How to Make and Use Redstone Torches in Minecraft

By Jacob Cordeiro

Redstone torches are useful tools for making more complex machines in Minecraft. They’re also cheap, costing only a lump of redstone dust and a stick. The simplest use for a redstone torch is as a constant source of power.

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After you place it in your world, it immediately begins glowing with energy.

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Redstone torches charge everything next to them. In addition, if a redstone torch has a solid block directly above it, anything adjacent to that block is powered. This single redstone torch powers all the redstone dust and lamps in the arrangement.

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You must place a redstone torch on the top or side of a block. If the block under the torch is destroyed, the torch is destroyed as well.

Redstone torches never burn out on their own, but you can turn them off by powering the blocks they’re placed on. If you provide redstone power to the block that the torch is attached to, the torch turns off and no longer functions. When the connected block is no longer powered, the torch turns on again.

You can charge a block in one of several ways. Here are two examples:

  • Run powered redstone dust directly into the block or over it.

  • Place a redstone torch directly under the block, or place a redstone repeater or redstone comparator next to the block.

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You can build many machines using only redstone dust, redstone torches, and player-controlled devices such as levers and pressure plates. Redstone torches represent information (because they can take either the On or Off position), and redstone dust carries input to output.

These simple components can create interesting and practical machines. The machine you see here is a programmable, 5-bit combination tester, made up of redstone dust, redstone torches, and blocks. The redstone lamp turns on if (and only if) the five levers at the top of the device are set in the same arrangement as the bottom five.

For example, if the levers at the top are placed up-down-up-up-down, the levers at the bottom must have the same values in the same order.

This popular machine is used for combination locks, riddles, and simple games — and though many users apply the special devices, such as redstone repeaters and redstone comparators, all this machine needs is dust, torches, and blocks. The redstone dust connects and transfers power while interacting with carefully placed torches, turning complex input into simple output.

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Turning simple objects into complex machines can be a challenging task, but it helps to keep these tips in mind when using redstone torches in your circuit:

  • Consider the “status” of each portion of a circuit: whether it is powered or unpowered. Often in a large circuit, portions of it are unpowered and other portions are powered. Because unpowered redstone doesn’t turn off redstone torches, a single piece of redstone can cause two different effects, depending on its state.

  • Redstone torches don’t simply charge redstone — they manipulate it. Recall the basic function of the redstone torch: It powers every mechanism adjacent to it, unless something is powering the block it connects to. In this way, torches represent functions that produce output (power or no power) depending on input (whether the block is being powered). This property makes torches extremely valuable when building gates.

  • Torches “flip” current. If a torch receives power as input, it outputs no power; however, if it receives no power as input, it outputs power. When you see a torch as part of a circuit, you know that it will output the opposite of whatever goes into it.

It takes a short bit of time for a torch to turn off or on. A redstone device with many components may even take a little while to process when you pull the switch.

However, you can also chain together redstone torches to make a timer and use them to extend redstone current past the maximum 15 blocks. It’s the most resource-efficient way to extend current, though you can also use an interesting item known as the redstone repeater.