When performing low-level output work, which is a very central point in microcontroller programming, it is quite common that a particular bit needs to be set or cleared in some IO register. While the device documentation provides mnemonic names for the various bits in the IO registers, and the AVR device-specific IO definitions reflect these names in definitions for numerical constants, a way is needed to convert a bit number (usually within a byte register) into a byte value that can be assigned directly to the register. However, sometimes the direct bit numbers are needed as well (e. g. in an SBI() instruction), so the definitions cannot usefully be made as byte values in the first place.

So in order to access a particular bit number as a byte value, use the _BV() macro. Of course, the implementation of this macro is just the usual bit shift (which is done by the compiler anyway, thus doesn't impose any run-time penalty), so the following applies:

_BV(3) => 1 << 3 => 0x08

However, using the macro often makes the program better readable.

"BV" stands for "bit value", in case someone might ask you. :-)

Example: clock timer 2 with full IO clock (CS2x = 0b001), toggle OC2 output on compare match (COM2x = 0b01), and clear timer on compare match (CTC2 = 1). Make OC2 (PD7) an output.

TCCR2 = _BV(COM20)|_BV(CTC2)|_BV(CS20);
DDRD = _BV(PD7);

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