I have owned my Vixen SXW for about a dozen years now. After buying it used I worked with it a lot, eventually abandoning it to strictly visual use because of trouble tracking deep sky with 700-1300 mm scopes for 3-5 minute exposures. I would occasionally contribute to discussions here and offered my viewpoints and experience with the fabled “declination bounce” that seemed to plague my mount. Fast forward to last month.
I decided to give the StarBook another shot with my short focus refractor. M31 is presenting itself well right now and I have never spent much time shooting it. So how to deal with the bounce? Changing tactics, I leveled the tripod, polar aligned with the Vixen polar scope (which is by far the most accurate one I have used to date), used the go to and slewed to Deneb, manually centered the star, took care of focus for the main and guide scopes, then used the controls to manually center M31. I did not align the mount at any time. Then I began guiding and taking exposures.
I figured if I did not build a model or give the StarBook any excuse to adjust the tracking maybe it would not interfere with a dec bounce. I was right! The guiding was excellent for the rest of the evening, although I did not change targets either. I finally had enough time to adjust other parameters in PHD without having the mount interfere.
The Sphinx SXW has always been my favorite mount for visual and I can see it now becoming a new favorite for AP. After I centered M31 I could make a mental note of how the StarBook presented it, then slew away for focus adjustments and go back to the same spot with no difficulty. I know this would be much more difficult using a scope with longer focal length but that’s a challenge for another night. All in all I am happy to succeed in finding a way to utilize this mount for AP. Perhaps this might work for others as well.