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Vixen SX Sphinx Mount

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#1 faltered


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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:53 PM

I have read so many negative things about the Vixen SX Sphinx mount when it comes to "jumps" in tracking. Is there anything you can do besides buying that expensive Celestron board thing to change it?

Isnt this a firmware problem or is this a hardware problem?

I have an opportunity to get one of these used at a great price. But I will want to do some imaging with it. Not all the time, but sometimes.

Its just such a sexy mount. And at the price I can grab this used one at, I just cant seem to pass it up.

If I got it, and it had this problem, can it be fixed easily?

#2 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:29 PM

As I've had a Vixen mount on my "short list" for a while (specifically a GPD2 - but the Sphinx has also been way up the list), I asked one of the Vixen reps at ASAE that exact question; I was advised that the Dec jump was specific to Orion AGs running PHD guiding software, and that a standalone AG (ie SBIG ST4) doesn't cause a problem. As I have no direct experience with this, I'll defer to owners who've actually dealt with the issue.

#3 Doubleglaze


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Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:18 PM

I have an SXD mount and that exact combination of guide camera and software and while I haven't tried anything else, I don't really buy that answer from Vixen.

There is a mechanical jitter present which still occurs even if the mount is unguided. Jumps in DEC occur with an audible sound from the mount. Jumps in DEC occur when using the mount visually - viewing planets at high power for example, no guide camera in use at all. No amount of fiddling could make it go away - balance, adjustments, alignment, star sync, etc. I finally tore the mount down and adjusted the worm gear and installed the NexSXD board. Changing the control board led to the DEC issues going away entirely and the mount tracks fine now, with an Orion guider camera and PhD.

The board is well worth it to me, the SXD is a nice light mount with good capacity. Before the board change, I was keeping 25% of my image frames at best, with the board it's closer to 100% with rejects being mostly due to my own mistakes.


#4 Ranger Tim

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:29 PM

The Vixen rep is full of it. The declination jump is in the StarBook software and is intrinsic to the mount/controller combination. Buy it anyway and order the NexSX board, you will have a fine mount. Or buy another, your decision. My experience with the SXW is documented here on this forum, so search and read all about it. THere are too many others with the same experience as me for this to be just my problem.

The post above from Mark is dead-on accurate.

#5 rmollise



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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

No...there isn't anything else you can do. BUT...if you are only interested in visual, it is perfectly acceptable. But so is the CG5 for a lot less moola. ;)

#6 faltered


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:00 AM

So if i did buy this NexSXD board, will that give me AllStar Polar Alignment routine like the CGEM mount has?

#7 chboss


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:57 PM

That may do the trick, heard about that modification but have no first hand experience.

I wonder if they will offer upgrade kits to the new launched SXD2 motors and starbook TEN?
In Japan they at least offer a trade up program to the new mount that is using stepper motors.... :smirk:

best regards

#8 orlyandico


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:24 PM

The upgrade will probably cost a lot more than a NexSXD board + Celestron hand controller, if the price of the entry-level (monochrome) Starbook-S is any indication...

#9 mayidunk


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:29 AM

Not to hijack the thread... Who's currently selling the NexSXW/NexSXD upgrade boards? I tried Googling the terms, but there were no vendor or seller hits.

#10 faltered


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:25 AM

I think this is the only place to get the board.

#11 mayidunk


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:59 PM


#12 tjugo



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Posted 15 November 2012 - 05:30 PM


I had a SXD. The mechanics are fantastic, very low and smooth PE, very sturdy tripod and very light mount, it is a little bit heavier than a CG5. The electronics are nice but as you already know the infamous DEC jumps will make this mount a bad candidate for imaging.

When I bought mine I knew that I have to to switch the electronics, so I was not frustrated at all since I switch to the NeXSXD board right away.

After changing the board the mount performed flawless over an over night after night. With the new board you can use the all star polar alignment routine if you want.

You don't need to buy a HC, you can run the mount using nexremote or sqkyQ (not completely sure, but it should work).

In my opinion a 3K mount should work out of the box.

I sold the SXD cause I have a permanent setup and I don't need a portable setup anymore, now I have 2 mounts an EM200 and an Atlas. Quality-wise the SXD is closer to the EM200.

If you don't plan to switch board don't try AP, you'll get frustrated no matter what you do random DEC jumps will show up with the stock electronics.



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