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CEM70 has arrived

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#1 barrabclaw

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 07:47 PM

iOptron recently (last month or so) came out with a new model of their high-mid range mount. This takes the place of the CEM60, a mount loved by many but now discontinued. The CEM40 and GEM45 sit below this in iOptron's range and the CEM120 sits above it. There are two variants of this mount - the CEM70 and the CEM70G. The "G" model has a guidescope and camera built into the mount. It's a short focal length, so I question its utility except for people with wide FOV setups. More enticingly, the CEM70G has a USB3 hub built into the saddle as well as WIFI control built into the mount base. From what I have gathered, you can connect to everything - mount, iPolar electronic polar scope, full USB3 hub - with a single USB cable. That's pretty nice. The CEM70 has a USB hub in the saddle, but it's USB2. There are separate USB ports for the hub and the iPolar. Both units have power routed through the back of the mount up to the saddle as well. You have two 12V ports that are fed from the mount's power and one port that will, as I understand it, route whatever voltage you have at the input up to the saddle. So, you could put 5V through there. I haven't tested this yet.

 

My CEM70 (non-G) arrived in the mail today. I recently sold my Atlas to purchase something that could better handle the payload I image with. I use the Orion 190 mm Maksutov-Newtonian, which is about 22 lbs. Attached to that, I have a ZWO 1600MM Pro with filterwheel, auto-focuser, and OAG with the ASI290 mini. The total weight is probably around 30 lbs max, perhaps less.

 

There's already an unboxing video out there, so I won't bore you with that. I was hoping to go over some more details that were not present in other videos I've seen. I would like to also answer any questions people might have about this new model. Here's the PE curve iOptron measured on the bench. Real-world results will vary, I'm sure.

 

PE_Curve3.JPG

 

One feature I particularly like is that you can easily - I mean in 3 minutes tops - route a USB3 cable through the DEC axis and pull it out the back of the RA axis. There is a small black plastic cap on the back that pops right out. You can also easily remove the larger black metal cap that plastic cap resides in. Then, simply push a USB cable through the center of the DEC axis and pull it through with some tweezers. I thought it would be a pain to thread the cable down and fish it out, but it couldn't have been easier. Then store the plastic cap somewhere safe and secure the larger metal cap back in place.

 

CapOff2.JPG

 

DEC2.JPG

 

CapOn2.JPG

 

I plan on using this for my camera and I'll probably plug my other devices into the USB2 hub up top.

 

I also found the method for attaching the mount to the iOptron Tri-Pier to be a nice upgrade from the Atlas. There are two recessed bolts on the sides. They're spring loaded, so they don't poke out to get banged around and damaged until you want to screw them in. That means you have to push and turn, but I think that's worth it to keep them protected. Once you have the mount bolted down, the alt/az adjustments are a breeze - this is a vast improvement over the Atlas. The mount is rotating on its own base for azimuth, so there is no need for a teflon disc or anything like that. You lightly turn a couple knobs in the back of the mount. A child could turn these knobs, which is a far cry from the cranking required with the Atlas. There's a nice scale that shows you how many arc minutes you've adjusted by. The altitude adjustment is nearly as easy. The knob is on the front of the mount, so I'd suggest getting mostly aligned before attaching the counterweight shaft. But if you want to raise the mount, just give a little pressure back with one hand and a single finger can spin the knob like a stereo knob. Many of you may have a mount that is this easy to align, but I haven't experienced anything nearly this wonderful before.

 

The counterweight shaft is a massive beast. It's about 40 cm long and 28 cm in diameter. It screws in firmly with no wiggle. Again, this might not be interesting to many, but other Atlas owners might have known their shaft to wiggle from time to time.

