How to Read a Binary Clock

The binary clock is actually very easy to read once you have someone explain it. That is what I will hopefully do on this page.

Let's start by taking a look at a single moment in time, using the example below:


The first thing to notice when reading the clock, is that it is broken up into three components: hours, minutes, and seconds. Each of these components are represented by the 3 columns, as indicated above. As you probably already expected, hours are represented in 24h time.

Now that you know about what each of these columns represents, lets look at how to read what the columns are telling us. Luckily once you know how to read one column, you can read all three. With that said, one time component is made up of two closely packed columns. The column on the left represents the tens digit, and the column on the right represents the ones digit.

In order to determine the numeric value of one of these individual columns (the tens or ones digit), you need to do a bit of simple math. Starting with the last row for the column, this represents 2^0. The cell immediately above is 2^1, and above that is 2^2, and the topmost cell is 2^3. So now you just count all of the illuminated cells in that column to arrive at the number for the tens and ones digits.

As a quick review, here is a quick listing of the important powers of 2:

2^0 = 1
2^1 = 2
2^2 = 4
2^3 = 8

Now using the example at the top of the page, the hours are read as:
Tens Digit = 2^0 = 1
Ones Digit = 2^1 = 2
And putting these together (do not add), but concatenate them so you get the hours component is 12.

Likewise, for the minutes above you get:
Tens: 2^0 + 2^2 = 1 + 4 = 5
Ones: 2^1 + 2^2 = 2 + 4 = 6
Which yields 56 for the minute component.

Finally, for the seconds:
Tens Digit = 2^0 + 2^1 = 1 + 2 = 3
Ones Digit = 2^0 + 2^3 = 9
Which yields the second value fo 39.