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So I’m wandering around my farm in my 1.10 modded survival game, and I’m thinking to myself, “Self, I want a working water well. Farms have water wells. I want a water well.”

Obviously, I could simply decorate a 2×2 infinite water source. I’ve done that often enough. Or I could have built a clone of what one finds in testificate villages, but I wanted something that is actually functional, if maybe not as efficient as a simple 2×2 water source. What I wanted was to be able to throw an empty bucket into a well and out would come a water bucket. And I wanted to do it using only vanilla redstone resources (I didn’t mind using modded blocks for decorative purposes). Inefficient, certainly, but as I’ve probably expressed before, for me Minecraft becomes less fun the more perfectly efficient everything is. There’s a kind of measured pretense that happens in the human brain that makes Minecraft a game rather than simply an elaborate computer algorithm. In other words, the game of Minecraft actually takes place in the human mind, not in the computer hardware, so the more mechanically we play Minecraft, the less human it becomes and, therefore, the less game-ish.

But enough of these amateurish philosophical thoughts. What I created is a system whereby I toss an empty bucket into a hole in the ground, then some redstone circuitry fills the bucket with water and sends it back up to me via a concealed vertical dropper chain. Here’s how it works:

1) The bucket falls into a hopper at the bottom of the shaft that feeds the bucket into a dispenser directly below it.

The basic functionality of this setup is the use of a good ol’ dispenser to fill an empty water bucket with water.

2) Redstone circuitry activates the dispenser, and then, a split second later, turns off the redstone torch that sits below the hopper underneath the dispenser.

This is the most complicated part of the whole setup. I needed a way to pull only full water buckets from the dispenser. The problem is that while you can use a hopper filter to filter out empty buckets, you cannot use one to filter out full buckets. The reason is simply that empty buckets stack while full ones don’t. The hopper filter mechanic depends on being able to have a small stack of items in the first slot so that the hopper will only accept those items.

So what I needed to do, instead, is time things so that the hopper underneath the dispenser would accept items only after the dispenser had had time to fill the empty bucket. This is easily done using repeaters as shown:

3) The full water bucket is routed by hoppers to a vertical dropper chain that sits under where the player stands when initially throwing the empty bucket into the well.

I’ve talked quite a lot about vertical dropper chains, and I’ve used them quite a lot in builds that I haven’t shared on this blog. I had actually built this “water well” this once before in Minecraft 1.8.9. But I’ve noticed that in 1.10 redstone works just a little differently than it did in 1.8 and before (maybe this changed in 1.9, since I didn’t really play 1.9). Specifically, unmodified comparator clocks work too quickly to make redstone torches alternate on and off. The solution is easy: add a second repeater to slow things down slightly.

If you want to see more about dropper chains, check out my previous post on that subject.

The dropper chain doesn’t have to go all the way to the top. I have a grass block sitting on top of the uppermost dropper. But it’s cool, because the item that the dropper “drops” will pass through the grass block and into the player’s inventory (this isn’t really an exploit – the item has to go somewhere since it cannot occupy the same space as the grass block). That way all the inner workings of the water well are properly concealed.

So after all that, I now have a “working” water well. I drop a bucket in, and an instant later after some clicking noises I magically find a water bucket in my inventory. I love Minecraft.