Error-bounded lossy compression is becoming an indispensable technique for the success of today's scientific projects with vast volumes of data produced during the simulations or instrument data acquisitions. Not only can it significantly reduce data size, but it also can control the compression errors based on user-specified error bounds. Autoencoder (AE) models have been widely used in image compression, but few AE-based compression approaches support error-bounding features, which are highly required by scientific applications. To address this issue, we explore using convolutional autoencoders to improve error-bounded lossy compression for scientific data, with the following three key contributions. (1) We provide an in-depth investigation of the characteristics of various autoencoder models and develop an error-bounded autoencoder-based framework in terms of the SZ model. (2) We optimize the compression quality for main stages in our designed AE-based error-bounded compression framework, fine-tuning the block sizes and latent sizes and also optimizing the compression efficiency of latent vectors. (3) We evaluate our proposed solution using five realworld scientific datasets and comparing them with six other related works. Experiments show that our solution exhibits a very competitive compression quality from among all the compressors in our tests. In absolute terms, it can obtain a much better compression quality (100%~800% improvement in compression ratio with the same data distortion) compared with SZ2.1 and ZFP in cases with a high compression ratio.