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RedNet 101 (big pictures)


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Absolute Basics


"Loader/Agonarch depending on whether I met you on forums or in Minecraft, I noticed you use lots of RedNet instead of most other redstone setups!  I never use RedNet, it seems complicated and scary!"

Well amalgamation of many peoples voices, it's not as hard as it seems.  I'll go through some of the simpler things you can use it for in this thread and you can see how it can replace many things you used to do in more complicated or physically larger ways, often with less server strain!


"That's fantastic!  This ought to tide me over until I can get Redpower 2 working again!"

...moving on, let me explain what RedNet does.  First, let's look a the cable: it's essentially a bundled cable from RedPower or Project|Red, but it's quite a bit cheaper and you get all the connection colours available without a massive pile of wool at the ready.


Let's go over the simplest example - a cable connecting a lever to some lights.  Here it is with the lever off;



And again with the lever on.



Note that the signal from the lever passes to both lights as we expected.  Wonderful!


"But Loader, that seems like ordinary redstone behaviour!  I don't see how this saves me any space at all!"

Worry not my imaginary compatriot, for if you look closely you'll see that all of those connections are white.  The colour of those rings on the cable determines what power goes where.  Let's add another lever and change a couple of the colours to something else.  To change the colour, simply right click on the little ring by the connection point (the bit that's now orange in these pictures) with a crescent hammer.



Note the original white lever is still on, and the lamp I left on the white channel is still on.  The new lever I set to the orange channel, and I switched one of the lamps over to the orange channel too - note how the orange channel lamp remains off - that's because the orange lever is also off.  Make sense?  If I were to switch off the white lever, the white lamp would go off, and if I were to switch on the orange lever, the orange light would go on.  Just like a bundled cable, only smaller and simpler (not to mention easier to switch if you need to change colours around the place).


That's the absolute basics - next I'll go over how to hide the cable, then a very common application for a PRC, then a slightly more advanced application for a PRC.




Hiding Cables/Unusual Connections through blocks


"I can't put these cables through microblocks!  What is this?!  I can't hide them behind walls!  They don't even connect!"

Ah, you mean when you try to do something like this, they don't stick to the wall?  That's the second beauty of these cables - you can choose exactly what, where and how they connect to things they're next to, even if it's not something that'd ordinarily take a redstone signal - like that cobblestone wall right there in this picture?



"Yes, that's my problem!  I can put the levers directly on a wall, but what if I want to have the destination a little away from where I'm using it?"

Go up close to where the wire connects to the wall, and you'll see a little outline of a smaller box come up.  Use the crescent hammer to switch between modes.



Cable connection mode is just that - it'll only connect to other RedNet Cables.

Standard connection mode is its default behaviour, connect to cables and anything that seems technical (this often includes pipes and wires from other modpacks - if they don't accept a redstone signal usually then this will have no effect).

Forced connection mode is for receiving signal from a block.  With a lever on one side of a wall and a wire forced-connected to it on the other, the signal will pass through the wall.

Strong connection mode is for transferring signal to a block.  The block it's attached to will act like a redstone block when activated by this mode (any stuff touching it will get a signal).


It works!  Wait...



"If I turn the lever on and off nothing happens now!  What's going on?  Did I do something wrong?"

Good!  I was hoping you'd spot that!  This is a limitation of minecraft - you can't have cable on both sides of the wall like this, the block update doesn't trigger properly as the block in the middle (the wall) that's acting like a redstone block now didn't change as far as minecraft is concerned.  This means blocks immediately next to it will still receive signal, but other objects like cables may not.  It's an impossible thing to fix without a lot of extra (lag inducing) checks, so just trust me that it's better for everyone this way for now.  All it means is that you must have either the lever on the wall with a cable going to the destination from the far side (forced connection) OR a cable going to a block, connecting with a strong connection and the destination block/machine right on the other side, not BOTH.


Edited by Loader
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PRC Basics


The PRC is essentially the kind of computer you could get in the 70's, even down to a punch-card equivalent (PRC Memory card).  Machines like this are still used in real life, called PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers rather than Programmable Redstone Controllers) and you'll find them in all kinds of places where you need very reliable, slightly smart machines - car sensors, factory controllers, all over the place.


If you do eventually learn how to use every function one of these in game, you're well on your way to being an electronic engineer.

(That's someone who works with designing and building electronics rather than someone who is made from electronics, despite how it sounds)


Let's take a look at the interface;



"I... nope." ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶

Not so fast, my unicode friend!  Like anything with a lot of options it seems daunting at first, but let's go a bit at a time.  We don't need all of that in there for the purposes of this, we'll just focus on the basics for now.


