How to use Redstone in Minecraft
Redstone is an item in Minecraft that works like how electricity does in real life. They pass a signal and activate mechanisms and therefore can be used to automate resource collection and create cool things like a TNT Mining Duplicator (pictured below).
You might wonder what they do and how they work so in this article, we will delve into how redstone can be used. This will help you understand and let your creativity help you build something with redstone.
In the recent Minecraft 1.18 update, ore distribution has been revamped and one of the affected ores is the redstone that we needed. Redstone can be found at Y 15 and below prior to the Caves and Cliffs update, but after the update, it can be found at Y 15, but more can be found on Y -64.
Redstones can also be found inside the chests of Dungeons, Mineshafts, Strongholds, Villages, and Woodland Mansions as part of their loot. Aside from those, they can also be farmed by killing Witches which drop between 0-2 redstone and 0-5 redstone when using Looting 3 enchantment. Or alternatively, if you’re a pacifist, by trading with a villager with a cleric job. Furthermore, Jungle Temples and the upcoming Ancient City in Minecraft 1.19 has naturally generated redstone wires that can be harvested.
How Redstone Works
Redstone can be placed on top of solid blocks such as dirt, iron, wool, concrete, and so on. They can also be placed on top of some transparent blocks such as glass blocks, glowstone, hoppers, and others. Weirdly enough, it can also be placed on top of pistons and sticky pistons both in the Java Edition and Bedrock Edition, with the Java Edition bugging out by dropping the redstone when the piston is activated and deactivated.
Once placed, it sends a power called “redstone signal” and has a power called “signal strength” ranging from 1 to 15. And every block the signal travels, the signal strength drops by 1, limiting the travel range of a signal to a maximum of 15 blocks on its own. This redstone signals activates various redstone components such as the sticky piston shown from above where it pulled the block directly in front of it.
There are also two types of powered blocks. The first one is the weakly powered block where the solid blocks can transmit signal to the adjacent repeaters, comparators, and mechanism components, but cannot power redstone wires. On the other hand, the strongly powered blocks can power all redstone components and other redstone wires as well.
After acquiring redstones from the depth of mines, you can now use it in multiple ways:
Redstone for decoration
When placed, redstone looks a bit like a blood splatter. These can be used as decorations when creating horror maps to add to the ambience. Using the Debug Stick item, you can create even more terrifying scenes by making the redstone dust look like smears of blood.
Many old map makers use this kind of decoration for their maps when they want to ingrain the horror ambience to players, or to create a seemingly intense build up for certain scenarios.
Redstone for crafting recipes
Among the many uses of redstone are as a crafting ingredient. There are 14 crafting recipes currently in the game which involve the use of redstone, 2 of which are used for transportation means.
Below are all the crafting recipes where redstone is used as an ingredient:
Redstone blocks are compressed redstones, composed of nine redstone. This block is mostly used for creating BUDs or Block Update Detector prior to the 1.11 update or before November 14, 2016.
Clocks were added on Alpha 1.2.0 update, making it one of the earliest recipes that uses redstone. Clocks display the current in-game time based on the position of the sun and moon, which means that it only works on the Overworld.
Added in Alpha 1.1.0 update, compass is used to determine where a player’s spawn point is. Similar to clocks, the compass only works on the Overworld but after the 1.16 release update, they can now be used in the Nether and End dimensions with the use of Lodestones.
Added during the Beta 1.5 of Minecraft, these rails work similar to pressure plates, but only for Minecarts. Detector Rails sends a redstone signal to the adjacent blocks and the block where it is placed if a minecart ran over it. When used with comparator, it can also send weaker redstone signals varying between signal levels 0 to 15 if a minecart with container such as minecart chest moves over it.
Dispensers were added in the Beta 1.2 update of Minecraft. The block dispenses specific items, but occasionally, only drops them. Arrows, fire charge, flint and steel, splash and lingering potions are some of the items it can dispense. Others are drop as they do not have dispensable states or plainly because they are just items.
