Understanding binary numbers is important. All things digital involve circuits and systems in which there are only two possible states. Two voltage levels represent these states; a HIGH and a LOW. In other words, digital devices communicate this way. For a quick review on what it means to be digital, check out the post Analog vs Digital: What’s the Difference?
Binary information that digital systems work with appear as waveforms that represent a sequence of bits. As an example, see the figure below which relates the 1’s and 0’s to voltage levels on the waveform A. As we can see, a 1 is a HIGH and a 0 is a LOW.
Figure 1: a physical representation of what binary numbers mean in a digital waveform.
Being able to count in binary (at least zero through fifteen) and translate from binary to decimal and from decimal to binary is a rite of passage for any serious electronics geek.
There are other number systems like hexadecimal and octal which will undoubtedly show up in other posts.
This one focuses on the basics of binary numbers. If you’re new to digital electronics, it’s a must read.
If you’re not so new it’s a good review.
Let’s take a byte out of binary!