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iOptron CEM60, First Impressions

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#1 Alfred Tan

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 10:43 PM

Here is a report from Singapore.

1. The package of 3 boxes (CEM60, CW and iEQ45 tripod) arrived on 26 Jan 14. Mine is Serial No CA10005. PE Curve, measured by encoder is 0.300 arcsec RMS. It was dispatched from China on 24 Jan 14. The following are pictures and comments on my experience in unpacking and setting it up.

2. The items were delivered without a user guide. The user guide is expected soon. iOptron has asked the first batch of testers to give feedback on their experience.

3. Packing and transportation box – Excellent.

4. Quality of product – Excellent physical condition.

5. My experience in setting up:

a. The setting up is straight forward for a GEM user. Some points to note are listed below.

b. RA and DEC locks – these are of a new design. The gear switch uses magnetic force and will be either at lock or disengage status. To lock, simply turn it to “engage” position. To unlock to “disengage”. CAUTION: Make sure you place your other hand on the mount head to support it when you set to “disengage” position because the mount head may fall down under gravity.

c. Fitting CW bar - The fitting of the CW bar needs a little more care and attention. At an optimal angle(shown in image below), it can be done relatively easily.

d. Enagaging the Gear. To operate the mount, the RA and DEC locks must be placed in OPERATIONAL POSITION(a term I coined) – where the gear switch is full engaged for mount movement under power. This is how Kevin at iOptron explains this position: “Turn clockwise to release the gear switch. Turn counterclockwise all the way out then turn clockwise half a turn to engage the gear.” CAUTION: It is important to set the knob properly to the OPERATIONAL POSITION to prevent damage to the gear when the mount moves under power. This is my interpretation of the “engage” and “disengage” positions and settings for operation:

(1) Engage position – the knob has to be turned fully counterclockwise, RA/DEC axis mechanically locked.
(2) Disengage position – the knob has to be turned fully clockwise, RA/DEC axis is released and free to move. This position is used for balancing.
(3) OPERATIONAL POSITION – the knob has to be turned clockwise half a turn from the “engage” position.

6. Operating Experience.

a. I did a one-star alignment on Sirius. Aligning was straightforward and mount goes to selected target reasonably accurate with a 24mm EP on a Megrez 90 scope.

b. PHD guiding – East-West/Norh-South calibration was a breeze. Clearing backlash was also straight forward. Unfortunately autoguiding failed because mount was drifting.

7. Major problem experienced - The mount drifts in RA in easterly direction in Track mode. When I switched off tracking (by pressing 0/Stop button on HC), object drift as expected in the Westerly direction. When I select Track mode (press 0/Stop button one more time), object drifts in the opposite direction to the East. It appears that the mount is applying the wrong correction to track the objects. I am working with iOptron to establish the cause of the problem. Investigation is in progress. I have used Sirius and Jupiter as test targets. With a 24mm EP on Megrez 90 scope, the drift across the entire field of fov of the 24mm EP is:

(1) Sirius – 8 mins 45 sec.
(2) Jupiter – about 9 mins 10 sec.

8. Firmware info on my 8407:

a. HC – 140119

b. Main – 140115

c. RA and DEC – 140121

Welcome feedback and other reports :jump:

---------------------------------------
Now the pictures and comments:

1. Shipment boxes.
https://dl.dropboxus...ripod_CW_Mou...

2. Contents of the mount box.
https://dl.dropboxus...t Mount Box.jpg

3. Content of the mount box – items taken out.
https://dl.dropboxus...t Mount box.jpg

4. Mount Head and CW – front view.
https://dl.dropboxus..._Mount Head.jpg

5. Mount head – left side view
https://dl.dropboxus... Mount Head.jpg

6. CW bar.
https://dl.dropboxus...0/2b_CW bar.jpg

7. CW knob, mount head knobs and box keys
https://dl.dropboxus...t head knobs...

8. Power adapter
https://dl.dropboxus...wer adapter.jpg

9. Hand controller cable and another cable.
https://dl.dropboxus...ulse cables.jpg

10. Hand controller
https://dl.dropboxus...0/2f_8407HC.jpg

11. Battery cable and serial cable.
https://dl.dropboxus...n 232 cable.jpg

12. CW
https://dl.dropboxus...796390/3_Cw.jpg

13. Tripod
https://dl.dropboxus...EQ45 Tripod.jpg

14. Install bolts for Mount head, remove the North reference pin - it is not needed.
https://dl.dropboxus...rth pin n In...

