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To make the smelting process more efficient, it is possible to use hoppers to ensure a furnace is never left empty. In the shown schematic, chest A is for items such as uncooked meat, chest B is for fuel such as coal, and chest C holds the output. Since furnaces can hold fuel without a chest, chest B and its hopper are unnecessary. This type of system also works with the smoker and blast furnace.
As furnaces retain experience when items are removed by hoppers, multiple of these can be run for an extended period of time to make an experience farm. When one item is removed from a furnace, all experience will be instantly received.
Using a hopper system like this greatly speeds up the process of smelting large numbers of items. Should it become necessary to smelt an even larger number however, it is possible to link multiple modules to create what is commonly called a "furnace array." These vary in size and can range from very small to using close to a hundred furnaces.
|23 Furnace Array (view on YouTube)|
Item sorters are a type of redstone mechanism which can be used to filter specific items into chests. They generally work using two hoppers, as shown in the schematic. The top hopper is filled as shown under the image. The hopper underneath is powered so that it cannot remove items from the top. When enough items fill the top hopper, the bottom hopper is unpowered so that it can remove the extra items. Note that some method of passing the items to be sorted along the top of a sorter chain may be necessary - this can be done with another hopper line transporting items over the top, or with water/ice streams.
Usually chests are placed sideways to the right of the bottom hopper. Additional hoppers can be added below or to the right of the bottom hopper to attach more chests. The bottom hopper is the only one that needs to be powered (though one immediately below it would also be powered by the redstone torch), so as many hoppers and chests as necessary can be added.
At the end of an item sorter, there is usually a chest to catch any items that didn't get sorted for some reason. This is helpful in case a valuable tool or such is accidentally dropped in. If a chest becomes full, it can also prevent the loss of items of that type. Sometimes large farms' storages will use lava instead to prevent a buildup of items should the storage completely fill up.
When multiple sorters are tiled directly next to each other, it is usually desirable to have overflow protection. In an overflow safe sorter, even if the topmost hopper has filled up due to an "overflow," the redstone signal strength will not be great enough to interfere with adjacent sorters. In the sorter shown, 1 full stack of items and 4 junk items will produce a signal strength of 3. This is just strong enough to unlock the bottom hopper without affecting adjacent hoppers. If the signal strength were to get up to 4 however, the adjacent hoppers would be unlocked causing the whole system to break down.
The first slot of the input hopper should contain the item being sorted out. The other slots should contain items which will never go through the system. Named sticks, dirt, and cobblestone are all common 'junk' items used for this purpose. Only one junk item should be placed in each slot. Otherwise, the sorter will not have ensured overflow protection.
It is possible to remove the center column of blocks from the sorter. However, to do so will remove overflow protection. If the input hopper fills up, it will have a signal strength of 3 which will unlock adjacent hoppers.
There are multiple methods which can be used to carry items across the input hopper to potentially be picked up. The two methods most frequently used are hopper lines and item streams.
A hopper line is simply a chain of hoppers all pointing at each other in a continuous line. This requires extra iron and may cause consistent lag on large scale.
Item streams, on the other hand, are made by running water over the hoppers and dropping items into the flow with a dropper. Whenever the stream grows too weak, ice and signs are used to carry items across the breaks. This is a cheaper method, provided Silk Touch has been obtained. However, while items are flowing through the system, it may generate more lag than using hoppers. Additionally, there is a greater chance for items to skip over and not be sorted.
A couple of variations of the standard overflow-protected design exist that either sacrifice the overflow protection or require some input method other than a hopper line.
If you are looking at variations that are not overflow-proof because they hold back fewer of the sorted item, you may want to consider if you actually need a filter for that type of item. Keep in mind the design with overflow protection shown above can be "initialized" with a single item of the type to filter.
Hybrid (design by Dark Altair)
To use only one item in a sorter with overflow protection, total isolation of the circuit is required. To achieve this at minimum cost you can use a hybrid solution. If you combine designs A and B (in ABABAB... configuration) then you will get an overflow-proof item sorter, because the signals will be completely isolated from each other.