Added in the 1.5 release update, droppers work similarly to Dispenser with the only difference is that Droppers “drop” all items.
Note blocks are added in the Beta 1.2 update and can be crafted using any 8 kind of planks and a redstone in the center. This block emits sounds when triggered by a redstone or when used. Many YouTubers use this to create music.
Introduced in the Official Release 1.11 update, Observer blocks are now the official BUD redstone component used in redstone contraptions. They send out a redstone pulse if the block behind the arrow updates.
Originally a mod during the Beta versions of Minecraft, they are integrated in the Beta 1.7 update. Pistons are redstone components that are capable of pushing blocks in front of it. Adding a slimeball on top of the piston in a crafting grid will convert it into a Sticky Piston, which can push and pull the block in front of it.
One of the transportations means that uses redstone as a crafting ingredient, Powered Rails are added in the Beta 1.5 update. These rails, when powered, increases the speed of a Minecart that passes it. Putting powered rails in a series will also power the other rails, with a maximum of 17 rails (one in the middle and eight on both sides).
Added in the Release 1.2, redstone lamps are a togglable light source. Often used as lighting for bases, but on occasion, these are used like an LED light when creating redstone computers or redstone calculators in-game. Redstone lamps are solid blocks and so, redstone signals can pass through them if powered by a redstone repeater.
Also one of the earliest redstone components, it is added on the Beta 1.3 update of the game. The repeater increases the travel length of a redstone signal for an additional 15 blocks. It takes at least 1 redstone signal power from behind to provide a new 15 signal strength at its front. It can also be locked by using another powered repeater facing its side.
Redstone torches act as the very first component that delays the travel time of a redstone signal by 1 redstone tick. It was added in the Alpha 1.0.1 update of the game. It behaves similar to a Redstone Block but can be toggled and cannot be moved.
Showcased on the Minecon Live 2019 and added on the 1.16 release update of the game, the target block sends out a redstone pulse when hit by a projectile. The signal strength it sends depends on where the projectile hits. The closer the projectile is to the center, the stronger the redstone signal it produce.
Redstone for Brewing
We mentioned that witches can drop redstone upon death. It is also mentioned that cleric villagers, who uses the brewing stand as its workstation, also trades redstones for emeralds. This is because redstone is also used in brewing.
Redstone is used to increase the duration of effects for potions by adding a single piece of redstone in the brewing stand, along with already brewed potions. Adding redstone to a water bottle in the brewing stand only creates Mundane Potions which do nothing.
Redstone for contraptions
The most basic and primary purpose of Redstone was to be used for creating amazing contraptions. Ever since redstone was added to the game, various players have used it for doors and basic traps. One of the oldest traps that was known was the TNT trap using Stone Pressure Plates on a stone walkway, connected to a TNT down the pathway. The trap works when a player steps on the pressure plate which sends a redstone signal to the redstone line below, igniting the TNT and ultimately leading to an explosion once the player reaches the location.
Aside from traps, lots of players use redstone for farm automations. Some are very enormous while others are compact. There are also simple farms and complex ones. A good example of a simple farm is an early semi-automatic farm which uses dispensers filled with water, connected using a line of redstone dust, and can be triggered by a switch like a button or lever.
Something to look forward to…
This article only tackles the many common usage of redstone and in the future, I plan to make more articles to help players understand the use of various other redstone components. More related articles will be published and those will help you understand how the other redstone components work.
I’m sure many will be looking forward to how to use redstone comparators since it has many functionalities and uses. But of course, before we get to that, we’ll tackle the basic components, then we’ll move on to the redstone build tutorial that you can use in your worlds.
In the end, redstone is easy to use and can be learned by simply tinkering with this item. Complexity only arises when you mix this red-colored dust with its other components, but it also opens a lot of new possibilities in the game such as automated farms, weapons, traps, and even computers if you have knowledge and understand how it works! Maybe you can even build your own map when you mix in the command blocks and commands.
Check out our other pages: How to Conquer Ancient Cities in Minecraft 1.19