Are Estes E12 black powder motors unreliable?

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Underdog

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Currently building a Super Big Bertha with plans to launch with on Estes E12 black powder engines. These engines are cheap (E12-4 cost $6) and readily available locally. But reading through the Rocketry Forum I came across the CATO list. The list was full of E12 black powder engines. Now I don't know if my original plans were misguided. I wanted a nice slow dramatic (affordable) launch on a 13 ounce rocket and the E12 was a good match. But are E12s reliable? Are they on the CATO list because more people can afford to use them, or because they are more likely to CATO?
https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/suspected-bad-motor-list.150501/
Suspected Bad Motor List 2019-07-08 6-10 AM.jpg
 

Arsenal78

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Any Estes E is unreliable. Do not fly them in anything other than a homemade/3D printed saucer or something easily replaced or you'll wish you had use an RMS motor or a single use Aerotech. I'd say get an RMS 24/40 with an E18 reload pack (basically comes out to the same price per launch for reloads than black powder E/F). Supposedly the E12 was to replace the E9 but the chances of a CATO are still the same with them. Lost a LOC Viper 3 long ago on a double E cato and since then I have never put an Estes E in something I couldn't replace for cheap. People will say "oh I've flown hundreds of them and never had a cato". Get one CATO and that's all it takes to ruin your trust in them. Better to be safe than sorry.
 

neil_w

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Any Estes E is unreliable.
I think that really applies mainly to the 24mm E9 and E12. The 29mm E16 has a good reputation.

For what it's worth: I won't take a chance with them, despite the incredibly attractive price/performance ratio when purchased 40% off at HL.
 

rharshberger

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Fly ANY motor long enough and you will eventually have a CATO, go to a large club launch and you may well see several. The problem with that list is we don't know how many motors are made in a lot, so what is the actual percentage of CATO's to normal flights vs how many motor were manufactured. Yes there are E12 lots on the list, as well as E9's. Personal experience has been zero E12 CATO's for me and one witnessed in the last year by another flier (no idea how many have been flown at our clubs launches). E9's on the other hand I have seen a fairly regular number of CATO's (at least one per launch, most launches). If you are worried about CATO's and lost/damaged rockets your in the wrong hobby, I chose not to fly E9's due to their perceived higher cato rate (risk reduction on my part) however E12's I have no issues with YET, most E's I fly are AT composite reloads for the AT Hobbyline 24/40 and 29/40-120 cases.
 

Arsenal78

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Can't agree here.

I take note of the problem date codes, and store them to avoid temperature cycling.

Finding the bad date codes is what that unofficial user-made list is good for.
I'm not saying don't fly them, just saying don't fly them in anything you care about, hence why I said fly them in saucers and stuff.
 

Rocketjunkie

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If you are worried about CATO's and lost/damaged rockets your in the wrong hobby, I chose not to fly E9's due to their perceived higher cato rate (risk reduction on my part) however E12's I have no issues with YET, most E's I fly are AT composite reloads for the AT Hobbyline 24/40 and 29/40-120 cases.
The problem with using reloads is you've added the cost of the hardware to any lost rocket.
 

Sabrina

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The Super big bertha has a 29mm motor mount. It should do fine on an E12 with the 29/24 adapter. I have flown mine on E to H power. (yes H power)

Don't waste any time worrying about certain motors being cato-prone. Just FLY IT !

DSCN0367a.JPG
 

rharshberger

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Oh well, if your afraid of losing rockets/casings your in the wrong hobby. I regularly fly a Estes Nike Smoke (BT-60, with 24mm MMT) on Aerotech F39-9 or F35-11 motors with a JLCR, so its a $15 rocket with $175-ish worth of electronics and hardware to over 2300', its a blast, if I lose it I will look as much as possible for it, then go build another and do it again because its fun! [emoji3]
The problem with using reloads is you've added the cost of the hardware to any lost rocket.
 

Underdog

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I really like the idea of a long burn with a slow lift (and not too high). Is that possible with those composites (single-use or re-loadable)?
My vision is not that great, so going high and fast means I won't enjoy seeing it. I have a pile of these inexpensive Estes black powder E motors from Hobby-Lobby, so I might as well give them a go.
Just not ready to have my heart broken.
cato.JPG
 
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Rocketjunkie

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Oh well, if your afraid of losing rockets/casings your in the wrong hobby. I regularly fly a Estes Nike Smoke (BT-60, with 24mm MMT) on Aerotech F39-9 or F35-11 motors with a JLCR, so its a $15 rocket with $175-ish worth of electronics and hardware to over 2300', its a blast, if I lose it I will look as much as possible for it, then go build another and do it again because its fun! [emoji3]
I usually fly high power, lost a 4" fiberglass rocket with electronics and a 54/1706 case last launch so I know about losing rockets :). It's just that you can lose 2 or 3 E12 powered rockets for the cost of a 24/40 case :). BTW, I've flown 167 E9s and 23 (so far) E12s NO catos.
 

