Chapter 1

Introducing Microcontrollers and the BASIC Stamp

In This Chapter

arrow Looking at microcontrollers and how they work

arrow Examining the BASIC Stamp microcontroller

arrow Building simple BASIC Stamp projects

You can make a circuit board do almost anything you like using a computer with a parallel printer port and a bit of software, as you discover in Book VI, Chapter 4. But sometimes you want to dispense with that ugly, bulky PC and the wires running from it to your amazing electronic invention. For example, perhaps you’d prefer not to have to use a computer just to run some Christmas lights or you want to free your walking, talking robot from the reins of the PC. That’s where microcontrollers such as the BASIC Stamp come into the picture.

In a nutshell, a microcontroller is a small computer on a single chip, which you can purchase for £25 or less. This chapter introduces you to microcontrollers in general, and describes the fundamentals of using the BASIC Stamp microcontroller in particular, one of the most popular models available today. In Chapters 2 to 4 of this minibook, we go into more details about using the BASIC Stamp microcontroller, including how to write the programs that control ...

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