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How can I create a "master" switch with sub-switches all connected to the master switch? When then master switch is turned on, it allows power to go to all the sub-switch (when the sub-switches are on). When a sub-switch is turned off, its output cannot receive power.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

It sounds like you want a lot of AND gates (sub-switches) with one common input (the master switch) in each gate.

enter image description here Note: The piston is just an example of an output device.

Try constructing one AND gate for each sub-switch and connecting all the "A" inputs to a single lever and each "B" input to its own lever.

When connected properly, each AND gate will not be able to output power unless both the master switch is on and its corresponding sub-switch is on.

enter image description here

Be aware that redstone signals will only travel 15 blocks. A repeater can be used to extend this.

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thanks i think it worked :D – Nathan Piercy Jan 27 '12 at 5:02
@NathanPiercy - Be aware that redstone signals will only travel 15 blocks. Any longer and a repeater is needed. – user9983 Jan 27 '12 at 5:06
Yeah I use a lot of those. :) – Nathan Piercy Jan 27 '12 at 6:12

Take a look at redstone AND gates. The Minecraft wiki article has some great examples (in the image below) and searching YouTube will turn up a bunch of great tutorials if you need more help.

enter image description here

Basically, every output is an AND gate with one input being its own switch, and the other input being your 'master' switch. If your master switch is off, all of the AND gates are also off. But if your master switch is on, then the AND gates are either on or off depending on the state of its subswitch.

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