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Title: AVR An Introductory Course

Review Date, Jan 2004
Author: John Morton
Pub: Newnes
ISBN: 0-7506-5635-2
COST: - 14.99
Cover: Soft
Pages: 238
Keywords: embedded Micro controller
Recommendation: Recommended
Source: - Publisher

This is exactly what it says an “Introductory course”. If you want to get into micros and embedded work this is a good place for students, GCSE to 1st year degree and home users. Most engineers I would hope would not need this book just the AVR datasheets.


The book works in assembler and there are free assemblers and cheap dev kits out there for AVR. The most common AVR assembler is Atmel’s own AVR Studio. It is nearly 7MB so you will need broadband to get it from www.Atmel.com!


There is also the, almost obligatory, section on hex, binary and number- bases. It also teaches good practice with flow charts and source code templates The text not only tells you what to do but also explains why in clear and easy to understand terms. It does not however tell you how to use specific tools or assemblers. This is a good thing as tools (especially IDE’s) change over time and it lets the reader choose their own tools, which are going to come with their own, help files and manuals.


On the down side there is no website or disk with the book. Therefore you will have to copy type the last 48 pages of assembler if you want to use the sixteen example programs. That or email the author and politely ask for an electronic copy of the source.


The projects cover use of most of the AVR peripherals and, in assembler givers a good insight the how the parts work. The projects include pwm, motor-drive and rs232 comms to a PC as well as the usual switches and digital IO. There are exercises, some in the projects themselves with answers in the back of the book, which illustrate specific parts of the projects. I think this is a good idea. It give additional help in the crucial areas.


There is a quite novel appendix “when all else fails, read this” that gives some very useful tips. Just 8 of them but they will solve a lot of the silly problems novices make.

If you want a hands on introductory course to micros or AVR and you are not an experienced embedded engineer this is the book. The AVR Studio contains a simulator so conceivable this is all you will need but realistically you will also need to buy a n AVR dev-kit I tried it in a 17 y/o electronics student and he took to it. Lecturers using the AVR should look at this book. Recommended.