Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from beket, a student:

I need to turn 1.486588292 into real time hours minutes and seconds. I keep getting multiple answers. Online conversions give me 1 hour 29 minutes and either 11 or 12 seconds. On the calculator I get 1 hour 29 minutes and 20 seconds. Can you explain how to turn this decimal into time?


You have one full hour and 0.486588292 hours left over.

Multiply that by 60 to get 29.1952975 minutes. That's 29 full minutes and .1952975 minutes.

Multiply that by 60 to get 11.71785 seconds.

Is it possible that you are inadvertently telling your calculator to convert 1.4865... _minutes_ into H-M-S notation? Then it would show [0 hours], 1 minute, 29 seconds, and 0.195... seconds.

Good Hunting!


The first thing you should do is work in the smallest unit - in your case seconds - and then work back to minutes and hours. So, how many seconds in an hour? 60x60. Now take 1.486588292 of those seconds and convert into minutes (with some seconds left over) and then convert the minutes into hours (with some minutes left over) and you're done.


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