iOptron SmartStar CubePro AZ Mount

£315.00
  (2 Reviews)
✓ 2 year warranty

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About this product

Model:  iop_cubepro
Part Number:  8200

Portable, easy-to-carry, precision alt-azimuth GOTO mount.

This new CubePro mount has completely redesigned electronics and firmware and iOptron's latest GOTONOVA® computerised control system. Essentially it is a compact sturdy mount that features the same precision goto and tracking technology found in the MiniTower, packaged into a portable, easy-to-carry system. 

The Go2Nova® 8408 hand controller features over 150,000 celestial objects with a 4-line backlit LCD screen. A 32 channel internal GPS, easy alignment procedure and accurate GoTo and auto-tracking reduces setup time.

The standard Vixen-type dovetail saddle makes this mount compatible with many different OTAs.

CubePro is compatible with all ASCOM compliant planetarium programs and many other programs such as The Sky X, Starry Night and Sky Safari. 

New features include:

  • All new electronics
  • Super quiet tracking
  • 8408 Go2Nova® hand controller with AA/EQ dual operation
  • Large database with 150,000+ objects
  • Fully computer controllable using latest iOptron Commander and ASCOM
  • Attaches to a camera tripod with 3/8” thread (or ¼ thread via a converter)
  • Wireless control with optional StarFiTM Wi-Fi adapter

FEATURES

  • Grab ‘N Go altazimuth mount – The CubePro: the only mount of its kind for ultimate rotation
  • Metal worms and ring gears
  • 3.6kg / 8lbs payload for various scopes and cameras, with 1.4kg / 3.1lb mount head
  • Go2Nova® 8408 hand controller with Advanced GOTONOVA® GOTO Technology
  • 150,000+ object database with 60 user-defined objects
  • Large LCD screen with 4 lines and 21-characters hand control with backlit LED buttons
  • Dual-axis servomotor with optical encoder
  • 9 speed for precise mount moving control
  • Built-in 32-channel Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Altazimuth/equatorial (AA/EQ) dual operation (needs a wedge for EQ operation)
  • Vixen-type dovetail saddle
  • 3 lbs counterweight and stainless steel CW shaft included
  • Operate on 8 AA batteries (not included)
  • 3/8" threads to fit on camera mount
  • 100~240V AC power adapter included, optional 12V DC adapter (#8418) available
  • Serial port for firmware upgrade and computer control
  • Latest ASCOM and iOptron Commander for mount remote control
  • RS232-RJ9 serial cable for firmware upgrade and computer control
  • Sturdy 1.25” stainless steel tripod
  • Optional StarFiTM WiFi adapter #8434 for mount wireless control

Go2Nova Hand Controller 8408

  • 150,000+ object database
  • Large LCD screen with 4 lines and 21-character with backlit LED buttons
  • User friendly interface
  • 9-speed setting for motor slew speed
  • Serial port for firmware upgrade and mount computer control

Product Videos

What's in the box

  • 1X SmartStar® CubeProTM mount
  • 1X 8408 Go2Nova® hand controller
  • 1X 3.5lb counterweight
  • 1X Counterweight shaft
  • 1X Controller cable
  • 1X Serial cable
  • 1X 12V AC/DC adapter
  • 1X Tripod

Specifications

Mount AltAzimuth Mount
Body Materials Die-cast Aluminium
Maximum Payload 8 lbs
Mount Weight 1.4kg / 3.1lbs (w/o batteries)
System GoToNova®
Motor Dual-Axis DC Servo motor with encoders
Gear Aluminium worm wheel/Brass worm gear
Bearing 4 steel ball bearings
Hand controller Go2Nova® 8408 w AA/EQ dual mode
LCD display 8 line, 21 character with LED backlit
Database 150,000+ object database
Slew Speed 1x, 2×,8×,16x, 64×,128x, 256×,512x and MAX(~4º/sec)
Tracking Control Automatic
Tracking Rate Celestial, Solar, Lunar, King and User defined
Resolution 0.5 arc second
GPS 32-channel GPS
Processor 32bit ARM
Level indicator Yes
Dovetail Saddle Integrated VIXEN saddle
Counterweight 1.6kg / 3.5lb (Included)
Battery AA x 8 (Not Included)
AC/DC adapter Included
Power Consumption 0.2A (Tracking),0.6A (Slew)
Power Requirement DC 12V±2V, >1.2A
Tripod 1.25” Stainless Steel
Serial Port Yes (on hand controller)
Firmware Upgrade Yes
PC Computer Control Yes (iOptron Commander and ASCOM)
Wireless Control Yes (with optional StarFi TM adapter #8434)
Operating Temp. 0 ~ 40°C
Warranty Two Year Limited Warranty