 

Anyway, feel free to ask me about this mount. If it's something I can figure out or take a picture of, I'll do my best to reply quickly. The real tests, the ones out under the stars, are going to have to wait. This Saturday might be clear for me. I'd love to hear from you all on the best ways to test my new mount as well. I'd like to capture the periodic error and see what my guiding looks like.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Full2.JPG


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#2 barrabclaw

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 07:54 PM

One thing I forgot to mention is that the bolts that secure the mount to the Tri-Pier are too close to the main structure of the mount to spin the included L-shapes hex wrench. So, you have to turn ~45 degrees, pull it out, turn ~45 degrees, etc. It's a bit of a pain. I'll have to find a straight hex wrench that will make this easier.


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#3 DuncanM

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 08:09 PM

The PE looks really smooth on that mount. Congrats. On my CEM60 and CEM120 the measured PE under the sky closely matched the included PE printouts.

 

On my CEM60 the CW shaft is 28mm in diameter, so 28cm on the CEM70 is a major upgrade....wink.gif


Edited by DuncanM, 30 June 2020 - 08:13 PM.

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#4 eyeoftexas

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 09:22 PM

Thanks for the info on the mount.  I have begun eyeing various options in this load range, and the CEM70(±G) is near the top of the list.  Now that you have unpacked it, etc., you mentioned there's an unboxing video available.  In your experience, is it helpful and accurate?  Looking forward to hearing how it works under clear skies.  waytogo.gif



#5 RogeZ

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 10:46 PM

Just FYI for the newcomers to the hobby: you never, ever do what the OP did in the photo above. On a normal mount setting a scope in this manner with no CW bar and weights can make the clutches slip and basically destroy the scope against the pier. On the CEM mounts this cant happen but you can damage the worm system with any unbalance. Again, never do this!

Otherwise, mount looks great! Could you confirm the CWs have compression sleeves on them?
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#6 Michael Covington

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 10:55 PM

One thing I forgot to mention is that the bolts that secure the mount to the Tri-Pier are too close to the main structure of the mount to spin the included L-shapes hex wrench. So, you have to turn ~45 degrees, pull it out, turn ~45 degrees, etc. It's a bit of a pain. I'll have to find a straight hex wrench that will make this easier.

Would a wrench with a ball end help?  It does with my GEM45.



#7 Tom K

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 12:41 AM

Thanks for the info on the USB3 cable - this mount may be in my future!   I love my CEM60 but am not in love with the gear engagement knob system.   These "lock/unlock" levers would be an upgrade for me.


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#8 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 12:58 AM

Just FYI for the newcomers to the hobby: you never, ever do what the OP did in the photo above. On a normal mount setting a scope in this manner with no CW bar and weights can make the clutches slip and basically destroy the scope against the pier. On the CEM mounts this cant happen but you can damage the worm system with any unbalance. Again, never do this!

Otherwise, mount looks great! Could you confirm the CWs have compression sleeves on them?

True.

 

But I assume the CEM70 has a safety pin just like the CEM60? or not?



#9 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 05:42 AM

Just FYI for the newcomers to the hobby: you never, ever do what the OP did in the photo above. On a normal mount setting a scope in this manner with no CW bar and weights can make the clutches slip and basically destroy the scope against the pier. On the CEM mounts this cant happen but you can damage the worm system with any unbalance. Again, never do this!

Otherwise, mount looks great! Could you confirm the CWs have compression sleeves on them?

 

Very good point and I totally agree in general. In this case, the RA axis is disengaged and there's a safety pin, visible if you look closely. But thank you for pointing this out since I definitely didn't make that clear!

 

Edit: The vendor actually sent the mount alone without the counterweight. I bought the tri-pier used along with a 20 lb iOptron counterweight that does have the compression sleeve (very nice). Even though I'm almost positive the counterweight the CEM70 comes with will be the exact same one, I can't confirm that right now. The single weight at the end of the shaft just about balanced the scope alone (no camera assembly). It might've needed another pound. I put everything away and then decided to try adding the USB3 cable. So I set up the mount without the shaft (locked with the safety pin), threaded the cable through, and then tested the length by putting the scope on top. So that's what the picture is from. I should taken one earlier when I had the shaft and weight on as well.


Edited by barrabclaw, 01 July 2020 - 06:09 AM.

