2021 Estes Startech Starters (Igniters) - available soon

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teepot

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I've been hesitating to mention this. But since Mg has come up. I put Ti sponge in my pyrogen. The starters burn like sparklers.
 

DeepOvertone

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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.
Well, that was actually the first thing I checked after the first misfire. No clay in the nozzle. Pure black core. It could have been humidity(Louisiana) or something causing the stubborn motor. I still believe it was due to the amount of heat over time issue.

To be fair, I’m not saying this is always the issue for failed estes starters. Because obviously user error is much much more likely. But, if what I’m suggesting is part of the problem, then finding a solution would decrease the failure rate. Just a theory that might be worth testing by people who have the means(all of my estes starters have already been enhanced with NC and black powder).
 

BEC

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I'll have to think about this to see if I can come up with a reasonable way to test this other than just videoing firing a bunch of the "white glue coated" starters on different launch control systems at 240 frames/second. I think I can cover 6V to 14.4V with stuff I have on hand.

Maybe slow motion video would be good enough, along with documenting the voltage at the clips in each case (and making sure they're as close to equally clean as I can make them). I might even be able to capture the current using one of my meters I've used for testing electric power systems for RC models....again, I need to think about it, and I need to remind myself of what the sample rate is of the Hyperion eMeter II....
 

neil_w

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I would just like to see 3 new ones at a time, at 240 fps. That should be enough to give us an idea about consistency.

In other news, I'm going to be starting on some Testor's silver paint dipping experiments soon.
 

BEC

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I would just like to see 3 new ones at a time, at 240 fps. That should be enough to give us an idea about consistency.
That one will have to wait until I have more of them....which I hope to be able to get at NSL. I assume you mean three at once, as in a cluster application.
 

neil_w

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Estes Solar Starter dipped in Testor's Silver Metallic Enamel
1620768150819.png


Video is at 240 fps. If it seems like the igniter is slow to heat up, that is correct. I need new and/or better batteries in my PSII controller (currently rigged for 6xAA). In fact, I think past failed experiments with Testor's Aluminum might have been due to trying to ignite two at once. In any case:
Sorry for the blurriness, juggling too many things at once.

Certainly it is a lot nicer looking than the plain old starter. To really judge its suitability for clusters, would need to try a few on a proper power source.
 

BEC

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6 AAs in the PSII controller? Not Cs? If I may ask...why?


Related to the general discussion, my EmeterII can sample at up to 8 times per second, so I may try to set up some current measurements of the various types here....though I expect that they will differ little as I also expect that the actual bridge wire is the same size regardless of what the thing is dipped in (old pyrogen, "white glue" or the new mixture).
 

neil_w

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6 AAs in the PSII controller? Not Cs? If I may ask...why?
Originally I thought that NiMH AAs (which I have tons of lying around) would have has much juice as alkaline C batteries, so I rigged it up to give that a try. I did not have good luck with it, possibly because my rechargeables are too old. Dunno.

Subsequently, because I never use the thing to actually launch rockets, I just threw some AA alkalines in there which seems more than adequate for a paperweight. Yes, I wish I had some proper C batteries to try it with, but I don't want to buy them just to sit and rot.
 

BEC

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Ah....for me the PSII is my regular go-to launch controller (though with a 3s LiPoly in it) when I go flying on my own. I have several TARC teams using them quite successfully with 6 C cells inside.
 

Mike Haberer

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Originally I thought that NiMH AAs (which I have tons of lying around) would have has much juice as alkaline C batteries, so I rigged it up to give that a try. I did not have good luck with it, possibly because my rechargeables are too old. Dunno.

Subsequently, because I never use the thing to actually launch rockets, I just threw some AA alkalines in there which seems more than adequate for a paperweight. Yes, I wish I had some proper C batteries to try it with, but I don't want to buy them just to sit and rot.
I don't buy C's or D's anymore. I have adapters that you plug 3 AAs (for a C) and 4 AAs (for a D) into.

 

Ez2cDave

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Originally I thought that NiMH AAs (which I have tons of lying around) would have has much juice as alkaline C batteries, so I rigged it up to give that a try. I did not have good luck with it, possibly because my rechargeables are too old. Dunno.

Subsequently, because I never use the thing to actually launch rockets, I just threw some AA alkalines in there which seems more than adequate for a paperweight. Yes, I wish I had some proper C batteries to try it with, but I don't want to buy them just to sit and rot.
Go "Old School" . . . A 12-Volt Car Battery "Rocks The World" for "Estes Igniters" !

10-12 gauge stranded wire, DC toggle switch, key switch, LED continuity indicator, DC push button, project box, "alligator" battery clamps . . . Presto !

Dave F.
 
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Bruce

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Related to the general discussion, my EmeterII can sample at up to 8 times per second, so I may try to set up some current measurements of the various types here....
I for one, would be quite interested in seeing current vs time measurement graphs for the various starters. 8 samples per second seems like it should show a good amount of information for comparison of the different starter types.
 

UhClem

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I for one, would be quite interested in seeing current vs time measurement graphs for the various starters. 8 samples per second seems like it should show a good amount of information for comparison of the different starter types.
When I performed all fire testing on the Estes Solar igniter I recorded the current using a DATAQ DI-194 system. Too slow (240SPS) to pick up some things like oscillation in the current source but fast enough once that was tamed. The data was disgustingly predictable since the bridgewire never burned through with my tests near the all fire current. Always a 100ms pulse at whatever the selected current was.
 

