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PICAXE Microcontroller Projects for the Evil Genius
PICAXE Microcontroller Projects for the Evil Genius
by Ron Hackett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good basic information but ultimately disapointing, 3 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The book starts with a clear introduction to Picaxe computing and as a newcomer I was pleased that chapter one included a detailed description of how to solder the stereo input socket required for downloading programme data from the PC. With only two resistors to add to the socket this seemed a nice easy start. However, Chapter 2 provided detailed instructions for a second version of the same circuit. Later on in the book there were instructions for a third variant, complete with the two original resistors. By this point the author had described a number of useful circuits and had described how he makes circuit diagrams using word-processing software (surprisingly useful) but the very wordy style was already becoming irritating and to make matters worse many of the diagrams and photographs looked as if they had been produced in a dark room, in many cases being totally impossible to see in any detail. Later chapters introduced the project called a Programmable Multifunction Peripheral Device but after 40 pages or so of this I still had no idea what it might be used for. Indeed the author appeals (page 211) for readers to write in with details of any interesting projects they may have developed for this device. The final 40 pages describe the author's ambitious "Octavius" robot with the final photograph clearly showing (this time) a main processor board surrounded by an arrangement of 8 very large breadboards, all of them apparently unoccupied except for one with a LCD display. After 40 pages it doesn't even work! The index was another source of irritation, it seemed bizarre that there are no main entries for motors, or servos. It turns out that motors are actually listed twice; once under the heading "L293" for the controller chip and once as a sub-sub article under "Octavius", the robot that doesn't work. There are useful bits in the book, which is why I have given it three stars, but I cannot recommend it, other than to say that there seem to be very few Picaxe books, which is a shame as the system includes some very useful and cost effective micro controllers.


Arduino Cookbook
Arduino Cookbook
by Michael Margolis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.75

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 200 recipes in this Arduino Cookbook, 3 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Arduino Cookbook (Paperback)
This (second edition) is an outstanding guide to the Arduino environment. It is probably not for the absolute beginner, who would find "Getting Started with Arduino" by Massimo Banzi a clear and concise introduction. By contrast this 700 page Cookbook covers a huge range of topics, from using the C++ language to do simple arithmetic to detailed control of associated hardware. The 18 chapters are arranged in a total of over 200 sections, each of which contains a recipe describing a task, a circuit diagram and sample computer code where appropriate, followed by a detailed discussions which are in effect mini tutorials. The style is concise, extremely clear and objective - the author being able to make his point without being patronising and without any misguided attempts to liven the text with unnecessary humour. It is extraordinarily comprehensive; with four different recipes for controlling ordinary DC motors, as well as sections on stepper motors and servos. Using these recipes you will be able to communicate with other Arduinos, with your PC and with Web pages. You will also be able to send Twitter messages containing sensor data, keeping you informed even when off-site. It does not stop there, as with other O'Reilly books, there is comprehensive on-line support. I did find a diagram with one unlabelled component. If I had not been an absolute newcomer to this world I would have been able to guess the component value, but instead I asked for clarification by email and received a response from the author within hours. With this kind of support you cannot go wrong! Heartily recommended!


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