Table of Contents
The BasicsMaking It WorkCircuits
- Basic Example
- OR/NOR Gates
- AND/NAND Gates
- XOR/XNOR Gates
- RS NOR Latch
- Monostable Circuit
- T Flip-Flop
Hi to whoever is reading this. This is my own attempt at a Redstone guide that is both easy to understand and accessible, and isn't similar to the all but impossible to read one on Minecraft Wiki. I have perused the many videos on YouTube and have found quite a few that I both like and that are comprehensive, yet have had trouble finding a truly functional guide on paper. That is what I am here to do. You will find descriptions of redstone basics, explanations, examples, and pictures, as well as additional content as I learn more about redstone and hopefully gain more knowledge from others (such as yourself) commenting on this guide. Good luck to you, and I hope you learn something.
Redstone is the material used to create functional mechanisms in the Minecraft world, such as lever controlled traps, or pressure plate controlled doors. There are several basic redstone facts to know:
- Redstone Dust is mined from Restone Ore.
- Each Ore block will drop 4-5 Redstone Dust.
- Redstone Ore must be mined with an Iron Pickaxe or better.
Redstone dust can be placed on all blocks (such as Dirt, Stone, blocks of iron) to create wiring. Exceptions include Ice and Glass and all triggerable blocks such as TNT, Note Blocks, Chests, and Furnaces. (Redstone can be placed on Jukeboxes).
Dust can be connected either in a straight line, or can be placed up or down one adjacent block. To connect blocks that are above or below each other, don't try and add redstone wiring on the sides manually. Place on top of both blocks, and it connects itself.
If a block is placed that gets between the wiring diagonally, it will not let a current pass through. The only two exceptions are ice and glass. The white block at the end shows regular behavior.
Wiring does not create any current by itself, but must be powered by one of several items in Minecraft. You can see below how the powered wire glows red when a current is passing through it.
You may also notice that the color of the wiring quickly transitions from bright orange to a dark red. This is an aesthetic representation of the current approaching the 15 block limit that a redstone current has from its original source. It should be noted that while the current appears weaker, the strength of the current at the end at block 15 is just as strong as the current at the start with block 1.
Redstone wiring can be powered in several ways:
- Button - By pressing the button, a current will stay for approximately 1 second (0.9 to be exact), then will stop.
- Lever - Activating the lever will create a constant current until the lever is flipped off.
- Pressure Plate (Stone) - A player or mob will activate the current while standing on a pressure plate. The current stops when the player/mob step off.
- Pressure Plate (Wood) - Same as a stone pressure plate, but can also be activated by dropped items.
- Redstone Torch - Redstone torches provide constant power to the redstone wiring and have no direct activation/deactivation by themselves.
For example, when the lever is applied to the majority of powerable objects, you can see the results.
The first image is with the levers in an "off" state, and the second picture is with them on. For safety reasons I left the TNT for the very end.
Making It Work
So far we have learned how different switches will power redstone wiring in order to make things happen. There are several ways that the power can be transmitted from your switch (lever, pressure pad, button, redstone torch) to the object in questions (piston, door, note-block, dispenser, etc).
- The switch can be right next to the object.
- The current can flow into the bottom of the object.
- The current can flow into the top of the object.
- Variation of #2.
When redstone wire runs parallel to a powerable object, or row of powerable objects, it tends to cause issues if it is powering in a row adjacent to the bottom side of the block, as pictured in the right side of the image. If the wiring runs on the top side, the current activates the objects and everything works fine.
This image introduces an important concept of a current's ability to flow through blocks. As you can see, redstone wiring does not connect the entire distance between the lever and the piston, instead the current flows into the block which holds it and transfer it to all adjacent spaces. (This can be useful if you want to hide your redstone wiring to make your creations more aesthetically pleasing).
Adjacent spaces are above, below, to the left and right, and front and behind the powered block. In this case, the lever is attached to the front of the block, taking up the "front" position. It should be noted that blocks adjacent to the lever itself are also powered, even if the lever (or any switch) isn't directly touching it.
