should be saved to repair someone else's card reader.
- I have the Extended I/O module built into the HPIL module. I bought it that way brand new from Educalc. I never saw the two modules separately.
- I have a double extended memory module. Will it be of any use after I get the new module? The double extended memory module cut the battery life from two years down to six months (both estimated). Obviously I would leave it out if its function is duplicated by the new module, but I'm getting the idea that I should keep it in.
- I have the Advantage ROM and ZENROM which I use all the time. Do any of the module not support banking like the Advantage uses?
- I have a UV EPROM eraser, which I doubt is any advantage anymore, but it's available just in case.
- I have a home-made PIC programmer that can span the whole operational voltage range of 2V to 6V, but it requires Intel hex input via RS-232.
- Sandmath (Angel Martin)
- 41Z (Angel Martin)
- I want to keep the usefulness I have in the Advantage ROM and ZENROM, so I expect those two ROM images will need to be in the new module. My Extended I/O module is built into the HPIL module, so it might need to be omitted from the new module.
- Hepax (or maybe that one comes automatically with all but the Clonix?)
- Extended IL (Skwid)
- IL Dev
- plotter module
- Forth 41 (Serge Vaudenay) Is it any good, without eating up most of main memory, using source code files in the new module that are big enough to do anything useful? I don't think the Clonix has any RAM for such source files. Is that correct? It looks like the MLDL2000 has tons of RAM.
How does the battery life compare?
Everyone seems to want the 41CL now for its speed, but I don't have a coconut 41 to put one in, and time module availability is a big problem and and battery life might be too. The serial port does appeal to me though. Do any others have one? 41cx speed isn't too much of an issue except when using the 41cx's text editor which is extreeeeeemely slow to insert or delete characters unless the file being edited is pretty small.
I don't expect to do much MCode, but I might like the possibility of doing small routines with it. I understand Clonix cannot do this. Is that correct? Can pre-assembled MCode routines be entered from the 41's keyboard, like the tons of LEX files I entered on my 71 from the CHHU Chronicle?
Did I hear that one of these modules has a microSD port?
I really do not want to use Windows to load the images into the module. I only have Linux on my PC. I would prefer that the supplier pre-load the ROM images I want, so the module will be ready to use when I get it. I do hope the module is not heavily dependent on a PC anyway, as the 41 is far more stable than the PC market with its here-today-gone-tomorrow OS versions, interfaces, mass-storage methods, etc.. My existing 41cx has had some programs in it continuously for nearly 25 years-- not a single MEMORY LOST in that amount of time. If the ROM images are in flash, it should hold them for many decades. Flash holds much longer than EPROMs which were guaranteed for ten years but I've never seen them lose their memory even in 20.
Is there anything else that might affect a decision, like quality of build or documentation, or ease of use, or risk of losing files/data/programs? Angel said the MLDL is harder to master. Is that for doing our own MCode only, with the assembler on the 41 itself? Or is it harder even if you get it for the large amount of RAM (assuming it can be used for files, arrays, etc.), even without doing your own MCode?