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Hexadecimal Numbering System
Hexadecimal is a base 16 numbering system made up of 16 digits: 0 – 9 and six more, which are A through F.
Uses of Hexadecimal
The hexadecimal numbering system is often used by programmers to simplify the binary numbering system. Since 16 is equivalent to 24, there is a linear relationship between the numbers 2 and 16. This means that one hexadecimal digit is equivalent to four binary digits. Computers use binary numbering system while humans use the hexadecimal numbering system to shorten binary and make it easier to understand.
Binary Numbering System
Binary is a base 2 numbering system made up of two numbers: 0 and 1. 0 means OFF and 1 means ON. The computer’s central processing unit (CPU) only recognises these two states. It is the foundation for all binary code, which is used in computer and digital systems.
Bits and Bytes
A binary digit called a bit is the smallest unit of data in a computer. Each bit has a single value, which is either 0 or 1. 8 bits (b) is equivalent to 1 byte (B).
Conversion from Hexadecimal to Binary
Conversion can be done by converting each hexadecimal digit to 4 binary digits based on the following table:
Example: For 3B29, convert each digit as follows:
3 is converted to 0011
B is converted to 1011
2 is converted to 0010
9 is converted to 1001
So the hexadecimal number 3B29 is equivalent to 0011101100101001 in binary.
Conversion from Binary to Hexadecimal
Conversion can be done in two ways:
1. Basic Conversion – this is used for binary numbers with four or less digits.
a) Start with four binary numbers to convert. If the binary has less than 4 digits, just add zeros to the front to make it 4 digits.
- Example: 1010
- If you have 01, make it 0001.
b) Put the binary number in the power of 2 columns as follows:
c) Take the corresponding value of each binary digit equal to 1 and add to get the total value. The total value corresponds to the decimal equivalent.
- Total value = (8 + 2) = 10
- So the binary number 1010 is 10 in the decimal number system.
d) Convert decimal to hexadecimal.
- The decimal number 10 is A in hexadecimal. Refer to the table below.
- So the binary number 1010 is equivalent to A in hexadecimal.
2. Conversion of Long Binary Numbers – this is used for binary numbers with more than four digits.
a) Break the string of binary numbers into groups of four, from right to left. If the leftmost binary has less than 4 digits, just add zeros to the front to make it 4 digits.
11 1011 0010 1001
(0011) (1011) (0010) (1001)
b) Convert each group at a time using the Basic Conversion method discussed earlier.
0011 = (2 + 1) = 3
1011 = (8 + 2 + 1) = 11 = B
0010 = 2
1001 = (8+1) = 9
c) Put the converted value of each group together.
- So binary number 11101100101001 is 3B29 in the hexadecimal system.