15. Mount on tripod.
https://dl.dropboxus...t on tripod.jpg

16. Mount on tripod – securing bolt installed (on leveling bubble side)
https://dl.dropboxus...evel bubble.jpg

17. Mount on tripod – securing bolt installed (on compass side)
https://dl.dropboxus.../5d_compass.jpg

18. The lower red knob is for latitude setting adjustment.
https://dl.dropboxus...stment knob.jpg

19. The infamous gear switch knob. (NEW Design)
https://dl.dropboxus...n_support he...

20. Remember to tighten this back securing screw to prevent it hitting the mount
https://dl.dropboxus...aution_preve...

21. I find this is a good position to install the CW bar for the first time.
https://dl.dropboxus..._fit CW bar.jpg

22. Right-side view of mount installed on tripod.
https://dl.dropboxus... up (right v...

23. Left-side view of mount installed on the tripod.
https://dl.dropboxus... up (left vi...

24. Front view of mount installed on tripod.
https://dl.dropboxus... up (front v...
 

#2 Hilmi

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:25 PM

The instructions for engaging the worm are EXACTLY the same as those for the Paramount ME.

Congrats on new mount and I hope the problem gets resolved soon. Probably some minor code glitch
 

#3 Bluejay08

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:27 PM

Nice looking! Like the metallic red. Thanks for the photos, though take some time to open them.

For drifting, is there a tracking speed selection?
 

#4 Astronewb

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:44 PM

Very nice report Alfred, and excellent images. I downloaded a few from your Yahoo post and I am really enjoying looking at them.

Aside from the minor firmware glitch, ie; failure to track. :) One thing I noticed was that the mount did not come equipped with a thread on power connector. That's a shame, since the mount receptacle is still threaded for one.

Also, the cable between the RA and DEC axes has been improved over the original coiled cable, which could have been problematic.

Now I really want the CEM60 and CEM60 EC to hit the USA..;)

The supplied periodic error report of .30 arc seconds on your EC model is right in line with what iOptron estimated. Now to fix the tracking issue so you can confirm it.

Thanks again for the nice report, looking forward to more information as you put the mount through it's paces.

Best..Paul
 

#5 dvb

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:52 AM

Thanks very much for your report and excellent pictures. I hope you will keep posting to this thread as you use it more.

What is the heaviest rig you are planning to mount on it? I'm wondering if it will need CW bar extension or extra weights.
 

#6 mmalik

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:59 AM

Congrats Alfred. Engraving should have capitalized 'S' in Singapore; come-on iOprton, you could've done better than that? Regards

Attached Files


 

#7 Ranger Tim

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:11 AM

I would put up with cuss words on the nameplate for .30 arcseconds!

Thanks for the extremely detailed first look. This is going to be an interesting ride....
 

#8 Alfred Tan

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:42 AM

Hi all,

Thank you for your kind comments. Previously I have received excellent technical support from Kevin and John (iOptron Tech Support) for iEQ45 and Smart EQ mounts. I am confident that they are also fully behind the support for the CEM 60. My specific reply to:

Bluejay08's question - For drifting, is there a tracking speed selection?

Experienced drift in tracking drift in both sidereal and solar modes. The HC also has Lunar speed, King speed (don’t know what this is) and user defined speeds.

---------
Paul – Yes, agree with you that the power connector can be improved with one with a thread. I hope iOptron is listening :smirk: :grin:

--------
Dvb's question - What is the heaviest rig you are planning to mount on it? I'm wondering if it will need CW bar extension or extra weights.

The CEM 60 should be able to handle my Meade LX200R (OTA is 12.5kg), the heaviest OTA in my inventory for imaging. The CEM 60 comes with a 10kg CW. I use my iEQ45 CW with my Megrez 90.

https://dl.dropboxus...90_on_CEM60.jpg

So I can use the iEQ45 CW with the CEM60 CW if I have to use a bigger scope.

-------
Mmalik - Engraving should have capitalized 'S' in Singapore
It was an error in the engraving process. Hope to get another one with Singapore on it :)

--------
Ranger Tim – while the PE measured at encoder end is 0.3 arcsec rms, I would need to test its tracking errors with real objects
 

#9 Hilmi

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:49 AM

I wonder if the adjustable CW shaft angle introduces some flex at that point.If this is the case, I suspect this will affect people without encoders more than the ones who have encoders.
 

#10 nomosnow

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:01 PM

I see that there is a stick on bubble level??? :mad: :mad:
 

#11 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:39 PM

Very pretty.
 

#12 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:48 PM

Congrats Alfred. Engraving should have capitalized 'S' in Singapore; come-on iOprton, you could've done better than that? Regards


I see that the plate is easily replaceable so they can re-do it if you want.

I have decided that if I have mine engraved I will have them engrave it with 馬 午

Seems fitting. Look forward to seeing more of your results.
 

#13 Dan Finnerty

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:17 PM

Alfred,

What is the diameter of the counterweight shaft? I am wondering about compatibility with other mount counterweights.
 

#14 Alfred Tan

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 07:08 PM

Hi All,

Thanks for your comments/questions.

Dan - diameter of the CW shaft is 28mm.

Nomosnow - "stick on bubble" - My equipment are placed on a open roof top. You must have seen a broom stick in the corner of the roof top. LOL.

