Genre: Open-World-Survival
Studio: Mojang
Publisher: Mojang
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Genre: Open-World-Survival
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Publisher: Mojang

Minecraft Observers

The Observer in Minecraft

When people talk about advanced and elaborated redstone circuits, the Minecraft observer plays a key role in many of them. An MC Observer emits a short but powerful redstone signal when the block directly in front of it changes state. While it can appear unassuming initially, this function makes the Minecraft observer a key part of many redstone constructs. Learn how to craft and use observers here.

Overview Minecraft Observer:

  • redstone construct
  • detects changes in the block in front
  • emits a strong power pulse
  • different editions have different rules for the observer

What Is an Observer in Minecraft?

A Minecraft observer is a redstone signal block that can be used to build traps, secret doors, automations or flying machines. Its front side has a face, while the back side is adorned with a small redstone access point that emits a short redstone signal when a status change of the block right in front of the face is detected. The Java Edition and the Bedrock Edition differ in what is detected as a status change by the MC observer.

How to Make an Observer in Minecraft

To craft an MC observer, you need 6x Cobblestone, 2x redstone dust and 1x Nether quartz. Place the cobblestone in the top and bottom rows of the crafting window, the redstone left and center in the middle row, and the Nether Quartz in the middle right slot.

The Minecraft observer recipe:

6x cobblestone + 2x redstone dust + 1x Nether quartz = 1x observer

minecraft observer

While many blocks can also be found in several biomes, the Minecraft observer cannot be obtained by any other way than crafting. To gather redstone quickly, you should check between y-levels -64 and -50, since their distribution spikes around that level. Similarly, Nether quartz ore is most likely to be found on y-level 114 in the Nether.

How to Use an Observer in Minecraft

Observers constantly check the block that is directly in front of their face. If this block changes state, the MC observer emits a short redstone signal with a length of one tick. If you connect the back to a redstone dust line, it allows you to trigger various mechanisms. For example, you can set up traps, open secret passages or even create complex automations. A redstone dust trail can transmit the signal up to 15 blocks away. If you want to extend the duration of the signal, you can do so with a redstone repeater.

Some Practical Applications of the Observer in Minecraft

Even though the Minecraft observer has a simple working principle, it can be tricky to figure out how to use an observer in Minecraft. Here are two ideas you can use as a base to develop your own MC observer circuit.

Automated Farms:

This build utilizes the fact that the Minecraft observer can be triggered by growing crops and saplings. By connecting the Minecraft observer with a piston, the piston can be triggered whenever the plant in front grows fully. For example, we will use bamboo, but the farm also works with flower seeds, tree saplings or pumpkin seeds.

Plant the bamboo in front of the MC observer and construct a piston that pushes into the bamboo. Place a hopper underneath the space where the bamboo will end up and place a chest beneath the hopper. This will automatically harvest the bamboo whenever it grows to full height. Using this principle, you can also build factories that automatically smelt ores in  a blast furnace such as iron, gold or copper.


One of the many elements that can trigger an MC observer is the change that happens to a pressure plate or a daylight sensor. Therefore, the Minecraft observer can be used to trigger circuits that require a strong signal. There are many such projects you can use an observer in. Minecraft allows you to create, for instance, large castles that can open or close their gates based on sunrise or sunset. Similarly, you can use pressure plates to trigger traps that guard your valuable treasure chests. 

Which changes does the MC Observer detect?

The observer detects most of the operations that take place on the block directly in front of it.  While the exact list of what an MC observer can or cannot detect is very long, the following things generally can trigger a Minecraft observer:

  • Placing, breaking or removing a block in front of the observer.
  • Growth of plants like sugarcane, bamboo or crops.
  • Changing the state of a block, such as a door opening/closing, trapdoor flipping or lever being switched.
  • Activating or deactivating a redstone component (e.g., redstone dust, redstone torch).
  • Water or lava flowing in front of the observer.
  • Any block update, such as a piston moving a block.
  • Entities like players or mobs activating pressure plates or tripwires.
  • Fire being lit or extinguished; ice melting or freezing.
  • Changes in the inventory of containers like chests, hoppers or furnaces.

Differences in Java and Bedrock Edition 

As with many redstone parts, there are some differences between the Java Edition and the Bedrock Edition of Minecraft. For example, the following actions do trigger a Minecraft observer in the Java Edition and only there:

  • opening a dyed shulker box
  • sounds coming from a note block
  •  a music disc being inserted into a juke box

On the other hand, the following only count as activations in the Bedrock Edition:

  • placing an item frame and adding/removing items from it
  • activating a dragon or piglin head
  •  destroying an end portal

While this may seem confusing, there are only very few cases that are edition specific when compared to the large number of actions that trigger an activation in both editions. 

Conclusion: Minecraft Observer

In conclusion, the MC observer is a versatile and powerful component that significantly enhances the complexity and functionality of redstone contraptions. Its ability to detect block updates and emit a redstone signal opens up a myriad of possibilities for both simple and intricate mechanisms. As you can see, these range all the way from automated farms and security systems to innovative contraptions and aesthetic designs. Mastering the use of observers can transform your gameplay, providing you with the tools to create dynamic, responsive and efficient systems. As players continue to explore and experiment, the observer remains an essential element in the ever-evolving world of Minecraft redstone engineering. If you now want to begin your experiments with Minecraft engineering, you can do so on a Minecraft server from G-Portal.

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