For PA i think you need to be balanced E-W.
PA requires that RA axis of mount be parallel with the Earth's rotational axis.
If the mount is not balanced EW how do you get PA?
It might look polar aligned momentarily in Sharpcap but I don't think it will be polar aligned.
What do you mean by 'balanced'? Balancing generally refers to offsetting your scope weight with a counterweight on opposite side of the RA axis. That really has nothing to do with polar alignment, but helps the RA motor run easier, improves tracking, etc.
Think about the mounts RA being parallel with Earth's rotational axis... now zoom out so your in space looking at the planet... from different points on the Earth the base/tripod will obviously vary as we travel around the globe and up and down, the tripod will be pointed in all sorts of different directions yet all can be aligned to be in parallel, its why the mount has alt & az adjustments so you can point it in any direction (well some mounts may have limitations of course).
Some methods may depend on a level mount, if you are not doing the standard visual alignment with the NCP/SCP. Like if you are aligning with a compass bearing and latitude value for example, that is assuming your base is level. But if you can see the NCP/SCP and align to it, it does not matter how you got there as long as you are aligned, your axis will be parallel to Earth's, and that is the goal yes?
The big difference in being perfectly level means the alt & az adjustments will be precise and expected. If your mount is say at a 45º angle then moving your alt adjustment is not going to just move the altitude, it will move both altitude and azimuth by about the same amount. So it will require much more fiddling to get it right.
I like to explain it like an Etch A Sketch, anyone remember those? You have two knobs, up/down and left/right, much like alt-az adjustment. If the Etch A Sketch is perfectly level the up and down will go straight up and down. But now shim one side of the Etch A Sketch up a little, now if you try to make a straight line up, you'll have to move both knobs, one a lot, the other a little, to get a straight line up. When you have software like ASIair pro that tells you to move a certain number of arc-seconds up/down, and a certain number left/right, its much easier when your up/down, left/right adjustments do just what they are suppose to and not skew the other adjustments in the process. Just makes it a little easier is all.
Edited by T~Stew, 27 April 2021 - 06:13 AM.