REVIEW - AVR - An Introductory Course



An Introductory Course


John Morton



Newnes (2002)




Chris Hills


June 2004



This is exactly what it says an "Introductory course". If you want to understand micros and embedded work this is a good place for students, GCSE to first 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

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 IDEs) change over time and this 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. 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 gives 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 gives 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 an AVR dev-kit. I tried it on a 17-year-old electronics student and he took to it. Lecturers using the AVR should look at this book. Recommended.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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