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Tutorials/Advanced redstone circuits

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This article makes use of diagrams in the MCRedstoneSim format for compactness and clarity.
Some of the designs are more than two blocks high which is represented here by the layers being frames in an animated gif or labeled side by side. A full legend is on the Redstone schematics page.
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Reason: There's already a tutorials section for this and it has become a disorganized mess. The pages above are only a suggestion.

Advanced redstone circuits encompass mechanisms that require complicated redstone circuitry. For simpler mechanisms, see Tutorials/Mechanisms#Electronic Mechanisms, Tutorials/Traps#Wired Traps, and Redstone.

Computers[edit]

In Minecraft, several in-game systems can usefully perform information processing. The systems include water, sand, minecarts, pistons, and redstone. Of all these systems, only redstone was specifically added for its ability to manipulate information, in the form of redstone signals.

Redstone, like electricity, has high reliability and high switching-speeds, which has seen it overtake the other mechanical systems as the high-tech of Minecraft, just as electricity overtook the various mechanics such as pneumatics to become the high-tech of our world.

In both modern digital electronics and redstone engineering, the construction of complex information processing elements is simplified using multiple layers of abstraction.

The first layer is that of atomic components; redstone/redstone torches/repeaters/blocks, pistons, buttons, levers and pressure plates are all capable of affecting redstone signals.

The second layer is binary logic gates; these are composite devices, possessing a very limited internal state and usually operating on between one and three bits.

The third layer is high-level components, made by combining logic gates. These devices operate on patterns of bits, often abstracting them into a more humanly comprehensible encoding like natural numbers. Such devices include mathematical adders, combination locks, memory-registers, etc.

In the fourth and final layer, a key set of components are combined to create functional computer systems which can process any arbitrary data, often without user oversight.

An 8-bit register gage would be in the third layer of component abstraction


Converters[edit]

These circuits simply convert inputs of a given format to another format. Converters include Binary to BCD, Binary to Octal, Binary to Hex, BCD to 7-Segment, etc.

Piston mask demultiplexer[edit]

You can understand this design as a combination of AND gates.

Demultiplexer is a circuit that uses the following logic:

Output 0 = (~bit2) & (~bit1) & (~bit0)

Output 1 = (~bit2) & (~bit1) & (bit0)

and so on.

The most obvious way to implement a demultiplexer would be to put a whole bunch of logic gates and connect them together, but even with 3 or 4 bits it turns into a mess.

If you look at the binary numbers table, you can notice a pattern.

N Bit2 Bit1 Bit0
0 0 0 0
1 0 0 1
2 0 1 0
3 0 1 1
4 1 0 0
5 1 0 1
6 1 1 0
7 1 1 1

If the number of bits is Q, the most significant bit reverses every Q/2 numbers, the next bit reverses every Q/4 numbers an so on until we get to the Qth bit.

Therefore we should make a circuit that looks like this:

Demux1.png

where the green triangles are non-reversing and red triangles are reversing. The black lines are imaginary AND gates.

We can easily implement this using 3 "punch cards" that consist of solid blocks and air. The "punch cards" or the masks are being moved by pistons with slime blocks.

So the signal is only being propagated if all three layers of masks align in a specific way.

3-to-8 demux.png

Bits demux38.pngOpen the picture to see the layers.

As you can see, this system is very compact and comprehensible.

You can use this in reverse as well (not as a multiplexer, but if you reverse the repeaters the signal from every ex-outptut (0–7) will only propagate if it matches the current state of the demultiplexer, so it works like "Output3 = (Input3) AND (Demux=011)").

Binary to 1-of-8[edit]

3-bit Binary to 1-of-8 gates.

A series of gates that converts a 3-bit binary input to a single active line out of many. They are useful in many ways as they are compact, 5×5×3 at the largest.

As there are many lines combined using OR Gate|implicit-ORs, you have to place diodes before each input into a circuit to keep signals from feeding back into other inputs.

