HP 50G quickies: a quick reference guide.
I am presenting some tips for the HP 50G symbolic graphing calculator. Consider it as a quick reference guide for using the HP 50G more effectively.
 How do you turn off the HP50G?
 What is my OS ROM version?
 How do you upgrade to the latest version of the ROM build or OS?
 How do I adjust the contrast of my HP 50G screen?
 What documents are available for my HP 50G?
For the latest drivers and softwares, please visit the link
HP TechSupport Drivers and DocumentsMaybe because of the high printing costs, HP did not bother to supply out of the box the more advanced user's guide (more than 880 pages) which is in the CD.
You can also download the (AUR) Advanced User's Reference Manual V2.
Following are support documents available at
General, Settings and Modes Training Aid Introduction (.pdf, 143K) Download RPN and Algebraic mode (.pdf, 279K) Download Using a Secure Digital Card with ROM 2.08 (.pdf, 229K) Download Calculator modes and customization (.pdf, 248K) Download Special keys and features The USER keyboard (.pdf, 166K) Download Using the Equation Writer  part 1 (.pdf, 204K) Download Alarms, Dates, Timers Changing date and time (.pdf, 145K) Download Setting an alarm (.pdf, 174K) Download Date Calculations (.pdf, 158K) Download Finance and Accounting Amortization schedules (.pdf, 205K) Download Average sales prices (.pdf, 225K) Download Affordable Payment (.pdf, 200K) Download Lease Payment (.pdf, 172K) Download House Loan Amortization Schedules (.pdf, 193K) Download House Payment (.pdf, 166K) Download Remaining Loan Balance (.pdf, 186K) Download Required Down Payment (.pdf, 178K) Download Return on Investment (.pdf, 169K) Download Sinking Fund (.pdf, 174K) Download Bond Price (.pdf, 170K) Download Bond Yield (.pdf, 171K) Download Algebra, Functions Base Conversions and arithmetic (.pdf, 152K) Download Operations on binary numbers (.pdf, 181K) Download Working with fractions (.pdf, 252K) Download Complex Numbers (.pdf, 193K) Download Hyperbolic functions (.pdf, 188K) Download Using the Numeric Solver to solve a formula (.pdf, 231K) Download Solving for roots of Ss and quadratics (.pdf, 242K) Download Solving for zeroes of a function (.pdf, 221K) Download Linear Algebra and Matrices Solving linear systems using matrices (.pdf, 255K) Download Working with matrices (.pdf, 227K) Download Units Working with units (.pdf, 173K) Download Plotting The basics of plotting functions (.pdf, 212K) Download Calculations involving plots (.pdf, 238K) Download Working with Parametric Plots (.pdf, 257K) Download Working with Polar Plots (.pdf, 267K) Download Working with Fast 3D Plots (.pdf, 231K) Download Calculus, Power Series Numeric Differentiation (.pdf, 241K) Download Numeric integration (.pdf, 254K) Download Finding Limits (.pdf, 204K) Download Symbolic Differentiation (.pdf, 222K) Download Symbolic integration of polynomials (.pdf, 223K) Download Symbolic integration of trig functions (.pdf, 281K) Download Using Taylor Series (.pdf, 188K) Download Curve fitting, Regression Curve Fitting (.pdf, 237K) Download Cost estimation using Linear Regression (.pdf, 247K) Download Trend Line Analysis (.pdf, 251K) Download Statistics, Probabillity Probability  Rearranging items (.pdf, 145K) Download Probability distributions (.pdf, 195K) Download Confidence Intervals (.pdf, 220K) Download Hypothesis tests (.pdf, 228K) Download The site offers a single zip file HP 50G PDF files. for all of the above:
Most of these are available in your Manual. They have been conveniently separated.
A useful colorful spreadsheet for most of the calculator commands is available at cccs200.zip  Are there forums of usersowners of the HP50G? Where to ask questions?
 HP 48g Google group

HP service forums Put hp 50g in the search box in the main site: HP service
 expansys
 fixunix.com/hewlettpackard may also have
hp 50g calculator discussions.  Pbworks is an excellent one web page guide to the HP 50g by Tim Wessman.Some links appear to be dead but you can use Google to search for them.
