REVIEW - BASIC Stamp - An Introduction to Microcontrollers



An Introduction to Microcontrollers


Claus Kuhnel, Klaus Zahnert


Newnes (1997)




Chris Hills


April 1999



What, you may ask, is a BASIC Stamp? It is a PIC micro controller that Parallax Inc. have modified to run a basic BASIC interpreter. Despite being a single source oddball the BASIC Stamp has a wide following and a lot of hobby magazines base projects on them. The advantage of a Stamp is that Basic is built in and no additional compiler is required.

This book is suitable for a beginner or students with some knowledge. The book discusses not only programming but how to set up various down-loading and debugging scenarios that should cover most things. There are a good number of projects to keep most students busy for a while. There is some discussion of QBASIC for writing programs on a PC that communicate to the Stamp. Thus the reader only needs one language for the whole project.

As a book to get to grips with this very versatile family it is all that is required. Reading the text one gets the impression that the authors have done it all many times before. One would not guess that English is not the authors' first language.

It is strange that the list of suppliers of parts are all US based given the authors are Swiss/German. Whilst all of the suppliers have email and web addresses the authors do not.

The book is a little on the expensive side (especially when compared to John Morton's PIC book) but still not bad. However as most of the information (plus additional information and software) is available free from the Parallax web site it makes this book rather redundant. A good book that has been surpassed by a web site.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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