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I'm playing on an Economy mod server, and we have some really large farms that exceed the chunk size (namely, my farm is 400x200 blocks) and it's really easy to create a farm that needs what we on the server call an AFK rail, or a minecart railroad that will take you around the farm to continually load these chunks and keep your farm growing while you sleep.

The problem is that it appears to be several times slower than occupying one chunk, then moving on to the next chunk, et cetera. Even a rail spanning only two or three chunks takes about 4 times longer to grow a single chunk.

Can anyone think of a way around this? Is there a relatively easy way to create a railroad that stops you for say, 20 minutes at a time? The only way I can think of is a timer made with 4-tick repeaters, but that would require a lot of repeaters.

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You could use command blocks, if that's on the table.

Another option is to build these into a clock that slowly counts up in binary using AND gates, or use a daylight sensor to create a timer with a really long delay.

For an alternative method that still appears to work, see: SMP Vanilla Chunk Loaders?

  • What I've done so far is to use the daylight sensors directly to turn powered rails on and off. It's especially helpful to alternate the use of not gates with your daylight sensors such that one rail always stops you regardless of the time of day, so with each sunrise and sunset, you move enough to load more chunks then stop. – Ernie Sep 10 '14 at 15:56
  • After much testing, I've noticed that some of the down sloping powered rails behave badly, either stopping the cart too soon or not stopping them enough. To prevent this, I've placed powered rails so they slope down at least two blocks. This ensures that the cart comes to a complete stop in the right position, ready to be started again when the power is turned back on. – Ernie Oct 21 '14 at 18:02
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TL;DR You can use Item Drop or Hopper timers to get longer delays with out using releaters to delay the signal directly. Read on for a more detailed explanation.

You can make longer timers but it would require a bit of work on your part. Remember an item despawns in 5min time. So a dropper on to a wooden plate would output a redstone signal (or inverted signal) for a 5min period. Put 4 of these in a row and you would get a 20m delay some where or you could simply move yourself over one chunk at a time every 5min shifting where you are keeping active. Downside? The items depspawn so once your droppers are out of items the redstone signal or lack there of that keeps you in place would go away. You would only be able to be AFK for around 9-10 hours (Rough math is like 576min or so?) on a fully stacked set of droppers. You could in theory add in as may hoppers and double chests as you want but the maintenance may get the better of you.

Second option to try through would be hopper timers. There are numerous examples on line of these things using a comparitor and redstone signal to stop one hooper then the other until it is full or empty of items. The delay is then managed by how many items you have in the hopper to move from one to the other. This setup would benefit from never running out of items as they are just shifting between one inventory and then another. The downside of this is that I think you would have to set up quite a few of these to get your 20min delay.

The 5min item decay rate is generally one of the better options for longer delays but it has required upkeep of being restocked. But yes, there are other ways besides straight up redstone to do long delay timers. I hope these lead you in the right direction. a quick google search on minecraft hopper timers or item drop timers should lead you to a plethora of tutorials.

  • I don't think the hopper solution is as tedious as you think. A full Ethonian two-hopper clock ticks every 4,27 minutes (5*64*2*0.4/60). Hook it up to a system that counts to 5 (for example this, but with 5 tools and reset on signal strength 15) and you have a 21 minute 20 seconds clock. Though you will need one of these per stop, since it will also only work when the chunk is loaded. – MrLemon Sep 10 '14 at 8:20
  • @MrLemon Sorry I did not mean to sound like it was going to be tedious, just a different set of problems to solve. You could chain the item droppers one after another to get the time pretty easily, the hoppers as you pointed out would need some sort of a counter or five sets of the hoppers chained together with less accurate timing. Overall this is a fun problem to solve and while I do not AFK game maybe I could set up a slime tour system where they are carted around and stop at certain locations :D – James Sep 10 '14 at 18:43
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If you're hell bent on using rails, go for it. Other answers address that issue nicely. Have you considered using a Hopper loop? It's a pretty slick way to force chunks to remain loaded. A long discussion a while back was had here: Can I use a hopper loop as a chunk loader?

  • Actually, it's the server that forbids chunk loaders. The admins say that it causes a lot of lag for the other users. – Ernie Sep 26 '14 at 16:14

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