How to Read Binary Code Like a Pro

How to Read Binary Code
Reading a binary code is not as difficult as it seems to be. With a little bit of practice, you will be able to master this skill.
Fast Fact
If the last digit of a binary number is 1, the number is odd; if it is 0, the number is even.
Binary is a base-2 number system which represents numeric values through various combinations of bits. A bit can either be zero or one, only. A combination of 8 bits is called a byte, and every byte represents a single numeric value.
Binary is also popularly known as the machine language, since it helps detect an electrical signal's on or off state. But how? The answer lies in the fact that 0 indicates the OFF state, whereas 1 indicates the ON state of an electrical signal. Here, we will learn how a computer decodes binary data into human-readable form.
How to Read Binary Code Text
Computers only understand the numerical 'binary' language. Then how is it possible that they can interpret alphabets and other characters too? The answer lies in the fact that every character, including alphabets and non-alphabetic characters like space, +, ×, etc., and numeric text 0 - 9, is internally represented with a numerical value known as the 'ASCII' value. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Now, once the computer is aware which number is associated with a particular alphabet/character, it can easily manipulate the data after converting it into binary format. The following table depicts the ASCII value and its associated binary code for letters 'A - Z' and 'a - z'.
Uppercase Alphabets
Lowercase Alphabets
LetterASCII ValueBinary
A6501000001
B6601000010
C6701000011
D6801000100
E6901000101
F7001000110
G7101000111
H7201001000
I7301001001
J7401001010
K7501001011
L7601001100
M7701001101
N7801001110
O7901001111
P8001010000
Q8101010001
R8201010010
S8301010011
T8401010100
U8501010101
V8601010110
W8701010111
X8801011000
Y8901011001
Z9001011010
LetterASCII ValueBinary
a9701100001
b9801100010
c9901100011
d10001100100
e10101100101
f10201100110
g10301100111
h10401101000
i10501101001
j10601101010
k10701101011
l10801101100
m10901101101
n11001101110
o11101101111
p11201110000
q11301110001
r11401110010
s11501110011
t11601110100
u11701110101
v11801110110
w11901110111
x12001111000
y12101111001
z12201111010
Let us see how to read binary code alphabets and letters with examples.
Example #1
Question: Decode the binary string 010010012

Answer: Begin decoding from right to left.

010010012
= 1 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 0 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 0 + 0 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 73, which is the ASCII equivalent of I
Example #2
Question: Decode the binary string 011001112

Answer: Begin decoding from right to left.

011001112
= 1 × 20 + 1 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 1 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 2 + 4 + 0 + 0 + 32 + 64 + 0 = 103, which is the ASCII equivalent of g
Example #3
Question: Decode the binary string 001101002

Answer: Begin decoding from right to left.

001101002
= 0 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 1 × 24 + 1 × 25 + 0 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 16 + 32 + 0 + 0 = 52, which is the ASCII equivalent of 4

Example #4
Question: Decode the binary string 01001001 00100000 01001100 01001111 01010110 01000101 00100000 01000010 01010101 01011010 01011010 01001100 010001012

Note*: The ASCII value of space is 32 and its associated binary string is 010011002

Answer: From Example #1, #2, and #3, we now know how to decode single binary code character. Using the same logic, we will find the ASCII numbers of every 8 bit string. So, the decoding will proceed as follows:

010010012
= 1 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 0 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 0 + 0 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 73, which is the ASCII equivalent of I

001000002= 32, which is the ASCII equivalent of space

010011002
= 0 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 0 + 4 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 76, which is the ASCII equivalent of L

010011112
= 1 × 20 + 1 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 79, which is the ASCII equivalent of O

010101102
= 0 × 20 + 1 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 1 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 2 + 4 + 0 + 16 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 86, which is the ASCII equivalent of V

010001012
= 1 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 69, which is the ASCII equivalent of E

001000002 = 32, which is the ASCII equivalent of space

010000102
= 0 × 20 + 1 × 21 + 0 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 65, which is the ASCII equivalent of B

010101012
= 1 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 1 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 16 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 85, which is the ASCII equivalent of U

010110102
= 0 × 20 + 1 × 21 + 0 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 1 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 2 + 0 + 8 + 16 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 90, which is the ASCII equivalent of Z

010110102
= 0 × 20 + 1 × 21 + 0 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 1 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 2 + 0 + 8 + 16 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 90, which is the ASCII equivalent of Z

010011002
= 0 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 1 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 0 + 4 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 76, which is the ASCII equivalent of L

010001012
= 1 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 0 × 24 + 0 × 25 + 1 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 1 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 64 + 0 = 69, which is the ASCII equivalent of E

The final decoded output is, I LOVE BUZZLE
How to Read Binary Code Numbers
The decoding procedure for binary code numbers is the same as for binary code text, with the only difference that the ASCII equivalent of the numerical output is not evaluated.
Example
Question: Decode the binary string 001101002

Answer: Begin decoding from right to left.

001101002
= 0 × 20 + 0 × 21 + 1 × 22 + 0 × 23 + 1 × 24 + 1 × 25 + 0 × 26 + 0 × 27
= 0 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 16 + 32 + 0 + 0 = 52
How to Read a Binary Clock
In the decimal numbering system, time is indicated by 3 pairs of digits, namely, 'hours', 'minutes', and 'seconds'. For instance, '11:54:28' means, the time is 54 minutes and 28 seconds past 11 o'clock. On the contrary, a binary clock which is based on the binary numbering system represents time in the form of lights. Basically, the clock comprises 6 columns and 4 rows of light bulbs, where the pairs of columns from left to right represent the hours, minutes, and seconds, respectively.

The decimal value of each column depends upon the position of light which is 'on'. Starting from the bottom and moving upwards, the values are calculated by '2 raised to the power of the row number'. Note that the row number begins from '0'. The value of every row in a column where the light is 'on' would be as follows:

0th row: 20 = 1
1st row: 21 = 2
2nd row: 22 = 4
3rd row: 23 = 8

If more than one light is 'on' in a particular column, then the final value would be the sum of all individual values of the rows in that column. Also, note that the value will be '0' if the light bulb is 'off'. The following illustration will help you understand the concept better.
Example
binary clock showing time
Question: Find the time represented by the given binary clock.
Answer:
The values are calculated from left to right.
Value of 1st column = 21 = 2
Value of 2nd column = 0 (no light bulb is 'on')
Value of 3rd column = 21 = 2
Value of 4th column = 20 + 21 + 22= 1 + 2 + 4 = 7
Value of 5th column = 22 = 4
Value of 6th column = 20 + 21 = 1 + 2 = 3

Therefore, the time is 20:27:43