Requirements for each output line (excluding separating diodes):

Number 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Size 5×3×2 5×3×3 5×5×3 5×5×3 5×3×3 5×4×3 5×5×3 5×5×3
Torches 1 2 2 3 2 3 3 4
Redstone 7 7 12 10 7 7 10 10

Binary to 1-of-16 or 1-of-10[edit]

A series of gates that converts a 4-bit binary input to a single active line out of many (e.g. 0-9 if the input is decimal or 0-F if the input is hexadecimal). They are useful in many ways as they are compact, 3x5x2 at the largest.

As there are many lines combined using implicit-ORs, you have to place diodes before each input into a circuit to keep signals from feeding back into other inputs.

4-bit Binary to 1-of-16 gates.

Requirements for each output line (excluding separating diodes):

Number 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
Size 3×3×2 3×4×2 3×4×2 3×4×2 3×4×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×4×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×5×2 3×5×2
Torches 1 2 2 3 2 3 3 4 2 3 3 4 3 4 4 5
Redstone 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

1-of-16 to Binary[edit]

You also can convert a 1-of-16 signal to a 4-bit binary number. You only need 4 OR gates, with 8 inputs each. These have to be isolating ORs to prevent signals from feeding back into other inputs.

For every output line, make an OR gate with the inputs wired to the input lines where there is a '1' in the table below.

Number 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
4-bit 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
3-bit 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
2-bit 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1
1-bit 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1

Example[edit]

Logic for a 3-digit key log, with digits 0-9. It's order-sensitive

The example on the right uses ORs (>=1), XNORs (=), RS NOR latches (SR) and some delays (dt*). For the XNORs I would prefer the C-design.

The example on the right uses a 4-bit design, so you can handle a hexadecimal key. So you can use 15 various digits, [1,F] or [0,E]. You only can use 15, because the state (0)16 = (0000)2 won't activate the system. If you want to handle 16 states, you edit the logic, to interact for a 5-bit input, where the 5th bit represents the (0)16 state.

In the following we'll use (0)16 = (1111)2. And for [1,9] the MUX-table upon. So the key uses decimal digits. Therefore we have to mux the used buttons to binary data. Here look trough the first two columns. The first represents the input-digit in (hexa)decimal, the second represents the input-digit in binary code. Here you can add also buttons for [A,E], but I disclaimed them preferring a better arranging. The /b1\-box outputs the first bit, the /b2\-box the second, and so on.

Now you see Key[i] with i=1..3, here you set the key you want to use. The first output of them is the 1-bit, the second the 2-bit and so on. You can set your key here with levers in binary-encryption. Use here the MUX-table upon, and for (0)h := (1111)2. If we enter the first digit, we have to compare the bits by pairs (b1=b1, b2=b2, b3=b3, b4=b4). If every comparison is correct, we set the state, that the first digit is correct.

Therefore we combine (((b1=b1 & b2=b2) & b3=b3) & b4=b4) =: (b*=b*). In minecraft we have to use four ANDs like the left handside. Now we save the status to the RS-latch /A\. The comparison works the same way for Key[2], and Key[3].

Now we have to make sure, that the state will be erased, if the following digit is wrong. Therefore we handle a key-press-event (--/b1 OR b2 OR b3 OR b4\--/dt-\--/dt-\--). Search the diagram for the three blocks near "dt-". Here we look, if any key is pressed, and we forward the event with a minor delay. For resetting /A\, if the second digit is wrong, we combine (key pressed) & (not B). It means: any key is pressed and the second digit of the key is entered false. Therewith /A\ will be not reset, if we enter the first digit, /A\ only should be reset, if /A\ is already active. So we combine (B* & A) =: (AB*). /AB*\ now resets the memory-cell /A\, if the second digit is entered false and the first key has been already entered. The major delay /dt+\ must be used, because /A\ resets itself, if we press the digit-button too long. To prevent this failure for a little bit, we use the delay /dt+\. The OR after /AB*\ is used, for manually resetting, i.e. by a pressure plate.

