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C Programming for Microcontrollers Featuring Atmel's Avr Butterfly and the Free Winavr Compiler Paperback – Mar 1 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Smiley Micros (March 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976682206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976682202
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.6 x 24.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,443,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great promise, mixed results Sept. 3 2005
By Mark Strauch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book and "Embedded C Programming and the Atmel AVR " by Barnett, since feedback went both ways. I must say this book appears rushed, has some crucial errors (especially for first timers), typos, poor layout in places, and a weak index. However, it does tie into the WinAVR compiler, and for those that need help there, the book is useful. All examples use the ATMEGA 169, as expected. Barnett's examples mostly use the 90S8515 (some ATMEGA 163), with the CodeVisionAVR compiler.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potential Gem - But Lets Itself Down Nov. 26 2005
By Tronix Student - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am writing this review from both the viewpoint as a student of electronics, and as a teacher of some 13 years experience.


* Excellent value for money

* Excellent hardware available from author's website

* User-friendly style of writing

* Wide coverage of C - I am learning a lot

* CD ROM contains source code, data sheets, compiler, IDE and

terminal software, software for downloading code

* Friendly and responsive answers to questions via email

* Wide range of topics covered


* Sloppy editing - many typos and some fundamental errors

* Weakness in communicating concepts

* Needs to explain longer/detailed code/program examples step-by-step to fully explain concepts and so students grasp program functionality and AVR architecture clearly and confidently

* Has been rushed

Mr. Pardue has written an enjoyable book. His writing style makes it easy to get through somewhat technical subject matter. There are a range of fun and practical examples to experiment with. However, more detailed examples could be broken down further and explained, which from a pedagogical perspective would be more effective for students to fully grasp and feel confident with the inner workings of programming.

If Mr. Pardue writes a sequel covering more advanced C programming and AVR microcontroller concepts, especially detailed assembly language programming and AVR architecture, and effectively explains detailed code examples and AVR architecture step-by-step I will definitely buy it.

Possible features of the next book could include hardware hacking of the AVR Butterfly to access more ports, building circuits that take advantage of ICSP, robotics such as SONAR, infra-red communication, sound sensing , using other communication protocols like I2C etc, interfacing with compass sensor, interfacing with speech recognition and text-to-speech sysnthesis, interfacing with GPS, how to write and run different software other than the built-in code of the Butterfly (customised operating system), internet/networking.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended July 18 2005
By Chuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have a lot of experience programming in assembly language on the HC08 family but I wanted to learn C and a friend said that the AVR processor was a better choice for C programming. I followed his advice and visited [...] and learned about the Butterfly which is an amazing bargain and when I googled for info I found this book and bought it and a Butterfly. I really like this author's style. He breaks up the dry details with little jokes and personal tales of his own experiences learning C. I got the Butterfly wired up to communicate with my laptop and was surprised at how quick I was able to get the projects working. The motor speed control was the most fun even though it involved cutting and pasting a bunch of cardboard into a silly looking spinning wheel. I know how much work it would take to do this in assembly and how hard it would be to debug so this project really sold me on C. The rest of the book fills in the details about C and I see how all this will be really helpful in the type of work I do. I've also been doing this long enough to know how expensive it used to be to get a C compiler and a development board and I am amazed that such a good C compiler is available for free and that the Butterfly can do so much and cost so little. Even though I know a lot about microcontrollers I think that this book would also be good for somebody just starting out since it doesn't skip anything needed to get started. I highly recommend this book and the Butterfly for anyone who wants to learn C.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Advice for the prospective buyer July 1 2008
By Steve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author bills the book as "...a low cost way to learn C programming for microcontrollers", for beginners. Low cost it is, but for beginners, it's likely not.

Pardue's book is about two things: hardware, and software.

For hardware, Pardue commendably picked Atmel's Butterfly. It's a truly amazing and compelling miniaturized machine, guaranteed to mesmerize and puzzle anyone with a desire to learn microcontrollers. For less than the cost of a dinner, one can have the Butterfly, and for a song, download the free software to program it. Pardue's book is also reasonable in cost.

What makes the Butterfly come alive is a program, a compiled C program. And the software side of Pardue's book is centered around the C language. Briefly, the author takes you through the process of learning C, writing programs, compiling them, loading them on the Butterfly, and executing them. While C is a relatively "low level" read "simple", language, it is still complex and difficult to understand for beginners.

