If you understand the everyday decimal (base 10) number system, then you already understand the ternary, base 3 counting and numbering system. You just don’t know you know yet. The complete lesson immediately follows the short semantics note about "ternary" versus "trinary".
Base 3 Conversion  Base 3 to Base 10 and Back  0 1 2 
How to Learn the Ternary Base 3 Numbering System
A complete lesson and examples.Semantics Note
Ternary is the primary descriptor used to identify base 3 (using the digits 0 1 2) in mathematics as relates to numbering systems. Trinary is the primary descriptor used to identify base three as relates to logic (using the digits 1 0 +1); but the term has also been used in place of ternary. This page does not address the logic definition of trinary. This page is about and explains the base 3 number system; usually called ternary, but sometimes referred to as trinary.A Quick Review of Base 10 Structure...
Base 10 Decimal Orders of Magnitude
1 · 10 · 100 · 1,000 · 10,000 · 100,000
Positional
100,000 · 10,000 · 1,000 · 100 · 10 · 1
We use the base 10 numbering/counting system in our daytoday living. Base 10 has ten numbers (09) and orders of magnitude that are times ten.
 The lowest order number represents itself times one.
 The next order number represents itself times 10.
 The next order number represents itself times 10 x 10, or itself times 100.
 The next order of magnitude would be 10 x 10 x 10, or 1000.
 Eight 1’s,
 two 10’s,
 five 100’s,
 and three 1000's.
The Ternary or Base 3 Numbering System...
...uses the same structure, the only difference being the orders of magnitude. Base 3 or ternary has three numbers: 0, 1, and 2.The orders of magnitude are times three.
 The lowest order number represents itself times one.
 The next order number represents itself times 3.
 The next order number represents itself times 3 x 3, or itself times 9.
 The next order of magnitude would be 3 x 3 x 3, or itself times 27.
 The next order of magnitude would be 3 x 3 x 3 x 3, or itself times 81.
Orders of Magnitude in Base 3
 1 · 3 · 9 · 27 · 81 · 243 · 729 · 2,187 · 6,561
Positional
 6,561 · 2,187 · 729 · 243 · 81 · 27 · 9 · 3 · 1
A basic, first example of a ternary number would be the base 3 number 11111. This would mean there are:
 one 1,
 one 3,
 one 9,
 one 27,
 and one 81.
Another base 3 example would be the number 1120. This number means that there are:
 No 1’s,
 two 3’s,
 one 9,
 and one 27.
Another base 3 example would be the number 2101. This number means there are:
 One 1,
 No 3's,
 One 9,
 And two 27’s.
More Ternary (Base 3) to Base 10 Conversion Examples
9 · 3 · 1

9 · 3 · 1

27 · 9 · 3 · 1


0=0

110=12

220=24

1=1

111=13

221=25

2=2

112=14

222=26

10=3

120=15

1000=27

11=4

121=16

1001=28

12=5

122=17

1002=29

20=6

200=18

1010=30

21=7

201=19

1011=31

22=8

202=20

1012=32

100=9

210=21

1020=33

101=10

211=22

1021=34

102=11

212=23

1022=35

(convenience relist)
Orders of Magnitude in Base 3
 1 · 3 · 9 · 27 · 81 · 243 · 729 · 2,187 · 6,561
Positional
 6,561 · 2,187 · 729 · 243 · 81 · 27 · 9 · 3 · 1
 End of Article 
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