Bruce

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When I performed all fire testing on the Estes Solar igniter I recorded the current using a DATAQ DI-194 system. Too slow (240SPS) to pick up some things like oscillation in the current source but fast enough once that was tamed. The data was disgustingly predictable since the bridgewire never burned through with my tests near the all fire current. Always a 100ms pulse at whatever the selected current was.
Might you be able to post a quick graph of the current vs time data that you got with the Dataq?
 

UhClem

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Might you be able to post a quick graph of the current vs time data that you got with the Dataq?
Sure, I could, but I already described all 30 of them. The data from the Q2G2 had a little more entertainment value.
 

Bruce

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The graphs from those Quest Q2G2 starters was quite interesting. Thanks for sharing!

I wonder how the graphs would differ for other Voltages?

What is the optimum Voltage?

To maximize the total amount of heat dissipated by the starter, would you use the Voltage where the bridge wire almost (but not quite) burned through?
 

UhClem

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Since I used a regulated current source, voltage mattered not at all.
 

Bruce

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Since I used a regulated current source, voltage mattered not at all.
What if you used only 1 Volt? Or 1,000 Volts? One would think that Voltage (or power in Watts) would be a factor in starter performance...
 

UhClem

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What if you used only 1 Volt? Or 1,000 Volts?
If I used 1 Volt then the regulator would not be able to reach the set current. If I used 1,000 Volts then the regulator would dissipate several kilowatts of power. Except that the parts it was built from aren't capable of that and it would generate a loud bang.

Power (in Watts) = I^2 * R
 

Bruce

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If I used 1 Volt then the regulator would not be able to reach the set current. If I used 1,000 Volts then the regulator would dissipate several kilowatts of power. Except that the parts it was built from aren't capable of that and it would generate a loud bang.

Power (in Watts) = I^2 * R
Agreed.

If you are using a regulated current source then what's the purpose of graphing current vs time?

Not being critical at all, just trying to understand...
 

UhClem

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If you are using a regulated current source then what's the purpose of graphing current vs time?
To verify that the applied current had the expected magnitude and limited duration.
 

Bruce

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For me, what I want to learn is which starter ignites the motor the quickest and the most consistently.

One variable is the resistance of the starter. Another variable is how much voltage can be applied before the bridge wire burns thru.

A starter with a short thin bridge wire could be made to have the same resistance as one with a longer but thicker bridge wire. Which one will light the motor quicker?

Probably the one that can transfer the largest amount of heat to the propellant in the shortest amount of time.

Given that there are a finite amount of different types of starters, the task could boil down to determing these 2 variables for each starter:

1) What is the resistance of each starter? Knowing the resistance will tell us how much current it draws and the power. Easy right? Except the resistance changes with temperature and the starter experiences a wide temperature change when in use. So we offer the starter as much current as it will take and graph its current draw vs time until the bridge wire burns thru. Is the area under the curve of this graph, the power?
2) The second task is determining how much power the bridge wire can take before burning out and creating an open circuit. This is done by running the above test at differing Voltages. At 1 Volt, the bridge wire may never burn out, but the starter probably won't get hot enough to ignite the motor. At 1,000 volts, the bridge wire will certainly get very hot, but will burn thru quickly, possibly before enough heat has been transferred to ignite the motor.

Now we are ignoring other variables, not the least of which is time. Is a colder starter that burns longer going to light the motor faster than a hotter starter that burns for a shorter period of time? How do we determine this?

We always seem to use 12 Volts from a 6S Lead Acid battery or a 3S LiPo as the gold standard for Voltage. Perhaps higher or lower could lead to better results?

I certainly don't have all the answers. A person smarter than I could do thorough, well defined, systematic testing and come up with some generalizations. Perhaps this has already been done?
 

jqavins

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Subsequently, because I never use the thing to actually launch rockets, I just threw some AA alkalines in there which seems more than adequate for a paperweight. Yes, I wish I had some proper C batteries to try it with, but I don't want to buy them just to sit and rot.
Some time ago I looked at some Energizer spec sheets to see how different the internal resistance is between AA, C, and D cells. Much to my surprise, they're not different at all. The bigger cells will last longer, but the short circuit current (or low resistance load current) from fresh ones should all be the same.

Now, on the other hand:
I don't buy C's or D's anymore. I have adapters that you plug 3 AAs (for a C) and 4 AAs (for a D) into.
That means putting three of four internal resistances in parallel, which means three or four times the short circuit current. Which is not always better, but often is, soI'm glad that I've learned today about these adapters. I might want to get some.
 

boomtube-mk2

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Years ago Quest had the best igniters for BP Motors and certainly the best igniters for cluster motor launches.

Now they have to reinvent the wheel.
 

samb

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Huh? Why? If you have a product that works (and works well), why would you have to improve on it?
Why ? “Regulatory advice” is the phrase Bill Stine used at the NARAM Manufacturers Forum in 2014. Since then the China sourced Q2G2s disappeared and Estes went to the clear tipped starters that are being phased out now. No mystery, no conspiracy.

 

Ez2cDave

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Why ? “Regulatory advice” is the phrase Bill Stine used at the NARAM Manufacturers Forum in 2014. Since then the China sourced Q2G2s disappeared and Estes went to the clear tipped starters that are being phased out now. No mystery, no conspiracy.
In other words, here comes the BATFE again ?

Dave F.
 
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