What makes this book a bad choice for the newbie? Well, you can't teach C and microcontrollers in 269 pages, period. Basically, the author's scope for the book is simply too ambitious. But don't misunderstand: Learning C with the Butterfly is a really good idea, it's just not practical in so few pages.

For example, a good C book covers mostly C, unsurprisingly. For instance, Prata's very good "C Primer Plus", is over 700 fairly concise, but beginner friendly, pages. (Granted, Prata's book covers more C topics than Pardue's book, but the comparison is still valid and compelling.)

Contrast that to Pardue's short 269 page book, that attempts to cover appx 700 pages of C, and at the same time, covers microcontrollers. Not gonna happen.

Then there's Pardue's chapter six, which is a prime example of the problem. Until this chapter, most example programs are short, if not just fragments. And for the most part, they are easy to understand, because Pardue takes the time to explain the program verbosely. Chapter six, to the contrary, slams you in the face with nearly six pages of solid code. While it's commented inline, there is little "direct" text explanation to augment the comments. I was limping when I got through the first five chapters, but chapter six blew me away. I fully expect the majority of true newbies will be blown away also. The remainder of the book has long programs, similarly lacking in adequate explanation.

Other reviewers have mentioned the author's poor grammar and typography, so I will not harp on it here. The author also attempts to inject humor in this dry technical subject, and mostly he succeeds. The reader will have to decide if his humor is appealing though.

Pardue does some things well. He gives adequate attention to guiding the newbie through putting the semi-kit-like Butterfly together, and introducing the compiler and Atmel IDE tools. For those unfamiliar with breadboards, those images will also be helpful. Pardue is obviously a gifted engineer, programmer and teacher, and many sections of text illustrate it well.

If you insist on buying the book and the Butterfly, here is my best recipe for success:
1. Buy and read another book on C first. I found "C Primer Plus" to be outstanding.
2. After you have a handle on the elementary aspects of C, then buy Pardue's book and the Butterfly, then get the errata and pencil in the numerous changes.
3. You should expect to read each chapter at least twice, and the chapters that cover the Butterfly will likely require more readings.
4. Type the code in yourself, as opposed to copying it from another source. Add your own comments to his, to reinforce your understanding.
5. I am sure you will need to refer back to your C book, when Pardue's book covers something in typical whirlwind manner.

There is one major mitigating factor to the negatives listed above. Joe Pardue, or "Smiley" as he is called on the avrfreaks forum, is a prolific poster and easily approachable online. He has a long track record of answering questions, many of them about his book. Regardless of whether you buy his book and Butterfly kit, do yourself a favor and google avrfreaks and check out the forum. I found it indespensible in deciphering the mystery that Atmel is.

As a side note, become aquainted with the open source hardware initiative "Arduino". The key attraction here is most of the hardware complexity is shielded by excellent library functions. These functions do things like drive output, read input, PWM, timers and serial work. The downside to Arduino is you are just "holding hands" with the hardware. The Butterfly requires "intimate" contact.

Good luck.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Concept; Poor Execution July 1 2005
By Ceilidh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a hastily written book with exceptionally poor editing: the author appears to have relied on a spell checker in lieu of actually proofreading the final copy, and the later chapters provide war stories and unexplained hacks in place of careful guidance for learners like myself. In the body of the text, the errors (frequently 3, 4, or 5 per page) are merely annoying, but when the errors creep into the actual C program examples (e.g., logical "OR" when the author means logical "AND"; hexadecimal examples with misplaced digits; missing quotation marks and randomly changing variable names, etc.) they cause great, repeated frustration. To the author's credit, he engagingly and clearly explains basic concepts, and I was tempted to keep the book for its opening chapters, even despite the many errors. The book might also be handy for hobbyists who simply want to have some fun hacking an AVR Butterfly. But as a cost-effective, practical tool for learning C Programming on the AVR, it pales in comparison with Barnett's "Embedded C Programming and the Atmel AVR", even though the latter book costs ~$40 more and ignores the WinAVR compiler. If you have the money to spend, it might be worth keeping the Pardue book in your collection, so long as you have better texts to accompany it. But for my cash-strapped self, I've returned the Pardue, and have ordered Barnett's book in its stead (I've been using the local library's copy, and like it so much that I want my own).

All in all, it's a pity the Pardue book was written in such a rush. I'd love a worthy, readable, neophyte-friendly text on embedded C with the WinAVR compiler, and I had high hopes for this particular attempt. But the lack of editing, and the evident haste shown by the later chapters, pretty much killed it for me. Pity.