Now look at this. The powering block idea leads to the misconception that a block can simply replace a piece of wire. As shown above, this is not the case. Unless a wire is connected to a block that has a switch placed on it, it will not receive power from anything except for a torch, or just a switch by itself. Take note and avoid confusion!
Repeaters are the one redstone affiliated item that I have not yet mentioned, but perhaps one of the most useful. The repeater has three main uses, all being very simple:
- Creating delays in the current
- Extending past the 15 block current limit
- Functioning as a diode, i.e. allowing the current to only flow in one direction
When using repeaters, make sure you place them the right way, with the current entering into the red strip!
You can see here how the very top piston is functioning when activated, but that the one below it is not. This is because there are 16 spaces of wiring in the lower connection versus the exact 15 in the top one. Once a repeater is added though, the 15 block limit is reset and the current can continue for another 15 spaces (from the repeater) before dying out.
Minecraft redstone has a system of delays known as ticks. A tick, according to Minecraft Wiki, is equal to 0.1 seconds. When a repeater is introduced into the path of redstone, it causes a one tick delay in a neutral state. Thus, if you had a current that had to travel through ten repeaters between a lever and a piston, it would take one second for the lever to activate the piston (if all repeaters were in neutral). Now what do I mean by neutral state?
Right clicking a repeater causes one of the torches to shift, up to three times, to create delays. Each shift adds on one more tick, making each repeater able to cause 4 ticks of delay, or 0.4 seconds delay. When a repeater is first placed down, it is at a 1 tick state, or "neutral". Repeaters themselves plus a little redstone dust can be used to make up a basic logic gate known as a Pulser, but we will describe it, among other things, in the following sections.
First let's start with learning a bit more about redstone torches. A redstone torch by iteself delivers a constant current to an object or to redstone wiring. You can think of it as a lever that never leaves the "On" position. Although a redstone torch is on by default, it can be turned off when a current is introduced to it in a specific way. Look at the following image.
So what exactly is going on here? It would appear that both switches are flipped on, thus creating a current that we learned flows through the block and into the torch. The bottom torch was successfully turned off, but why didn't the top one turn off? It is quite simple. Since the torch itself is giving off a current, it powers the redstone wiring, which then leads back to the block and lever, where it stops, unable to affect anything. To avoid these complications, we power the blocks that the torch is placed on.
A switch will turn off and on a torch placed on any side of the block that it is able to attach to. But why turn off a torch? Observe in the following picture how the switches are both either in the off or on position and yet the outputs are different.
The switch that has a redstone torch creates something known as an inverter, or a "NOT Gate". An inverter simply inverts the input that is given. Usually a flipped lever will send a current, activating an object. But when a torch is attached, the flipped lever sends a current into the torch, disabling it, causing absolutely no current to flow through the output.
Quick example of an inverter at a distance from the switch. When stacking the disabling and enabling effects of torches, it should be noted that torches bring a 1 tick wait time with them, exactly that of a repeater in a neutral state.
In the following example, you can see how a redstone repeater set to two ticks will cause the exact same delay as two torches placed in the other line. (Before official repeaters were introduced, the above system of two redstone torches was used to extend the current).
Powering it Up and Down
This system of powering torches can be harnessed to achieve vertical power in the form of several slightly different structures.
The first 1x1 tower ends with a torch powered on, thus activating the piston, whereas the 2x1 tower ends with an off torch, leaving the piston in place. (Obviously if the towers each increased by one torch, the outputs would be opposite). These towers make sending power vertically less of a hassle. You can also try a 2x2 spiraling method that sends power both up and down. This tower is excellent because it can be traversed up and down by foot!
Here is the spiral staircase in action!
Sending power down can either be achieved in a couple ways. You can either use the aforementioned 2x2 spiral method, a bulky staircase looking structure (seen below), or a more advanced looking method of stacking floating blocks.
