# Binary numbering and how to teach a moron

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 4:12 pm

and
for
LOL !!!
I could just use him as the 1, because he seems to be becoming a bit of an upright prick. :-))
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• posted on October 14, 2003, 5:38 pm
wrote:

Well I have to admit that I've never had the binary system explained quite like that!
Might be a good idea not to introduce the concept of tri-state, where you can have 1, 0 and indeterminate..... ;)
PoP

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 5:13 pm

I use binary and hex every day but *STILL* have problems with PC manuals which show black and white pictures of DIL switches. The biggest problem (having worked out which end is which) is deducing which part of the drawing actually depicts the switch 'lever' (black or white).
e.g. something like -------- | ####| --------
now is the switch set to the left or the right?
Geo

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 6:21 pm
wrote:

see
which
actually
LOL !!!
I have to admit to hating these drawing as well, but we use equipment that is clearly marked with the ON position and the numbering of the switches. But just getting him to understand the concept of the binary principle is the really difficult part. He just seems to get confused with the translation of decimal to binary. I really don't want to get to the stage of trying to beat it into him. :-))
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• posted on October 14, 2003, 11:25 pm
BigWallop wrote:

That is why I was suggesting a pictorial output from the program - skip the binary stage all together.
He types in the address - it shows a picture of how the dip switches should look (or vice versa)...
Addr Switch ==== ===== __________ 12 | ## | on |###### ##| ----------
All he has to do then is match the picture without transposing it.
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Cheers,

John.

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 3:38 pm

Maybe he'll read his boss's description of him in uk.d-i-y; which I suspect will be the end of the problem!
David ;-)

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 4:14 pm

alarm
draw
ROFL !!!
But I don't want to lose him !!! He's a great engineer otherwise. :-))
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• posted on October 14, 2003, 8:23 pm

Well, when he's mastered this binary mularkey, try telling him that 10 + 10 = 22 in octal ;)

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 4:14 pm
try http://www.learnbinary.com / I know binary is simple, but maybe he only need to know on = 1 and off =0 If its too hard that methods work rather than converting to decimal.
Andrew
BigWallop wrote:

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• posted on October 14, 2003, 5:35 pm
On Tue, 14 Oct 2003 11:12:54 +0100, BigWallop wrote:

Martin Warby

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<%-name%>
• posted on October 14, 2003, 6:50 pm
wrote:

The table is fine - but the picture shows how confusing a DIP switch can be - with the positions marked 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Now if you could buy a switch marked 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128 and tell the guy it works like a set of old balance scales with brass weights...
Geo

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<%-name%>
• posted on October 15, 2003, 11:42 am

be -

it
Now I think that might help.

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 11:48 am
On Tue, 14 Oct 2003 19:50:13 +0100, Geo wrote:

I see your point about the numbering could be confusing.unfortuantly though in he real world switches are marked 1,2,3,ect as it may not being being used to represent numbers.how i work it out is
number to set switch to:53
switch 1:128 switch 2:64 switch 3:32 switch 4:16 switch 5:8 switch 6:4 switch 7:2 switch 8:1
switch 1 - must be off as the number you want < 128 switch 2 - must be off as the number you want < 64 switch 3 - must be on as the number you want is > 32 - this leaves you with (53-32)! switch 4 - must be on as the number you have left is > 16 - this leaves you with (21-16)=5 switch 5 - msut be off as the number you have left is < 8 -you still have 5 left switch 6 - must be on as the number you have left is > 4 - this leaves you with (5-4)=1 switch 7 - must be of as the number you have left is < 2 - you still have 1 left switch 8 - switch 8 is 1 and we have 1 left over so you switch this on
53 = (0*128)+(0*64)+(1*32)+(0*16)+(0*8)+(1*4)+(0*2)+(1*1)     0    0 1 0 0 1 0 1 off off on off off on off on
after a few of these it becomes automatic
Martin

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 3:52 pm

box, it's

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He

I think the problem here is not that he does not understand binary - it's that he does not understand how decimal works either. You need to understand *how* the number system works - and it's the same for binary, hexadecimal, octal, decimal etc.
It's hard to explain a teaching method, but start with *decimal* - THE KEY IS UNDERSTANDING POSITION OR PLACE in our number system - so, in base 10, 1446 really means:
10 X 10 X 10 **** 10 X 10 **** 10 *** 10/10 ***
1 4 4 6
Ask him what "1446" *really* means.
Using the same principle for base 2, 27 really is:
2 X 2 X 2 X 2 *** 2 X 2 X 2 *** 2 X 2 *** 2 *** 2/2
1 1 0 1 1
The real fun is long division.....
-- Phil

