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2021 Estes Startech Starters (Igniters) - available soon

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dhbarr

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I have used 130 igniters in the last 12 months
This probably has a lot to do with your success rate. The big ones I usually see:
  • not inserting igniter all the way
  • shorting or breaking the igniter when installing the plug
  • poking the launch button instead of press-and-hold
  • weak or old batteries
 

Spitfire222

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Great to see some new products from Estes, although I don't really get the whole igniter failure thing...
It seems that those of us who use the Pro Series controller with a 3s LiPo don't have igniter failures. While they won't change anything for me, I hope these new igniters will provide the better firing reliability for those using the AA controller that we get to experience!
 

BRS Hobbies

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Has anyone found that if the launch controller doesn't have enough power that it can still ignite the igniter without starting the engine? Perhaps the igniter doesn't burn hot enough.
 

kuririn

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I wonder if the gray coating on the StarTech igniters are the same pyrogen used on the Sonic igniters?
 

Ez2cDave

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Are those new Estes "starters" being tested, using 6 volts or 12 volts ?

I am thinking about using a 24 volt system to "speed them up" .

Dave F.
 

DeepOvertone

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I wonder if the gray coating on the StarTech igniters are the same pyrogen used on the Sonic igniters?
Probably similar. However my guess is that the new ones contain less oxidizer. The sonic igniters seem to have a pretty good POP when you ignite them. These seem to be less energetic.
 

kuririn

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Now available on the Estes website.
6 for $5.99.
Free shipping on orders over $50.
 

Mike Haberer

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You can have the same result by dipping the exiting igniters in Testors Silver paint and letting it dry. I've done literally hundreds of ignitors from the same bottle I've had laying around for years.
I've started doing the Testor's Silver paint and haven't had any misfires. I will not try the new igniter's in clusters until someone else does o_O. I have enough old ones dipped in paint to last for quite a while.
 

Ez2cDave

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I am currently experimenting with Testor's Silver paint, "supplemented" with Magnesium "dust" . . .

Magnesium Source : Wal-Mart

Dave F.

Ozark Trail Magnesium Bar with Striker, Fire Starter, Model 5088 - $4.49

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-Magnesium-Bar-with-Striker-Fire-Starter-Model-5088/791830120

About This Item.

With the Ozark Trail Magnesium Bar with Striker in hand, you will always be prepared when you need to start a fire. Its compact size and convenient key chain allows you to easily carry this fire-starter when in need. Simply use the jagged edge of the striker to shave some magnesium onto your kindling, then use the smooth edge on the flint side of the bar to create sparks and ignite the shavings. This method of fire-starting allows you to create fires even in wet and windy conditions.

Ozark Trail Magnesium Bar with Striker, Fire Starter, Model 5088

  • 2-inch block of magnesium
  • Integrated flint strike edge
  • Keychain included for easy access and portability
  • Lightweight and convenient fire starter
  • Great for camping, hiking, hunting, or other outdoor activities


1620156589314.png
 

neil_w

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I am currently experimenting with Testor's Silver paint, "supplemented" with Magnesium "dust" . . .
I hope you're doing some just with the paint, as a control to see how much the Mg dust helps. I mean, I'm sure if you used *enough* of it it would help *a lot*. :)
 

roytyson

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I am baffled every time this topic comes up. I struggle to understand how everyone has so many failures? I will admit, I run a homemade launch controller with a 14.4v lipo battery, but I have virtually zero failures. I can do several low-power launches and never have a single failure.
  1. Fresh ignitors
  2. Proper installation
  3. Proper plug install
  4. Good power (battery and connections)
  5. Fly rockets.
I know this is will not be popular and the haters will hate, but I have no issues.....
 

neil_w

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I am baffled every time this topic comes up. I struggle to understand how everyone has so many failures? I will admit, I run a homemade launch controller with a 14.4v lipo battery, but I have virtually zero failures. I can do several low-power launches and never have a single failure.
  1. Fresh ignitors
  2. Proper installation
  3. Proper plug install
  4. Good power (battery and connections)
  5. Fly rockets.
I know this is will not be popular and the haters will hate, but I have no issues.....
I generally agree. Experienced rocketeers should have very high success rate with the Solar Starters.

However, novices and newbies definitely struggle sometimes, and so a starter that is a little less sensitive to perfect placement will be a welcome improvement. Unfortunately, new starters won't solve the problem of launch controllers with weak or insufficient battery power, which is a mighty common problem.
 

Rory Gin

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Probably similar. However my guess is that the new ones contain less oxidizer. The sonic igniters seem to have a pretty good POP when you ignite them. These seem to be less energetic.
The sonic igniters solar starters use white glue as the dipped coating due to Hazmat regulations.
 
