How to Read a Binary Clock Display

Binary clocks display the time digitally using the base-2 representation of numbers. In binary, only 1's and 0's are used to form numbers. A sleek binary clock display has 3 columns (or rows, depending on how the clock is oriented). The first column displays the current hour, the middle column displays the minutes, and the last column displays the seconds. The hour column has four lights, since 12 has four digits in binary and 12 is the largest hour number. The minutes and seconds columns each have six lights, since 59 has six digits in binary and 59 is the highest number of minutes or seconds.

When a light is on, it represents 1, and when a light is off, it represents 0. The bottom row of lights represents 20 = 1, the next row represents 21 = 2, and so on until the top row, which represents 25 = 32. The image below shows how 10:25:46 is shown on a binary clock.

The binary representation of 10 is 1010, the binary form of 25 is 11001, and the binary form of 46 is 101110. One of the nice visual features of a binary clock is that the seconds column changes every second, so the clock blinks.



Another style of binary clock has six columns. The first two columns display the two digits of the hour, the middle columns display the two digits of the minutes, and the last two columns show the digits of the seconds. Use the table below as an aid when converting a decimal number to binary. Learning how to read a binary clock takes a little practice, but once you get comfortable with the number system, you will start to memorize the patterns.


00 151111 3011110 45101101
11 1610000 3111111 46101110
210 1710001 32100000 47101111
311 1810010 33100001 48110000
4100 1910011 34100010 49110001
5101 2010100 35100011 50110010
6110 2110101 36100100 51110011
7111 2210110 37100101 52110100
81000 2310111 38100110 53110101
91001 2411000 39100111 54110110
101010 2511001 40101000 55110111
111011 2611010 41101001 56111000
121100 2711011 42101010 57111001
131101 2811100 43101011 58111010
141110 2911101 44101100 59111011

© Had2Know 2010

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