Chapter 1. Introduction

The first question to ponder is what, exactly, is a microcontroller? Clearly it’s a chunk of silicon, but what’s inside of it?

What Is a Microcontroller? The Big Picture

Rhetorical questions aside, it’s well worth getting the big-picture overview before we dive headfirst into flipping bits, flashing program memory, and beyond.

A Computer on a Chip…

Microcontrollers are often defined as being complete computers on a single chip, and this is certainly true.

At their core, microcontrollers have a processor that is similar to the CPU on your computer. The processor reads instructions from a memory space (in flash memory rather than on a hard drive), sends math off to an arithmetic logic unit (instead of a math coprocessor), and ...

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