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Ez2cDave

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I hope you're doing some just with the paint, as a control to see how much the Mg dust helps. I mean, I'm sure if you used *enough* of it it would help *a lot*. :)
Yes, I will be testing "stock" Estes igniters and up to, and including, "hot-rodded" igniters with whatever "maximum percentage of Mg" works best. I have a feeling that they will be "overkill", at some point.

I intend to try both "dusting" the Silver paint with Mg, while it is still wet, and mixing the Mg into the paint itself, before coating.

Dave F.
 
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Mike Haberer

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I am baffled every time this topic comes up. I struggle to understand how everyone has so many failures? I will admit, I run a homemade launch controller with a 14.4v lipo battery, but I have virtually zero failures. I can do several low-power launches and never have a single failure.
  1. Fresh ignitors
  2. Proper installation
  3. Proper plug install
  4. Good power (battery and connections)
  5. Fly rockets.
I know this is will not be popular and the haters will hate, but I have no issues.....
First, almost no one runs a 14.4V system. Even my homemade unit is 12V, albeit with sizable SLA batteries. If people are flying with 6V or 9V your experience may vary.

Second, if you fly clusters, you want a quick and hot burn, consistently. Anything less can result in an unstable rocket. Enhanced igniters are a must...
 

Mike Haberer

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I am currently experimenting with Testor's Silver paint, "supplemented" with Magnesium "dust" . . .

Magnesium Source : Wal-Mart

Dave F.

Ozark Trail Magnesium Bar with Striker, Fire Starter, Model 5088 - $4.49

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-Magnesium-Bar-with-Striker-Fire-Starter-Model-5088/791830120

About This Item.

With the Ozark Trail Magnesium Bar with Striker in hand, you will always be prepared when you need to start a fire. Its compact size and convenient key chain allows you to easily carry this fire-starter when in need. Simply use the jagged edge of the striker to shave some magnesium onto your kindling, then use the smooth edge on the flint side of the bar to create sparks and ignite the shavings. This method of fire-starting allows you to create fires even in wet and windy conditions.

Ozark Trail Magnesium Bar with Striker, Fire Starter, Model 5088

  • 2-inch block of magnesium
  • Integrated flint strike edge
  • Keychain included for easy access and portability
  • Lightweight and convenient fire starter
  • Great for camping, hiking, hunting, or other outdoor activities


View attachment 462867
Please post test results. Thanks.
 

BEC

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The sonic igniters use white glue as the dipped coating due to Hazmat regulations.
White glue? What is your info source? Seriously, it took them three years to come up with that? Why would I pay $1 an igniter for white glue?
NARCON 2020 Manufactures Forum, Bill Stine --

He was not talking the current Solar Starters, NOT Sonic Igniters. Go back and listen again to what he actually said.

The Sonics were created for use with the PSII launch controller and the relabeled Aerotech composite motors that Estes sold/sells for PSII kits. Rather more energetic than white glue.

As for Solar Starter reliability - one doesn't need a 14.4V system to make them work reliably. One just has to install them correctly and use an adequate power source. An Electron Beam 4AA cell controller and the PSII controller with the stock 6 C cells do fine as long as one doesn't cheap out on the power (no "heavy duty" cells from a dollar store, rather Duracells or Energizers).

The new ones will be more forgiving, though. I intentionally installed beta test units of what are now called StarTech starters with a gap between the tip and the propellant, and they still lit motors just fine on everything I tried them on except the Astron II controller with the 9V battery in it.
 

DeepOvertone

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I have a theory about the solar starters that maybe someone could test. I have a feeling they actually work better at lower voltages and currents. I've done some testing(admittedly only a couple starters) and it seems that with 12v systems with plenty of current, the starters resistance wire burns out too quickly, not allowing the whole wire to glow red hot. I've seen the nichrome wire actually go open circuit right near the point where the nichrome attaches to the lead wire.
Whereas, with lower power estes controllers(as they were designed to be used), the bridge wire glows red hot for a couple seconds before going open circuit. This allows for a lot more heat to be transferred to the fuel grain vs a quarter second *POP* like you can get with 12v. This also allows for the wire more time to heat up and ignite whichever coating is on the bridge wire.
I'm anxious to try these new startech igniters with a few different voltages to see if they perform equally on all systems.
 

dhbarr

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First, almost no one runs a 14.4V system. Even my homemade unit is 12V, albeit with sizable SLA batteries. If people are flying with 6V or 9V your experience may vary.

Second, if you fly clusters, you want a quick and hot burn, consistently. Anything less can result in an unstable rocket. Enhanced igniters are a must...
14.4 is the nominal voltage you get when you slap 4x 14500's in an Estes E controller.
 

