Signals Made Simple

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If your new to using ‘Signals’ or are maybe just struggling slightly to understand how to use them as part of an automation or servant rule hopefully this thread will help explain as I try and break it down to the very basics then back work up over giving a few easy to follow step by step examples that you can hopefully take away and begin using or incorporating into your own rules.

Once you do get used to them and understand the basic principles of how they work the rest will fall into place for you very quickly and will soon unlock a whole range of new possibilities for you when creating automation files or servants, whether that be for something basic or for creating a series of complex and interconnected rules – the biggest limitation you’ll then find when using signals is your own imagination.

What is a Signal

In the coding world a signal would be known as a ‘variable’, to ordinary users, it’s a simple way for you to pass information from one thing to another, in this case from one rule to another rule.

To do this whenever you set a signal, you will give it a unique name and value. Just like any other automation/servant rule a signal can be set at any time you want using any of the existing conditions. ie, set a signal when conditions A, B & C are met

I like to think of a signal as a Flag so by setting a signal your ‘flagging’ something has happened, once something is flagged then something else can the see this flag and take the appropriate action or take action where a flag is not yet present.

To further add to that a flag can be of any colour and display any number of your choice (this is your signal, its name and its value).

A condition can then be added to another rule/s to look for a signal name and/or its value, and test if its set or not, or if its value is greater, less than or equal to something or even if the value has changed within a period of time before allowing that rule to trigger.

Or to put it another way, a rule can be set to trigger only if the correct coloured flag displaying a required number exists

How and where is a Signal Set

When setting a signal, it’s possible to do so in one of two ways.

1) By using the dedicated ‘Set/Modify Signal’ rule type, this would be used if you wanted to set a signal and nothing else.
2) When an existing rule triggers, ie, you could have a lay bet rule, cancel all unmatched bets rule or close trade rule etc that is set to trigger one or more times and each time it triggers it also sets a signal.

The actual signal is then created using the ‘Signal’ tab in the rules editor, if you open this tab you will notice you have a few options here

Set a Signal – will set a signal with a unique name and value of your choice (a flag with a colour and number of your choice)
Increment Signal Value – will set a signal with the unique name of your choice, the software will then give it a value of 1 the first time it triggers then increase the value by 1 again each time it triggers thereafter.
Decrement Signal Value – as above but decreases the value by 1 each time it triggers.

The two further options are to clear signals which I won’t go into yet but is fairly obvious what they are used for.

Signal Options.JPG

You can also see you have the option to set signals (flags) on individual selections and/or the market, depending on your strategy will depend on which one you would use, as I cover some examples within this thread you’ll see me use both, I’ll also be setting signals with their own rule and as part of an existing rule and hopefully by the end they’ll be much clearer and easier to understand as well as when and why you would use each option.

At the bottom of the signal tab is an option to ‘Note Signal Changes in Market Log’ box, I’d always recommend you tick this when setting a new signal up as it allows you to view it in the main market log afterwards and this will help pinpoint and troubleshoot any problems if a rule doesn’t trigger as expected, once a rule is working fine you can untick this box to keep your log tidier.
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Set a Signal for another rule to use

In this first example, I’ll show how to set a signal then use it to trigger another rule.

I want to set a signal on (flag) the fav if it steams or drifts 15 or more ticks during the 5 mins before the official off time.
Then once the race goes in-play I want to either back or lay that runner depending if it steamed or drifted pre-off, if it has done neither and just traded around the same price then I don’t want my in-play rule to trigger.

So, flag the fav if it steamed 15 or more ticks pre-off then back in-play OR flag the fav if it drifted 15 or more ticks pre-off then lay in-play.

Setting up the Rules

For this I need to start with a ‘Set/Modify Signal’ rule, on the fav, you can see I’ve armed it to trigger once a few seconds before post time.

Signal General.JPG

On the conditions tab I can add the condition required for this rule to trigger, in this case, I want to see that the price is at least 15 ticks shorter now than it was 5 mins ago so have used an Historical relative odds condition set up as shown below.

Signal Steam Cond.JPG

Then it’s onto the signal tab so I can set my signal (flag), here I just need to ‘Set a signal’ on the selection and give it a name and value (the value part won’t be used in this example, but it still needs one entering so I just gave it 1).

You can also see I gave this signal the name ‘steam’

Signal Steam.JPG

Whenever setting a signal I always advise choosing a name that references what it's doing, that way if you're using multiple signals and viewing them in your log later you can easily remember what each one relates to.

That’s the first signal rule set up, next I just need to create a similar one to look for a drift, so on that one, I will change the conditions to look for a price greater now than it was 300secs ago plus 15 ticks.

Then on the signal tab I will use a different name for the signal and will call this one ‘drift’

I now have two rules, one will set a signal with the name 'drift if the fav’s prices lengthen's the other will set a signal named 'steam' if the fav's price shortens.

Now I just need some rules to place the back or lay bet depending which way the price has moved and which signal has been set, so I’ll start by creating a rule to place a back bet on the fav which is set to trigger once the market turns in-play

Back Steam General.JPG

On the parameters tab, I’ve chosen to place the bet at the best market price and use a £10 stake.

Then on the conditions tab, I can use a signal set condition to test if a signal has or has not been set, in this example I need to check that the signal named ‘steam’ has been set on this selection.

Back Steam Cond.JPG

Lastly, I just need to create a similar rule to place a lay bet, the only other difference is when I get to this condition tab I’ll need to change it to the signal named ‘drift’

Once the file is applied to the markets if you have the log tab showing in guardian you can see how it worked. The signal named ‘steam’ with a value of 1 triggered on the fav ‘Posh Trish’ just before post time as the BF chart cleared showed this runner did steam in during the pre-off market, then as soon as the race went in-play the back bet rule picked up this signal (flag) was set so triggered the bet on this runner.

Steam Signal Img 1.JPG

I’ll be adding further examples over the coming days and weeks but if you do have any questions or comments please post them to this thread and I’ll answer them there

If you wish to download the file detailed above you can do so from here, but I'd recommend giving it a go first yourself then if you really get stuck or want to double check you have everything right then go ahead and download the file

Or better still have a go at making your own rules using the principles and steps above.
Start with a 'Set/Modify Signal' rule type, then add in some of your own conditions you want to see before a signal is set
Then on the Signal tab set a signal with the name of your choice.
Next, add a back or lay rule with a Signal set condition to test that the signal named (whatever you called it) is set.
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