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  #1  
Old 10-11-2005, 12:18 PM
ghrocketman's Avatar
ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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Question Delay charges: new vs. old

This weekend I had the opportunity to launch several rockets in my backyard and decided to use some of my old "collectable/ no-longer-certified" engines, as well as some new Estes production.
Old engines used:
2 Estes 1/4 A3-4T (1974 production)
2 Estes 1/2 A3-4T (1976 production)
1 Estes A5-4 (1971 production)
1 Centuri A5-4 (1967 production)
2 Estes B6-4 (1977 production)
1 Estes A8-3 (1977 production)
1 Centuri B14-7 (1972 production)
1 Estes B14-5 (1976 production)
1 Estes B4-6 (production unknown, but OLD)
1 Cox 18mm D8-3 (1971 production; in my Mars Lander)
1 Estes D11-9 (early 80's production)
1 FSI D18-6 (1975 production)

New engines used:
2 Estes A8-3
3 Estes B6-4
1 Estes C6-7
1 Estes C5-3 (In my Mars Lander ! )
1 Estes B6-0

All engines except the FSI D18-6 performed as designed....fired perfectly !
The FSI D18 resulted in the expected kaboom CATO....luckily it was expected and in a rocket that was borderline worthless.

One thing that I noted was that I would guess all the old/decertified/collectible engines except the D11-9 produced about 10 TIMES the tracking delay smoke as the modern ones.
The old engines (after firing) had a much more prominent "sulfury" smell to them also.
I had not launched any of my old engines in a LONG time and decided to check out this "lack of delay smoke" discussion that I have seen several times on discussion boards.
Anybody know what the deal is with this ?
I suspect it is a reduction in sulfur content in the delay element but I'm not sure....I hope it is not the result of some sort of manufacturer cave-in toward the mamby-pamby environmentalists.
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Last edited by ghrocketman : 10-11-2005 at 11:10 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2005, 12:37 PM
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SEL SEL is offline
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[QUOTE=ghrocketman]This weekend <snip>
All engines except the FSI D18-6 performed as designed....fired perfectly !
The FSI D18 resulted in the expected kaboom CATO....luckily it was expected and in a rocket that was borderline worthless.[QUOTE=ghrocketman]

I had several rockets that I made from K&S tubes (almost a perfect fit for 21mm motors) apropriately called the 'FSMTV' (Flight Systems Motor Test Vehical). The plan is attached. I'd use a motor from each package of FSI motors in it. If one flew with out CATOing, I could be resonably sure that the other motors were OK. Worked most of the time.....

Sean
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2005, 06:41 PM
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barone barone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
All engines except the FSI D18-6 performed as designed....fired perfectly !
The FSI D18 resulted in the expected kaboom CATO....luckily it was expected and in a rocket that was borderline worthless.


I used to have alot of trouble getting a non-CATO out of FSI motors. I used Estes igniters and a wad of tissue to plug it into the motor. Then someone told me that the FSI motors built up so much internal pressure so quickly, that plugging the nozzle would cause them to explode. Switched to taping the igniter in and never had any trouble. Of course, I'm still hesitant about flying them in my vintage FSI rockets.....

Don
NAR 53455
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2005, 08:42 PM
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Carl@Semroc Carl@Semroc is offline
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Some time ago I noticed the Estes Patent Application that gave some insite into modern delay compositions.

From the patent: [0066] Delay powder is then fed into the engine casing and pressed to achieve the desired time delay prior to igniting the ejection charge. In this example, a time delay of less than 8 seconds was desired, and 1.5 grams delay powder was added, based on trajectory analysis calculations. Delay powder used in this example was Pyrodex HF-20.TM. made by Hodgdon Powder Company, but may be selected from other slow burning compositions (0.05 inches per second) as is known in the art.

