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This bookis about microcontrollers (MCUs). These are digital engines modelled after the architecture of a stored-program computer and integrated on to a single very large-scale integrated circuit together with support circuitry, memories and peripheral interface devices. Although the MCU is often confused with its better known cousin the microprocessor in its role of the driving force of the ubiquitous personal computer, the vast majority of both microprocessors and microcontrollers are embedded into an assemblage of other digital components. The first microprocessors in the early 1970s were marketed as an alternative way of implementing digital circuitry. Here the taskwould be determined by a series of instructions encoded as binary code groups in read-only memory.
This is more flexible than the alternative approach of wiring hardware integrated circuits in the appropriate manner. The microcontroller is simply the embodiment of this original role of the integrated computer. We will lookat embedded MCUs in a general digital processing context in Parts II and III. Here our objective is to lay the foundation for this material. We will be covering: • Digital code patterns. • Binary arithmetic. • Digital circuitry. • Computer architecture and programming. This will by no means be a comprehensive review of the subject, but there are many other excellent texts in this area1 which will launch you into greater depths
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