Now we copy the whole reset-circuit for Key[2]. The only changes are, that the manually reset comes from (not A) and the auto-reset (wrong digit after), comes from (C). The manual reset from A prevents B to be activated, if the first digit is not entered. So this line makes sure, that our key is order-sensitive.

The question is, why we use the minor-delay-blocks /dt-\. Visualize /A\ is on. Now we enter a correct second digit. So B will be on, and (not B) is off. But while (not B) is still on, the key-pressed-event is working yet, so A will be reset, but it shouldn't. With the /dt-\-blocks, we give /B\ the chance to act, before key-pressed-event is activated.

For /C\ the reset-event is only the manual-reset-line, from B. So it is prevented to be activated, before /B\ is true. And it will be deactivated, when a pressure-plate resets /A\ and /B\.

Pros
  • You can change the key in every digit, without changing the circuit itself.
  • You can extend the key by any amount of digits, by copying the comparison-circuit. Dependencies from previous output only.
  • You can decrease the amount of digits by one by setting any digit (except the last) to (0000)2.
  • You can open the door permanently by setting the last digit to (0000)2
Cons
  • The bar to set the key will be get the bigger, the longer the key you want to be. The hard-coded key-setting is a compromise for a pretty smaller circuit, when using not too long keys. If you want to use very long keys, you also should softcode the key-setting. But mention, in fact the key-setting-input will be very small, but the circuit will be much more bigger, than using hard-coded key-setting.

Not really a con: in this circuit the following happens with maybe the code 311: 3 pressed, A activated; 1 pressed, B activated, C activated. To prevent this, only set a delay with a repeater between (not A) and (reset B). So the following won't be activated with the actual digit.

If you fix this, the circuit will have the following skill, depending on key-length. ( digit = 2n-1, possibilities: digitLength )

Length 1 2 3 4 5
2 bit 3 9 27 81 243
3 bit 7 49 343 2.401 16.807
4 bit 15 225 3.375 50.625 759.375
5 bit 31 961 29.791 923.521 28.629.151


Miscellaneous[edit]

Order Insensitive Combination Locks[edit]

Note: A moderate understanding of logic gates is needed to understand these devices.

RS NOR Combo Lock[edit]

Connect a series of buttons to the S-input of RS Latches. Feed the Q or Q (choose which one for each latch to set the combination) outputs of the RS Latches into a series of AND gates, and connect the final output to an iron door. Finally, connect a single button to all the R-inputs of the RS Latches. The combination is configured by using either Q or Q for each button (Q means that the button would need to be pressed, Q don't press).

Example:

RSnorlatchlock.gif

With the automated reset it causes the correct combo to cause a pulse instead of a "always on" until reset.

AND Combo Lock[edit]

The AND gate based combo lock uses switches and NOT gate inverters instead of the RS NOR latches in the previous design. This makes for a simpler design but becomes less dynamic in complicated systems and it also lacks an automated reset. The AND design is configured by adding inverters to the switches.

Example:

Combolockredstone.gif

OR Combo Lock[edit]

The OR combo lock is actually an AND combo lock without unnecessary repeaters, override lever and last inverter. Output is off when the code is correct.

Due to its compact size and fast response time, this combination lock is also ideal for use as an address decoder in the construction of addressable memory (RAM)

Design A. Code is set by torches on inputs (1001):

Or-lock.gif

It is possible to remove the spacing between the levers by replacing redstone wire behind the levers with delay 1 repeaters.

You can expand on this by creating a new level on top of the first and using the same principle as the first level, keep creating them.

Design B. Code is set by inverters in the blue area (001001):

Compact or-lock.JPG

N = number of inputs. K = number of 1's in code.

Design A B
Size 2N-1×3×1 N×6×2
Torches K 2N-K
Redstone 3N-K-1 2.5N + 2K

Sorting Device[edit]

Sorting Device.png

This is a device which sorts the inputs, putting 1's at the bottom and 0's at the top. In effect counting how many 1s and how many 0s there are. The diagram is designed so that it is easily expandable, as shown in the diagram. The bright squares shows how to expand it, and also where the in- and outputs are.

