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Hi there Everyone, I experienced an issue with my Sphinx SXW Mount this past weekend at a dark skies event I was attending. When I came to set up the mount I noted that the declination axis rotation was obstructed, basically you could rotate about 90 degrees and then it would suddenly come to hard stop, knowing this was just not right, I immediately halted my setup and packed the mount away, with a plan to carry out some diagnostics today once I got home. Once home, I set the mount up, and discovered the following 1/. The declination axis was now freed up..., most puzzling. With the RA clamp disengaged I rotated the mount in RA, and thought I heard something rattling inside the central housing. Further movement through 360 in both directions confirmed this. 2/. I then decided to see if the mount electronics would still engage, so connected up the power and Starbook controller. Everything seemed to operate as normal. Carried out a couple of Gotos and manual slews successfully and tracking seems to be fine, though unable to confirm due to cloud filled skies at the moment. However I did notice that the declination clamp, although in theory engaged, seemed loose. A little more experimentation showed that although engaged, the clamp moved independently by a couple of millimetres in either direction, it seemed that all that was keeping the clamp from moving was the shaft of the declination clamp itself. I can’t be sure, but I seem to remember in previous use, that the entire unit was locked when the clamp was engaged. I have attached a couple of videos showing the behaviour detailed above. Hopefully somebody can provide some insight into these issues, and if necessary a way forward to resolution. I was unable to replicate the behaviour described at the dark site. Paul J. BC647DD2-9F6F-403C-BA7E-C8ECCD573327.MOV 9806B180-9E50-4594-B8F6-96695B30FE72.MOV
Well, I was finally able to put the newly repaired Sphinx through its paces over the weekend, Saturday night turned out a bit of a bust weather wise, however it gave me the advantage of already being set up for the following evening which was a completely different story. Sunday...? Transparency not all that great, (perhaps NELM variable 3 to 5) and with a half moon shining, not ideal conditions for deep sky observing, however was still able to bag a few old favourites, including M53, M13, M92 and M51, M81 & 82. Then spent the next two hours exploring some galaxies in Canes Venatici, Coma And Virgo. Managed to pick up M63 - The Sunflower Galaxy, NGC 4565 - The Needle Galaxy, M64 - The Blackeye Galaxy, M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy, NGC 4631 - The Whale Galaxy, NGC 4559, M84 and M86 from Markarians Chain, The Leo Triplet and M87 - Virgo A, plus a whole host of other NGCs. Not much in the way of detail, (mainly due to variable conditions), they pretty much all lived up to their names as ‘faint fuzzies’, but nonetheless a most rewarding couple of hours. The Sphinx performed spectacularly, with each goto resulting in the target well within the FOV. The most gratifying aspect of the evening was the integration of the Avalon X-Guider into the ensemble, getting the main scope and finder dialled in is just so much easier now. Also the laser pointer performed its function perfectly as well, that being to improve efficiency of initial star alignment. All in all a most enjoyable two hours or so of observing. Date: 2018 03 25 22:00 to 00:00 Wind: None NELM: Variable 3 to 5 Seeing: II Antoniadi Restrictions: 1/2 Moon to SW Scope: C8 EdgeHD with modified longer focal length due to 2” Crayford and Diagonal. Aperture: 200mm FL: Approx 3200mm FR: F16 Eyepiece: 22mm T4 Nagler: Mag: 3200/22 = 145 AFOV: 82 Deg TFOV: 34’ Exit Pupil: 22/16 = 1.3mm