iOptron CEM60 "center-balanced" go-to equatorial mount, without tripod


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The iOptron center-balanced CEM60 go-to German equatorial mount has a payload capacity of 60 pounds, yet the mount head (less counterweight) weighs only 27 pounds. Designed to give intermediate and advanced astrophotographers and visual observers both excellent performance and big scope capacity.
Our Product #: CEM60
iOptron Product #: 7200
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Product Description

This new iOptron CEM60 center-balanced German equatorial mount has:
60 pound maximum payload capacity
Unique and very stable center-balanced design
Built-in dual-axis go-to computer drive with 359,000+ object database
Built-in 32-channel GPS
Permanent periodic error correction and ST-4 autoguider port
Built-in illuminated polar finder scope with 2 arc minute accuracy
Adjustable counterweight shaft for operation at latitudes from 0° to 70°
Hard carry case for mount head

The iOptron CEM60 mount is a high payload capacity/high accuracy German equatorial mount that is well-suited to serious long-exposure astrophotography. The CEM60's unique center-balanced design centers the combined weight of the payload and counterweight directly over the mount's center of gravity. This allows for greater natural stability than a conventional German equatorial mount.

The mount is extremely light compared to its payload capacity - a nice benefit when setting up at a remote site. The mount head weighs only 27 pounds (12.3 kg) without counterweight, yet it has a 60 pound (27.3 kg) payload capacity.

The adjustable counterweight shaft prevents the counterweight from getting in the way of the optional tripod or pier when operating at low latitudes (from 10° down to the equator). Polar aligning is quick and accessible at all times since the standard equipment illuminated polar scope is not blocked by the declination shaft.

The CEM60 mount is equipped with iOptron's most advanced go-to technology and a database of 359,000 objects, making the CEM60 one of the most powerful and accurate go-to mounts available. Other mount features include a magnetically-loaded gear system, gear switches on both R.A. and dec axes, a screw/worm type latitude adjuster, and a built-in cable management system.

With its supplied 100V ~ 240V AC and 12 VDC battery adapters, the iOptron CEM60 is designed for both backyard or observatory imaging, as well as transporting to a dark sky site. It is ideal for visual observing and long exposure astrophotography .

Payload capacity: The CEM60 comes with a 21 pound (9.5 kg) counterweight capable of balancing instrument payloads up to approximately 30-35 pounds (13.6 to 15.2 kg). An optional counterweight will be needed to balance heavier loads up to its rated 60 pound capacity. Most astrophotographers will probably want to limit the instrument payload to a maximum of about 40 pounds, to benefit from the increased stability of having a smaller instrument on an over-sized mount.

Drive system details: The CEM60 has 288-tooth 5.75" (146mm) diameter aluminum drive gears in both right ascension and declination. Brass worms are standard. Periodic error is ~+/-5 arc seconds peak to peak. Permanent perriodic error correction is standard. The drive uses a patent-pending non-contact magnetically loaded gear system. Gear switches in both RA and dec disengage the gears for easier load balancing,

The standard equipment dual-axis DC stepper motors with encoders use a temperature-compensated quartz crystal oscillator controller to provide 0.06 arc second per step resolution, assuring an imperceptible stepping motion during visual observing and imaging. User-adjustable backlash compensation is standard.

The DC motors require a 12VDC (9~15VDC) power supply capable of providing a 2A output. The motors draw 0.6A while tracking and 1.1A while slewing. There are nine guiding, centering, and slewing speeds available: sidereal and 2x sidereal for guiding; 8x, 16x, 64x, and 128x sidereal for centering; and 256x (1°/sec), 512x (2°/sec) sidereal, and a maximum speed of ~3.75°/sec for slewing. There are five user-selectable drive speeds: sidereal, solar, lunar, the King rate for imaging near the horizon, and a user-defined speed.

The iOptron CEM60 comes with an appropriately-sized universal 100V ~ 240VAC to 12VDC adapter. It also comes with a standard equipment 12VDC cigarette lighter plug cable for use with optional rechargeable 12VDC battery packs, such as the iOptron 8 amp hour PowerWeight battery/7 pound counterweight combination or the Celestron 17 amp hour Power Tank.