Truth table for a three-bit sorting device:

A B C 1 2 3
0 0 0 0 0 0
1 0 0 1 0 0
0 1 0 1 0 0
0 0 1 1 0 0
1 1 0 1 1 0
0 1 1 1 1 0
1 0 1 1 1 0
1 1 1 1 1 1

Order-sensitive changing code XNOR Combo Lock[edit]

Opens when a certain order of switches are pressed. You can change the order. (Note: A moderate understanding of logic gates is needed for this device.) Have 4 blocks near each other with a switch and a sign saying 4,3,2 or 1 respectively. 10 blocks to the right and 2 blocks down place a block then place 2 more with a 5 block space. 6 right and 3 up place the block. Label them 4-3-2-1 respectively. Have a 11 block wire or 13 for left to a repeater on the 9th block or 11th for left and on the right side. Place a repeater 2 blocks over with the same wire from it. Connect the left repeaters. to the code changing module. (You may use bridges of cobblestone for getting over other wire and repeaters for boosting the signal. Construct a XNOR Gate where). 2 of the wires meet. Connect to adjacent outputs with AND gates. These Outputs are connected to final AND gate. Final AND gate if connected to iron door.

Order-sensitive RS NOR Combo Lock[edit]

A door that opens when buttons are pressed in certain order.

(Note: A moderate understanding of logic gates is needed for this device.)

Make a series of buttons, and connect only one to an RS NOR latch. Then connect both the RS NOR latch and a second button to an AND gate, which feeds to another RS NOR latch. Do this continually until you have either filled all of the buttons or are satisfied with the lock. Connect the final RS NOR latch to a separate AND gate with a signal from an enter button. Feed that to the output RS NOR latch. Then connect any of the left-over buttons to the enter button and send reset signals to all of the RS NOR latches. A pressure plate next to a door can reset the door. This type of lock has severe limitations its security. For example, not all the buttons could be used in the pin or there would be nothing to reset the system.

For a lock that can have a combination of any size, using all the buttons, and still have a wrong entry reset the system, you need a different way for it to reset. To construct this, hook up a panel of buttons (any number, but four or more is preferred) to a parallel series of adjacent repeaters. Invert as necessary so that all the repeaters are powered and are unpowered by the press of the corresponding button. These repeaters power a row of blocks. On top of the blocks, place a torch corresponding to the incorrect buttons for the fist number in the PIN. For the correct button/number, place dust under the powered block which leads to a RS NOR Latch. Place a row of blocks above the torches for the incorrect buttons, with redstone dust on top. Then connect this dust to the reset of the first RS NOR Latch. Only the correct button will set the RS NOR Latch and all others will reset it. Connect the output of the RS NOR LATCH to half of an AND gate. After the first row of blocks with the reset torches, place another row of repeaters and another row of blocks. Again place torches for the incorrect buttons and dust under the correct button's line. Power will be fed from the buttons through the rows of repeaters and blocks for as many rows as there are digits in the PIN number. Connect the dust from the correct button to the other half of the AND gate coming from the first RS NOR Latch. Only if the two conditions are met, that the first button was pushed correctly, setting the first RS NOR Latch, and the second button is pushed correctly will the AND gate send a signal to set the second RS NOR Latch. Again, connect a reset line from the incorrect button's torches to the reset of the second RS NOR Latch. Delay the reset signals by one full repeater to give time for the next RS NOR Latch to be set before the reset happens. Continue building the array in the same manner until you reach the desired number of digits. In operation, when a button is hit, each RS NOR Latch checks (through the AND gate) to see if the previous RS NOR Latch is set, and the correct button for this RS NOR Latch has been pushed. Only when the correct buttons are pressed in order, will the signal progress through the conditional RS NOR Latches to the end. Connect the output of the last RS NOR Latch to a door and attach a line to a pressure plate inside the door to reset the last RS NOR Latch.

