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Old 10-24-2020, 02:13 AM
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BEC BEC is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
Posts: 3,190

Originally Posted by blackshire
I haven't used Quest motors for so long that one or two igniter "iterations" came and went without my seeing or using them; I'd only used the Tiger Tail ones. I wasn't considering the A3-4 being used in the Amazon (I got a pack of its lowest-impulse "B" motors for it). Does the A3-4 use a "Blackjack"-type propellant?

I think they call it "Fast Jack". Yes, black smoky exhaust, and a muted sound. Very different from the Quest black powder motors, especially those made in China.

I have seen but have never used the Tiger Tail igniters. Since then there have been the Quest Q2 igniters, which were similar to the Estes Solar igniter in appearance and behavior. Then came the much-prized-for-clustering Q2G2s. These were supplied with the Chinese-made black powder motor. These are a blob of black conductive pyrogen on the end of fine blue or red-insulated wire and are the ones that will fire on a continuity check if the check indicator is an incandescent bulb. 150mA will light them every time. But that same characteristic made them popular for cluster use (and drag races). They came with a small red "straw" (actually, I think, a short length of a small-diameter plastic coffee stir stick) for retention. I never found that to work very well.

I still have a stash of Q2G2s from buying bulk bags of the Chinese B6-4s (which also outperformed their Estes counterparts by a significant margin, helping me win B Cluster Altitude at NARAM-56). For single-motor use, an Estes igniter/starter, held in with a ball of wadding or an orange plug intended for 1/2A/A3 Estes motors, works fine in them.

The Q-Jets are a completely different animal and handle like the small composites that they are.

In my own experience a Q-Jet A3 is a little weaker than an Estes A8 and a Q-Jet B4 is on a par with Estes B4/B6 motors, based on altitudes reached (measured by altimeter) in a given typical sport model.

The C12s significantly outperform Estes C6s (and the new C5-3) and are my favorites of the Q-Jet line by far. The D16 is a C+, really.

To get back to your original question: the "FirstFire Micro Initiators" are safe on Estes controllers, and work just fine on them. They will even work with the little 9V battery-powered Astron II controller (so they should also work with the little pistol-grip-style Quest controller, though I've not actually tried that). The igniters are kind of fragile, and especially on the As require some care to get all the way into where they need to be inserted, as they ignite the motor at the top of the propellant, up against the delay, just like larger composites. There's a lot of empty space in the As (the propellant is short, but up towards the top of the case) so getting the igniter into the slot in the grain takes a little care. There's a bit of black shrink tube on the igniter that will be quite close to the nozzle opening if the igniter is fully inserted.

I have found that if one of these igniters is damaged and the pyrogen is knocked off the bridge wire, they will still fire a Q-Jet just fine as long as the bridge wire is not broken and they are properly installed.
Bernard Cawley
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