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  #1  
Old 05-15-2021, 06:54 PM
Vanel Vanel is offline
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Default Estes StarTech starter experiment.

A friend and I took advantage of the good weather to make a comparison of the new Estes StarTech starters to the current ones. Weve all seen the video posted on the web, but I wanted something a little more quantitative, and he was more than happy to put the drag race function of the new HARA wireless controller to use in this task. We taped an old starter and the new StarTech starter to the side of a box and I set my GoPro to 720p/120 frames per second to record the action - pretty simple experiment.

The results are:

At the moment of ignition (t = 0 seconds), the old starter burns hotter than the new Startech.

However, 1 video frame (0.008 seconds) later, the StarTech is producing a prodigious amount of flame.

The old starter is dead after 57 frames (0.475 seconds).

The new StarTech is like the Energizer Bunny - it keeps going and going, still emitting sparks 232 frames after ignition (1.935 seconds) and finally dying at frame 354 (2.953 seconds).

So basically the new StarTech starters will torch the inside of the motor for a good 2 seconds and be hot for 3 seconds. Id say that would light even stubborn BP motors. It also might singe the bottom part of a heavy, slow moving rocket as it gets going.

I have posted the video to YouTube here (StarTech starter is on the left).

You can get a smaller version of the video with the frame numbers added on the bottom from my ftp site .

Im attaching a few stills from the video.

GH should like these starters
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2021, 06:07 AM
jnmiller jnmiller is offline
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What is the composition of the new ignitors? ie, what is the chemical at the tip?
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  #3  
Old 05-17-2021, 01:40 AM
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Royatl Royatl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnmiller
What is the composition of the new ignitors? ie, what is the chemical at the tip?


Estes General Manager Bill Stine has only said that it is an "exothermic compound."
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Old 05-17-2021, 07:46 AM
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Sometimes NO information is better than ststing the Obvious.
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Old 06-05-2021, 05:31 AM
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Just received my StarTech starters yesterday - I tried one with a Estes Solar controller (6v), and one with my 12v relay system. At 6v, they made a large glowing orange orb, but did not produce flame like Solar igniters. At 12v, they were definitely energetic, though just a hair slower than Solar igniters. They'll get the acid test to day - a 7 motor cluster with my 12v system.
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:31 PM
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LeeR LeeR is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulK
Just received my StarTech starters yesterday - I tried one with a Estes Solar controller (6v), and one with my 12v relay system. At 6v, they made a large glowing orange orb, but did not produce flame like Solar igniters. At 12v, they were definitely energetic, though just a hair slower than Solar igniters. They'll get the acid test to day - a 7 motor cluster with my 12v system.


Paul, anxious to hear how they do. I would prefer to save my remaining Quest Q2G2 igniters for 24mm and 29mm clusters, and use the new Startechs for 18mm clusters.
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeR
Paul, anxious to hear how they do. I would prefer to save my remaining Quest Q2G2 igniters for 24mm and 29mm clusters, and use the new Startechs for 18mm clusters.
I flew a bunch of StarTech "starters" yesterday, some with an old 6v Solar Controller, most with my 12v relay controller.

With the 6v Solar Controller, there was a noticeable lag between pressing the button and motor start, though all worked fine, and certainly better than the previous glue-tipped starters. With the 12v system, single motor rockets, they were much better, and started fast.

For my Hydra VII, I soldered all starter leads together, in parallel, to ensure any failure would not be due to poor connections, including some additional "shooter" wire to get all 7 together. This made for a fairly rigid set of starters, unlike the flexibility of 2-wire igniters. All were held in with Estes pink plugs. Motors were 4xB6-0 and 3xC6-5. It was launched with my 12v relay system, which has a ~10AH lead-acid battery, and thick leads from the relay to the pad. Brand new solid copper clips. At launch, there was noticeable lag when pressing the button, unlike 7x Q2G2s or old-style MJG BP motor starters. By sight and sound, it was clear that not all motors started at the same time. I should have taken a high speed video, it seemed like some motors didn't start until nearly off the rod, probably dragging the leads. Still, 6 of 7 motors worked. Post-flight-analysis showed all igniters worked, so my working theory is that the rigid set of starters pulled out before all 7 motors started. With Q2G2s and old-style MJG, the Hydra VII always started instantly and leapt off the pad.

For the next flight, I plan to solder on flexible leads to all 7 starters, to give them more time before they get yanked. Even if this improves reliability, it'll be a pain, and I need to start thinking of alternatives. I don't think the newer MJG starters are a good solution, they're essentially small e-matches, with longer, stiffer wires, more costly, and I doubt they'll fit consistently well in B6/C6 nozzles. I do have quite a stash of solar igniters, it would be interesting to do a side-by-side cluster test between those and StarTech. Since I have 2 Hydra VIIs built, I could do this easily at the same launch. I also need to try smaller clusters.

At this point, though, it doesn't look like I'll be able to use these in place of lower-current starters for large clusters.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:47 AM
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Bummer.
I was hoping they would be BETTER than old Solar Igniters.
Sounds like they may be hot enough for some composites though.

Back many years ago, I used plain Solar Igniters to ignite Composite Dynamics E20, F40, and F45 motors with complete success. I had no idea that it "shouldn't" work....
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:06 PM
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Paul, too bad about the new Startechs. Great for single use, I guess. Adding extended wires is certainly a pain. I did it once for older Estes igniters and gave up the idea of it being a viable solution.

I have had 100% success with e-matches lighting single motor flights using Estes 24mm and 29mm motors (D12 and F15). But, my first F15 cluster using the e-matches resulting in only 2 of the 3 lighting. Flight was OK, just a lower altitude flight. Going to Q2G2s gave instant ignition on three F15s.

Looks like its back to soldering nichrome bridge wire onto twin lead and using a Firefox pyrogen dip. I want to save my remaining inventory of Q2G2s for 18mm clusters.
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