John, those are my strongest points of advice as well. I never have alignment troubles with the DSCs on my dobs, but this mount drove me nuts for a while.
1. Level and quality polar align really helps. So does a good starting home position. Then the first star in the alignment is close, and frustration relaxes.
2. A reticle eyepiece saved my sanity. The hand controller firmware will warp the dickens out of the sky with just a bit of imperfection in centering. You'll be surprised how much your nose will cause parallax in the eyepiece. If 1. above is true, then you won't bee too far off with a 1-star alignment. But if 1 star warps space, 2 stars with the same centering defect will turn space into a fun house mirror if you let it. Throw in a 3-star alignment when no cone error exists, and the software is correcting it out, whooee. In my case the gift of a reticle eyepiece (8mm, nice and high powered) has made this a 1-star alignment performer when level and polar aligned.
3 Star Alignment issues with Atlas EQ-GOTO
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