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Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers

droppers redstone item elevators dropper towers clocks

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46 replies to this topic

#1

AntOfThy

Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:22 AM

Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
http://www.minecraft...-dropper-towers
Posted Image
NOTE: This image is only an example of one of the better designs. Many designs are looked at below.

First a bit of philosophy...

Quote

Why are they called droppers, when one of the most common uses is as a type of Item Elevator?  Why not simply allow upside-down hoppers (which do not suck items, only send items upward), as non-logical as that seem to be. But then, when is minecraft completely logical.

Dropper towers are something that people are using as a means of creating a item elevator ever since you could face a dropper upward, and glass item elevators became so glitchy.  (Update: see the piston-less glass item elevator by "test137E29", link at end of post)

But droppers are not really designed for 'piping' items (though in the first few snapshots of v1.5 they were), and as such there are problems when used in this way.

That said this was written for Minecraft v1.5.2 to v1.7, in case things change, though I am updating this document as new facts, techniques and designs come to light.

After studying many dropper towers, building many in a SMP server (for example my CubeCrowd creative plot, as well in SMP survival), as well as many variations for such designs, I came up with these notes, showing just how complex dropper towers can be to get right, what works, and what did not, and why.




Comparator Clocked Droppers (not towers)
Spoiler:
Powering a Dropper Tower
(This is a must read if you really want to understand and fix dropper towers)
Spoiler:
The Stuck Item Problem
Spoiler:
Stacking Towers Vertically
Spoiler:
Tower Stacking and Item Jams
Spoiler:



Fully Comparator Tested Tower
Spoiler:
Dropper Hose Pipe Design
Spoiler:
Over-Clocked Tower, after the last item
Spoiler:
Pulsed Item Wave Design
Spoiler:
Multi-tested, Single Clock Towers
Spoiler:
Stacked Tower Designs
Spoiler:



Final notes and Recommendations

My suggestions... depends on your needs...
  • For simplicity use the Compact Dropper Hosepipe Design
  • For light on resources, use Compact Dropper Hosepipe Design
  • For self-clearing of stuck/jammed items, a Compact Hosepipe Design
  • For immediate delivery, anything but a Hosepipe Design
  • For multi-level feeds, one of AntOfThy's, Designs (see below)
  • For speed but mostly silent, use timeofsoul's stacked tower
  • For total silence, use a Pulsed Item Tower (see below).
  • For extreme bulk transport, use a glass item elevator! (see below)
  • For extremely tall towers, use a glass item elevator! (see below)


My recommended designs (developed from this extensive study)...


AntOfThy's Stacked Hosepipe Tower Design

  Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
  (base) (stacking) (overview)

Though this tower is not silent, it is not overly noisy either. It can be stacked, and if stacked at a 6 droppers no 'in-the-pipe' items will be left in the tower.

This tower will very slowly 'self-clear' "Item Jams" by one item at end of each item run. That is the cost of the extra click!

If you don't want to use the half-slabs in the base design you can use a less compact but standard "2x1 Dropper Hosepipe Tower" dropper clock design given above.


AntOfThy's Pulsed Item Stacked Tower Design

   Posted Image Posted Image
   (base) (power & stacking)

This tower is perfectly silent, and will stack at any even number of droppers.

The cost of that silence is that it will not self-clear mid-level "Item Jams". They will simply 'remain' until manually cleared.  On the other hand the droppers are easily accessible, and can be part of the wall that encloses the redstone.



Yes these are both my own designs, and for that I am sorry, but every other design I have looked at and trialled, have been found wanting in some (usually small) aspect (typically stacking for mid-level item feeds) that the above designs, avoid.



test137E29's piston-less glass item elevator
https://www.youtube....h?v=pxwYTodDIZ8
This is a game changer for item elevators.  No pistons, no redstone, and with packed ice, no light-ice problems, no noise, very cheap, and looks so cool too.  This elevator is probably the better solution for any situation involving large numbers of items, or for moving items up more than 20 blocks, even if it means having a dropper (or two) feeding the items being transported into a water stream.

