Series: Evil Genius
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education TAB; 1 edition (September 2, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #132,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #1 in Books > Computers & Technology > Hardware & DIY > Microprocessors & System Design > PIC Microcontroller #35 in Books > Computers & Technology > Hardware & DIY > Peripherals #42 in Books > Science & Math > Physics > Electromagnetism > Electricity
I'll be honest here. I was purchasing a completely unrelated book, and I needed to spend a few more bucks to get free shipping at . Having just ordered a PICAXE development board and a few PICAXE chips to play with, I did a quick search and found this book. I have already bought and studied "Programming and Customizing the PICAXE Microcontroller" book by David Lincoln (also highly recommend) so I didn't think I needed another PICAXE book. But I bought it anyway.And I'm glad I did.Mr. Hackett did a fine job on this book. It is well written, very illustrative (although the publisher could have lightened a number of the illustrations, many were very dark and you had to squint), and follows a very nice outline.What impresses me the most, besides the thoroughness of the programming information, is the design suggestions that he made. I have, since I was 10 years old (I still have that first breadboard 25 years later), been a breadboarder. I have built and modified many circuits on breadboards. It is a valuable skill, one that can only come from experience... but it can also get tedious. That's why I really like the development boards that are available. I have been using a PICAXE development board (google AXE091) for a few days and really enjoy it, and highly recommend it. It's also why I REALLY like the Arduino with the associated shields for it. But what impresses me with this book is Mr. Hackett's stripboard techniques. First you breadboard a peripheral (LED display, switch, etc) and then, since it is something you will likely use again and again, you can save time in the future by making a stripboard version that plugs into your breadboard. Very nice. But even that can get tedious after a while... so guess what?
What a useful book!. While I started with the Basic Stamp, I stumbled across Picaxe in its early years and found it superior in many ways. First it is cheap and the programming support forum was terrific. Most of all, it can handle many small and useful tasks such as light and water detection, sound and motor handling, really many things.But to take advantage of what it can do, you need a book like Ron's. It helps you on so many levels. One of my favorite discoveries was the use of stripboards - this allows the user to create small linkages in a variety of ways. The boards are easy to cut, the long running copper lines are ideal for connecting common connections like power and ground, and they are flexible - unlike preconfigured PC boards you find at radio shack. Actually, they are very common in Europe and they sell them by the boat load.So aside from being guided in how to physically make the circuits, Ron does a great job in educating the person about programming issues and circuit design. And best of all, he speaks to the lay person. I love the progression of tasks and projects. Each of them more advanced, each of them building on the previous knowledge. It truly could be used by any community college, vocational or high school as a laboratory work book. While the photographs are poorly defined, Ron has made them available on his web site for easy download - together with all of the programming code. This is great for those who mistype or who want to get the "correct" code version.Lastly, it is a great resource if you need to remember how to hook-up lcds, leds with a display chip, a keyboard or interfacing with things like a tv remote. Each chapter provides a high level overview, or background if you will. Not too much and not in a pedantic manner.
I am a semi-experienced amateur looking to learn more. I am not a professional or an electrical engineer, just a mechanically inclined guy who likes to tinker with things.Overall I liked the book & learned most of what I intended to learn from it, but I found reading it a frustrating experience the first time.The incomplete Parts Lists really negatively impacted my experience as I had to invest significant time figuring out what is needed. Also, because of this I suffered multiple delays & increased shipping costs. The typos and omissions in the programs were also frustrating, especially because I download them from the author’s site to avoid such things.Pros:Ron is a decant writer & the programs are well explained. Just seeing his example programs helped me a lot.Ron has a website dedicated to supporting the book. Large color versions of the book's pictures can be download. The programs in the book can be download. There are some of the project related parts & nice custom PCBs for sale. There is errata and corrections for the book.All the basic concepts are covered well; input, output, variables, & much more.Cons:The pictures are in the book are B&W and are way too dark.The author constantly referrers you to the Picaxe primer in Nuts & Volts magazine & the Rev Ed Picaxe manuals for further details on a lot of subjects. This disappointed me. If you are looking for an in depth book the Rev Ed manual would probably be a better choice.There is no complete list of needed components. You must consult the Parts Bins & then also scour the schematics & text for parts not listed in them.
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