Converters and Traders use only 1 time step to both get the input and execute the command.
Converters transmute one Resource into another.
Converters are designed to model things like factories that turn raw materials into finished products. In League of Legends, for example, you would use a Converter to forge a Hextechs Key out of 3 Hextech key fragments.
In the example diagram below, the Converter will automatically pull 3 Resources every time step from the Key Fragments Pool, and forge them into a Hextech Key. When there won't be enough Key Fragments (3) to forge a key, the Converter will continue to pull Resources (emphasised by the blinking Resource Connection), but it will only succeed when the Pool will once more contain at least 3 Key Fragments.
Converters act exactly as a Drain that triggers a Source, consuming one Resource to produce another.
As with Sources and Drains, Converters can have different types of rates to consume and produce Resources as specified by their inputs and outputs. In our LoL example, the converter will drain 3 key fragments and produce 1 key.
Since Converters are constructed from Drains and Sources, it is possible to create a special construction that might be called a limited converter that can produce only a limited amount of something as its output. A limited converter is the combination of a Drain and a limited Source.
Traders are Nodes that cause Resources to change ownership when fired: two players could use a Trader to exchange Resources.
Traders have 4 Activation Modes - select one of them in Functional > Activation.
Traders require that the 2 types of Resources being traded be differentiated through Colour Coding. The construct will have 2 pairs of input-output Resource Connections, each of a certain colour (eg: 1 red coming in - 1 red coming out; 1 blue coming in it - 1 blue coming out).
All input and output Resource Connections need to be colour coded, even if one of the colours is the default Black. To do this, you need to tick "Colour coding" in the Functional Resource Connection panel on the right.
Read more about Colour Coding:
Use Traders when a given number of Resources of one type is exchanged for (not converted into) a given number of another type. This is ideal for any situation that resembles shopping: the merchant receives money, and the customer receives goods in a stated proportion (the price).
If either the merchant or the customer does not have the necessary Resources, the trade cannot take place.
A trading mechanism can be constructed by two Gates connected by a Trigger ensuring that when one Resource is received, the other is returned in exchange.
Watch the video below, showcasing a Trader and a Trader-like system, working side by side.
Since a Pool can store Resources of multiple colours, a Trader may also be constructed like in the screenshot below, just as long as the colour coding on the Resource Connections follows the same rules as in the previous example.
From a player's perspective, Converters and Traders have almost the same function: pass a number of Resources to it and get a number of other Resources in return.
From the designer’s perspective, however, they are definitely not the same. The difference becomes clear from looking at their equivalent constructions in a Machinations diagram.
When activating a Converter, Resources are actually consumed and produced, and therefore the total number of resources in the game might change. In contrast, activating a Trader leads only to an exchange; the number of Resources in the game always stays the same. See screenshot below, and try it out for yourself.