 How do I lengthen the life of the batteries?
 How do I quickly change the calc mode from Algebraic to RPN style?
 Can I use 16 Gig SD cards on the calculator?
 How do I save variables to the SD card?
 How do I recall variables stored in an SD card?
 How do I test my calc?
 How do I enter upper and lower case letters?
 How do I enter greek letters?
 How do I learn to program the HP 50G.
 Are there Easter Eggs for the HP 50G?
 How do you view variables in memory?
 How do you clear a variable(s)?
 How do I change the active directory?
 How do I delete all entries in a directory?
 How do I delete the current memory?
 How do I reset the calculator
 Define a function of a single variable.
 Evaluate the function at any value of X
 Assign a key to the factorial function
 Obtain the inverse of an invertible function
 I need a quick quide to the stack diagrams of most of the HP50g commands.
 Serial Number of Calculator
 Interesting general links to HP50g calculators
There is no OFF button on the HP50G! Instead you press the Orange > button then the ON button.
The orange button is the first key in the second row from the bottom of the front face keyboard.
Your HP 50G has an operating sytem. On my HP50G, the OS version will be flashed on the screen
by pressing ONF4 together. Read it quickly as the calc will display the hardware system menu.
To go back, press ONF3 together.
Mine is at version 00401 with build 00091.
You can also type version on the calc. Mine returns
("Version HP50C Revision #2.08", "Copyright HP 2006")
So there is possible confusion here! "4.01 vs the 2.08" results!
WARNING!!!I suggest that you search the latest HP docs for this topic. As if this is not enough, typing VER on the console with empty stack gives me the authors of the HP 49/50G CAS software and the number 4.20060106. I believe that this is the CAS version.
Visiting http://www.educalc.net/1824482.page, I got the following information:
HP50g Firmware Version: 2.15 Build 0106 Description: Package contains the latest version of the HP 49G+ and HP 50g ROM. Firmware: 4.02 Build 0106 Release Date: 23 March 2009 ROM Version: 2.15 File Name: 4950_215.bin
Please refer to Educalc.net for a step by step instructions in upgrading the calculator ROM.
I have NOT tried this yet, and I would like to hear from you if you really did this.
Apr. 7, 2012: I have tried it yesterday. Here is my post on the upgrade process:
upgrading system software.
The latest firmware with optional softwares is available from
drivers for Linux, Windows and MacOS
I have deleted the outdated information on this procedure of updating the firmware and suggest the reader follows the Educalc.net
This sounds complicated and it is! HP should have made this a keypress setup. Dont feel pressured to have the latest versions!
While keeping the ON key depressed, press either the +(increase) or (decrease) keys.
If you have any questions to ask about the HP50G or (equivalent HP 48GPlus, hp 49), visit the following:
Use Google: Enter hp 50g forums problemstatement and you may be lucky to find relevant web pages. You can also try the main calculator site: hpcalc.org
Our you can try http://www.hpcalc.org/search.ph?query=????" where ??? is a topic you want more information.
Here is another useful site for hp 50g tutorials. Calculator lessons.
The HP 48 FAQ will be also useful to the HP 50G user. Visit the newsgroup http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sources.hp48 and search for FAQ. You can also try http://www.hpcalc.org/docs/faq/. The FAQ is frequently posted and revised. Both calculators HP48 and HP 50G share many similarities.
Merciadri Luca's "Useful Tips and tricks for the HP50g" provides convenient summaries of the most common functions you may encounter.
You can send me other links to the hp 50G to add here.
To avoid buying often batteries, insert the USB cable to your computer USB. The calc will then draw power from the USB slot! Or use rechargeable batteries. They drain faster than nonrechargeable ones but you will save money in the long run.
When replacing the batteries, be sure to turn off your calculator first. Then pull out the old batteries and put in the new batteries. Then turn it on again. Watch out for the correct polarities. The battery positions alternate in the calculator. Replace batteries as soon as you get a warning. Corroded batteries are common causes of destroyed calculators.