cerving

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I really like the idea of a long burn with a slow lift (and not too high). Is that possible with those composites (single-use or re-loadable)?
My vision is not that great, so going high and fast means I won't enjoy seeing it. I have a pile of these inexpensive Estes black powder E motors from Hobby-Lobby, so I might as well give them a go.
Just not ready to have my heart broken.
View attachment 389588
I got the same rocket (a LOC Viper III) from BuyRocketMotors during their recent sale, and a 3-pack of E12-6's to go with it... hoping for better results.
 

heada

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I've gone through a maybe a dozen of the E12 24mm BP motors. In general, they're good but like all motors, there are sometimes issues. I wouldn't write off the entire line like the 24mm E9 motors, just pay attention to the lots and compare what you have to lots with a high number of failures.

3 motor clusters of E12s are great!
 

Charles_McG

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The problem with that list is we don't know how many motors are made in a lot, so what is the actual percentage of CATO's to normal flights vs how many motor were manufactured.
I've come to the the conclusion that knowing the number of lots would be more interesting than knowing the size of the lots.

You can tell a lot, just from the numerator. Not having the denominator doesn't bother me any more.
 

Andrew_ASC

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The E12 got a bad rep from older lots. I consider it a reliable motor and have flown several newer packs in a Estes Conquest alongside some H motors at high power launches. I have also flown the AT E18W which nearly duplicates the E12 thrust curve. I like both motors. The cool thing about a E12 is you just pull the single use motor out and discard. No casing to clean up. Have lost a few RMS casings... I still stay away from E9’s
 

gna

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I really liked the long burn with E9s, but they don't seem to be available anymore. Never had a problem with E9s. I've since switched to E12s, but I had a CATO with one. Estes replaced them, and I had a CATO with one of the replacements! (It had the same lot#). Estes customer service has been fantastic, but I am a little leery of the E12s now,

A gentleman in my club had three CATOs on Saturday--same lot#. I'll go back to D12s or get composite Es.
 

DeltaVee

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I've gone through at least a dozen of them without incident. I've seeing E9s cato multiple times at one launch for different people. My experience has been that they are vastly more reliable than E9s. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing any E12 Cato's at our launches.

Just keep them cool and dry... And don't drop them on pavement or the floor!
 
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Underdog

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I've been building mostly B-80 (2.6"/66 mm) rockets with 29mm motor mounts (less than 16 oz) because they fit on my field and within my budget. I've looked at the black powder alternatives (like the E18-4W Reload Kit 24/40) but haven't tried any reloads yet. I would like to try the re-loadable motors (just for the experience). I've been studying the thrust curves and looking for prices. For a novice, it can be tricky. Those hazmat fees can throw you a curve. RMS composites always price out over $10 (US) with shipping where the locally purchased BP is slightly more affordable. (Note: someone on the forum posted an interesting graph of $/thrust of bp and composite, but I cannot find it) Locally the bp motors cost*:
D12-5 $3.75 (29.7 N max)
E9-4 $4.02 (25.0 N max)
E12-4 $5.35 (33.3 N max)
E16-6 $7.50 (26.4 N max) (29mm)
(*prices do not include tax, inventory is often hit-or-miss at HL)
Based on the info on the forum, (if I wanted the rocket to last through as many launches as possible) I guess would check the date codes and then ignite in this order; D12-5, E12-4, E16-6, E9-4
E12-Thrust-Curve.jpg
 
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cwbullet

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A lot more reliable then the E-9
 

Red7Fifty

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Anyone have the lot number of CATO engines? I just picked up some E12's from HL.
 

Underdog

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The E12 got a bad rep from older lots... I have also flown the AT E18W which nearly duplicates the E12 thrust curve. I like both motors.
When I look up the E18W is has a maximum liftoff weight of 9.5oz (269g). Isn't that a lot less than the E12 black powder?
 

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Zeus-cat

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I just saw an E12 CATO today. The rocket did not fare well. I told them to contact Estes and file a MESS report.
 

BDB

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My daughter lives by the “more power” mantra, so she builds cluster rockets and always opts for the E12 for her 24 mm builds. Two of her recent creations have CATOed on E12’s. The most recent double E12 CATO was the replacement motors that Estes sent for the first CATO. So we are 0-3 on E12’s lately.
 

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DeltaVee

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I stand corrected about not seeing a cato of these at a club launch... I saw that happen since I was actually there that day! Well, I am kind of old as it were... hmmm if I didn't suffer from amnesia (or mild senility perhaps?), I might not have used the E12 on my Saturn V on the 20th!
 
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cwbullet

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We had a few Catos yesterday of E12s.
 
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