Before we start, a bit of advice: Keep your input and output wires separate until you understand what you're doing.  It's entirely possible to have all of your functions together on a single line, but it's also a lot easier to make mistakes and have things activate when you weren't expecting it.  Separating the I/O avoids that problem and also allows you more total circuits (because you have all the colours available for both input and output lines, rather than all the colours shared between both input and output).



The Passthrough function


Essentially like a wire, a signal comes in on one side at a given channel and the PRC passes it back out where you tell it to on what side and channel you desire.  Commonly used for simple switching, it's not much of an improvement on the basic wire except for one thing - you can use multiple output channels on multiple circuits, so you could have an orange input going to an orange output and a blue output, so it can be used to group things together or provide a single lever to override all other levers (like an emergency shutdown).


Let's try and use it as a lightswitch again, though this time let's do it from a daylight sensor so it's automatic.


Here's the setup; (Using F7 to indicate spots where mobs can spawn - red means spawning day or night, and yellow like this picture means spawning only at night)



And here's what we've set in the PRC.



Note that we've got Orange coming in from the light sensor to the PRC and white going out to the lamps - as long as that matches what the little colour indicators say then that's fine, they don't need to be the same colour.  Note also the RedNet Historian, we'll get to that in a minute.  Don't be alarmed, I/O U and I/O D are merely ways of saying "Input and Output, Up" and "Input and Output, Down".  In this case, we're taking the orange colour from the top of the PRC (I/O U) and using Passthrough to transmit it out the bottom of the PRC (I/O D).  The other options are used for more complicated applications, and you don't need to worry about them until you get a bit more confident with your abilities.


"Loader, you marbleheaded blockbrain!  It doesn't work!  The light sensor turns all the lights on during the day, and switches them off at night!  This is the opposite of what I wanted!"

Ok, Ok, nightlight boy, calm down.  This is where you get to see one of my favorite things about RedNet - the ability to tweak a system that doesn't work quite right without moving anything around.  Wait, did you say what we wanted was the opposite of passing through the signal?  An inverted version of the signal if you will?  That brings us to the next simple function.



The Inverter Function


Let's begin by going back to the PRC and changing the function from Passthrough in the list to Inverter;



This should mean that if we've got no signal coming in from the daylight sensor (because it's not detecting daylight) then it will make a signal to send out.  If it's getting a signal from the daylight sensor however, it will get rid of it and send none.  In short, the inverter will reverse whatever you send it (off becomes on, low becomes high and vice versa).  Let's have a look at our toy house now;



Wonderful.  Let's see it again in the daytime;



The lights are off, and the yellow indicators are back to warn us that monsters can spawn there at night-time with this light level.  Because the lights will turn on at night-time (and perhaps even in a rainstorm!), we don't actually have any problem there.


RedNet Historian


Notice anything about the RedNet Historian in the above pictures?  Go back now and take a quick look if you didn't.

"Is the line moving from the top to the bottom?"

That's right!  But you get no points for that as you're a voice in my head and have access to the things I know.  Shame on you for cheating.  When the power is on to the lamps (the white channel), the line moved to the top, and when it was off, the line moved to the bottom.  Being able to see what's going on in a channel is a really useful thing when you're trying to find and fix problems in your RedNet circuit.  The RedNet meter is cheaper and gives a lot more information (the historian can only read from channel 1, the white channel), but it's hard to argue that the historian doesn't look a lot cooler.


There's one more thing that a lot of users like to use that's not very complicated, the T-FlipFlop function.



The T-FlipFlop Function


"That sounds horrifying, I'm not a technical person!  I'm not sure I can understand this!"

Fear not, my easily deterred playmate, for you've actually been using an item that performs the task you'll be using this function for regularly in vanilla minecraft - the Lever.  The T-FlipFlop can be used in the same way - press it once to turn it on, press it again to turn it off.  The thing people like to use this for is mostly making buttons act like levers so their base looks cooler (I like levers plenty, but each to their own, I guess).  Because this is a guide for absolute beginners like you, I'll go through how in detail, but try to minimize the explanations why (there's plenty of information on that on wikipedia if you're so inclined, you don't need me for that).


"We should steal Melfice's force-field looking armour stand room design!  Make it work using that!  That'll be awesome!"

You sir are a rogue and a cad, but fortunately for us I have asked Melfice about this subject already and he has no objection to me shamelessly ripping off his design to use in this example.  Let's begin with the layout from the bottom.



As you can see we have the PRC just underneath, with Input and Output split as is good practice for now (Input on top, output from the right hand side).  We can see it connecting to a bunch of things down there, let's have a closer look.



