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Observer PE.png





Blast resistance






Yes (64)





Data values

PC: dec: 218 hex: DA bin: 11011010
PE: dec: 251 hex: FB bin: 11111011



An observer is a block that emits a redstone signal when an adjacent block is updated.

Obtaining[edit | edit source]

An observer requires a pickaxe to be mined. When mined without a pickaxe, it will drop nothing.

Hardness 3.5
Breaking time[note 1]
Hand 17.5
Wooden 2.65
Stone 1.35
Iron 0.9
Diamond 0.7
Golden 0.45
  1. Times are for unenchanted tools in seconds.

Crafting[edit | edit source]

Ingredients Crafting recipe Description
Cobblestone +
Redstone +
Nether Quartz

Computer and Pocket editions only

Usage[edit | edit source]

An observer is placed similarly to a piston, and will observe the block that it is placed against. Unlike many redstone components, the 'face' (detection side) points away from the player who placed the block.

In Pocket Edition the observer block texture has two dots which are at opposite ends when the block is placed. The smaller dot outputs a redstone signal whilst the bigger dot detects the block update. In the Computer Edition, the texture of the detection end is that of an 'observing' face.

Behavior[edit | edit source]

In the Computer Edition, an observer will detect changes in its target's block ID or data value, or the breaking or placing of a block. (Changes in its basic block state, but not its extended/actual block state.) This means that changes like the age of crops will be detected, since they are part of the basic block state that is converted to metadata when the world is saved; however, changes such as the shape of a fence will not be detected, since those are part of the extended block state, which is not saved when the world is saved.

In the Pocket Edition, an observer acts as a block update detector, and detects anything that causes a block update in that edition. (Note that what causes a block update and how they propagate is very different between the Computer Edition and the Pocket Edition.)

When it detects something, the observer emits a redstone pulse, powering redstone dust, redstone comparators and redstone repeaters, as well as powering mechanism components located at its opposite end with power level 15 for 2 game ticks (1 redstone tick). In the Java/Computer Edition, the observer outputs strong power, and can strongly power blocks like a redstone repeater. It also has a delay of 1 redstone tick before emitting a pulse.

In Pocket Edition, the observer emits the same kind of pulse as the Computer Edition observer, except that it does not strongly power blocks, and the observer outputs activation power only, similar to a block of redstone. It is supposed to have a delay of 1 redstone tick like the Java Edition observer, but in practice it has a 2 redstone tick delay, due to MCPE-15793, a bug causing redstone delays to be incorrect when components are activated by world changes (which, in the case of the observer in MCPE, is the only way it can be activated), as opposed to pure redstone components ticking.[1]

It also counts as a block change/block state change/block update when the observer itself is moved by a piston. When this happens, an observer emits a pulse after being pushed or pulled, but not beforehand.

Observers behave as a transparent block even though they block light. This means they cannot be powered by an external power source, nor power themselves with their own output.

Because observers in the Computer Edition detect changes in the basic block state, and not block updates, they can detect a wider range of phenomena than a block update detector (BUD) circuit in the Computer Edition can detect (as some block state changes don't cause block updates), though it has different limitations. Observers in the Pocket Edition do detect block updates (but not block state changes), and so they detect the exact same things that any other BUD would detect in that edition.

Limitations[edit | edit source]

Block state change: Detected
in PE
in PC

Locking / unlocking a redstone repeater
No No

Changes to the data value of fire that signifies flammable surfaces surrounding fire
No No

Changes in the shape of walls, fences, iron bars, glass panes, stairs, tripwire, redstone dust, vines, melon stem or pumpkin stem
No No

A grass, mycelium or podzol block becoming snowy or not snowy
No No

Changes to inventory of any blocks that comparators measure as containers
No No

Activating / deactivating a beacon
No No

Playing a note block
No No

Opening and closing shulker boxes, chests & ender chests
No No

Success of a command block
N/A No

Teleporting something by the end gateway
Yes No

Adding / removing contents from any flower pot
Yes No

The opening/closing of the top part of a door by hand, as opposed to by redstone power.
Yes No

Powering / depowering of activator rails
No Yes

Inverting / deinverting a daylight sensor
No Yes

Activation of a dropper or dispenser
No Yes

Activation / deactivation of redstone ore, or of a redstone torch
No Yes

A piston (not the head) extending or contracting
No Yes

Locking / unlocking a hopper
No Yes

Spread of grass to dirt, or decay of grass into dirt
No Yes

Growth of nether wart, forced growth of cocoa pods by bone meal, or growth of vines into empty space
No Yes

Aging of saplings, sugar cane or fire
No Yes

Farmland going through its hydration stages
No Yes

Moving bottles to / from a brewing stand
No Yes
All other block / block state changes Yes Yes

Data values[edit | edit source]

Block data[edit | edit source]

See also: Data values and Pocket Edition data values
DV Description
0 Facing down
1 Facing up
2 Facing south
3 Facing north
4 Facing east
5 Facing west

Block state[edit | edit source]

See also: Block states
Name Value Description

The direction the observer is observing. The same direction the player faces, when placing the block.