BEC

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I have a theory about the solar starters that maybe someone could test. I have a feeling they actually work better at lower voltages and currents. I've done some testing(admittedly only a couple starters) and it seems that with 12v systems with plenty of current, the starters resistance wire burns out too quickly, not allowing the whole wire to glow red hot. I've seen the nichrome wire actually go open circuit right near the point where the nichrome attaches to the lead wire.
Whereas, with lower power estes controllers(as they were designed to be used), the bridge wire glows red hot for a couple seconds before going open circuit. This allows for a lot more heat to be transferred to the fuel grain vs a quarter second *POP* like you can get with 12v. This also allows for the wire more time to heat up and ignite whichever coating is on the bridge wire.
I'm anxious to try these new startech igniters with a few different voltages to see if they perform equally on all systems.
I do most of my flying with a PSII controller with a 1250 mAh 3s LiPoly battery inside. I will usually, after a flight, have a starter/igniter where there's a little ball of formerly melted metal at the spot weld between one end of the bridge wire and the clip leads...pretty much whether it's an older Solar igniter or one of the more recent Solar Starters. I suppose it is possible for it to burn out so quickly that the motor doesn't light...but it seems that would be difficult if the thing were against the propellant as it's supposed to be.

Having too high a voltage is, however, definitely an issue when trying to use a Sonic Igniter in a White Lighting motor. They will pop too fast on a 12V club system and not get the motor lit. But using a Sonic on 9V (as a stock PSII controller uses) works better.

The Solars were introduced in 1972 with the Solar Launch Controller, which was the first 4-AA cell launch controller from Estes (though the Electro-Launch could be configured with 4 D cells), so clearly the bridge wire was originally sized for success on 6 volts and moderate current capacity. But even back then, alkalines were the way to go, not carbon-zinc cells.
 

BEC

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14.4 is the nominal voltage you get when you slap 4x 14500's in an Estes E controller.
I'm surprised the continuity lamp (incandescent on an older controller or LED on one that's more recent) survives over double the expected voltage.
 

dhbarr

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I'm surprised the continuity lamp (incandescent on an older controller or LED on one that's more recent) survives over double the expected voltage.
Mine came from Hobby Lobby ca. ~2016 and just keeps working. YMMV.
 

DeepOvertone

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I do most of my flying with a PSII controller with a 1250 mAh 3s LiPoly battery inside. I will usually, after a flight, have a starter/igniter where there's a little ball of formerly melted metal at the spot weld between one end of the bridge wire and the clip leads...pretty much whether it's an older Solar igniter or one of the more recent Solar Starters. I suppose it is possible for it to burn out so quickly that the motor doesn't light...but it seems that would be difficult if the thing were against the propellant as it's supposed to be.

Having too high a voltage is, however, definitely an issue when trying to use a Sonic Igniter in a White Lighting motor. They will pop too fast on a 12V club system and not get the motor lit. But using a Sonic on 9V (as a stock PSII controller uses) works better.

The Solars were introduced in 1972 with the Solar Launch Controller, which was the first 4-AA cell launch controller from Estes (though the Electro-Launch could be configured with 4 D cells), so clearly the bridge wire was originally sized for success on 6 volts and moderate current capacity. But even back then, alkalines were the way to go, not carbon-zinc cells.
I agree that I have seen plenty solar starters work properly on a 12v club system. So, I know it can work... But I've also seen a stubborn D motor go through two starters that were burned but did not start the motor(one of which I placed myself so I know it was fully and properly inserted). We put a sonic in it after that and it went fine. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that my theory at least accounts for a percentage of failed solar starters. To rectify, I was thinking that perhaps clubs could place a resistor in line with the leads used for estes starters only. Making it act more like a solar launch controller.
 

BEC

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Another explanation for that stubborn D motor is that there was a bit of clay from the formation of the nozzle at least partially blocking the bottom of the propellant and that you got the Sonic in to exposed powder on that third try. If I have two misfires in a row (and the igniter is not shorted) I suspect, and usually find, clay where there shouldn't be any. I've lately had a couple of A10s with this issue and have seen it in other motors up to and including F15s (29mm motors) on occasion.

We've fired hundreds of the current generation Solar Starters from our club system which was powered for years with a 12V garden tractor battery, but more recently from a 5Ah 3 cell LiPoly battery (12.6V at full charge) and not had repeated misfires unless there were installation issues (again, shorts). Now our club system has pretty small gauge wiring going from the panel to the pad (and it is NOT a relay setup) so we may effectively be doing what you suggest.

On the other hand, I also have a 3-pad system I built which has 16 gauge speaker wire for the panel-to-pad wiring, which I use at small launches, and misfire rates are similar. It, too, is powered with a 3-cell LiPoly pack.
 
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