Using Tick Data Suite 2.x for testing MT4 EAs on renko, range bars and other custom charting types

Tick Data Suite (TDS) has been around for quite some time and although it was certainly a great tool for backtesting it was not really a “suite of tools” as it strongly relied on a few more utilities to get the job done. For starters, the average tester first needed to acquire and process tick data using third-party tools such as Tick Data Downloader, TickStory and of course the CSV2FXT converter script. TDS 1.x was mainly a special loader that performed in-memory patching of Metatarder4 that prevented the terminal from overwriting custom tick data files. The utility also performed a few different tasks, such as dropping the 4GB FXT file limit and enabling backtesting using variable spread, to name but a few.

Version 2 of Tick Data Suite is a whole different story and the software certainly lives up to its name. The integrated tick data manager lets you download, store and manage tick data repositories for various instruments such as Forex and CFDs. It compresses downloaded data to unbelievable levels and lets you directly use this data to backtest your forex robots with 99% tick modeling quality on the fly! The software is nicely integrated into the OS via system service and all of the controls have been conveniently injected directly into MT4.

Data download periods are very short (compared to other tick data downloaders) due to the use of multiple threads and parallel processing. Traders using EAs on custom charts such as RangeBars or various Renko modes will also find TDS 2.x a very useful tool since it enables the use of custom FXT files, such as the ones created by CSV2FXT script modifications for Range and Renko charting.

The following video will walk you through the process of testing trading robots on custom charts such as wicked Renko bars. The same procedure is also valid for RangeBars, Median or Turbo Renko as well as Vanilla Renko bricks.

The process is possible thanks to a nice and convenient feature of TDS 2.x  which is the choice of action when encountering an already existing FXT file with a read-only attribute.

This way we can utilize custom FXT files in the backtest. However, it is important to note that whenever an FXT is used with TDS 2, the settings from the FXT file will override whatever is configured in the Tick Data Settings dialog. The only exception is slippage which will work as configured. Unfortunately, the variable spread setting will not work when using FXT files, but that is only a minor setback.

Traders using TDS 2 with custom FXT files must remember that the spread entered in the “spread” field of the CSV2FXT script will also have no effect. The spread used during the backtest will be the one configured in the “Spread” drop-down in MT4. If the variable spread setting is enabled in the Tick Data Settings dialog, the current spread will be used instead. Long story short, you configure the spread in MT4 when using FXT files.

Summing things up, Tick Data Suite version 2 is an absolute must-have for everyone who is evaluating and optimizing trading robots on the Metatrader 4 platform. TDS 2 is a bargain when we consider the robust functionality the software has to offer and the outstanding technical support. It will certainly save you a lot of time and hassle when testing EAs on standard time frames offered by MT4 as well as all of the custom charting solutions such as Range Bars and various Renko families.

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