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#10 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:05 AM

Thanks for the info on the mount.  I have begun eyeing various options in this load range, and the CEM70(±G) is near the top of the list.  Now that you have unpacked it, etc., you mentioned there's an unboxing video available.  In your experience, is it helpful and accurate?  Looking forward to hearing how it works under clear skies.  waytogo.gif

It was nice to see a video of the mount in addition to the somewhat limited images iOptron provides. I haven't noticed anything different between his video and my mount, so I'd say it's accurate. 

 

Would a wrench with a ball end help?  It does with my GEM45.

The one that comes with it has a ball end, but you just can't tilt it far enough to do a full rotation with the L-shape.



#11 Astro_BC

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:10 AM

Thanks for all the info so far.

Did you try plugging into computer or HC and slewing around? (With counterweight on!)

#12 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:30 AM

Thanks for all the info so far.

Did you try plugging into computer or HC and slewing around? (With counterweight on!)


Since it needed a bit more weight - I could balance it with just a push of a finger - I didn't go far off vertical. But I did slew a little bit to see what it sounded like. At high speed, it sounds beautiful. At low speed, it was kind of loud. When I first tried, there would be a humming after you stopped motion. There was a firmware update and now it has a much softer "on" sound.

When tracking, there is a click coming from the motor. I've seen users post about this with the CEM120 as well. Does anyone know if that's totally normal? I was thinking it's just the stepper motor doing it's thing, since others have heard this on other models.

#13 Astro_BC

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:40 AM

Very good point and I totally agree in general. In this case, the RA axis is disengaged and there's a safety pin, visible if you look closely. But thank you for pointing this out since I definitely didn't make that clear!

Edit: The vendor actually sent the mount alone without the counterweight. I bought the tri-pier used along with a 20 lb iOptron counterweight that does have the compression sleeve (very nice). Even though I'm almost positive the counterweight the CEM70 comes with will be the exact same one, I can't confirm that right now. The single weight at the end of the shaft just about balanced the scope alone (no camera assembly). It might've needed another pound. I put everything away and then decided to try adding the USB3 cable. So I set up the mount without the shaft (locked with the safety pin), threaded the cable through, and then tested the length by putting the scope on top. So that's what the picture is from. I should taken one earlier when I had the shaft and weight on as well.

Is your vendor shipping the counterweight they forgot?

#14 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:43 AM

Is your vendor shipping the counterweight they forgot?


They are now! It's supposed to be clearish on Saturday. I was hoping to test it out, but we'll see if the weight arrives in time. There may be an extra weight at our dark site.

Anyone thinking of ordering this, call your vendor. Mine said it was such a new item they didn't have it set up properly to automatically ship a weight with it (they come in separate packages). It was a vendor oversight, not the manufacturer's.

#15 Tom K

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 08:57 AM

I was looking through the manual and online images and it seems that the altitude and azimuth adjustment systems have changed from the CEM60.   For one I did not see any callout in the manual for an azximuth locking clamp.  If I am guessing right it appears to be like my old Meade LX-5 wedge that has two opposing bolts that move a lever to adjust and in that mount locking came from both bolts being tight to the lever.   Is that what is going on here?

 

Also, I am curious to hear how well the altitude lock works, specifically whether it alters the position in altitude when locked down.   

 

Thanks!



#16 Tayson82

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 09:13 AM

COOL setup, and nice mount!

Everybody needs own wiring :)

 

 

This takes the place of the CEM60, a mount loved by many but now discontinued.

Why??????
 


Edited by Tayson82, 01 July 2020 - 09:14 AM.


#17 Michael Covington

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 09:37 AM

Why discontinued?  Because the CEM70 replaces it.


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#18 DuncanM

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 01:44 PM

Since it needed a bit more weight - I could balance it with just a push of a finger - I didn't go far off vertical. But I did slew a little bit to see what it sounded like. At high speed, it sounds beautiful. At low speed, it was kind of loud. When I first tried, there would be a humming after you stopped motion. There was a firmware update and now it has a much softer "on" sound.