Press MODE, +, then OK. This will cycle the Algebraic and RPN calculation modes.
That size is too large. You can get by using only 1Gb sized SD cards.
Variables can hold numbers,expressions, and functions.
Use TOOL menu. When you press STO menu choice, press "::", then insert the port number 3 in between the columns, then write the var name, say ":3:A1". What is the significance of ":3"? It means the calc shall save to port #3 which is the SD card. What are port numbers 1 and 2?
Hint: Try to press ON F3. YOu will see that 1 is ERAM, 2 is Flash and 3 is SD card.
Directories may also be used. Read the official HP "Using an SD CARD" document for the details. In summary you use quotes and the forward slash operator.
After you press TOOL, RCL, you just prepend ":3:" to the variable name (if it is really in the SD card!).
Press ON then F4 together. then select A for AUTOTEST. This tests all hardware components:
LCD, KEY, FLASH, SRAM, USB, RS232, BUZZER, IRDA and the SD CARD.
You my also press ON, F6 together. YOU will be able to test the PRINT, EMI or do a REBOOT.
To exit from the test, press ON then F3 together.
To enter capiltal english letters, you press first the ALPHA key , the the letter button.
To enter lower case english letters, you press first the ALPHA LSH(WHITE leftshift) , then the letter button.
If you want to name your variables using some greek letters, try to practice with ALPHA, > ORANGE KEY, then F1 to F6. and the other keys. You may also read my blog entry at adorioresearch.org/wordpress/?p=444 under the HP50G, TI89 category.
Right now, all I can tell you is to read the relevant chapters in the Advance Users Guide (not the slim manual) which is included in your CD. You need to have a pdf viewer to read the big file.
I will start writing about this soon!
Try to obtain a short 39 page introduction:Mervin Newton: An introduction to Programming HP Graphing Calculators
to get started. It teaches RPL style of programming.
A one page programming introduction is Eddie Shore: Programming
And of course the users guide Chapter 21 (pages 648715).
Visit Tetris.
Type RULES from the command line. This Easter Egg is from the HP 40G! (The AMIGOS does not work for the HP50G).
You can press VAR and all active memories (6 at a time) in the current directory will be shown. Press the NEXT key to view remaining variables.
To view all at once all active variables and their values, press (rightshift)Orange and the downarrow keys.
Use the PURGE(varname) command from the TOOLS menu. To help you choose the varname, press VAR key. Varname may be prepended with a ':3:' if the variable is in the SD card.
Use the CLRVAR command to clear all variables.
Use the FILE manager menu. Select the directory and press ENTER.
Use the command PGDIR(dirname). If you want to purge all entries in the SD card, you can reformat it instead. (Assuming you don't have other important files)!!
This is a dangerous procedure.
Press ON, A and F keys. Then select NO to the query "Try to Recover Memory?". Then release in order the F A and ON keys. Press OK to verify afterwards.
Press On+F3, or press a clip on the hole at the back of the calculator.
For more information: visit Reset the calculator?:
To define a function of the form y = f(x),
press DEF(y(x)=f(x)) where DEF is the third key(< 2) in the second row from the bottom
of the calculator.. For example, the function
y = (x1)/(x2) is entered as
DEF(y(X) = (x1)/(x2)).
Dont forget to put (X) in the definition of Y. Upon success, NOVAL will be displayed.
Be sure that parenthese are balanced.
To evaluate a user defined function at a particular point X, say at X= 2, simply call the function with the argument as parameter.Thus the value of the previous function at X=2, is simply Y(2), and the calculator displays 1/4.
Believe it or not, this is one topic treated in about the Keyboard in the USER Keyboard . Actually the factorial function may also be called using
ALPHA RSHIFT(orange key) 2.
Given a graph of a function, the horizontal line test may be applied to check if the function is invertible.If any horizontal line touches the graph at most at one and only one point of the graph of the function, then the function is invertible.
The inverse of a function defined by DEF may be obtained from using the S.SLV menu. Form ISOL(body function, independent_variable). Unfortunately, the HP50G cannot accept just the name of a function, you really have to reenter the body of the function!