The final stacking block method of "powering it down" can be explained simply. The switch will activate a piece of redstone that delivers a current to the redstone torch at the end. This torch is then disabled, thus releasing the disabling effect on the torch below, turning it on. This effect alternates back and forth until it hits bottom.
Note that you can also power wire that is underneath the block that a switch is on.
Well, that about does it for most of the basic technical concepts of redstone related items. To learn about different circuits, scarily termed "Logic Gates", proceed on to the next section.
Circuits (Oh, so confusing! Not really)
A circuit in Minecraft is basically just a bunch of switches, torches, redstone, and perhaps repeaters, put in a certain order that gives a desired output (current or no current) based on different inputs (levers, buttons, torches, redstone, etc).
Now this isn't even a circuit, but let's start with this very basic contraption that you have seen a bunch of times. You flip on the lever (input) and it results in a current (output) that in turn activates a piston (powered block). That is all. Moving on.
This "OR Gate" is very similar to the previous example. The only difference is that now there are two levers instead of one. With an "OR Gate", by pressing one lever OR the other (inputs), a current will result (output).
Note that you can combine the "OR Gate" with an inverter to result in the opposite output. When a gate gives an opposite output, the letter "N" is put in front of the title, so "OR Gate" becomes "NOR" Gate, which is this gate below.
An "AND Gate" will result in an output only when both Lever 1 AND Lever 2 are flipped on. Let me explain exactly what is going on in this picture.
The two levers are the inputs. Only when both are flipped will the piston move up. The reason why is quite simple. The redstone torches that are above each input are both powering the piece of redstone wiring that is in between the two. This powered redstone wire is effectively powering the Key Redstone Torch, thus disabling it (as we learned earlier). Only when both torches above the inputs are off, will the piece of redstone wire be off, thus halting the disabling effect on the torch. Once the torch is enable, it releases a current through the wire and into the piston.
To create an "NAND gate", instead of adding an inverter, you take off the original redstone torch that sat in the middle. That torch's purpose was to create a circuit that turned ON when both inputs were on. You could almost look at the "NAND Gate" as the original form, and the "AND Gate" as the variation that had an inverter attached.
The "XOR Gate" is a variation of the "OR Gate". As you know, an "OR Gate" has an output that can be turned OFF or ON by all included inputs. With an "XOR Gate", the same applies, but if both inputs are ON, the output will turn OFF. Or to be stated in another way, if the inputs match each other (both ON or both OFF) the output will be OFF, if they are different (one OFF with the other ON), the output will be ON.
The explanation of how this works is not too bad. Ignore the green box for a moment and just focus on the two red boxes. See how in the top box, if the lever is switched on, it will send a current into the torch placed on the side, turning it off, releasing the disabling effect on the consecutive torch (in the red box), which releases a current into the wiring and through the output. That is the first part; if either lever is switch on by itself it will send a current and activate an object, a piston in this case.
The next part is also simple. Try and imagine that both levers have been switched on. Why does the final current stop? If you look at the two torches placed on top of the blocks that the levers are attached to, you will see they are powering several pieces of wire. As long as one lever is not switched on, this wire will always been powered, but as soon as both are switched on, the power dies. When it dies the torch in the green box will turn on and power the wires to its sides. This power will disable the two torches at the very end, making it so no current reaches the piston. And that's it! Whew!
The "XNOR Gate" is exactly like the "XOR Gate" except it has an inverter at the end, affecting it so that when both inputs match each other, the output will be "ON". And when they are different, the output will be "OFF".
RS NOR Latch
An RS NOR Latch sounds god-awful doesn't it? It really is not so bad. Imagine a scenario where you wanted an input that you could switch on and off. A lever sounds great doesn't it? But say you want to be able to turn the input "ON" by triggering one button, and "OFF" by triggering a button in an entirely different place. This is what the "RS NOR Latch" lets us do.