When tracking, there is a click coming from the motor. I've seen users post about this with the CEM120 as well. Does anyone know if that's totally normal? I was thinking it's just the stepper motor doing it's thing, since others have heard this on other models.

My CEM120 made a clicking noise when I first got it and it seemed to have no impact on performance (which is excellent).



#19 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:52 PM

I was looking through the manual and online images and it seems that the altitude and azimuth adjustment systems have changed from the CEM60.   For one I did not see any callout in the manual for an azximuth locking clamp.  If I am guessing right it appears to be like my old Meade LX-5 wedge that has two opposing bolts that move a lever to adjust and in that mount locking came from both bolts being tight to the lever.   Is that what is going on here?

 

Also, I am curious to hear how well the altitude lock works, specifically whether it alters the position in altitude when locked down.   

 

Thanks!

The azimuth adjustment looks to be the same as on the CEM120, just with different knobs. You lock it down by tightening both knobs. That sounds like how your Meade LX-5 works, although I haven't seen that myself. I really like it because it's smooth and easy to adjust since your rotating the upper part of the mount on the bottom part. You can bolt your mount down tight to the pier and adjust with ease, unlike how my previous mount worked.

 

I'll have to test out the altitude lock when I get out under the stars. I don't see any motion, but it should be more noticeable when I'm trying to do my polar alignment. I think it'll be pretty apparent using the iPolar. I'll keep that in mind when I take it out!


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#20 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 06:55 PM

COOL setup, and nice mount!

Everybody needs own wiring smile.gif

 

 

Why??????
 

Thanks! Yeah the easy wiring through the mount is awesome. My scope would get tangled a lot. It's easier to get cables wrapped around this scope than with a refractor, I think.

 

Why discontinued?  Because the CEM70 replaces it.

 

Exactly. Provided that it performs as well as the CEM60, I don't think there's much of a place for the CEM60 anymore. The CEM70 has some nice updates/features, a supposedly higher payload, and a similar price point. The CEM60 without iPolar was a few hundred cheaper, so some might still opt for that. But the CEM70, which only comes with iPolar, is within $200 of the CEM60 with iPolar.



#21 Astro_BC

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 07:43 PM

Out of curiosity, how did you polar align your Atlas? Sharp cap, polemaster, drift?

#22 barrabclaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 08:07 PM

Out of curiosity, how did you polar align your Atlas? Sharp cap, polemaster, drift?


I always used SharpCap. I'm planning on seeing how that compares to iPolar now. It seems using SharpCap with my main scope must be better than using a small scope in the mount, but I'm not sure. iPolar might be quicker.

#23 Aves

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Posted Yesterday, 01:31 PM

Thanks for the first report, especially the wiring through the mount is nice.

 

Did the mount came in some packaging foam? And could you tell the dimensions? It is not listed on the iOptron website.

At the moment I'm looking for some transport box and want to find out if the CEM70 would fit in there.



#24 barrabclaw

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Posted Yesterday, 01:50 PM

Thanks for the first report, especially the wiring through the mount is nice.

 

Did the mount came in some packaging foam? And could you tell the dimensions? It is not listed on the iOptron website.

At the moment I'm looking for some transport box and want to find out if the CEM70 would fit in there.

There wasn't any foam. The metal case was double-boxed. The metal case itself is approximately 50 cm x 43 cm x 22 cm. That's including the handle and rubber feet, as best as I could measure. The case is pretty nice and just about the smallest package you'll get the mount, counterweight shaft, handcontroller, and cables in. You could get something a little bit smaller if you put only the mount head in a box.

 

The mount itself is 41 cm x 29 cm x 17 cm. I was being a little conservative, erring on the side of it being larger, with all of these measurements when it was hard to tell the longest dimension exactly.

 

Edit: There wasn't any foam between the boxes and the metal case. The metal case has nicely cut foam holding the mount.

 

Capture2.JPG


Edited by barrabclaw, Yesterday, 01:50 PM.

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#25 Aves

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Posted Yesterday, 02:28 PM

Ah this is what I meant. Thanks




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