The same video also illustrates designs for "instant dropper towers and pipelines" however while these are 'instant' they are so heavy on resources, especially gold rails, and such not practical until you have a gold farm.  I doubt many players would want to use them. Still it is available, and who knows, may be usable as a multiplexed instant signalling method.


Signed AntOfThy,  Last update 10 April 2014,  MC v1.7.5
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

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#2

Rjblair77

Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:42 AM

Hey! this is my automatic dropper tower: what do you think?


Posted Image

#3

AntOfThy

Posted 21 May 2013 - 10:12 AM

First... you just posted your design  without even reading the original post!



And yes your tower works.  It is actually almost identical to  ACtennisAC's design.  It is mostly a 'pulse dropper tower' but with a small over clock to handle any stuck items.

But I very much doubt you can 'stack' two of these to add a extra feed in the middle!  At least not without a lot of effort.

Note a torch tower like this clocks three droppers on every torch.   WIthout the over-clocking (which produces that final click) the arrangement of power handling will generate a stuck item.  On other other hand side mounted set of torches (no blocks above the torches) will smoothly and cleanly power only two droppers per pulse. That is a single item move up two droppers on each pulse (reason why some designs can handle a double hopper feed).

Now you mention in the video you can build it up higher..  Have you tried?  I doubt with the amount of extra over clocking provided, you would get all the itmes to the top of a 100 block high tower.  But then would you want to.

I suggest you figure out how to 'stack' two of these on top of each other.

In summery: it is likely to be a good reliable design that works. But you probably can not directly stack two of them without a hopper, to isolate the power handling.  And it clicks.

NOTE: Single torch tower driven towers is one of the few tower designs I have not (yet) closely looked at, simply because, after figuring out stack tower power linkage faults as being a major problem, such towers did not seem ' good' to me.  I do plan to look at them in the next day or so, though I have a feeling the power pulsing upward will out pace the items in the elevator.

That said. I believe a single torch tower powered dropper tower would actually make a good 'Hose Pipe' design.  That is some items always remain in the tower, but will move upward as more enter the base.  Probably less items than the other 'host-pipe' design currently shown (picture only) in the OP.


PS:  I have a personal preference to avoid a tower with any sort of clicking, it speaks to the engineering part of me of in-efficency in design.  Though I understand they work and include them in my study.  I also like adding a lamp every block (off when not in use) to show when the the tower is running. :-)
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#4

Rjblair77

Posted 21 May 2013 - 10:30 AM

View PostAntOfThy, on 21 May 2013 - 10:12 AM, said:

First... you just posted your design  without even reading the original post!



And yes your tower works.  It is actually almost identical to  ACtennisAC's design.  It is mostly a 'pulse dropper tower' but with a small over clock to handle any stuck items.

But I very much doubt you can 'stack' two of these to add a extra feed in the middle!  At least not without a lot of effort.

Note a torch tower like this clocks three droppers on every torch.   WIthout the over-clocking (which produces that final click) the arrangement of power handling will generate a stuck item.  On other other hand side mounted set of torches (no blocks above the torches) will smoothly and cleanly power only two droppers per pulse. That is a single item move up two droppers on each pulse (reason why some designs can handle a double hopper feed).

Now you mention in the video you can build it up higher..  Have you tried?  I doubt with the amount of extra over clocking provided, you would get all the itmes to the top of a 100 block high tower.  But then would you want to.

I suggest you figure out how to 'stack' two of these on top of each other.

In summery: it is likely to be a good reliable design that works. But you probably can not directly stack two of them without a hopper, to isolate the power handling.  And it clicks.

NOTE: Single torch tower driven towers is one of the few tower designs I have not (yet) closely looked at, simply because, after figuring out stack tower power linkage faults as being a major problem, such towers did not seem ' good' to me.  I do plan to look at them in the next day or so, though I have a feeling the power pulsing upward will out pace the items in the elevator.