Ah, the plus shaped connection indicates the 'strong connection' type, which we learned earlier was good for transferring a signal into things (output, as it comes out of the cable from the PRC rather than going into the PRC).  It did it on its own, but it's good to note so that if we're ever troubleshooting we can look for bits that aren't connecting as they should.  Remember that the block we connect to acts like a redstone block when we give it signal, so we only need to connect the middle one to have an effect on all three.  Some blocks won't behave this way (the Glowstone Illuminator for example does not, making it a great choice for a lighting up indicator panel) but this is true for the vast majority of things.


Now we've looked at the output, let's go back to the PRC and look at the input.



We're using cobblestone blocks to achieve a certain style inside the room upstairs, so we had to manually set the modes on these connections to 'forced connection', transferring a signal into the wires from the cobblestone as the buttons on it are pressed (input, as the signal is coming from elsewhere and going to the PRC).  We've set all the colours for input and output cable on the colour rings, so now all is left is to set the PRC to T-FlipFlop on inputs of those colours (its top) to outputs of those colours (its right side).  I'm using the same colour for input and output which makes it easier to keep track of, and using the different side to determine if it's input or output - another advantage of splitting I/O to different sides.


Let's take a look at that PRC interface.



"Loader... there's some wierd stuff there, T's and Q's and things.."

Don't concern yourself with that unless you must, padawan, as copying my settings will suffice.


If you wish to understand it's actually fairly simple.  Q is the output - it's what we want to set.  Q# is what the output will be, next time it changes.  Q# it set by T when a signal comes in from T.  Q# will wait for the CLK signal which lets it know to act now and update, causing Q# to copy itself into Q, then reset itself.  To do what we want, we want to both set the change (a pulse to T) and immediately do the update (a pulse to CLK at the same time), so we're using the same colour for both.  We don't care what comes next, so we're ignoring Q#, but we want to get the final output so we're using Q for that, see?  Simple.


Let's have a look at upstairs;


A different angle



So there you go.  The buttons give a signal to the cobblestone block, which is checked by the forced-connections underneath.  Those cables feed into the top of the PRC (input side), which do their calculation in the T-FlipFlop function, then output on that same colour on the right hand side of the PRC (output side).  The drawbridges receive a signal on their middle block which they pass to the two blocks next to them, causing the wall to rise or lower in a group of three.  Let's try it!



"Wall goes up, Wall goes down."

Finally, you're understanding!  I could do this all day.

Edited by Loader
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Not bad introduction to Rednet. Good job! One thing I'll be doing tutorials on once the area is setup is an offline timer using the PRC and i intend to do some spotlights on the PRC since basic redstone is too simple for me and not entirely useful what with mfr and projred in this modpack lol. Perhaps we could even work on some of that information together?

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Not bad introduction to Rednet. Good job! One thing I'll be doing tutorials on once the area is setup is an offline timer using the PRC and i intend to do some spotlights on the PRC since basic redstone is too simple for me and not entirely useful what with mfr and projred in this modpack lol. Perhaps we could even work on some of that information together?

Sure, PM me with what you're thinking - I was going to go over passthrough, inverter and flipflop in the first bit, and a simple 1-second-based timer circuit for the second one.  I wasn't planning on going over OR, AND or any of that, but it's all simple and useful, there's heaps more we could go over.  I'm a programmer not an engineer though, so PLCs aren't my area of expertise, fair warning :) (you should see the horrors I can create with computercraft!).



I'm glad this is getting made.

Good :)   You should've said something earlier though, you're not one of the people who brought it up to me and got amalgamated in my virtual person :D

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Is that going through the PRC or are you using a ProjectRed toggle?

It's part of the T-Flipflop demo on the PRC - showing what that does and how small that system is (even with 6 doors, the PRC really only comes into its own for most people when you need to change things a lot or if space is an issue, an upgraded one can handle so many simultaneous operations it's crazy).


The cost of the PRC is so very negligible in the B-Team I barely if ever use the P|R logic stuff unless it's something super simple.  If it was maybe 1 door or 2 doors and I wanted a toggle that I knew would never move then I may use them, but anything else or any doubt and I'll usually build a PRC so I can use it to control something else later - the size savings (in all but the simplest tasks) and the ability to later completely change its purpose is great.

Edited by Loader
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Do people want an example second-timer setup?  I'm a little worried I'm going too far already for absolute beginner stuff.


If you feel it necessary, go for it!

As for being too advanced already... yes, maybe. But you explain it simple enough that people will pick stuff up along the way.

Edited by Melfice
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Do people want an example second-timer setup?  I'm a little worried I'm going too far already for absolute beginner stuff.


Go for it. This entire thread for beginners is actually pretty standard stuff. If it went head-first into complicated PRC setups, then would I say it was out of the realm of being a beginners thing.

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