True while the observer is observing a change and emitting a pulse.

History[edit | edit source]

Official release
1.11 16w39a Added observer block. When first added, the observers acted as a block update detector, and would emit pulses that lasted 1 game tick (0.5 redstone ticks) and had a signal strength of 1. The observer could also power blocks (like a repeater). It also had no delay between detecting a block update and emitting a pulse, meaning that observers were essentially instant. They were also placed with the observing, or input, side facing the player.
Note: the "arrow" texture on the top/bottom of the observer was pointing the wrong direction (towards the input, rather than the output). This was not noticed by most people, though, since the observer in Pocket Edition had (and as of 1.0.0 still has) a texture bug where the top & side textures wouldn't rotate properly (except the output/input sides), causing the arrow texture to always point in the same direction.
16w41a Observers were changed to emit 4 game tick (2 redstone tick) pulses[6], and their signal strength was changed to 15.[7][8]
Observers *appear* to no longer strongly power blocks, and now only emit activation power, like a block of redstone. (And this may have been the intended behavior for this snapshot.) However, in reality, they still strongly power blocks, but the blocks adjacent to those blocks aren't given block updates, causing weird and buggy behavior.[2]
Observers are now placed with the output facing the player.[3][4]
Fixed a bug where observers would redirect redstone dust from all 4 directions.[5] (They are only supposed to redirect dust from their output side.)
16w42a The devs attempted to make observers no longer detect block updates happening to air blocks, in order to make observer behavior more predictable.[9] In the process they broke redstone mechanics a bit, so that the block update bug from the previous snapshot now affected repeaters & comparators, too.[10]
16w43a Observer PE.png Fixed the rotation of the "arrow" texture so it would point in the right direction.
General redstone mechanics work as they did before 16w42a, with the exception of the change named below.
Observers now output strong power like in 16w39a, except that they, as well as repeaters & comparators, no longer provide block updates to transparent blocks or air.
16w44a The block update changes relating to redstone from 16w42a & 16w43a were fully reverted.
Observer behavior was overhauled/redefined. The observer changed from a block update detector to a block state change detector. Observers were changed to detect when the block it was observing changed, its basic block state changed, or the block was placed/destroyed. (Note that it does not detect changes in the extended block state, AKA changes that are not saved when the world is unloaded, such as the shape of a fence, or whether or not a repeater is locked.) This change made observer behavior much more predictable, as unexpected/invisible block updates would no longer trigger observers.[11]
Observers were changed to emit a 2 game tick (1 redstone tick) pulse when activated.[12]
Observers no longer output power instantly.[13]
1.11-pre1 Observer.png Changed front (detecting side) texture to be an 'observing face'. The "arrow" texture on the top/bottom of the observer was also modified.
The redstone output side now blinks red when it outputs power.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.15.0 May 2, 2016 Jeb tweeted that Daniel Wustenhoff is a working on a BUD block.[15]
Tommaso Checchi tweeted his "rejected graphics" for the block.[14]
build 1 Observer PE.png Added observer block.
0.15.3 Observers are now placed like a piston and not a log.

Issues[edit | edit source]

Issues relating to “Observer” are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • When moved by a piston, an observer sends a 2 game tick (1 redstone tick) pulse after being moved, which makes it useful for slime block flying machines.
  • The current Observer texture was created because Jeb kept confusing which side was front/back. He said it was inspired by the "rejected texture" created by Tommaso Checchi.[16][17]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  14. “Here's my rejected graphics for the Observer, because @darngeek has no artistic sensibility” – @_tomcc, May 2, 2016
  15. “Hype train! @darngeek is working on a device that will act as a proper BUD block in MC:PE (PC eventually), currently called "Observer"” – @jeb_, May 2, 2016
  17. “Here's my rejected graphics for the Observer, because @darngeek has no artistic sensibility” – @_tomcc, May 2, 2016