The 5 best Arduino books

Don't let these Arduino resources go untouched.Whether tackling a new hobby, prototyping a product idea, or simply satisfying your curiosity, the world of Arduino offers a wealth of possibities.  The best way to dive in is with the right resources in hand, so EngBlaze has picked five of the best Arduino books out there to help you brush up on your skills.  Each book caters to different topics and skill levels, so check out our summaries to see which one is right for you.

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Tutorial: Using AVR Studio 5 with Arduino projects

AVR Studio Welcome Page

This article explains, step-by-step, how to set up the AVR Studio 5 IDE for use with Arduino projects.  It also includes some background on the pros and cons of working with AVR Studio, notes on general setup for working with Atmel devices, and a few other tips we’ve picked up along the way.  Feel free to skip around to the sections that interest you.

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How to turn your breadboard rat’s nest into a badass circuit – PCB manufacturing tips

Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is a black art among the DIY community.  If you’re putting together a prototype circuit, the process is very well established: get an Arduino or your microcontroller of choice, pick out some components, get a breadboard and wires, and then string everything together.  Easy, low cost, and accessible.

However, what if your project becomes more complex?  You can extend breadboard or perf-board work to a point, but the likelihood of making an error grows exponentially with project complexity.  Nobody wants to end up with a circuit that looks like this:

Now THIS is a rats nest of wires.

Image credit: Big Mess o’ Wires

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Extreme AVR power savings – the quest continues

At Engblaze, we’re somewhat obsessed with squeezing every possible bit of performance out of our circuits.  Ok, really obsessed.  Like beyond Facebook-stalking and into restraining-order-territory obsessed.  To that end, we consider it our duty to bring news of other intrepid performance squeezing pioneers in the DIY electronics world.

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A toast to international geekiness: The making of Arduino

The making of the Arduino DIY electronics platform.

Ever wonder how the Arduino platform got started?  IEEE has a very well written article on the history of Arduino and the global five person team behind its creation.  Although Arduino isn’t the most powerful or even the most flexible development board ever to come along, the story of its adoption by the open-source and creative community is a great example of how virtual collaboration can be an incredibly powerful tool.

If you’re a true geek, mark your Italian travel guide with the address for the Bar di Re Arduino in Ivrea, the namesake hangout of Arduino creator Massimo Banzi.  Next time you’re there, you can toast the DIY hacking community in his honor.  The bartenders may not know what you’re talking about, but your nerdy, nerdy soul will.

Recreate fancy OnStar commercials with nothing but tenacity and a $10 cell phone

Car remote start system using a pre-paid cell phone for long-range activation.

Building on our theme of cellular hackery, Dave has a three part series on his blog dedicated to the creation of a remote start system for his car. What’s the catch, you say? Oh, no catch, no catch at all… except that he wired his remote start to work via cellphone input, so he can give his whip a call before he leaves work and climb into a warm car immediately upon arrival at the parking lot.

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Have your Arduino tweet, text, and post rambling Tumblr updates from anywhere using the official GSM/GPRS shield

Straight outta Compton the official Arduino labs, the GPRS/GSM shield and associated library have been developed for your communications pleasure.  There is a lot of scattered work out there on cellular communications, but this project was developed by a three-person team that includes two Arduino co-founders, so you know you’re getting a level of professionalism.  Like some of our other cellular posts, the library relies on standard AT commands, so you may be able to adapt it to a range of other hardware.  Check out their detailed documentation and see if it will work for your project.

We interrupt this program to bring you a tutorial on… Arduino interrupts

Arduino interrupt tutorial

Ah yes… the wonderful and oft-misunderstood world of microcontroller interrupts.  Are you looking to build a project that relies on very precise timing or needs to react quickly to an input?  Then don’t change that channel, my friend.  In this tutorial we’ll cover what interrupts are, what they do, and how to use them.

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Connecting Arduino to a USB GPRS Modem

Oleg has written up a project detailing how to get your Arduino talking to an inexpensive USB cell modem (~$25 from DealExtreme, among other retailers).  It’s based on a BenQ M23 GSM/GPRS wireless module and uses a standard AT command set.

This is the cheapest we’ve seen for a plug-and-play cellular solution, so it’s definitely a good resource.  His site walks you through the setup process and provides example code plus a complete library, so if you’re looking to do something similar, check it out.