Downloads / Manuals

Manual: 

Quick Start Guide 
Instruction Manual 

Firmware: 

Download Latest Firmware 

iOptron Telescope ASCOM Driver:

Install ASCOM Driver and Commander 

Customer reviews

Average Rating (2 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating (max 5):  
A Good, Sound, Grab-and-go Mount
Thursday, 25 March 2021  | 

I bought this mount, from FLO, at the beginning of January 2020. These comments are after a month's occasional use. I already have a selection of Celestron & Skywatcher (Synta) GoTo mounts, but I wanted something smaller for a grab-and-go with quick setup. Overall I am very pleased with my choice.

The GPS locks in a few tens of seconds, and the mount emits a short "beep" to indicate the lock (the top-right corner of the display also changes from "ON" to "OK". Provided that the mount is pointing towards its designated starting Az & Alt positions, (see below), the automated slew to the selected target is accurate and, after final centring, tracking is excellent. It is very quick and easy for solar white-light observing when there is a gap in the clouds. The single object alignment (2 and 3 object alignment is also available) is ideal for daytime, when only the Sun is visible.

The mount incorporates a holder for 8-off 1.5V AA cells, and there is a socket for a 12V, 2.1mm ID/5.5mm OD power jack. I have measured the current consumption. Initially it is between 75 & 90mA; Whilst tracking, between 90 and 130mA; 2-axis slewing at maximum rate, up to 470mA; and 2-axis slewing at 128x standard rate is about 155mA (about 10mA less if only 1 axis). Generally, the standard zinc/manganese dioxide "alkaline" cells have a capacity between 1700 and 2850mAh. The manual indicates a supply range of 10V to 14V and >1.5A (the supplied PSU is rated at 1.5A - so, in theory out of spec!).

The mount has a 3/8" - 16 UNC internal thread (heavy duty tripod), and is coupled to the top of the tripod by a long, captive, bolt. The tripod's legs are locked in position by rotating a plastic tray (with holes for 3 off 1.25" eyepieces) similar to, but better than, the Synta ones. The holes mean that you can place your eyepieces in focal length (magnification) order.

There are a few areas with significant differences to my other Celestron and Skywatcher mounts, and other "features" of note:-
(1) The Cube's dovetail clamp is on the right, whereas on the Synta mounts it is on the left. Thus any Synta OTA is going to be upside down on the cube. This is not a problem with most focusers, but the finder is now bottom right, and A RACI with eyepiece facing downwards, is unusable. The OTA from my Heritage 130p has the helical focuser pointing directly downwards (I believe it is possible to remove and reverse the truss tubes, but then that would make the OTA incompatible with my other mounts). The 127mm Mak from my Skymax system is right at the top end of the mount's OTA-weight range, and I have glued a second finder shoe at 180 degrees to the original, so I can use my 6x30 RACI finder. I have a Celestron C90 Mak. spotting scope, designed to go on a tripod, and this works fine with the cube - the finder moving from top left to top right.

(2)The supplied system includes a 12V 1.5A mains PSU. This supply is a small block with a permanently-attached mains input lead. This lead has a "European" small, round-pin, (incompatible with standard UK socket) mains plug. It has similar spacing to the plugs supplied with UK shavers and electric toothbrush rechargers, but, the pins on the supply are of a smaller diameter. I tried the plug in two plug-in shaver adaptors; there was no problem with electrical contact, but it was far too easy to dislodge the plug with a small movement of the lead; easy to disconnect in the dark (leads and supply are black). I cut off the plug and fitted a UK BS1363 square-pin plug.

(3) With my Synta AZ/Alt systems, the default starting position is with the OTA pointing North and the OTA level or pointing to the NCP (Virtuoso Dob. mount). With the Cube The default starting position is with the mount facing South, and the OTA/dovetail clamp, vertical. This makes it far more difficult to attach the OTA. With a horizontal dovetail clamp, the clamp supports most of the weight of the OTA, and just requires a gentle push to adjust the OTA's dovetail plate position in the clamp. With a vertical clamp, you have to support the full weight of the OTA + any clamp-to-plate friction. I have found a solution that seems to work for me. Unlike the Synta system, the Cube remembers the mount's position at power-down. So, at the end of a session, I slew the mount to AZ 180 degrees, Alt to 0 degrees, and then power down. The mount seems to accept this as a starting point for the next session. (I have yet to try the Az at zero [= North] end/restart setting).

