Well, I could be wrong, but I "think" APT doesn't require to sync. As a matter of fact, once I plate solve and click on goto++ it asks me if I want to sync the mount first, and I said no last night. That's what made it work. I assumed that if you give it target coordinates and not sync the mount before using goto++, it platesolves, calculates the difference in coordinates, slews to the new calculated coordinates, takes a shot again, platesolves, recalculates, etc. It is possible to do iterative relative gotos with platesolves without syncing the mount. All the code has to do is keep track of the difference between platesolved coordinates and mount reported coordinates. The other night, when platesolving was failing, I did exactly that.
But, it's possible that when APT does iterative plate solves and gotos it does sync after all. The reason why I think that is that I tried to platesolve to another target later last night (about 3 hours later, on the other side of the meridian), and the ra and dec values started acting funky again (with those gaps). So, I eventually had to stop and restart the mount as well as the synscan app. I don't know which one was causing issues, but the restart worked.
I too would love to just turn on the mount level aligned to the NCP, with the mount having a default alignment (basically what you described, but without the need to confirm where the mount points to the alignment stars). That should get me close enough to the target (and it usually does). The only issue I see is with sync and behaviors related to that. I truly wish they fix that soon.
Dimitris, congrats! Sounds like you are back in business. Funny you mention those RA spikes, last night I noticed something similar when guiding. I wonder if the RA gear needs to be cleaned, just like the DEC one. As I mentioned, I did find some shavings on the DEC gear. That's pretty unacceptable imo.
Edited by dciobota, 18 October 2018 - 11:49 AM.