That said. I believe a single torch tower powered dropper tower would actually make a good 'Hose Pipe' design.  That is some items always remain in the tower, but will move upward as more enter the base.  Probably less items than the other 'host-pipe' design currently shown (picture only) in the OP.


PS:  I have a personal preference to avoid a tower with any sort of clicking, it speaks to the engineering part of me of in-efficency in design.  Though I understand they work and include them in my study.  I also like adding a lamp every block (off when not in use) to show when the the tower is running. :-)
thanks for the feedback!!!
Posted Image

#5

AntOfThy

Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:24 AM

After some testing of a single block torch tower next to a dropper tower (such as in Rjblair77's) reply...

Yes the redstone signal out paces the items in the tower.  However because an item moves two droppers ech time a torch powers on, and each torch is alternative on/off up the tower, a full pulse (on then off)  will move items upward four droppers at a time.

That does make a great 'hose pipe' design, even without over-clocking.

Here is the update to the OP...

Quote

    2x1 Dropper Tower Hose Pipe
         http://imgur.com/a/s5rTY#11  (base circuitry)
         http://imgur.com/a/s5rTY#12 (poer feed up tower)
    This design is basically a dropper tower with a single block torch tower running up next to it, directly hooked into the comparator clock. No extra clocking as in a similar setup by ACtennisAC is provided, so items will be left in the dropper tower (one item every 4 droppers), but again these are not actually stuck.

    There will be some extra clicking (not a lot) due to the torches powering 3 droppers each time, though it is not excessive.

    Also the tower can be run faster with no extra delay on the repeater in the comparator loop.  Yes occasionally a torch will burn out for a moment, perhaps leaving an item.

    Now while the tower will not handle a extra mid-level item feed, any stuck items that does end up in the tower does seem to slowly get flushed upward (especially on a pause in the item feed) allowing this tower to 'self repair' such stuck item mishaps.

    This has to be the smallest, simplest dropper tower you can possibly make.

    For a design (which this was developed from) that also includes over-clocking, to clear the droppers completely, see
    MineCrafters987's Compact Vertical Item Elevator
       https://www.youtube....h?v=P14IX-SW5_8



Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#6

Mistahtokyo

Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:17 PM

Here are two variants we came up with on the server I frequent. They may have been discovered before, but as far as I'm aware these were developed by the users NickBambridge and I. They rely on the hopper clock, which allows for an extremely slim (1 wide) and tileable, should you need to, system. The second variant is not tileable due to the introduction of a piece of redstone dust, but is slightly more compact. Both systems can handle any load, but leave a single item in the pipe (not stuck, it gets flushed when new items enter).
Imgur album link (two images): http://imgur.com/a/MtSr7

The single torch method of distribution can be changed, but is our personal favorite because it is compact and doesn't burn out with the hopper clock. We've used several of these in our server's iron farm and after filling 18 double chests with iron ingots, there are still no issues whatsoever. Multiple feeds can be managed, but would require some editing that I'm too lazy to provide at the moment.

#7

AntOfThy

Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:39 PM

View PostMistahtokyo, on 21 May 2013 - 05:17 PM, said:

Here are two variants we came up with on the server I frequent. They may have been discovered before, but as far as I'm aware these were developed by the users NickBambridge and I. They rely on the hopper clock, which allows for an extremely slim (1 wide) and tileable, should you need to, system. The second variant is not tileable due to the introduction of a piece of redstone dust, but is slightly more compact. Both systems can handle any load, but leave a single item in the pipe (not stuck, it gets flushed when new items enter).
Imgur album link (two images): http://imgur.com/a/MtSr7

The single torch method of distribution can be changed, but is our personal favorite because it is compact and doesn't burn out with the hopper clock. We've used several of these in our server's iron farm and after filling 18 double chests with iron ingots, there are still no issues whatsoever. Multiple feeds can be managed, but would require some editing that I'm too lazy to provide at the moment.

