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Designing Embedded Hardware Paperback – Nov 30 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Nov. 30 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596003625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596003623
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,468,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

John Catsoulis is an electronics engineer, programmer and physicist who specializes in advanced computer architectures. He is responsible for the design of over 25 embedded computer systems, and since 1996 has been Managing Director of Embedded Pty Ltd., a company that designs computers for industry, government, military and scientific agencies.


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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on May 8 2006
Format: Paperback
I found the book to give a decent introduction to the various issues involved in embedded hardware design. I think that the book would best suite 1st year electrical engineering students since it's theoretical coverage is rather lean, but it does provide a fair amount of "real world" issues that are often missed in textbooks. The author discussed basic computer architectures and assembly programming in the early chapters followed by a couple of chapters on electrical components and power source designs. He gave a fairly good coverage of the various interfaces (SPI, I2C, RS-232, IrDA, and USB) to microcontrollers. It's handy to have this covered in a single text. The last part of the book dealt with several microcontrollers on the market (PIC, AVR, 68HC11, MAXQ, and 68000), along with a chapter on DSPs. I was a little disappointed not to find coverage on the ARM processor architecture(s) since ARM is such a popular core and the fact that there was no coverage of device driver/OS related design issues. So definitely the emphasis is on hardware rather than software embedded design.
So can you learn embedded hardware design from the book? Yes you can to some extent. Expect to use this book to round out the standard textbooks used in electrical and computer engineering (unless you're looking for a refresher) by providing you with a little bit of theory and more "real world" issues. For example, when was the last time a book on electrical engineering discussed soldering issues? (It is covered in this book.) Having said that, the author did not mention anything about very real issues such as RoHS compliance or reflow temperature profiles. The book also only gives a few references, which themselves are buried within the main text (footnotes and/or a bibliography would have been nice). Overall the book is a good read. Consider a stepping stone to becoming an embedded designer.
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By A Customer on April 21 2006
Format: Paperback
I found the book to give a decent introduction to the various issues involved in embedded hardware design. I think that the book would best suite 1st year electrical engineering students since it's theoretical coverage is rather lean, but it does provide a fair amount of "real world" issues that are often missed in textbooks. The author discussed basic computer architectures and assembly programming in the early chapters followed by a couple of chapters on electrical components and power source designs. He gave a fairly good coverage of the various interfaces (SPI, I2C, RS-232, IrDA, and USB) to microcontrollers. It's handy to have this covered in a single text. The last part of the book dealt with several microcontrollers on the market (PIC, AVR, 68HC11, MAXQ, and 68000), along with a chapter on DSPs. I was a little disappointed not to find coverage on the ARM processor architecture(s) since ARM is such a popular core and the fact that there was no coverage of device driver/OS related design issues. So definitely the emphasis is on hardware rather than software embedded design.
So can you learn embedded hardware design from the book? Yes you can to some extent. Expect to use this book to round out the standard textbooks used in electrical and computer engineering (unless you're looking for a refresher) by providing you with a little bit of theory and more "real world" issues. For example, when was the last time a book on electrical engineering discussed soldering issues? (It is covered in this book.) Having said that, the author did not mention anything about very real issues such as RoHS compliance or reflow temperature profiles. The book also only gives a few references, which themselves are buried within the main text (footnotes and/or a bibliography would have been nice). Overall the book is a good read. Consider a stepping stone to becoming an embedded designer.
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By Andrew on Jan. 27 2004
Format: Paperback
While I don't know if I could build my own embedded device after reading just this book (I don't think I'd be able to this after pretty much any one book), I still felt like this book still delivered on that promise more so than any other single hardware book I've read. So many books gloss over details, either because knowledge is assumed (which is fine in many cases), or because the author doesn't have the detailed knowledge to begin with. And even when the data is in the book, far too often it's exactly that: book data, repackaged information from other sources (often books themselves). It's much better when the knowledge ultimately comes from the author's experiences. Most of the knowledge in this book really seems to be of the latter, and better, variety. I also thought the detailed introductions to a wide range of topics were 'just right' - not too high-level, so they glossed over important details or the underlying fundamentals of how the particular thing worked, but also not so low-level that they assumed knowledge I would have had to go find elsewhere. This goes for a lot of different protocols (RS-232, RS-422, SPI, I2C, USB, and so on) as well as technologies (what's a DSP exactly?).
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Format: Paperback
I assume I'm the real target reader for this book. I've been programming microprocessors and microcontrollers for 20+ years now, but I'm a hardware dunce. The book starts pretty much from Square 1 of simple electronics. The challenge of writing such chapters is to remember what it's like for a raw novice. An author should explain things and not skip ahead.
What I really wanted this book for was the chapter on simple Electronics rather than all the rest. It could use work. Current is represented in equations as "I". The author neglects to mention that. He just springs it on you in an equation. He also doesn't explain how he got the formula for the voltage divider. It's presented as some "magic" formula where he should taken just a few more steps to show how he got the formula (Ohm's Law, plus the bit about current in R1 and R2 being equal). Some of his other descriptions seem vague and incomplete (like inductors). That being said, I did learn stuff from that chapter so it was helpful.
I have a feeling many professionals are skipping this chapter and moving on to the meatier ones on how to hook stuff up, so their ratings are higher. There's some sage advice in the book (like disabling the brown-out voltage reset on 3.3V PICs as they are set at 4 volts!).
The emphasis is totally on hardware. You won't find any code listings for playing with the devices once it's hooked up, but that should be no problem for the intended audience. But if you were ever sitting there with a microcontroller in one hand and a DC motor on the other and wanting to know how to hook it all up, this is a good book for it.
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