Hand control details: The supplied GoToNova technology computer hand control has a built-in 32-channel GPS for accurate time and location acquisition when aligning on the sky. It has a more than 359,000 object go-to database that includes: 60 named deep sky objects; 9 solar system objects; the 110 object Messier Catalog, the 7,840 object NGC Catalog; the 5,386 object IC Catalog; the 12,921 object UGC Catalog; the 30,642 object MCG Catalog; the 109 object Caldwell Catalog; the 4,076 object Abell Catalog; the 400 object Herschel Catalog; 15 comets; 195 named stars; 210 double stars; 116 asteroids; 38,528 GCVS variable stars; the 88 modern constellations with their names and more; 258,997 SAO catalog stars; plus 60 user-defined objects.

The GoToNova hand controller has an 8 line/21 character LCD display and backlit LED buttons, plus a red LED reading light on the back. It has a built-in heater for good LCD visibility at temperatures as low as -4° Fahrenheit (-20°C). Permanent periodic error correction (PPEC) for astrophotography is built in.

An ST-4 autoguiding port is built in. A serial port in the hand control, and a supplied RS232 to RJ9 serial cable, allows connection to a computer and the internet for firmware upgrades as well as mount control using optional ASCOM-compliant software.

The CEM60 has a pre-wired instrument panel/cable management system that allows you to connect your imaging gear without having wires or cables dragging all over the mount when it is slewing or tracking. The instrument panel has two 12VDC outlets for powering your CCD camera or electric focuser. There are four non-powered USB 2.0 ports with Type A connectors for connecting to accessories. A 6P6C port is included to bridge the guiding port or accessories with a 6P6C/6P4C plug. The input panel next to the polar scope includes a 12VDC power input (5A maximum), a USB 2.0 port with a Type B connector, and a 6P6C port. These USB input and output ports allow you to wire up connections inside the mount head to suit your individual requirements.

Mount details: The CEM60's innovative center-balanced design mount puts the weight of the payload at the center of gravity, allowing greater natural stability and lighter weight - a nice benefit when setting up at a remote site. The equatorial head, not counting the standard equipment counterweight or tripod, weighs only 27 pounds (12.3 kg) for the highest payload to mount weight ratio in its category.

The mount is designed to operate in both northern and southern hemispheres at latitudes from 0° to 70°. Twin adjustment knobs in the base of the mount let you fine-tune the azimuth alignment on the pole over a +/-8° arc. When using the CEM60 mount at latitudes below 10°, a few simple adjustments of the unique variable position counterweight shaft lets you change the counterweight bar angle so the counterweight does not bump the tripod during use.

The standard equipment LED-illuminated polar alignment finderscope lets you align the scope on the celestial pole with a 2 arc minute accuracy, using a program built into the hand control. There is a built-in bubble level for leveling the mount for the most accurate tracking. A bright star alignment program in the hand control lets you polar align even when the pole is hidden by trees or buildings.

Optical tube mounting method: The spring-loaded mount head has an 8" dual saddle that accepts both industry-standard Losmandy "D-Plate" and Vixen-style dovetails.

No tripod or pier supplied: Because of the CEM60's ability to be used with a variety of scope types in both observatory and in-the-field situations, no tripod is supplied. This allows the purchaser to chose from a 48" pier for semi-permanent use with catadioptric scopes and astrographs (#8030), a 42" pier more suited to reflector use (#8033), and an adjustable height tripod with a maximum height of 52". The tripod weighs 17.1 pounds (7.8 kg) and has 2" diameter stainless steel legs. A spreader bar locks the tripod legs firmly in place during use. The tripod is very solid and stable, able to support the CEM60 equatorial head and even its heaviest rated payloads with ease.

If you're looking for a high-precision, high payload capacity German equatorial mount for serious astrophotography and visual observing - yet one that is portable and reasonably priced - take a careful look at the new iOptron CEM60. It may be just what you are looking for.