It is a nice design, an essentially the same as the just added 'Compact Dropper Hosepipe Tower'. Just with a more complex hopper clock to do the timings and to create 1 extra pulse on the end. Much like Rjblair77's Tower Design has a extra clock (over-clocks a little longer)

As you mentioned this type of power feed system will leave 1 item for every four droppers (not stuck, just in the 'pipe'). You should have 2 items in this tower, but over-clock the tower by one more pulse. If you extend your tower up higher you will have more items left in the tower 'pipe'.   It also 'clicks' even in the middle of an item run, though in this case the extra clicks slowly 'self flushes' any extra stray items.

A big advantage I see for having a separate clock, is that you can add a lever (or even a button) on the block the comparator points to.  When you activate it (for a short time) the items in the tower will then be flushed out.  Useful if you want to push all items up to a mine cart when leaving the area for a while.

Being tileable is another advantage, and kudo's to you.

Again you may like to look at how to 'stack' your towers, so as to provide multi-level item feeds, such that does not cause a item jam around the feed.  Especially irregular feeds that are hard to test without a couple of mob systems nearby. That is my next line of inquiry with this type of tower.
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#8

Mistahtokyo

Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:52 AM

I looked into stacking them and unless you don't mind staggered towers, the torch "hose" method won't work. Otherwise I can simply use a different method of signal propagation (it takes little modification to change from the torch method to others).

#9

AntOfThy

Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:30 AM

That is what I figured. and it is this aspect that causes 'problems'.
(a number of designs are really stacked mini-towers).

However if you ensure that the powering droppers do not overlap there should not be a problem. (see original Post).

I will look at stacking towers of this sort and if I get it working I'll post a image of the stacking point.  It is likely you will only be able to stack at either an odd, or an even number of droppers, without needing a isolating 'hopper linked staggered tower' stacking method.

I also have to get a photo of the stacking (even number of droppers) for the Pulsed Tower Design I now use.
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#10

AntOfThy

Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:05 AM

Okay the stacking was not so hard.
The key was to place the mid-level feed on the level one block above a restone torch.
BUT remove the block above that torch so it does not feed power into the upper mini-tower.

Here is the working solution,  the third image is the stacked tower power feed.
     http://imgur.com/a/XIm6J#6  (base circuitry)
     http://imgur.com/a/XIm6J#7  (power feed up tower)
     http://imgur.com/a/XIm6J#8  (stacking towers)

Now the only way I locked this up was to add many stacks of many different items directly into the mid-level feed dropper.  When that happens items in the dropper below may become 'clogged' and stuck.  however for a single hopper feed at the mid-level this is not going course this to happen very easily (hoppers only can hold 5 different items, droppers 9 different items and randomly send items up)

But that is a problem for any stacked tower.

The problem is made worse by the fact that droppers and hoppers always stick items in either the first available free slot, even if there is a incomplete stack of the same item somewhere else in the container.  that is they can fill multiple slots with the same item.

Note this does not happen when users 'shift-click' items into such containers, only with hopper or dropper feeds into the containers.   I consider this to be a bug.
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#11

AntOfThy

Posted 27 May 2013 - 11:17 PM

Added the dropper tower...

KMBKomhyr - Silent, Fail-Proof, SMP-Friendly Item Elevator
    https://www.youtube....h?v=YuDZTlZEjgk
  A very novel way of passing the pulse in a spirl up the tower while
  only powering one dropper each time.

  Design may be improved by replacing the 'hopper' clock (which clocks at
  half the hopper speed) with a 1 tick comparator clock.
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#12

RamblinWreckGT
  • Location: Atlanta

Posted 28 May 2013 - 02:52 AM

I think this topic might garner more responses if you include a visual example of each category of dropper tower. I have several different designs that I use depending on what I need them for, but I'm hesitant to post them because I'm kind of getting lost in all the text ("Well, I'm 90% sure he's talking about ____, but I'd really like to see just to be sure I'm not submitting something he's already covered"). I'm sure there are at least a couple others that feel the same.