The HF-20 burns at about 20 seconds per inch and produces very little ash and very little smoke. I have tested the more available Hodgdon RS black powder substitute. It also produces very little smoke or ash and produces a much more measurable thrust than the old delay formula that we used. In talks with Vern, he used a low grade black powder mix with a few extra ingredients to produce the long burn times and volumes of smoke characteristic of the early engines. We made ours by wetting black powder into a paste and adding sulfur and hexachlorethane. We dried it back out and granularized it so we could meter it on our machine. The resulting delay burned slow, had little flame, and produced volumes of smoke. When a C engine burned out the flame from the top of the engine was very small.

The flames after ejection from the top of today's engines is amost 1 1/2" long and lasts well over a second. That is what we think is burning Kevlar (which melts at 750 degrees F) and weakening body tubes from flame damage. The actual ejection charge only lasts about 50 ms maximum and does very little damage by itself.

We have fired and filmed many old and new engines and are analyzing the results to try to adapt our designs to be protected from the modern delay flames.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2005, 09:58 AM
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Shreadvector Shreadvector is offline
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You did not provide production years for the "modern" motors. Here is what I observed. Estes motors lost almost all tracking smoke during the delay sometime in the 1980's or early 1990's. I do not remember exactly when, but it became VERY obvious when Quest motors appeared. (It was also around the time that Estes motors went to "Poopy Clay".) The Quest motors (both the USA and the German made) have a TON of smoke throughout the delay burn. I commented about this on r.m.r. extensively. Comments about the Estes motor lack of smoke and extremely short delay times ( a -5 would give you 2 seconds of delay and a -2 would give you .5 seconds of delay) compared to the Quest extremely accurate delays (after they moved production to Germany) and massive smoke.

Well, Estes changed their motors. They fixed the "Poopy Clay" problem and the clay is stronger than it's ever been. They also added a lot of smoke to the delay and they became more accurate. Most of the smoke starts up midway to near the end of the delay, but it's better than no smoke at all - and it's pretty ****ed visible.

SO, check out extremely recent Estes production motors (from the last 2 or 3 years). Anything from year code C or ealier is not going to be good. A key hint in how old your Estes motors are is that you included a C5-3 motor. They have not manufactured those in years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
This weekend I had the opportunity to launch several rockets in my backyard and decided to use some of my old "collectable/ no-longer-certified" engines, as well as some new Estes production.
Old engines used:
2 Estes 1/4 A3-4T (1974 production)
2 Estes 1/2 A3-4T (1976 production)
1 Estes A5-4 (1971 production)
1 Centuri A5-4 (1967 production)
2 Estes B6-4 (1977 production)
1 Estes A8-3 (1977 production)
1 Centuri B14-7 (1972 production)
1 Estes B14-5 (1976 production)
1 Estes B4-6 (production unknown, but OLD)
1 Cox 18mm D8-3 (1971 production; in my Mars Lander)
1 Estes D11-9 (early 80's production)
1 FSI D18-6 (1975 production)

New engines used:
2 Estes A8-3
3 Estes B6-4
1 Estes C6-7
1 Estes C5-3 (In my Mars Lander ! )
1 Estes B6-0

All engines except the FSI D18-6 performed as designed....fired perfectly !
The FSI D18 resulted in the expected kaboom CATO....luckily it was expected and in a rocket that was borderline worthless.

One thing that I noted was that I would guess all the old/decertified/collectible engines except the D11-9 produced about 10 TIMES the tracking delay smoke as the modern ones.
The old engines (after firing) had a much more prominent "sulfury" smell to them also.
I had not launched any of my old engines in a LONG time and decided to check out this "lack of delay smoke" discussion that I have seen several times on discussion boards.
Anybody know what the deal is with this ?
I suspect it is a reduction in sulfur content in the delay element but I'm not sure....I hope it is not the result of some sort of manufacturer cave-in toward the mamby-pamby environmentalists.
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2005, 10:40 AM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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The C5-3 was purchased from a hobby shop 4 weeks ago "new" old stock in the "old" estes packaging...I bought their remaining 4 packs.....shame Estes discontinued these...there is nothing a C6-3 can do that a C5-3 won't do better !
The C6-3 should have been the motor they discontinued.

The A8-3's and B6-4's were from a new BL Flight Pak purchased less than a month agom at Michael's craft store.