Tech Details

Weight 70 lbs.
Warranty 2 years


Review by:
I've been using this mount in my Observatory for about 10 months now. It's been working quite well, very heavy duty and tracks well even with my 10" Truss Tube RC. I'm only giving it 4 stars because of the magnetic clutches. I think it would work a lot better if the clutches (they're not really clutches, but I'm not sure what else to call them) were like the ones on the CEM 120 and CEM 40. Otherwise, a very nice mount. (Posted on 10/17/2019)
Review by:
Solid and quiet. Good weight to performance ratio, and tracks very well. My star diameter is now only limited by my seeing condition. (Posted on 10/17/2019)
Review by:
Having had a CEM60 for over a year. I find it its tracking capability to be outstanding. No guiding is required for focal lengths <1000mm. I am able to use it without guiding at focal lengths of 2000mm with out much concern and very little drift, provided proper polar alignment.

It just works. Zero backslash.

The autofocus option on the mount, works great with the RC10".

The only concern I have, is that IOptron needs to improve on its finish (paint, it does chip off). Other than that, this is an amazing product. (Posted on 9/10/2019)
Review by:
I've used this mount and matching tri-pier to carry my Esprit 120 APO for the past several months. My interest is astrophotography so I'm concerned about accurate tracking. When paired with a Polemaster, the mount was easy to polar align. The CEM-60 integrated well with SGP and PHD2 and unless there was significant wind, it always performed well when guided with an AstroTech 60 mm guide scope. My only problem with the mount was getting the hang of putting the right amount of tension on the dec and RA. Bottom line, If you're looking for a good mount but don't want to mortgage the house then consider the CEM-60. (Posted on 8/24/2019)
Review by:
I previously posted a review and didn't set the star rating. so this post is to give the star rating. Its a 5.

(Posted on 8/24/2019)
Review by:
I love this mount. I went from an AVX, to a Celestron DX, to this mount. I have this mount carrying my 10" Orion Astrograph, with modified rings that add an extra 8 lbs. of weight combined with my zwo 183mc pro and an 80mm guide scope. This mount carry's it like a champ. I typically guide at an .65 to a .80 RMS error using this set up. I use the pole master to set my polar alignment, and do a three star calibration. afterwards I am normally good on finding my star, but I like to add two more calibration stars, and with this its a little different from the celestron, but its easy to add. afterwards, its right on the money. however, with the 183 camera I normally shoot short exposures around 30-60 secs and don't even use my auto guider and it tracks great. I would definitely recommend this mount. (Posted on 8/24/2019)
Review by:
This mount is simply amazing, I upgraded from an older hypertuned Orion Atlas and its night and day. I use the mount only for imaging and can get consistently <0.7 arc sec error total and often closer to 0.5. The mount is light for it's capacity and can be moved easily if you teardown frequently. (Posted on 7/23/2019)
Review by:
Have seen this mount in action and the measured PE as well as reduced backlash makes this a powerful astrophotography platform. I have used the Atlas mounts and this one is on my waiting list as an upgrade. (Posted on 1/11/2019)
Review by:
I am very pleased with the CEM60. In my first astrophotography session using PHD2, I was extremely pleased with the overall tracking at a total error of 0.55. The mount is a lot quieter than my CGE Pro and definitely lighter! I have this hooked up to a Intel NUC with a serial port lid I purchased from GORITE and it performed perfectly the first time. Great mount! (Posted on 1/11/2019)
Review by:
This mount is amazing, great features, great interface with iOptron Commander. Tracks well, was able to get 6 min exposures with no guiding, 10 minutes with (could possibly go longer, but clouds moved in). Surprisingly light weight for the capacity. Small complaint being size of thumb screws, can be difficult to get a good grip on. Would buy again in a heart beat! (Posted on 1/9/2019)
Review by:
This mount has served me very well to date. Slewing is ultra-quiet. Pointing and guiding has been accurate. The magnetically loaded gears have almost no backlash. It is important to note, however, that you must ease back slightly from maximum tension to prevent an annoying grinding noise from occurring while slewing. I have had a loaded 11 Edge SCT and a 10 in. R-C on the mount (at different times of course) with no problem. Support is very good. (Posted on 12/7/2018)
Review by:
I was looking to upgrade from an old Atlas mount and initially thought I about a Mach 1, but seeing that there was a six month wait list I decided to take a chance on the CEM60. I wasn't expecting much of an upgrade over the Atlas, but I was pleasantly surprised. This thing just works perfectly, right out of the box. I image with an 8in Newt and CCD so the payload is about 25 pounds. I can easily do 5 and 10 minute exposures and guide at under 0.6" RMS most of the time. Balancing is extremely easy and the mount is quiet and runs very smooth. It's lighter than the other mounts in this class, has a higher payload and iOptron provides excellent support if you have questions about anything. Highly recommend this mount. If you get it, I recommend the Tri-Pier. It's rock solid and also easy to use. (Posted on 11/25/2018)
Review by:
I've owned multiple high-end mounts in the past. Sold them when I stepped away from this hobby. When I returned to the hobby, I decided to spend less money this time around. I started w/ the iEQ30 and iEQ45 Pro. When I purchased a 5-inch APO refractor for imaging, I knew I needed something w/ more capacity. I am very pleased w/ the tracking of the 2 iEQ mounts, so I looked into the CEM60. It seemed too good to be true: 60 lbs capacity, low weight-to-capacity ratio, and less than half the price of the rivals. I ordered the CEM60 from Astronomics and promptly put it to use as an imaging mount w/ my new refractor. The tracking is excellent. It is easy to use. Great for visual, great for imaging. (Posted on 11/21/2018)
Review by:
The CEM60 has been reliably handling a bulky, 190mm Mak Newt for three years and more recently an Edge 11inch. I can agree with the many favorable reviews on this site, for the mount. It is a clever design that delivers on the weight load specifications without weighing as much as similarly spec'd alternative mounts. This is not to claim it competes with high end mounts, at high end price points but I believe it's an excellent performer for its price position. (Posted on 11/18/2018)
Review by:
Go-to and tracking precision far superior to every other mount at this price point. 60lb payload on a mount that weighs 27lbs? Yes, that's right. Every mount with a 60lb-ish payload capacity weighs quite a lot more, most are double that weight. The mount has a RA axis locking pin that doubles as a lever for various retainers and the declination knob. That lever allows VERY precise changes that help me get to less than 0.05" alignment precision with ease.