This also reminds anyone using the HP 50G not to name
any variable as X as this is usually the default
independent variable.
Ok, one can use a dummy value: ISOL(Y(X)  t, X). where the calculator outputs . Here t is the dummy function value. This will help you save some retyping of the function body.
Thus the inverse function, in terms of Y and X is
. Really, the HP calc guys should implement a simple technique for doing the inverse of invertible functions!
The Inverse Function Solver in 238 of the AUR mentioned by reader MACH is for numerically finding an x given f(x) = y using function ROOTR.
Here is one compact reference quide from a 1968 posting in the comp.sys.hp48g by swan.r.l
HP50G quick guide.pdf
My calculator has the serial number CNA 75001023. It can be found in the back. Alas the metallized printed number is starting to flake off!
Explore Joe Horn's HP50g page Surprised to find a procedure for cleaning the inside of the screen.
I am beginning to think that HP and TI calcs are more like Linux and Windows computers respectively.
With power comes responsibility! Take your time! Explore the HP 50G, write me your links to your hints in using the HP 50G. I will mention them here.
Notes:
Date  Remark 
Jun 22.  First version. 
Jun 24  Tidies up function inverse 
Jun 26  Added links to forums and groups 
Jul 10  Added link to Calculator lessons tutorial, RULES easter egg 
July 15  Added link to comp.sys.hp48 and for hp 48 FAQ. 
August 26  Grouped the HP docs into categories with links. 
See also Giancarlo Mattioni http://forums13.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/bizsupport/questionanswer.do?admit=109447627+1251250173056+28353475&threadId=1149396  
Sept. 26  New link: http://www.ele.uri.edu/faculty/vetter/Otherstuff/HPcalculators/HP50g/index.html 
Dec. 23  Juan Carlos pointed out a shortcut for the the factorial function. It is ALPHA RSHIFT(orange key) 2. Thanks to Juan. 
Dec. 7,2010  Added link to Advanced User's Reference Manual V2, (Thanks to Miguel Angel Caporalini or Mach ) 
October 8, 2011  Added Merciadri Luca's Useful Tips and Tricks for the HP 50g. 
December 23rd, 2009 at 11:16 am
Nice job! please add a shortcut built in the hp50g for factorial: alpha orange 2
March 11th, 2010 at 1:03 am
I love my hp50g. I would really like to have a "product of series" (PI) function similar to the "summation of series" (SIGMA) function. I haven't found any so far.
I've written a basic UserRPL version, but if the variable name exists as a global, it's evaluated before it reaches the function. The builtin Sigma function doesn't have this problem. Are you able to write library function like this?
 It would be even better if it usable in the equation editor just like the Sigma function.
July 21st, 2010 at 4:57 pm
[...] can find a quick reference guide for the Hewlett Packard HP 50g calculator here as [...]
October 10th, 2010 at 10:00 pm
THANKS for putting this here! Very useful stuff. The link for Symbolic Integration of Trig Functions is missing, though. It was easy enough to guess based on the others:
http://h20331.www2.hp.com/Hpsub/downloads/50gSymbolic_integration_of_trig_functions.pdf
October 11th, 2010 at 2:36 am
Thanks Chuck for catching the error. The link was there but badly referenced as < a = href".
October 31st, 2010 at 3:20 am
Hi, I just bought a HP50g and is running win 7. I installed the PC software but win 7 does not allow me to access the HP, can't get the USB driver installed, is there other USB drive for Win 7 available? where can I find or download a drive?
Great site and very useful info.
Thankx
October 31st, 2010 at 5:33 am
You mean you run Win 7 on a PC, and want to communicate with the HP50g calculator via the usb link cable.
I can't help you with this since I am using Ubuntu, but you can ask support at HP and other HP 50G related forums for help.
August 31st, 2011 at 3:19 am
I love my hp50g. I would really like to have a "product of series" (PI) function similar to the "summation of series" (SIGMA) function. I haven't found any so far.
June 30th, 2013 at 9:08 am
There is a product function for lists. For example
MTH PiList({4,5,6}) should display 120. MTH is LSH SYMB. (fourth column of fourth row from the top).