Are Estes E12 black powder motors unreliable?

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NOLA_BAR

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I have flown 3 and 4 engine E12 clusters with no issues. I guess you take your chances. The E9 was well known to CATO, not sure about the E12.

My Estes Saturn V on 4 E12-6
AD33740A-4A19-49B9-AE5F-245F6DBCCD8D.png
 

Bill S

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I just started to use E12s, and made sure they were recent production (post-new machine at Estes), which I estimated as October 2020. I've flown 9 E12s now, no issues at all thankfully.
 

Gemini Junkie

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I may be testing the rocket gods: This rocket uses 14- 24mm motors. If the CATO percentage is as high for the E12 motors as indicated my rocket may be in trouble! This rocket's name is Tower of Power. I hope to launch it in July at Brothers, Oregon.
UX%jvX0RTMyG3o2ZFNL3+Q.jpg
 

Mike Haberer

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I know that not all CATOs make it to this list, but in all seriousness, the numerators here are pretty small compared to what I suspect the denominators are (at least for Estes and Aerotech, not sure what kind of market share Quest has or has had in the past). We are talking multiple thousands if not low 10's of thousands on 24mm (at least), multiple tens of thousands on mini's (13mm) and standards (18mm). Most of these number are little more than rounding errors. Fly'em. If they CATO, build another.
 
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DeeRoc29

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Thinking about doing a 52 x E12 cluster in a 8.5" diameter shipping tube rocket with flash pan ignition. Dumb idea? Should I just use 52 D12's?
 

heada

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At 52, you'll get some failure to ignite and some CATO regardless of C11, D12 or E12

Flashpan should be fun. Make sure to record it
 

Mike Haberer

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Do the D's first, then save your pennies and do the E's 2nd. That way you are sure to get one good flight.

Candidly, the E's are probably fine. If not, the CATO would be spectacular. Make sure to video the flight...
 

DeeRoc29

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I probably shouldn't say (or type) this out loud, but in 30 years of flying Estes rockets, I've not had a single one cato.

I'll probably start a build thread this weekend. The rocket is going to be tossed together in two weeks and will fly at Rocstock next month.
 

Mike Haberer

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I probably shouldn't say (or type) this out loud, but in 30 years of flying Estes rockets, I've not had a single one cato.

I'll probably start a build thread this weekend. The rocket is going to be tossed together in two weeks and will fly at Rocstock next month.
You are DOOMED!
 

sghioto

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All you have to do is make the proper offering to the rocket gods and everything will be fine.:p
 

cwbullet

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E9 and E12might be prone to a few more CATOs. I have seen quite a few, but the more recent motors flone seem reliable.
 

DeeRoc29

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I've flown lots of E9's with no issue. This will be my first E12 attempt. Will post video.
 

smstachwick

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I have never had an E9 or E12 CATO. Then again, it was far more common for me to fly on A thru D power when the E9s were in production and I only have a handful of flights on E12s.

E16s have also proven reliable, but I kept all of my 29mm black powder motors (Estes E16s and F15s) in my room where the temperature is more stable than my garage. I imagine the larger diameter would make them more prone to propellant cracking.

I also recently bought an Aerotech RMS 29/40-120 complete hardware set with two reloads, an E23-5T and an E23-8T. Hopefully those go together easily and get flown in my Star Orbiter without too much trouble. I haven’t seen an Aerotech casing CATO, although I did see a motor of some kind come loose from its mount at DART’s October 2021 launch. That was more excitement than I think I wanted that day.
 

Underdog

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This is interesting. I'm sure that others are curious to know if Estes' new manufacturing process would improve on the reliability. Do you have a photo of the failed E12-0? The E12_0 comes in a "three-pack", did you try the third?

estes e12_0.JPG
 
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sghioto

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I should say the first one tried out of the pack worked OK (E12-0) and that was last month. I don't have any photos but imagine an empty cardboard tube. As I said the nozzle was completely blown out, clean as a whistle.
 
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