Typical guide precision for me is < 0.5" on the average night and <0.3" on nights with good seeing. Guide performance is now limited by seeing rather than anything mechanical. It's a beauty. I can image all night long with my SCT at f/10 and full confidence that the mount can handle the weight and guide well within sub-pixel precision. (Posted on 11/9/2018)
Review by:
Mount has performed very well. Tracking has been excellent and above expectations. (Posted on 11/2/2018)
Review by:
I've had this mount for about 6 months and used it with everything from a Astro-tech 65mm quad to a 11" Celestron Edge SCT. Great mount for astro-imaging. VERY easy to polar align. Tracks well. Easy to set up. Light weight for the capacity and load balancing in a snap. What else can I say? (Posted on 10/30/2018)
Review by:
I've been using my CEM60 for astrophotography all summer and have been very impressed with it's performance and build quality. I can have it up and running in 10-15 minutes. The goto's are fast and the tracking is precise. I'm confident leaving it in the backyard all night long imaging away! (Posted on 10/30/2018)
Review by:
Very, very pleased with my CEM60 - you get a whole lot of mount for the money! Gives me consistently solid guiding results (around 0.5-0.6 arc-second) and is lightweight enough to allow me to bring it with me on international trips to dark sites.

You also get a lot of add-ins that are options you'd have to pay extra for with other mounts in its class, such as the cable management panel, illuminated polar scope and built-in GPS. I'm a big fan of the GPS - I just turn the mount on and, by the time I'm ready to slew to my first target, the mount knows exactly where it is and what time it is.

I would have no hesitation recommending this mount. (Posted on 10/17/2018)
Review by:
CEM60 is rock solid. Yet lisgt weight as I can carry it with one hand.

Centered balance design means this mount can stand on your bench with telescope & counterweight mounted on.

AP, zero backlash and work well with Autoguider. Usually 100% for my setup. (Posted on 10/10/2018)
Review by:
I love my CEM60. It's very lightweight for it's capacity, it is easy to polar align, and it tracks very well. I've put hundreds of hours of un-attended imaging on this mount and it just works. When the seeing is good I can get reliable 0.5 arc-second guiding with PHD2 and an OAG. The goto works well and the hand controller is typical iOptron easy, but I control it with SGP and it all "just works". No trouble is what I want in a mount and the CEM60 gives it. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
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