Obviously the B6-0 would not have smoke

The C6-7 came from a pack purchased in the last 6 months at a local hobby shop.

If these are the "better" than 3 yrs ago Estes motors, I'm sure glad I did not have them.

The C5-3 had about the same smoke as all the other "modern" motors.

They could solve this by doing something simple.....CHANGE BACK TO THE OLD FORMULA !
__________________
When in doubt, WHACK the GAS and NEVER touch the brake !!!
No Harm=NO Foul advocate

Yes, there is such a thing as NORMAL
, if you have to ask, you probably aren't
!
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2005, 09:00 PM
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Nuke Rocketeer Nuke Rocketeer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barone
I used to have alot of trouble getting a non-CATO out of FSI motors. I used Estes igniters and a wad of tissue to plug it into the motor. Then someone told me that the FSI motors built up so much internal pressure so quickly, that plugging the nozzle would cause them to explode. Switched to taping the igniter in and never had any trouble. Of course, I'm still hesitant about flying them in my vintage FSI rockets.....

Don
NAR 53455


Back in my second BAR in the 80's I flew a lot of FSI motors. I had a lot of trouble using the thermalite wicks in the 21mm engines. In 1984 I tried using Estes Solar ignitors in them and had no more trouble. The only FSI motors I really had CATO problems with were the E60's.

I missed the poopy clay Estes motors as I was out of the hobby then. Good thing.

Joe W
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2005, 08:53 AM
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Shreadvector Shreadvector is offline
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Again, you provided no information on the year of manufacture. That is hidden in the code stamped on the side of the casing.

You mentioned buying C5-3 motors recently, and that shows you exactly how you can find motors made many years ago on the shelf today.

They dropped the C5-3 because they cost more to make and they had a very bad problem in year X when virtually all the C5-3 motors blew the casings apart when fired. You or I would simply say to fix the problem (which, IIRC, they identified as a flaw in tooling), but they did not want to deal with it in the future. Instead we have the C11 motor now.

So, the motors from the new Blast Off Flight Pack (BOFP, not BLFP) - did they have the mottled super strong clay or the powdery white "Poopy Clay"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
The C5-3 was purchased from a hobby shop 4 weeks ago "new" old stock in the "old" estes packaging...I bought their remaining 4 packs.....shame Estes discontinued these...there is nothing a C6-3 can do that a C5-3 won't do better !
The C6-3 should have been the motor they discontinued.

The A8-3's and B6-4's were from a new BL Flight Pak purchased less than a month agom at Michael's craft store.

Obviously the B6-0 would not have smoke

The C6-7 came from a pack purchased in the last 6 months at a local hobby shop.

If these are the "better" than 3 yrs ago Estes motors, I'm sure glad I did not have them.

The C5-3 had about the same smoke as all the other "modern" motors.

They could solve this by doing something simple.....CHANGE BACK TO THE OLD FORMULA !
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2005, 10:22 AM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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The motors in the flight pack have the "mottled" clay, not the "poopy" clay.
Not sure of the C5-3 date code.....I threw the more "modern" casings out...I can check my existing supply though....still have PLENTY of 'em.
__________________
When in doubt, WHACK the GAS and NEVER touch the brake !!!
No Harm=NO Foul advocate

Yes, there is such a thing as NORMAL
, if you have to ask, you probably aren't
!
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2005, 05:30 PM
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Phred Phred is offline
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Although I collect vintage motors, I have accumulated several dozen 1/2A6-4s.

This weekend, I launched my 1970's vintage ESTES Mark II, and a boosted (2 stage) Alpha on the 1/2A6-4s, and used an A8-0 for the booster.

All three motors performed flawlessly.

The two 1/2A6-4s left a very healthy brown-grey strip of tracking/delay smoke.
I immediately thought of this thread.

As an aside, I launched a BT-5 downscale of the old ESTEs Renegade on a 1/4A3-2t, and the motor spit out the back. There was a good 1-2" long flame that shot out with the motor. I was stunned!

Ph
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