#13

AntOfThy

Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:37 AM

I have replaced 'image links' with 'thumbnail' links, so in at least those designs you can see what the image is showing, if not the fine detail.

The other links are mostly youtube video links, and youtube does not provide a nice thumbnailing method.


UPDATE: I also rebuilt almost all towers on the CubeKrowd server, so people can go take a look.  Also more screen shots, and of the various towers and their respective parts.
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#14

AntOfThy

Posted 03 June 2013 - 04:22 AM

Added new category of dropper tower designs... Stacked Towers

That is tower designs that actually relies on regular 'stacking' of the towers.
Currently two designs stacked every 3 (timeofsouls) and 6 (antofthy) blocks.

Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#15

AntOfThy

Posted 04 June 2013 - 11:44 AM

View PostRamblinWreckGT, on 28 May 2013 - 02:52 AM, said:

I think this topic might garner more responses if you include a visual example of each category of dropper tower. I have several different designs that I use depending on what I need them for, but I'm hesitant to post them because I'm kind of getting lost in all the text ("Well, I'm 90% sure he's talking about ____, but I'd really like to see just to be sure I'm not submitting something he's already covered"). I'm sure there are at least a couple others that feel the same.

More images of the various types of dropper towers, methods of powering, and a starting image of what I consider one of the best (not overly complex) designs so far to come from this study.

I hope this helps improve responses, as this is an area that can use more attention, considering just how useful dropper towers are.
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#16

AeronSjaz
  • Location: "Somewhere, over the rainbow"
  • Minecraft: AronSjaz

Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:56 PM

Thanks for the effort of making this, much appreciated!

#17

AntOfThy

Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:29 AM

Yesterday YourTuber, Drakkart, posted a variation on the Dropper Hose-pipe Design I discussed as a basic tower methodology, making use of the principle that leaving items in a tower is "Not a Bad Thing", it just means the tower remains silent, and items will be delayed but will come out.



Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#18

AntOfThy

Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:35 AM

Having now looked at just about every dropper tower design out there. Building and testing them, attempting to stack and avoid power interference.   Many revisions and updates of the original post.  I can say the main article is complete.

So make use of it.  And letting me know what you think.  And above all, some credit for the work I did would be nice. ;-)


Note that I have rebuilt practically all the Dropper Towers on my
creative plot on the CubeKrowd MineCraft FanServer...   cube.jl2579.net
login to the server, type /cr,  and then /tp -4900 30 -6000  (you are in creative do don't worry about falling).
Posted Image  Ultimate Guide to Reliable Dropper Towers
Development Log and Photos for my 4th Trading Village "The Dark Sphere"

#19

VibeRaider
  • Minecraft: VibeRaider

Posted 15 July 2013 - 02:50 AM

We are recoding the cubekrowd server currently, but we are working on getting our creative world back online ASAP. Also Members+ can use /plotme home NAME to get to your plot, Guests can do a tp request, most of our members are kind enough to help getting to that location so you don't have to fly out there(That would be absurd.)

But again, we are currently upgrading the server to make it work better, so it may be a couple days before it is available to work on, and there may be a need to move your build to the new creative world as I believe the chunks of the world you built in had some weird corruption issues.

#20

Crazydude757

Posted 23 July 2013 - 01:17 AM

View PostVibeRaider, on 15 July 2013 - 02:50 AM, said:

We are recoding the cubekrowd server currently, but we are working on getting our creative world back online ASAP. Also Members+ can use /plotme home NAME to get to your plot, Guests can do a tp request, most of our members are kind enough to help getting to that location so you don't have to fly out there(That would be absurd.)

But again, we are currently upgrading the server to make it work better, so it may be a couple days before it is available to work on, and there may be a need to move your build to the new creative world as I believe the chunks of the world you built in had some weird corruption issues.
Bump, no offense but seriously. What does that have to do with this topic?
Spoiler: