Digital clocks give the time in numbers so we don’t need to read them from a dial. But the numbers still represent hours and minutes, not decimal values. To find the decimal equivalent of hours and minutes you need to use the fact that there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. Each minute is 1/60 = 0.0167 hours, and each second is 1/60 = 0.0167 minutes and (1/60)/60 = 1/3600 = 0.000277 hours. A prime example of when this is necessary is when you have a speed in miles per hour, and a time given in hours, minutes and seconds.
Things You'll Need
A Matter of Speed
Determine the number of hours and minutes you want to convert; for example, 3 hours, 17 minutes and 42 seconds.
Divide the number of minutes by 60 to get 0.2833 hours.
Divide the number of seconds by 3600 to get 0.0117 hours.
Add up all the hours to get 3 + 0.2833 + 0.0117 = 3.295 hours.
Calculate the number of miles traveled at 100 miles per hour for 3 hours, 17 minutes and 42 seconds. Using distance = speedtime, the distance traveled is 1003.295 = 329.5 miles.
Tips & Warnings
- Time in decimals is not the same thing as decimal time. Decimal time is an alternative to the way we measure time in seconds, minutes and hours. You can read about it in the resource.
- Photo Credit Nomadsoul1/iStock/Getty Images
How to Change Minutes to Decimals in Excel
When you need to change a unit of time from minutes to decimals in Microsoft Excel 2010, there is a formula that...
How to Convert Minutes to Hours
In aviation speed is expressed and read on airspeed indicators in nautical miles per hour (knots). It is often necessary to convert...
How to Calculate Time in Decimals
Time is traditionally expressed in hours, minutes and seconds. This format is convenient for general use, but is inappropriate in mathematical operations....
How to Calculate Minutes for Payroll
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer can use any timekeeping method he chooses as long as it is accurate...
How to Convert a Decimal to Hours & Minutes
Time usually appears as hours, minutes and seconds on clocks, watches, websites and computers. You use it to plan your day, schedule...
How to Write Timesheet Hours in Decimals
Recording your time-sheet hours using a decimal format requires you to view the hour divided into quarter segments. Using this logic, every...
How to Convert an Angle to a Decimal
In geometry, angles are measured in degrees and fractions of a degree, such as minutes and seconds. It follows that 1 degree...
How Do I Calculate Minutes Into a Fraction of an Hour?
There are 60 minutes in an hour. This is the simple, man-made concept to keep in mind when calculating minutes as a...