Tutorial Video[edit]

Combination Lock RS NOR

There is also another way to make order-sensitive combination locks. It is based on several RS NOR latches that is placed on a row. The RS NOR latches are connected together, and each latch is connected to one button. The combination lock opens when all the latches are activated. To activate all of them, the latches have to be activated in the right order. If wrong button is pressed, the lock automatically sends a reset signal to the first latch, and resets the entire lock. The circuit also has a T flip-flop that controls the output. The T flip-flop turns on and stays on when the right combination is pressed. When the lock is open, all the buttons works like a reset button. This makes it easy to close the door from the outside. Just press a random button. It is also possible to connect buttons that overrides the lock and makes the output signal toggle like on a normal T flip-flop.

Tutorial video[edit]

Combination lock with order-sensitive reset[edit]

This is an order-sensitive combination lock with order sensitive reset function. It works like an ordinary order-sensitive combination lock, but in addition it has a function that resets everything when a button is pressed too early. The function consists of AND-gates that sends a reset signal if the previous button hasn't been pressed yet. The lock does not need a reset button because it resets automatically when the code is wrong.

Timer[edit]

Timers can detect the time difference between the first input and the second.

2
1
A timer. The extra repeater at the bottom is to compensate for the delay of the upper repeaters.
Example of a timer in action. This one determines the time difference between the input and output of a 2-tick repeater.

The amount of time can be determined by how far the signal travels. For example, if 5 of the locked repeaters are powered, it means the time difference was 0.4-0.5 seconds, ignoring lag. If the time difference is exactly 0.4 seconds, 4 repeaters will be powered.

The repeaters that will lock can be set to different delays. For example, if they are set to 4 ticks and the first 3 are active, it means the time difference was 0.8-1.2 seconds. You can even have a mix, which can be handy if you know what the range is likely to be. However, you will need to be careful when reading these timers.

If you are measuring higher scales, the second signal might not reach all of the repeaters. You will need repeaters to replenish the signal.

A section of the timer that replenishes the signal. Since the upper repeater has a delay, another repeater is required in the lower section.

If the signals are short times (like if you are using observers), you may not have time to read the data.

2
1
An input modifier. When the inputs are applied, the timer will treat them as active until the button is pressed.

You can also measure how long a signal lasts.

A timer that measures the duration of a stone button.

Please note the following when making a duration timer:

  • Because of the delay that the redstone torch adds, the delay of the initial repeater, the one that stays unlocked, must be increased to 2 ticks.
  • The data from the timer will be preserved.
  • Because the repeaters will still be powered when the timer is used again, the circuit must be obstructed between uses in order to unlock the repeaters. To do this mine the redstone torch, wait for all of the repeaters to deactivate, and put the redstone torch back.

Serial interface lock with D flip-flops[edit]

Serial lock LogicCircuit.png

D flip-flop is an electronic component that allows you to change its output according to the clock. It's and RS NOR latch that sets its value to the D input when the ">" (clock) input is changing its state from low to high (in some cases from high to low).

Basically, it's equivalent to the expression: "Set the output Q to the input D when the input C goes from 0 to 1".

For example, you can use D flip-flops to shift the value from left to right.

D3333.pngD lock.png

In this lock, the > signal propagates from the rightmost flip-flop to the leftmost, so the signal shifts to the right. This curcuit allows you to input a 4-bit number with two levers. You can use any number of bits, but this configuration is already pretty secure even if someone figures out what a lock it is.

So, if you want to input the combination 1-0-1-0, follow these steps:

  1. D = 1
  2. > = 1
  3. > = 0
  4. D = 0
  5. > = 1
  6. > = 0
  7. D = 1
  8. > = 1
  9. > = 0
  10. D = 0
  11. > = 1
  12. > = 0

In theory, you can program the lock from this serial interface as well. Just attach 4 RS NOR latches and a hidden place for the programming levers.

This design is not very practical as a lock, but might be a nice feature on something like a puzzle challenge map.

See also[edit]