(4) The initial "South" starting point is more difficult than North, (no Polaris equivalent) and the mount has a strong stray magnetic field, so you cannot use a magnetic compass near it. I have found the best method is to use a compass to identify an object (roof/tree/pole) roughly due South, point the OTA's finder at the object, tighten the tripod's mounting bolt, swing the OTA vertical (spirit level across objective end shroud/ dew shield), and tighten the Alt knob/balance weight shaft. Remove spirit level - its a long way down to a concrete paving slab when the mount slews!

(5) The Cube mount relies on a level tripod for its initial accuracy. However, the little bubble level incorporated in my mount was not well aligned. With a leveled tripod, using a "good" builder's spirit level, the mount's bubble was off-centre, with one edge of the bubble touching the black line. I got round this by putting a Tipp-ex white blob on the level's glass, positioned to just cover a properly-leveled bubble, and leveling is now just a game of "Hide the bubble".
(6) Some of the advertising photos show the handset as though it is attached to one leg of the tripod. There is no way of doing this with the supplied kit. The handset has a little lanyard, and there is a small raised "button" on the North face of the Cube. The lanyard slips easily over the button, and is a reliable "dock" for the handset. However, both the lanyard and the button are black, so in the dark, it is difficult to find the button, and ensure that the lanyard's loop is open and correctly positioned. I made a tripod-leg docking clamp, similar to the ones supplied with the Synta tripods. I find the lanyard is best for daytime solar, and the (home made) docking clamp for night use.

(7) The Alt axis drive is from a raised section of the final gear wheel, concentric with the main Alt shaft. The coupling is performed either by the locking knob, or by the end of the balance weight shaft. In both cases, the drive is through metal-to-metal friction with the end of the gear wheel. There is no compliance in this coupling, so a minor release movement completely unlocks the drive. I have added a thin fibre washer (of a type often used in plumbing joints) to absorb any minor changes due to temperature or a nudge on the OTA. It's still not the same as an adjustable clutch, but it seems to stop inadvertent release (and associated loss of alignment).

The comments, above, are those from my initial review on the Stargazers Lounge forum, in the "Members Equipment Review" section (do a forum search for "CubePro" to find it). I have since added a selection of photos, showing my modifications, and the interior of the mount and handset.

After over a year, I am pleased that I went for this mount.


Rating (max 5):  
A nice little mount, but it has its quirks
Friday, 12 March 2021  | 

i got this mount as a first foray into a goto setup, paired with a SW 102T achromat refractor
setting up is critical to this mount working well, you must level off the mount fully for goto/tracking to have any chance of being reasonably accurate - dont trust the included level bubble (mines miles off level) and balancing the scope is also critical.
if i'm using mine in AZ mode, i set mine with the mount on the tripod, mount the scope etc, then use an digital inclinometer on the flat block on top of the mount, this way i can rotate the mount and ensure that it doesn't deviate much in a 360 slew.
in AZ mode, once a 3 star calibration is done, it finds and keeps things in view reasonably well and is good for visual, but for photo's i can get upto 30 second exposures, but often lose upto 40-50% due to star trails, with 20 seconds i keep many of the exposures as not many with star trails

i have also got an EQ wedge for it, and i must say, far better for using a camera (currently using a DSLSR)
but again, level is critical, but this time i level the tripod using my digital inclinometer then mount the wedge, then the mount, then polar align using the indicator on the handset, then carry out 3 star alignment.
once this has been done, i've managed 1 minute exposures and lost hardly any subs due to star trails (i havent tried longer yet as don't get much cloud break)

the down side to this mount i've found (other than level is extremely critical) is that it states its "Fully computer controllable using latest iOptron Commander and ASCOM" but i haven't been able to get it to talk with PHD or the like,
it will communicate with stellalrium, cartes du ciel etc and will do full goto from there, but every time i try to set up with PHD2 or any sort of tracking, says it is not possible with this mount (doesn't accept pulse guiding), so to me, its not fully ascom compliant if it cannot do pulse guiding? and Ioptron themselves were not in the least bit helpful when questioned and took nearly two weeks to answer

but on the whole, for the price it is a great little mount (if you dont expect 1000 mount features for under 300), for portability and general use and can get some decent images through scope on it without losing too many to star trails especially in EQ mode

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