Once the top button is pressed, the current will flip to the other side and stay there until the opposite bottom button is pressed. Depending on which output is used, the top and bottom buttons will be on/off or off/on. The reasoning as to why is not complicated either. Once the top button is pressed, a current will flow into the block that it is attached to and into the torch, disabling it. Once the torch is disabled, the wiring that it is connected to will also turn off, thus releasing the disabling effect on the opposite block/torch. Now we are flipped and pressing the button on the opposite side will have the opposing effect. A quick note on the name, "RS" stands for "Reset" and "Set". If you press one button, it will set it, but if you press the other, it will reset. Pretty cool.
A monostable circuit is basically an "RS NOR Latch" with a slight modification. The point of a monostable circuit is to give an input that has a set amount of time before it turns off. Say you wanted to have a door open for five seconds, then close, this is what you would use. Most inputs are either a quick flash (button/pressure pad) or set indefinitely off/on (torches/levers), but with a monostable circuit, you have the ability to set the time. Anyways, have a look.
Right away you can see the "RS NOR Latch" as well as another wire with a repeater on it traveling from one block to the other. If you remember, the "RS NOR Latch" has "ON" and "OFF", or alternatively "SET" and "RESET", inputs or switches. When you press the single button in the monostable circuit, the "RS NOR Latch" turns "ON" or is "SET" as usual, but the pressing of the button also sends a signal through the wire on the side. This signal hits the repeater (the single repeater is just an example, you can place as many as you could possible want for your own particular delay times) and is delayed. After the delay, it travels and hits the block giving it an "OFF" or "RESET" command. Thus, the system is reset.
The T Flip-Flop is a big heap of wires designed to do basically one thing, to turn a button into a lever. You can think of it as if the two buttons of the "RS NOR Latch" were the same button. You press it once, "ON", you press it again, "OFF". Simple.
In the above image the T Flip-Flop is grouped into three main categories, a piece that shortens the time a current or signal is applied to the wiring, the "RS NOR Latch", and two other parts that I very generally labeled as helpful pieces due to their own specific helpful role.
First let's cover the signal shortener, which works very simply. The objective is to power the long piece of wire for 0.3 seconds versus the 0.9 you get from a regular press of a button. It starts with the press of the button. The pulse, resulting from the button, will turn off “Torch 1” for 0.9 seconds. The disabled torch then stops delivering power to the target wire. At the same time, the disabled torch also releases its hold on torch 2. Torch 2 goes on to disable torch 3, which finally releases the disable on torch 4, activating it. So, we have “Torch 1” effectively withholding power and giving power at the same time. What makes this work is that the giving of power comes 0.3 second later due to the tick delay from traveling through the 3 torches (very similar to a monostable circuit).
Here is another version of the same shortener but with a repeater instead of torches 3 and 4 - it works exactly the same.
Now look at the core of this entire contraption, the "RS NOR Latch". All I want you to see here is that there are two inputs into this piece, the "ON"/Set and "OFF"/Reset. Usually, buttons would be there in a standalone "RS NOR Latch" but in a T Flip-Flop a pulse from the wires will work as the button pulses.
Here is the T Flip-Flop in both its "ON" and "OFF" states. What you need to pay attention to are the fact that two wires are affecting a set of blocks, labeled "Button 1" and "Button 2". Find both these two blocks and the two sets of wires that are circled in the image. Try and recognize how if both wires are turned off, even for a quick flash of time (say 0.3 seconds), then the torch of "Button 1" or "Button 2" will turn on and power the wire into the "RS NOR Latch", acting as a press of a button.
In this T Flip-Flop design, there will always be two wires powering either block "Button 1" or block "Button 2". On the right sides of these blocks, power will be coming from the long piece of wire that we discussed from the signal shortener. But power from the other sides (the top of block "Button 1" or the left side of block "Button 2") will always only be affecting one block or the other. If the "RS NOR Latch" is "ON" or if the output is "ON" then power will be coming into the top side of block "Button 1", but not into the left side of block "Button 2". But if the "RS NOR Latch" if "OFF" or if the output is "OFF" then the power will be coming into the left of block "Button 2" and not into the top of block "Button 1".
