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Beginner's Guide to Redstone, Boolean, and Digital Logic


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#1

Zund
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:44 PM

The goal of this thread is to teach people how to build redstone circuitry and to help them better understand exactly how the logic behind it works. So lets get started.

Boolean Algebra

First thing I need to teach you is a new form of math, this is the math that digital circuits use and is surprisingly simple. The biggest difference between Arithmetic and Boolean, is that Arithmetic has an infinite number of states(3, 7.28, 18832, 0, -48123.28, etc) while Boolean only has two (0 and 1). 0 means simply nothing, it can also be understood as false, no, or in circuitry low signal. 1 on the other hand is anything, also understood as true, yes, or high signal.

I'm going to take you all the way back to 1st grade in order to help you understand this.
Arithmetic word problem:
Jimmy had 3 apples, then Sally gives Jimmy 2 apples. How many apples does Jimmy have?

Remember this one from when you were a little kid? Well its pretty clear to find the answer you would do 3+2=5. To make this a Boolean equation we need to make applesauce.

Jimmy had applesauce, then Sally gives Jimmy applesauce. Does Jimmy have applesauce?

To solve this we would have to see that Jimmy has applesauce, which means a 1, and Sally gives him more applesauce, again a 1. So the equation would be 1+1=1, Yes it equals 1 and not 2 because in Boolean we do not count, anything that is not 0 is a 1.

I hope now you have some basic understanding of what makes Boolean Algebra unique. Now because Boolean does not deal with quantity we only have 3 basic functions, Addition, Multiplication, and Inversion.

Addition
This works almost exactly the same as Arithmetic, except again we do not deal with quantity. To give an example:

0+1=1 Read this as "Nothing plus Something equals Something"
1+1=1 "Something plus Something equals Something"
0+0=0 "Nothing plus Nothing equals Nothing"
Note: 1 plus anything is 1

Multiplication
This is perhaps the smoothest transition because it works exactly like what we are used to seeing.

0x1=0 "No rows of some columns equals nothing"
1x1=1 "Some rows of Some columns equals something"
Note: 0 times anything is 0

Inversion
Something we don't have an Algebraic equivalent to. Inversion simply takes a state and makes it the opposite. Inversion is normally marked with a line above the character, but for this I'm going to use ~ before.

~1=0 "Not Something is Nothing"
~0=1 "Not Nothing is Something"

This concludes the lesson on Boolean Algebra, and now onto how it relates to Digital Logic, and ultimately Redstone Circuits.

Digital Logic
Digital Logic is the basis of what allows computers to run, it is composed of gates which I will be discussing below. This are not actual quotes, its just for organization.

Quote

NOT Gate/Inverter
The most basic function, it preforms the task of Inversion, which you just read about above. It can go by either name.
As seen on a schematic
Posted Image
Note the circle at the tip of the triangle, this signifies that it is an inverter, if you see this circle on any inputs or outputs of a logic device there is an inverter there.

As Redstone
Posted Image

Quote

AND Gate
This gate does multiplication, all inputs must be high for this to give a high output.
Schematic
Posted Image
Redstone
Posted Image

Quote

OR Gate
The gate for addition, if any input is high the output will also be high.
Schematic
Posted Image
Redstone
Posted Image

With these three basic gates you can build any digital device. For more info on this, and other common gates please visit the minecraftwiki page here.

Redstone Components
In this final section I cover various components you can use to control your redstone circuitry.

0. Powered block-
While not an actually a redstone device it is important. A block powered by a button, lever, or pressure pad, will power any redstone that is next to, ontop of, or under the powered block. Blocks can also be powered by a straight piece of redstone wire, however it will not power additional redstone, this has to do with torches. More on this later

1. The button-
Buttons can only be placed on walls, when activated they turn on for about 1 second. They will power any block they are on, as well as any adjacent redstone, so any redstone 1 block under, or level with it and

2. Pressure Pad-
Pressure pads can only be placed on the ground and are activated by weight. They come in two varieties, stone which requires a player or NPC to stand on to activate, and wood which any object can hold down including boats, minecarts, or dropped items. Pressure pads power the block under them and any adjacent redstone.

3. Lever-
Levers can be placed with 3 different orientations.
a) On a wall- Up is off, down is on. They function similar to a button except they can be left on.
b)On the ground (West-East)- West is off, East is on. These are similar to Pressure Pads in what they power, the block under them and all adjacent redstone.
c)On the ground (North-South)- North is on, South is off. These are unique as they do not power the block they are on, instead they only power adjacent redstone. This may be a bug.