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 1:56 pm
BigWallop wrote

Great thread BigWallop! I bet the penny will drop one day :o)
Just a thought. Is it really necessary to tell him the decimal numbers at this stage? He might understand it better to begin with if you converted the decimal numbers and just give him the "appearance" of the equivalent binary numbers, maybe even in words to start with e.g. Reception = Ten Office = One hundred and eleven Kitchen = Eleven thousand, one hundred and one etc
If he grasps how to set up the heads like that he will pretty soon be able to change from words to numbers and after that it's just one small step to getting him to work out the numbers himself.

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 4:14 pm

alarm
draw
this
binary
to
getting
The drawing he works from are marked in decimal numbers, it's when he comes to translating the decimal number on the drawing to the binary switch array in the detector head to tell the control panel which head has detected.
If it could be done in decimal inside the detector head then I don't think he'd have a problem. And I think this is what he's trying to do after having a look at the work he's done today. He had the binary layout drawn on the back of his hand and he's still got it wrong.

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 9:51 pm
On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 16:14:25 GMT, "BigWallop"

Maybe a binary abacus?
Sheesh, this is a toughie in some ways!
Take Care, Gnube {too thick for linux}

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 2:26 pm

alarm
draw
Have you tried asking the other engineers how they learnt the system. If the teacher/pupil link is not working can you use another teacher?
AndyP

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 4:52 pm

the
for
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It's because everyone else has tried to teach him that he's now under my wing. After looking at the job he had today with eleven detector heads and the binary layout drawn on the back of his hand, he's still got the system marked out in decimal numbering. Eleven detector heads marked from 1 to 11 should only use the first four switches on the DIP switches, but he has them using all the switches again.
This is how he done,
Number one detector = sw 1 on the head Two = sw 2 on the head Three = sw 3 on the head Four = sw 4 on the head And so on.
So when I went to commission the system, the heads were numbered 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 129, 130, 131. Because as he says, 8+1=9, 8+2, 8+3, which is still right back to what he has been doing from the very start and what I'm trying to get him not to do.
The control panel still works with the numbering this, that is well and good, but the drawings showing the detector head placement works in decimal to make it easier for people to understand in case they have to check the area in time of activation.
Now, the detector makers have made it binary numbering because of the amount of decimal numbers which can be translated using only eight or ten switches in the detector heads. But if I leave the lad doing these jobs, then he will totally confuse everyone when all the drawing have to be altered and the people start wondering why the panel is showing 131 detector heads when they can only find eleven.
He's coming with tomorrow on the biggest job we have running at the moment, and he is going to set all the detectors heads properly and do the final fix into the base holder. So if he gets it wrong when I'm leaning over his shoulder to check, then I'm afraid he's outta' there quicker than he can say base two. :-))

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• posted on October 15, 2003, 6:25 pm
"BigWallop" wrote | It's because everyone else has tried to teach him that he's now under my | wing. After looking at the job he had today with eleven detector heads | and the binary layout drawn on the back of his hand, he's still got the | system marked out in decimal numbering. Eleven detector heads marked | from 1 to 11 should only use the first four switches on the DIP switches, | but he has them using all the switches again. | This is how he done, | Number one detector = sw 1 on the head | Two = sw 2 on the head | Three = sw 3 on the head | Four = sw 4 on the head | And so on.
Ah! Well, that's perfectly logical. Wrong, but perfectly logical.
| So when I went to commission the system, the heads were numbered 1, 2, 4, | 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 129, 130, 131. Because as he says, 8+1=9, 8+2, | 8+3, which is still right back to what he has been doing from the very | start and what I'm trying to get him not to do.
He's confusing switch number with arithmetic value.
Perhaps one of the Clever People who generated the crib-sheets could generate a look-up as
Detec. Switches Number On 1 1 2 2 3 1,2 4 3 5 3,1 6 3,2 7 3,2,1 8 4 9 4,1 10 4,2 11 4,2,1 12 4,3 13 4,3,1 (etc, and check for my errors)
Then he doesn't have to do anything arithmetical in base10 or base2 (in fact he forgets arithmetic even exists, as if he tries to work it out he'll set switch 3 for dec3 instead of switches 1,2) and it doesn't even matter if the switches are numbered from left-right or right-left. Provided switch number 1 is indicated this should work for any dip switch style.
Owain