It is sometimes necessary to store items in more than just one chest. Using hoppers, it is possible to store items in hundreds or even thousands of chests. This is usually done with either a connected design or an accessible design.
The connected design should be used when it is necessary to take items from a single output. Any items stored in this silo will funnel down as the bottom chest is emptied. Since the chests are not all easily accessible, this is more helpful in automation rather than use by the player. However, if it is not necessary to remove a large number of items, it could work. Silos like this are commonly used to hold fuel, minecarts, and shulker boxes.
The accessible design should be used when the player, not redstone contraptions, will be using the stored items. When the bottom chest is emptied, only items stored in the adjacent hopper can fill it back up. Since the bottom chest is the only one which can be removed from with a hopper, it is impractical to use this for automation. Silos like this are commonly used in combination with sorting systems.
The accessible design is slightly faster than the connected design since the hoppers are in a vertical line. If an item is still in the top hopper after the one below has grabbed another, it will put the item into the chest. If the upper chests become full, however, the speed will slow down to the normal 2.5 items per second.
These designs are easily expandable to fit storage needs. The expandable design can easily be tiled upwards and to one side, while the connected design can be expanded in all directions. Below are some schematics demonstrating some of these possibilities.
Item filters, while similar to item sorters, sort items using unique properties rather than item type and name. They are usually used to sort unstackable items such as armor, shulker boxes, and potions. As item filters do not work with every item type, they may be most useful in combination with item sorters rather than as a standalone.
An unstackable item filter can be used to separate unstackable items, such as armor, tools, potions, and enchanted books, from stackable item. This can be useful with mob farms where tools will need to be separated from everything else.
When an unstackable item enters input hopper A, it will unlock output hopper B. The unstackable item will then go into hopper B to be sorted elsewhere. If a normal item enters hopper A, hopper B will remain locked and the item can be outputted from hopper A.
The optional hopper C can prevent valuable items such as shulker boxes and diamond armor from being temporarily stuck in the system. When hopper B is locked, there is usually an item left in it. Hopper C, however, can still pull the items from hopper B. In one of the tileable designs, hopper C is locked with hopper B and cannot do this.
Note that these designs are not overflow protected. Should the storage connected to hopper A fill up, items will begin to flow into storage B. An overflow with a tileable design could cause similar issues with adjacent modules.
Potions and shulker boxes
This item filter uses certain containers which restrict the kind of items that can enter them. The two containers which do this are brewing stands and shulker boxes. These allows potions and shulker boxes to be separated from other items. This could be handy to sort potions to a storage or shulker boxes to be unloaded.
With this design, items are inputed through hopper A. Any items which are allowed to enter are outputted through hopper B and items which are restricted through hopper C. If a brewing stand is used, potions will be allowed to enter the stand and go to output B. If a shulker box is used, shulker boxes will be prevented from entering and will go to output C.
This design has a circuit delay of 5 ticks which is slower than the speed of hoppers at 4 ticks. To ensure that every item gets an attempt to be pushed into the container, the input rate must be throttled to at one item per 5 redstone ticks. This could be done with a dropper on a 5 tick clock.
When building, note that the redstone repeater should be on a 3 tick delay. Hopper C is optional as it is only used to make the design item-safe. If using a brewing stand, blaze powder can be pushed into it but not removed. This usually shouldn't be a problem, however it may be desirable to fill the stand beforehand.
The looped hopper clock works by having an item traveling in a "loop" between the four hoppers. Whenever the comparator detects the item in a hopper, it turns on. This clock can be adjusted by adding or removing hoppers and items.
The delayed hopper clock works by taking turns completely emptying each hopper. When the hopper on the left completely empties, the redstone torch will turn on and the other hopper will begin emptying. Note that exactly 5 stacks of items must be used with this design. To decrease the clock speed, use less stackable items. "Delayed hopper clock origin"
This is a mechanism that outputs a short redstone signal for every item that goes through the dropper. The mechanism slows down the items moving through the dropper and the hopper above to make the outputs comfortable to use for counting mechanisms.
This mechanism was made by Xbxp.