The book you are about to read is a practical microcontroller and robotics handbook that in the hope of the authors will help to build intelligent microcontroller-based solutions and popularize the engineering profession among young people. The book is oriented to schools and universities, but can also be used for hobbyist and companies who are planning to use AVR microcontrollers in their projects. The target group includes both teachers as well as learners by helping to get fast results for both of them: for the learner to get new knowledge and for teachers to make their life easier when trying to present a new subject for learners :)


The selected base platform for the practical examples is AVR ATmega/ATxmega microcontroller-based Robotic HomeLab kit. Examples are using ether ATmega128, ATmega 2561 or ATxmega128A1U controller as Robotic HomeLab kit three generations are using these different controllers. AVR is one of the most widely used microcontrollers, besides Microchip PIC, amongst the hobby robotic community and is very suitable for educational purposes.

The book is logically divided into five sections:

1. section gives a fast introduction to the most simple electronics fundamentals and calculations. These formulas are very useful for several practical exercises. Also the C-language is briefly covered and some simple examples are given.

2. section gives an overview of 8-bit AVR microcontroller by using the ATmega as an example. The section is based on the ATmega datasheet but simplifies and presents the information in a more friendly way. This is a general microcontroller basic function description.

3. section introduces the hardware and software platform which is developed for educational use and is the basis for the next chapter examples. A special software library has been developed for the most common functions. The user can concentrate on the program logic instead of working indepth with the registers. Both Windows and Linux operating systems are supported.

4. section consists of practical examples together with exercises. Examples are divided into labs by covering the most common electromechanical devices and functions. Every chapter has a short theory background description and practical examples that enable the running of the function immediately simply by copying the program into the controller. Every exercise group (lab) has exercises in the end of sub-chapter together with comprehension questions. Exercises are grouped for beginners and advanced users, in this way allowing a selection according to the learner's skills. For better understanding, the chapters are referenced to the theoretical section.

5. section gives tips for doing teamwork. The section illustrates how to present the solution developed as a team, and how to write the report. The topics that should be included in the team report are highlighted and commented. The example project is also introduced to give a pattern for drawing up the concise report.

We hope that the book serves as an assistant for young as well as more senior microcontroller and robotic enthusiasts and will bring more people closer to this technology.

In snowy and cold Tallinn, January 2010 Updated in Summer 2014

Raivo Sell

Editor and Co-author

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