The alignment of ground levers seems to be random, as I could not get any consistency.

4. Redstone Torches-
This is where digital logic becomes possible.

They can be placed on the ground, or on a wall. Torches power redstone adjacent to, or 1 block below them. They will also power the block directly above. Torches on a powered block, including by redstone wire, will turn off. This function is what makes them to act like an inverter and allows us to build more complex circuits.
____________________________________________________________________________________________

I hope you guys learned something from this thread. Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcomed.

Credits:
Pictures of Redstone logic gates: Minecraftwiki.net
Schematic Symbols of logic gates: Wikipedia.org

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#2

r4c7
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:01 PM

I understand it now!

#3

Jacos
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:06 PM

Great guide! Well done, I say.
You get a dozen claps from me.
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One clap.

#4

ACTIONJAMESMAN

Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:51 PM

hi, I'm taking a boolean logic course next semester, could you just take the course for me? thanks.


Seriously though this is an awesome guide, it makes the concept of redstone wiring so much clearer to me.

#5

akirhol
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 05:50 PM

Awesome writeup, really cleared the redstone up for me.

If I could make one suggestion though, put your description of the different redstone components before the logic gates. That way the pictures make more sense knowing that redstone torches are OFF when powered... this threw me for awhile until I got to the bottom then it all clicked. Granted the NOT gate should have tipped me off, but I'm a bit slow today it would seem and it's been awhile since I've done anything with boolean logic systems. :P

#6

crixnmix

Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:01 PM

You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. You win three internets!
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timewarp said:

Rule number 1 of Minecraft: Never mine the ground under your feet. Ever.

#7

J344
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:10 PM

Uh I believe your first logic is wrong. You say "Jimmy had 3 apples, then Sally gives Jimmy 2 apples. How many apples does Jimmy have?" But look at the text, you say "Jimmy had 3," and had isn't the pretext of still have, but once had. So there for the answer isn't 5 but 2? Sorry, am I missing something?
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#8

Snake
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:12 PM

Very nicely written. It helped me understand Redstone more. I applaud you.
To the person above me, it was probably a grammar accident.

#9

J344
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:14 PM

Yeah probable :) Just a heads up Zund hehe
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#10

Starayo
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:22 PM

I was looking for something like this! Thanks a lot! :(

#11

Efhan
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:27 PM

J344 said:

Uh I believe your first logic is wrong. You say "Jimmy had 3 apples, then Sally gives Jimmy 2 apples. How many apples does Jimmy have?" But look at the text, you say "Jimmy had 3," and had isn't the pretext of still have, but once had. So there for the answer isn't 5 but 2? Sorry, am I missing something?

Most stories(including math questions) are in past tense. Jimmy HAD 3 apples, then GOT 2 apples, thus now having 5.

#12

Gopherpunter

Posted 09 August 2010 - 06:41 PM

No.
http://www.minecraft...dstone_circuits
Redundant tutorial thread.
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#13

J344
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:23 PM

Efhan said:

Most stories(including math questions) are in past tense. Jimmy HAD 3 apples, then GOT 2 apples, thus now having 5.


Oh! Well that explains it:) Thank you for clearing it up Efhan.
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#14

Efhan
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:32 PM

No prob. ^_^ Many trick questions come from messing with the past tense. For example: Jimmy has 2 apples. He got one apple. How many apples does Jimmy have?

2. It clearly says that Jimmy has 2 apples.

#15

FelipeC19

Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:35 PM

Oh my God! You just helped me learn how do Redstuff works. Thanks to you for being so great!

#16

Blowfish
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:52 PM

What would be even better is a video showing how the -process- works.

#17

Starayo
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 10:11 PM

Gopherpunter said:

No.
http://www.minecraft...dstone_circuits
Redundant tutorial thread.

I could not comprehend that page. I could comprehend this tutorial.

#18

jeroxy
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 10:30 PM

Starayo said:

Gopherpunter said:

No.
http://www.minecraft...dstone_circuits
Redundant tutorial thread.

I could not comprehend that page. I could comprehend this tutorial.

Exactly what he said.

All the things I had looked at were just too mind boggling, but now I have some basic basic infomation to go off!
You sir, are amazing!
Bravo!
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#19

Zund
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 10:48 PM

Wow, thanks for all the great feedback. I'm glad I could help so many people learn how to start using this stuff.

#20

MaxHim
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Posted 09 August 2010 - 11:02 PM

Needs an example circuit. Did I hear someone say "half adder"?
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