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How to read binary

Updated: Nov 7, 2020


If you find binary a bit confusing this might help you. Once you get the basics if becomes pretty easy.

 

Computers are made of transistors which either have an on or off state.

We can represent the off and of states with 0 and 1.

0 is off

1 is on

Each 1 or 0 is called a bit, eight bits make a byte.


Ok, so you probably know the number 342 has 3 hundreds, 4 tens and 2 ones.

We can represent numbers in binary in a similar way.

In a base-10 counting system each place value increases by x10.

1 * 10 = 10

10 * 10 = 100

100 * 10 = 1000

And so on.


In binary each place value increases by x2. like this:

1 * 2 = 2

2 * 2 = 4

4 * 2 = 8

8 * 2 = 16


Ok, let's look at an example.


Our binary number will be 0011

remember that that binary only has ones and zeros

0 0 1 1
8 4 2 1

The orange numbers represents the value in that column.

In the example we have 0 eights, 0 fours, 1 ones and 2 twos

2 + 1 = 3

So 0011 is 3!


And surprisingly you make any number using this system.


If you would like to practise, try these (answers are below):

8 4 2 1
0 1 0 1
1 1 0 0
1 1 1 1
0 0 0 0
1 0 0 1


Challenge:
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
 






Answers:

  1. 5

  2. 12

  3. 15

  4. 0

  5. 9

  6. Challenge: 255

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