So the block that is only receiving one wire of power (from the right side) will have its torch turned on when the original input button is pressed, turning the "RS NOR Latch" either "ON" or "OFF". This second wire will be on or off depending on whether the "RS NOR Latch" is "ON" or "OFF". If you look at the image, the pieces of wire that make up the "RS NOR Latch" also feed into the two blocks that are feeding powered wire into the "Button 1" and "Button 2" blocks. This setup creates a system that is basically able to read when the "RS NOR Latch" is "ON" or "OFF" and will respond by either powering block "Button 1" or block "Button 2", removing the possibility of the torches on these blocks of turning on and powering the "RS NOR Latch".
Circuit Simulator T Flip-Flop Schematic File
If you download the Circuit Simulator, linked under the Helpful Links section, you can load this schematic file that has the the T Flip-Flop and it's parts broken apart so you can see how each one works.
A Clock, sometimes referred to as a pulser, is used in a circumstance where you want your redstone current to actually pulse or flash. You can set this up in two different ways.
The Repeater Clock needs to be activated with a quick flash of current from either a button, pressure plate, or a quick drop-torch-then-destroy-real-fast action. If you have too much trouble setting it up, try this alternate clock.
Five torches or five repeaters are not necessary to create a clock. When using torches and blocks, you need to have an odd number, where as you can make a clock with any amount of repeaters. When someone mentions an "x-Clock", they are talking about a clock that has "x" number of torches/repeaters or more specifically, "x" ticks of delay in it. So for example a "5-Clock" consists of either five torches or five repeaters in a "neutral position. Note that when making clocks, using 3 or less torches/blocks or repeaters will cause the torches in the clock to burn out.
That does it for circuits for the time being. I truly hope to update as frequently as I can as I learn new things and optimize old ideas. Please stay tuned and let me know if further clarification is necessary.
Thank you for reading my guide and I hope that you learned something from it. If you find any errors, typos, or have additional information that you think should be added, please comment or pm me and let me know. Not being a redstone master by any means, I know there is plenty that has been left out due to my ignorance, and I would be very grateful for both explanations on complex circuits and intriguing mechanisms that would be helpful for the player base, as well as simple facts such as wiring not function on a certain material. Enjoy playing with Redstone and thanks again!
Redstone Testing Map
This map simply gives a large chamber made out of blocks of iron (very similar to pictures in guide) filled with six big rooms giving you space to set up and test your Redstone contraptions. I have included one version that has some supplies at the beginning (such as redstone torches, dust, piston, switches, etc) as well as torches scattered throughout to light up the map. I also included a blank version for players with mods such as Single Player Commands or TooManyItems.
- Locate your ".minecraft" folder - This can be done by typing %appdata% into Windows Run (Windows Key+R shortcut).
- Open the ".minecraft folder" and proceed into the "saves" folder.
- Extract your downloaded .zip/.rar tutorial file into the saves folder.
- There should now be a plain folder called "Redstone Tutorial v.0.1".
- If opened, the folder should have more folders such as "data", "region", and several .dat and .lock files.
- Start up Minecraft and select the "Redstone Map v1.0" and enjoy!
While searching for additional resources to help me learn more about Redstone, I will doubtlessly find gems that I want to share with others. This is what I have found so far.
- Circuit Simulator, by Rek55
- Piston Logic, by Grizdale
- Grizdale's [other] Inventions
- Hans Lemurson's Thread of Links
- How ticks work in Minecraft, by TaviRider
- Ultimate Collection of Redstone Circuit Designs, by Magix
Version 1.21 (8/30/2011)
- Changed T Flip-Flop explanation and pictures.
- Added "XNOR Gate".
- Added note regarding sending power down.
- Changed 'paroozed' to 'perused', by popular request.
- Added T Flip-Flops.
- Added Monostable Circuits.
- Updated PDF Guide to current version.
- Minecraft Wiki
- Minecraft YouTubers
- Repliers and Commenters for suggestions and feedback.