Are Estes E12 black powder motors unreliable?

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by Underdog, Jul 30, 2019.

Help Support The Rocketry Forum by donating:

  1. Jul 30, 2019 #1

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    5
    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
     
  2. Jul 30, 2019 #2

    Arsenal78

    Arsenal78

    Arsenal78

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2018
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    54
    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.
     
    lakeroadster likes this.
  3. Jul 30, 2019 #3

    neil_w

    neil_w

    neil_w

    When in doubt, add more rocket TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Messages:
    6,493
    Likes Received:
    918
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    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.
     
    lakeroadster likes this.
  4. Jul 30, 2019 #4

    Nytrunner

    Nytrunner

    Nytrunner

    Master of Rivets

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    Messages:
    5,145
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Huntsville AL
    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.
     
  5. Jul 30, 2019 #5

    rharshberger

    rharshberger

    rharshberger

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2014
    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    792
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pasco, WA
    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.
     
    tomsteve and Nytrunner like this.
  6. Jul 30, 2019 #6

    Arsenal78

    Arsenal78

    Arsenal78

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2018
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    54
    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.
     
    lakeroadster likes this.
  7. Jul 30, 2019 #7

    Rocketjunkie

    Rocketjunkie

    Rocketjunkie

    Addicted to APCP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    109
    The problem with using reloads is you've added the cost of the hardware to any lost rocket.
     
  8. Jul 30, 2019 #8

    Sabrina

    Sabrina

    Sabrina

    The WildChild

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    126
    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
     
    BDB, tomsteve, gtg738w and 1 other person like this.
  9. Jul 30, 2019 #9

    neil_w

    neil_w

    neil_w

    When in doubt, add more rocket TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Messages:
    6,493
    Likes Received:
    918
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    Love that paint job!
     
    tomsteve and Sabrina like this.
  10. Jul 30, 2019 #10

    rharshberger

    rharshberger

    rharshberger

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2014
    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    792
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pasco, WA
    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!
     
    ChicagoDave and mbeels like this.
  11. Jul 30, 2019 #11

    Sabrina

    Sabrina

    Sabrina

    The WildChild

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    126
    Thanks - I call it "Hobby store shelf test pattern" :D
     
    tomsteve, gtg738w, mbeels and 2 others like this.
  12. Jul 30, 2019 #12

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    5
    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
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  13. Jul 31, 2019 #13

    Rocketjunkie

    Rocketjunkie

    Rocketjunkie

    Addicted to APCP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    109
    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.
     
  14. Jul 31, 2019 #14

    cerving

    cerving

    cerving

    Owner, Eggtimer Rocketry TRF Sponsor TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    350
    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.
     
  15. Jul 31, 2019 #15

    heada

    heada

    heada

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    157
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    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!
     
  16. Jul 31, 2019 #16

    Charles_McG

    Charles_McG

    Charles_McG

    Ciderwright

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    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.
     
  17. Aug 31, 2019 #17

    Andrew_ASC

    Andrew_ASC

    Andrew_ASC

    UTC SEDS 2017 3rd/ SEDS 2018 1st

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    3,543
    Likes Received:
    424
    Gender:
    Male
    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
     
  18. Aug 31, 2019 #18

    gna

    gna

    gna

    average joe-overbuild member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    5
    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.
     
  19. Aug 31, 2019 #19

    DeltaVee

    DeltaVee

    DeltaVee

    HV Arcas, AT F67

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2017
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Framingham, MA
    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!
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  20. Aug 31, 2019 #20

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    5
    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
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  21. Aug 31, 2019 #21

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    Obsessed with Rocketry Staff Member Administrator TRF Lifetime Supporter Global Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Messages:
    22,347
    Likes Received:
    1,317
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Glennville, GA
    A lot more reliable then the E-9
     
  22. Aug 31, 2019 #22

    Red7Fifty

    Red7Fifty

    Red7Fifty

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2019
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Anyone have the lot number of CATO engines? I just picked up some E12's from HL.
     
  23. Aug 31, 2019 #23

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    5
    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?
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Aug 31, 2019 #24

    Andrew_ASC

    Andrew_ASC

    Andrew_ASC

    UTC SEDS 2017 3rd/ SEDS 2018 1st

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    3,543
    Likes Received:
    424
    Gender:
    Male
    Not really dude. Go look at the thrust curve of a E18W. It’s actually a higher average thrust.

    https://www.rocketreviews.com/compare-motors-468317.html
     
  25. Aug 31, 2019 #25

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    5
  26. Aug 31, 2019 #26

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Underdog

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    5
  27. Aug 31, 2019 #27

    Zeus-cat

    Zeus-cat

    Zeus-cat

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,137
    Likes Received:
    352
    I just saw an E12 CATO today. The rocket did not fare well. I told them to contact Estes and file a MESS report.
     
    ChicagoDave likes this.
  28. Sep 1, 2019 #28

    BDB

    BDB

    BDB

    Absent Minded Professor

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,906
    Likes Received:
    238
    Gender:
    Male
    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.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  29. Sep 1, 2019 #29

    DeltaVee

    DeltaVee

    DeltaVee

    HV Arcas, AT F67

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2017
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Framingham, MA
    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!
     
    BDB likes this.
  30. Sep 1, 2019 #30

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    cwbullet

    Obsessed with Rocketry Staff Member Administrator TRF Lifetime Supporter Global Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Messages:
    22,347
    Likes Received:
    1,317
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Glennville, GA
    We had a few Catos yesterday of E12s.
     

Share This Page