the fickle nature of E's and F's

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Trident
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#1 the fickle nature of E's and F's

Post by Trident » Mon, 18 Apr 16, 05:46 am

I've got a couple packs of E9s, I think from 2009. First pack has been partially used and no issues. But I am a little nervous about using them in anything really special, since they seem to be the culprit in many CATO reports.

I'd like to try the E12s but nobody local carries them and I hate to pay HAZMAT fees to get them shipped, unless I really stocked up on them, from some place like AC Supply, that discounts 40%.
Lee

Bulds: Estes Saturn V, Super Sky Hook, Farside-X
Awaiting Paint/Detailing: Estes Saturn 1B
Completed!: Der Saturn Max, Bandit XL

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#2 Re: E9-4 CATO

Post by Joe Wooten » Mon, 18 Apr 16, 15:03 pm

What was funny was that I had launched that Mean machine with the other two engines from the pack with no problem.

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Trident
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#3 Re: E9-4 CATO

Post by Trident » Tue, 19 Apr 16, 00:05 am

Now that is troubling. I'm almost at the point of only using reloads for anything E and higher. I remember a D12 CATO many years ago (late 80s or maybe early 90s), but it was from a big group of motors I bought from someone, and had no idea how they were stored.

I've fired off A thru D motors without any issues since then, but these were all bought by me, and stored in my basement, where temperature and humidity are pretty constant.
Lee

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#4 Re: E9-4 CATO

Post by Commander » Tue, 19 Apr 16, 03:28 am

Trident wrote:Now that is troubling. I'm almost at the point of only using reloads for anything E and higher. I remember a D12 CATO many years ago (late 80s or maybe early 90s), but it was from a big group of motors I bought from someone, and had no idea how they were stored.

I've fired off A thru D motors without any issues since then, but these were all bought by me, and stored in my basement, where temperature and humidity are pretty constant.
The idea of this sub-forum isn't to say that one particular engine or motor is safe and anther is going to explode, it is to build up data to see if there is a trend. We have barely scratched the surface on any trend and to conclude that a pattern is developing on such a small amount of information is not productive.

Everyone knows that at any given time, due to unknown circumstances (maybe a warehouse employee dropped a pack), a motor or engine can fail catastrophically.

We are trying to garner information on any trends, either long term or short term, to give all rocketeers an idea whether they want to imperil a particular rocket. Remember that the manufacturers are making a large number of engines and that if we see 3 reports out of, say a thousand, those three reports will seem large because we don't have the 997 reports of successful launches to balance them against.

So, make sure you tell your fellow fanatics about this sub-forum when they have an issue so we can have more data to look at.

Thanks,
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#5 Re: E9-4 CATO

Post by luke strawwalker » Tue, 19 Apr 16, 03:36 am

In fairness it's been fairly common knowledge that the black powder Estes "E" motors have had their troubles. Remember that Estes' first foray into the "larger than D" motor territory (for black powder motors in 'recent' times anyway) was the E15, which had so many problems they were quickly pulled and later re-released as the E9, to make them more reliable.

I like the E9's, but they DO have their drawbacks. I've seen at least 2 that I can recall spit their nozzles and sit there sputtering and flaming like a road flare, and burn the ass end out the rocket and pad. If I really thought about it I bet I could recall more than that. Haven't seen any sidewall rupture catos, but I've also seen some blow the flaming guts of the motor (and the rest of the rocket's interior) out the front along with it.

I don't recall the date code, but there is one particularly high-risk motor batch that most of the catos have been attributed to. I remember reading about it in a similar thread like this one on the Terribly Run Forum years ago.

I agree folks shouldn't make "kneejerk" reactions based on a handful of accounts, but at the same time, it's good to share knowledge and quantify what the risks are, so people can make up their minds themselves.

Later! OL J R :)
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#6 Re: E9-4 CATO

Post by Trident » Tue, 19 Apr 16, 04:08 am

What I found troubling is that Joe had two successful flights out of that pack, and then one fails. It kind of shoots my plan for testing one motor in a pack in a "test" rocket, and if OK, using the remaining ones in my "pride and joy" models. I want to try the new E12s, mostly for clustering and staging, but besides being unavailable locally, their purchase requires a Hazmat fee if you do internet orders. Still, I'd be tempted but would have to place a sizable order to justify the added charge. Now I'm not sure I want to do so until I hear more about user's experiences with them.

I have a few of the old E15s, and those were bad news. I figure I'll try one one of these days in a "test" rocket, just to tempt fate. Over the years I have visited quite a few forums, and lately FB rocketry groups, and the E9 is usually the motor highlighted in a CATO report or video.

Interestingly, in over 20 years of flying reloads from D to K, I've only had one failure. A G64 reload had some kind of forward breach and burned a hole in the side of the forward closure. It certainly could have been my fault, with either a faulty o-ring, or poor assembly (pinched o-ring, or missing one). At least with reloads, I feel like I have more control of the overall success.
Last edited by Trident on Wed, 20 Apr 16, 01:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lee

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#7 Re: E9-4 CATO

Post by Joe Wooten » Tue, 19 Apr 16, 12:49 pm

I've used several E12's with no problems. However, I do still have several old FSI E60's that I will fire off for the scouts when we do a troop launch. Being natural pyromaniacs, they love the E60 catos....

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#8 Re: the fickle nature of E's and F's

Post by Trident » Wed, 20 Apr 16, 01:07 am

Joe,

Have you found E12s stocked at a hobby shop or other local store? My local HobbyTown has a huge stock of Estes kits and motors, but I've never seen any E12s. Guess I should do the obvious and ask if they ever stock them.

I never have had any of the old FSI E or F motors. As a kid in Colorado, I did buy some FSI C motors. They were in Louisville, Colorado at the time, and so having them locally, even in a small store, was not too odd, I guess. I visited a hobby store in Mountain View, CA back in the 90s,and they had lots of large FSI motors. I just didn't know how I'd get them home. I flew to California on business a lot, but didn't want to tempt fate.
Lee

Bulds: Estes Saturn V, Super Sky Hook, Farside-X
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#9 Re: the fickle nature of E's and F's

Post by Joe Wooten » Wed, 20 Apr 16, 14:07 pm

I bought both E12's and F15's at Hobby Lobby in Joliet, Il and Toledo OH.

There was a hobby store in Cleburne TX back in the early 80's that carried a full line of Estes and FSI. I was their main customer for the FSI stuff. They never had FSI A-C engines, but did carry the D-F lines. In 1985, they decided to get out of the hobby business and go totally crafts. They sold their Estes stuff to another hobby store but the guy did not want their FSI inventory. I came in a few days later and the owner made me an offer. For $300, I'd get to take all of it off their hands. I got almost 100 engines from D18, D20, E6, E60, F7 and F100, about 20 kits, and some miscellaneous spare parts - engine mounts, parachutes, launch lugs, etc. I have two F100-0's left, about 8 E60's, 10 D18's and 6 D20's left.

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#10 Re: the fickle nature of E's and F's

Post by Joe Wooten » Wed, 20 Apr 16, 14:08 pm

I have had CATO's only on the E60's. I have a couple of scratch builts that can use the D18/D20's and I launch them occasionally.

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