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I've made a "conveyor belt" of droppers to transport goodies from mob grinder to a conveniently placed chest. I think the design is extremely inefficient though.

The vertical line is very neat: just a tower of droppers with a straightforward torch - block sequence next to it. The horizontal one though...

The "clock" out of two repeaters is fairly standard, Then follows one working as a diode so that prevents signal from traveling back, when I activate the switch that stops the conveyor (only pulsed signal makes it run, a constant "on" keeps droppers inactive). And then comes the messy part.

The main "supply" line runs two blocks away from the line of droppers (I used pistons here instead because the simulator doesn't support droppers, but it makes no difference). Then every other block it separates and connects to a block below the dropper, and each of these has a redstone torch on a side. I believe it's inefficient both space and redstone use wise - and the bend where the last dropper of the horizontal line feeds the items up, is a total mess (I didn't even include it here) - I didn't even include it here but I think it involves at least 5 pieces of redstone circling way away from the rest to avoid short-circuits and feedback from the first torch in the tower conducting power up.

conveyor

I realize probably running the line of redstone through the top side of the droppers would be most efficient, but that's not viable in my case because there's a bunch of infrastructure over the surface of the droppers - a hopper feeding the first of them, rocks surrounding the grinder, another dropper where the line turns upwards, and so on. The signal must be pulsed - just providing continuous signal freezes the transport.

So how can I replace this design with something more efficient in terms of material and space usage? How do I make a bend to supply the vertical line?

EDIT: Per request - a rough schematics - vertical bisection (a screenshot wouldn't help, it's really a mess with multi-layer schematics in a sky mob spawner)

V - hopper D - dropper (always aimed at the next neighbor. # - block [] - chest (double) ~ - water H - ladder

I skip all the redstone.

The 'home' room is located at optimal distance from the spawner to keep monsters outside no-spawn sphere around the player, but within 'monster can move' sphere. The facility can be easily converted between the monsters dying at the bottom of the pit by themselves for item farm or surviving the fall with half a heart of health for XP grinding.

                         ############
                         #  'home'  #
 ###############         #[ ]       #
 <- to spawner #         ##D#H#######
 ~~~~~         #           D#H
 #####~~~~~~~~ #           D#H
      ######## #           D#H
             # #           D#H
             # #           D#H
/* total 22 blocks drop */ ...
             # #           D#H
             # #           D#H
             # #           D#H
             # <-kill zone D#H
             #V#           D#H
              DDDDDDDDDDDDDD###
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Could you add a screeshot of what you've got or are trying to do? It's not very clean to me. –  tombull89 Jun 12 '13 at 9:12
    
Actually, why are you use droppers instead of Hoppers? –  tombull89 Jun 12 '13 at 9:15
    
@tombull: 5 iron + 2 wood per hopper, the whole line is roughly 40 blocks long and may grow longer in the future, I'm not too fond of sacrificing 200 iron and 80 wood blocks for it. For vertical line it's only 1.5 redstone, 1/16 wood block (1 stick per 2 blocks) and 8 cobblestone per block of distance (and AFAIK hoppers can't feed upwards.) It's just the horizontal line that sucks, with 3 redstone per block of distance. –  SF. Jun 12 '13 at 9:26
    
Have you got enough space to convert your design to bring the mobs up and over from the spawner and move the kill mechanism into your 'home' area instead? –  Steven Cunningham Jun 12 '13 at 9:57
    
@StevenCunningham: AFAIR transporting mobs up is quite troublesome and I'm not entirely sure I'll fit under the 256th level with everything. Nevertheless, I'd like to know a neat way to power a row of redstone devices, e.g. pistons that push upwards. –  SF. Jun 12 '13 at 10:13

2 Answers 2

The most resource efficient way I can come up with to power a horizontal line of droppers is this

enter image description here

with the redstone line on the left being connected to a clock. This works because the repeaters strongly power the dropper they are pointing into causing the droppers to the left and right to be indirectly powered.

The vertical line of droppers is powered as described in this Youtube video, with a comparator being used to send a (inverted by a redstone torch) signal to a vertical stack of redstone torches powering repeaters pointing into every 2nd vertical dropper.

--

With regards to the specific situation you are in the most resource efficient way to get the mobs from the exit of the spawner to the 'home' area would be to bring them up high enough using a mob elevator (a 1x1 tube filled with alternating water blocks and signs will cause the mobs to swim themselves up to the top) to a point where they can be dropped down the required number of blocks.

The only pitfall with this type of system is ensuring that the mobs fall a consistent distance everytime. All that is required to do this is to ensure that the water stream at the top of the elevator is set up like this

XXXXXXXXXX
X        X
X~~~~~S  X
XSXXXXX  X

(where ~ = water and S is a sign)

So that mobs get pushed into the drop shaft by other mobs pushing against them instead of directly by a water stream.

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Considering a repeater requires 3 redstone to build, that's still the same 3 redstone per block of distance but with more wood and some smooth stone added (although a little more sparse). The vertical transport in the linked video is completely pointlessly complex - a simple tower 1x1 tower of alternating blocks and torches on them running along the tower of droppers is perfectly sufficient, unless you need to power it up from above and not below. –  SF. Jun 12 '13 at 11:29
    
Actually the repeaters only contribute 1 redstone per block of distance, since you only use 1 every 3 blocks. Total redstone usage for the horizontal cicruitry is approx. 2d - (2 + (d / 15)) + 3 * (d / 15). I personally ignore renewable resources in these kind of calculations. –  Steven Cunningham Jun 12 '13 at 11:44
    
1 redstone for dropper itself, 1 redstone for track circuit, 1/3 of 3 redstones for repeater. Wood and stone isn't a problem, and "renewable" is a very impractical standard to go by (dirt is not renewable while gold is....) - more about difficulty to obtain given resource. Redstone requires quite a bit of mining or spelunking. –  SF. Jun 12 '13 at 12:06
    
Ah, I was interpreting the question as 'given I've got a horizontal row of droppers what's the cheapest way of powering them' and treating the cost of the droppers as not relevant to the cost of the circuit to power them. –  Steven Cunningham Jun 12 '13 at 12:17
    
You can count it in or out, it doesn't change the comparison as long as you compare apples to apples. . My solution takes 2 for droppers, 1 for torch and 3 for redstone wires per 2 blocks, so 3/block counting dropper in, 2 not counting it in. Still, omitting the "lead wire" would be badly advised (e.g. there is none in the vertical transport so omitting the droppers you have 0.5 redstone per block in transfer up.) –  SF. Jun 12 '13 at 12:44

I have found a series of hoppers to be the best way to transport materials long distances horizontally or down. Zero redstone required, lots of iron & wood but with an Iron Golem farm and decent tree farm that's not an issue.

I use either droppers or minecarts&chests for "up" transport depending upon the situation. But, it looks like you have that part solved nicely.

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1  
Damn you! Damn you! There goes my weekend. Off to build a golem farm. –  SF. Jun 12 '13 at 16:49
    
Sorry... DocM's tutorial youtube.com/watch?v=xE04Ui90sQY is easy to follow. Change it, so that they lava kills them, and drops ingots into a hopper/chest and you're done. It only takes a couple of hours to build (assuming you hvae the materials on hand). Hopefully you have more time than that in your weekend for Minecraft! –  John Jun 12 '13 at 16:52

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