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So I finally managed to learn trading in X3: Albion Prelude and equipped my Mercury with the MK3 trading software. Since then the function "Start sector trading" is available. But when I use it, the status of the ship switches to "buying 0 energy cells" and then switches back to "standby". Why does automated trading not work? Am I doing something wrong?

Any help is highly appreciated.

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Your trader isn't doing any work because there are no good trades available in the sector. Find a sector where things that are produced also get consumed (Power Plant -> Wheat Farm -> Distillery, for example), or, if you believe the sector they are in fits that criteria, leave them alone and they will try again after a while (You can also reissue the command to get them to seek new traders immediately, as they will standby for some time before attempting to find another deal).

As your trader levels up, you will be able to increase the range in which they will seek deals, and when they reach level 8, they will be able to become Universe Traders (though their range for finding deals will still be limited, they will not feel obliged to stick around the same neighbourhood, and their trading may take them to any point in the galaxy where profitsss can be made).

You will need to reissue the sector trader command to get the option to increase the number of jumps in which they will seek deals.

It may be a good idea to leave them as sector traders with a big radius even after they've leveled up, as some parts of the universe are much more dangerous than the others (The area around Argon Prime, for example, is super safe, while Omicron Lyrae is close to many pirate and Xenon sectors).

P.S. the reason your automated traders sometimes loop through wares with "Buy x ware" orders is because that's how they assess available trades.

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Thanks, I will give that a try. I will just try out a various number of sectors. Hopefully it will work at some point... – Valentin Apr 6 '12 at 21:47
Keep at it, and don't forget to keep an eye on their level and reissue the command as necessary. Under ideal conditions, a sector trader with jump range of 2 will have access to 9 times the number of sectors (and therefore stations and deals) a 1st level trader would. – kotekzot Apr 6 '12 at 21:51
@Valentin I recommend starting out your sector traders in empire's edge. Its got almost a complete loop there and is perfect to train them up to become universe traders. I wouldn't bother reissuing the order until they hit level 8 (when they turn into universe traders). Empire's edge is the perfect training ground. – l I Apr 6 '12 at 23:28
@kotekzot its level 8 to be universe traders – l I Apr 6 '12 at 23:29
You can see the pilot's level in the ship information menu (I think the hotkey is U when targeting the ship). Are you sure there were profitable deals to be made in the sector (e.g. power plant selling e-cells for 12 credits, factory buying e-cells for 19 credits). Does the ship have enough free cargo space? Is the freighter fully shielded and equipped with a jumpdrive? Sometimes they will enter standby while awaiting delivery of shields and jumpdrive, though that should only happen with UTs, not STs. – kotekzot Apr 7 '12 at 11:54

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