WhichwayisNorth - the small "s" on the plate is a small matter :) Main effort is to get mount working and test it :)

Hilmi - flexure at adjustable CW shaft - I am also new to this type of setup. I will report my findings on the tracking errors :)

Cheers.

Alfred
 

#15 Pak

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 07:50 PM

My initial thoughts after seeing the images and zoomed in. The fit and finish leaves a lot to be desired. Lots of trash in the paint, weld spots are ugly and some of the seams don't line up very well. These are not cheap mounts and I would have expected better. Not just for the money but also because whoever gets the first ones and posts photos are going to set the tone. Hopefully we will see some other photos soon.

I also agree that the way the counter weight bar is attached looks really iffy.
 

#16 Wmacky

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 07:56 PM

I hope this issue gets worked out. I'm super interested. I'd love to get an idea of how this mount compares to the Mach 1 size wise. Can you take a picture of it right next to the AP mount?
 

#17 Bluejay08

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:12 PM

I did not see the weld spots :-) I think it is die-cast body.
 

#18 whwang

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:37 PM

Hi,

Thank you for the report. It looks like the mount comes with an aluminum
carry case. Is this standard in the package? Or you pay extra to get the case?

Cheers,
Wei-Hao
 

#19 Astronewb

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:55 PM

Hi,

Thank you for the report. It looks like the mount comes with an aluminum
carry case. Is this standard in the package? Or you pay extra to get the case?

Cheers,
Wei-Hao


The fitted case ships with the mount, or should I say, the mount ships in it, it is standard equipment. A very nice touch.

Regards...Paul
 

#20 Astronewb

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:02 PM

I did not see the weld spots :-) I think it is die-cast body.


It is a cast part. The 'holes' or depressions I think he is referring to is a result of injecting the alloy at those points.

They could be polished off I guess, but now we're talking extra time and extra $$$ for little more than cosmetics

Now, other upper end mounts, like the Avalons and others are CNC machined from a solid block of alloy, and don't show any marks except the mill pattern in the finish. Some people don't like the milled finish either.

Bottom line, the paint finish on my iEQ45, ZEQ25, Smart EQ Pro and Mini Tower Pro has never prevented me from observing or imaging with them all, so I guess it really doesn't matter unless you're a collector who only plans on looking at the mount during daylight hours?

Just my humble opinion...Paul
 

#21 Astronewb

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:08 PM

I also agree that the way the counter weight bar is attached looks really iffy.



The z-balanced mounts use that setup, and it's very useful for users like Alfred who image close to 0 degrees latitude.

You can adjust the shaft out and away from the mount for counterweight clearance. Notice in the image how close the counterweight is at the top of the shaft to the mount, and it still clears.

The ZEQ25 has the same setup, and I've been using it for over a year with absolutely ZERO issues with shaft flexure, and that's with two counterweights on the mount.

I don't expect the CEM60 to be any different, it's a non-issue.

Cheers...Paul
 

#22 herrointment

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:09 AM

The paint job IS lacking....many of these products have paint that looks chalky or uncured or just "off". The kicked up chunks in the paint is just sloppy.

I agree it doesn't matter a whole lot.
 

#23 Hilmi

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:53 AM

Dear client please select 3 items from the following list, due to price restrictions we can only give you 3 out of the list:
1) Excellent paint job
2) Pretty looking assembly
3) Machined single block aluminium components
4) Outstanding native uncorrected PE
5) Minimum backlash
6) Load carrying capacity same as what is stated on the tin
7) Encoders to reduce reliance on guiding and further improve the tracking ability
8) Ability to setup at wide range of latitudes all the way down to 0 degrees.
9) Easy to use hand controller


I wonder how many people given that list to choose from would go for the combination of No. 1, 2 and 6 if they had budget restrictions. I suspect most of the target market for the CEM60 would buy it for the theoretical tracking performance vs. price
 

#24 Pak

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:05 AM

Dear client please select 3 items from the following list, due to price restrictions we can only give you 3 out of the list:
1) Excellent paint job
2) Pretty looking assembly
3) Machined single block aluminium components
4) Outstanding native uncorrected PE
5) Minimum backlash
6) Load carrying capacity same as what is stated on the tin
7) Encoders to reduce reliance on guiding and further improve the tracking ability
8) Ability to setup at wide range of latitudes all the way down to 0 degrees.
9) Easy to use hand controller


I wonder how many people given that list to choose from would go for the combination of No. 1, 2 and 6 if they had budget restrictions. I suspect most of the target market for the CEM60 would buy it for the theoretical tracking performance vs. price


If it were a $1500-2500.00 mount I would agree.
 

#25 Hilmi

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:12 AM

It is once you remove the encoders.

Find me a mount with encoders meant for tracking accuracy and not purely for pointing at this price point. A good way to look at it is to look at the price of the non encoder version of CEM60 and then add the cost of adding a telescope drive master unit to it. Suddenly it becomes clear that the price point is not so high after all.
 






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