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7 February 2010
Practical Arduino is not a book for complete beginners, but it still starts off quite gently. It does assume that you already have an Arduino and have figured out how to create a sketch and push it to the Arduino. This is not a huge step as most of the info is on the Arduino web site, but it exclude the complete beginner. Assuming you've got over the basics this is however a great book to progress further with the Arduino.
This is done, as you would expect from the title, through practical examples showing real projects. Details are included on how to make the example projects, but rather than just step-by-step instructions detail is provided on how it works to help develop your own similar projects. For example the touch screen project gives an example that you can implement, but also gives other ideas which could be based on a similar design.
The book does not include all the source code to the sketches, but explains the important parts and links to the rest on the accompanying web site. This is perhaps better than having page after page of code, on what is a hands on book.
The one project that I'm keen to have a go with is an oscilloscope / logic analyser, which has the potential to save hundreds of pounds compared with a dedicated hardware oscilloscope. The feature set and input rages is very much limited compared with a "real" oscilloscope, but this provides a way for the hobby electronic enthusiast to have access to a tool they may not otherwise have been able to afford. I have already thought of ways I'll hopefully make mine different from the book, which I think goes to show that the book meets it's aim in triggering the readers imagination rather than just providing a step-by-step instruction manual.
I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone that's gone beyond the basics and is looking to go that little bit further with the Arduino.