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Vixen SXD2 Equatorial Mount

75101

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Heavy duty but portable astro imaging and observation platform

The Vixen SXD2 mount comes with Star Book Ten controller for manual or computer controlled observation or astrophotography.

See below for a Sky at Night Review

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A ‘deluxe’ version of the SX2 mount platform, the SXD2 is based around the same compact, lightweight design of the SX2. To provide even higher levels of stability and tracking accuracy, this latest update to the SXD platform includes a number of upgraded components.

The SXD2 has a higher payload capacity than the SX2 at 15kg (33lb).

RA DEC AxesSmooth & accurate tracking motion
The mount has high quality bearings on the RA and DEC axes to reduce load on the motors and to make the motion of the axes as smooth as possible. When the mount is well-aligned and used in conjunction with a third party autoguider, it offers exceptional tracking performance with the heaviest of astro imaging payloads.

Worm GearsHigh grade materials
The high grade steel chassis provides stable and accurate RA and DEC axes. The placement of the motors in the lower part of the mount casing allows them to form part of the counterweight package, reducing the need to add additional counterweights to balance the scope.

 

Stepping MotorsHigh quality worm gear
The all-new brass worm gears allow smooth movement through the whole 360° motion of the mount. Combined with the latest high-performance stepper motors, the SXD2 offers the keen amateur astrophotographer the perfect platform for long exposure imaging.

 

Polar Axis ScopePolar axis scope
An internal polar axis scope is supplied as standard, mounted in the RA body. A variable intensity illuminator is pre-installed in the mount to evenly illuminate the alignment reticle in the polar axis scope. Vixen’s excellent reticle design and precise RA axis/polar scope alignment makes precision polar alignment quick and simple.

 

Specifications SXD2 Mount
R.A. slow motion axis 180-tooth wheel gears whole circle movement
DEC slow motion axis 180-tooth wheel gears whole circle movement
R.A. coordinates display On the screen of Star Book Ten, 0.1 min. increments
DEC coordinates display On the screen of Star Book Ten, 0.1 arc min. increments
Polar axis scope 6x20mm SX polar axis scope
Altitude adjustment 0° to 70°, (Fine adjustment with tangent screw: +/-15°, 3 step elevation)
Azimuth adjustment Double-screw fine adjustment
Controller Star Book Ten
Power source DC12 volts, 0.4 to 1.7 amperes
Maximum loading weight 15kg (33lb) approx, excluding counterweight
Counterweight 1.9kg (4.2lb) x1 and 3.7kg (8.15lb) x1
Size (Body) 36cm (H) x 12cm (W) x 36cm (L)
Weight 8.8kg (19.4lb), without counterweight

 

Optional Accessories

Half Pillar
75167 Half Pillar
Weight 1.8kg (3.9lb)
Accessory Plate DX
72576 Accessory Plate DX
Weight: 1275g (44.97oz)
Size: 330x120x12mm
Dovetail mounting block is required to use with VC and VMC 
optical tubes.
Aluminium Case
72697 SX Aluminium Case
Weight: 6.1kg (13.4lb)
Size: 470x500x220mm
Note: Special order only
Aluminium Tripod
75161 Aluminium Tripod SXG-HAL130
Lightweight rigid box section legs adjustable from 81cm to 130cm in length.
Weight: 5.5kg (12.1lb)
Note: Tripod not included with SX series mounts.
Carrying Bag for Tripod
75655 Carry Bag for 80/100mm Tube or HAL130 Tripod
Soft padded carry bag with two accessory pouches.
Tripod Accessory Tray
75460 Tripod Accessory Tray
Provides storage for eyepieces and other accessories and also improves the stability of the HAL130 tripod.
Advance Unit
75301 Advance Unit
Available for Star Book Ten only.
Works as a built-in autoguider in combination with an optional CCD video camera.
Size: 90x76x24mm
Weight: 100g (3.52oz)

This review appeared in the July 2013 issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine

The Vixen Sphinx Deluxe 2 (SXD2) mount represents the natural evolution of the original Vixen Sphinx Deluxe. The lustrous cream finish makes a return, as does the excellent fit and finish, but there are also many enhancements. Some, like the upgraded Star Book Ten hand controller, are obvious; others are more subtle, for example the addition of extra bearings on the RA and dec. drives, and a return to stepper motors. 

An optional fitted flight case was supplied to house the review equipment. This contained the mount head itself, two counterweights of 3.7kg and 1.9kg, the hand controller and an optional 12V mains power supply. Hidden in a pocket in
the lid was Vixen’s excellent instruction manual, which was well written and very comprehensive. A second box contained the optional SXG Hal 130 aluminium tripod.

Vixen has championed a mount design where much of the casing and the drive components are placed on the counterweight side of the RA axis, creating a large amount of natural counterbalance, and the SXD2 follows this blueprint. A low-profile dec. head also helps to reduce the counterbalance weight requirements by keeping the telescope close to the RA axis and, therefore, the mount’s centre of gravity. This simple concept conveniently reduces the overall weight of the system, aiding its portability. It certainly wasn’t difficult to carry this mount outside set up on its tripod.

As you might expect, the mount has a Vixen-style dovetail mounting block. Immediately underneath the mounting block is a rod with an adjustment knob at each end, which operates the clutch for the dec. axis and is easy to find in the dark. At the other end of the dec. axis there is a 20mm-diameter counterbalance shaft that retracts inside the mount for transport.

Straightforward set-up

The Star Book Ten hand controller is normally supplied with Vixen’s higher end products, so its presence here was a bonus. Its database contains in excess of 272,000 objects, including those from the Messier, NGC, IC and SAO catalogues, and of course the Solar System.

Setting up the mount at the start of each session was very straightforward and carrying out a polar alignment was easy using Vixen’s excellent polarscope. This is the same polarscope used on Vixen’s high-end mounts, and it really is quick and intuitive to operate. Adjusting the altitude was also easy: achieved by moving a single hand bolt; the bolt drives a carrier that rocks the mount up and down effortlessly. This critical adjustment was considerably easier than using a pair of opposing bolts that work against a tongue projecting from under the fulcrum point, a configuration that appears on many mounts. Azimuth adjustment is achieved using two opposing bolts working against a fixed post on the tripod’s table in the conventional manner.

Star alignment is also easily achieved. Point the telescope to the west and line up the index marks on both axes to set the ‘home’ position. You then select an alignment star using the cursor in ‘Chart Mode’; the mount will point to the chosen star. Finally, you centre the chosen star in your eyepiece and press the align button. You can repeat this with more stars, thus increasing the accuracy of your sky model.

We found that three or more widely spaced alignment stars produced very accurate Go-Tos, with the mount quietly and quickly locating each object then tracking it smoothly and silently. Our targets remained close to the centre of our 17mm eyepiece for more than 90 minutes and although we measured the periodic error at 27 arcseconds peak to peak, this was delivered smoothly and could be easily autoguided out.

We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the SXD2 mount to both new and experienced users as it is intuitive to use, produces excellent results and with its new ASCOM driver – see the annotation above – is right up to date

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