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I have been attempting to rebuild a "super smelter", following Tango Tek's design

However, for some reason, it won't work. The items to be smelted are not being distributed along the chain, like they should be.

I think it's because I'm using upside down stair blocks, next to the hoppers feeding the items... like so (forgive the crude drawing - on my mobile)

Yay for freehand

Basically, the stair block, in the original design, is meant to be a full block, which I believe locks the hoppers.

Is this the case?

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Yes. Although you can place redstone on upside down stairs, stairs can't power any adjacent blocks. You'll have to use a full block. You experience the same behaviour when you use glowstone or slabs for example, because these blocks are considered transparent.

  • I tested it, and that's what it was :) – Ben Sep 21 '17 at 2:28

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