iOptron CEM25P "Center Balanced" go-to German equatorial mount with hard case, 2" tripod


Availability: More on the way

Hard case, 2" tripod, and upgraded electronics from the CEM60.  The Center-Balanced CEM25HC2 has everything you would want or need in a lightweight, yet robust, equatorial mount package.
Our Product #: CEM25HC2
iOptron Product #: 7102P-HC
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Product Description

The iOptron CEM25HC2 center-balanced go-to equatorial mount has an upgraded tripod with 2" legs for added stability, a hard case for the equatorial head, is whisper quiet, light in weight, and uses up to 60% less power than other mounts in its category. The hard case is included in this package at less than the cost of buying the mount and case separately.

The iOptron "Z" design mount puts the weight of the payload over the mount's center of gravity, allowing for greater natural stability. Given its payload capacity, this means the "Z" designed mount is unusually light, a nice benefit when transporting and setting up at a remote observing site. Other mount features include an adjustable counterweight bar to allow low latitude use without the counterweight hitting the tripod. And polar aligning is quick and accessible all the time since the polar scope is not blocked by the declination shaft.

The iOptron CEM252 is equipped with the latest advanced GOTONOVA go-to technology, making it one of the most powerful and accurate go-to mounts available. Its go-to database includes over 150,000 objects. The hand control is intuitive to use and its large 4-line LCD screen simplifies the process of aligning your scope on the night sky and locating objects.

The iOptron CEM252 features a new design center-balanced CEM25P equatorial mount for a maximum payload of 27 lbs (12.3 kg), with mount-only weight of only 10.4 lbs (4.7 kg). It is a specialized astrophotography mount ideal for entry-level and intermediate astro-photographers. It has a spring loaded gear system with customer-adjustable loading force. Gear switches on both R.A. and DEC axes allow easy balancing when disengaged. A pivoting counterweight shaft allows for 0º latitude operation. There is a spring loaded Vixen-style saddle for mounting optical tubes with a V-style dovetail mounting bar.

The included iOptron AccuAlign calibrated polar scope has dark-field illumination and an easy polar alignment procedure, allowing for fast and accurate polar alignment. There is also a polar alignment routine in the software for those who can't see the Pole Star.

The iOptron mount's stepper motor has low power consumption for extended use in the field. The drive has low periodic error (< ± 10 arc seconds). It features new electronics and a control adapter from the more than twice as expensive iOptron CEM60. The controller features a built-in 32-channel Global Positioning System (GPS) and an integrated ST-4 autoguiding port. There is also a serial port for firmware upgrade and computer control.

The heavy-duty tripod weighs 17.6 lbs (8kg). It has 2" diaameter stainless steel tripod legs, with a die-cast metal tripod spreader and accessory tray.

Other CEM25 packages are available with a lighter 1.5" diameter leg tripod that decreases the tripod weight to 11 lbs (5kg), for those situations where saving weight is an important consideration. Also available optionally are a PowerWeight rechargeable 8 amp hour battery pack/counterweight combination, and an optional StarFi WiFi adapter for full function control via SmartPhone/Tablet/Computer.

Tech Details

Warranty 2 years


Review by:
I purchased the CEM25P because I was looking for a portable, inexpensive mount that would allow me to move into taking astrophotos at longer focal lengths than my iOptron SkyGuider Pro allowed. I chose it over its competitors largely because of its light weight compared to its advertised capacity as well as the two-year warranty offered by iOptron. Since this is my first equatorial mount (other than the SkyGuider Pro), I can't make any comparisons, but I can give my impressions of this mount.

Overall, I'm pleased with the mount. It's easy to set up, light in weight and easily portable. Since I haven't progressed to guiding yet, I can't test the claimed periodic error of +/- 10 arcsec. The instruction manual appears to have been
written by someone whose first language is not English; there are some grammatical errors, but it is understandable.

Set up became pretty simple, once I had done it a couple of times, although having to connect a cable between the main unit and the DEC unit in order to illuminate the polar scope seems to be a bit of a kludge. Ditto for having to connect a cable between the RA & DEC units.

The hand controller has a menu setting that shows what position Polaris should occupy on the polar scope reticle, but it is rudimentary at best. The smartphone app "PolarFinder" gives an exact reproduction of the iOptron reticle with a small green dot showing where Polaris should be for proper polar alignment and is well worth the small fee charged. The reticle itself consists of two sets of concentric circles with tic marks every 5 degrees, making it easy to put Polaris where the smartphone app indicates it should be. The app allows the user to choose reticles from several brands of mounts and, based on looking at them, iOptron's seems as though it would be the easiest to use except, possibly, for Astro Physics'.

I have noticed a tendancy for Polaris to drift a bit when I tighten the locking bolts, so I ended up having to iterively
align Polaris, tighten the bolts a bit, re-align Polaris, tighten the bolts a bit, etc.

Since I'm strictly an imager and use a DSLR lens for my optics, I haven't had a chance to try any of the star alignment
methods, and can't comment on the accuracy of gotos. I use plate-solving via Astrophotography Tool (APT) to center my intended target. I can say that the iOptron ASCOM driver has worked without a hitch for this purpose and that the mount slews quickly and quietly to the intended target. Once there, the target stayed centered in the picture for the two hours or so needed to take a large number of images. When the intended target passes the meridian, necessitating a meridian flip, the mount accomplishes this quickly and quietly. A second plate-solving then ensures that the target is in the center of the picture, so another session of images can be taken.

Overall, I think this is a good entry-level mount, inexpensive, light for its rated capacity, quiet, easy to set up and would be a good start for someone wanting to give astrophotography a try without breaking the bank on a bunch of expensive
equipment or for someone wanting a light, portable setup that could be taken almost anywhere. (Posted on 1/12/2019)
Review by:
I purchased this to move down in size a bit from my existing rig. Paired with an ES 80mm CF, so fair has proven a delightful mount. Quick to setup, reliable performance, and lots of potential for advanced 'tinkering' when I want to experiment with new directions such as AP. (Posted on 12/26/2018)
Review by:
This mount has everything I want in a go to mount the weight capacity is right for the type of Scopes and AP that I am doing.
(Posted on 11/2/2018)
Review by:
I purchased this mount to use with my Lunt LS60T for solar imaging. I wanted a lighter mount than my Atlas since I need to set up and tear down each time. I love the weight of the mount and although it took some time to get used to leaving all the clutches wide open while attaching everything to it, it is now a quick and easy set up each time. The mount is quiet and very responsive, and with rough polar alignment I only need to make minor adjustments during an imaging run. This is a great mount for someone looking for a lightweight system that is well built and reliable. (Posted on 10/28/2018)
Review by:
I purchased this mount to use with an AT65EDQ purchased at the same time. I’ve got limited space in our current condo and this is a good combination. The plan is to learn astrophotography with this setup. So far so good. Whish I had more time and less clouds. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
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