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JMI Wheely Bars
Submitted: Wednesday, 27th April 2005 by Stuart Welfare

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Stored away

Imagine its 5.30 on a Friday afternoon, a long hard week at work has been rewarded by clear skies, yes clear skies, time to get the scope ready for a great night under the stars. If you’re the owner of a fork mounted SCT or equatorial mounted scope youll have a good understanding of the set up procedure one has to go through to get everything ready for an evenings observing.

In my case being the owner of a 10”LX200 which weighs in at a total of a hefty 87 pounds {add another 30 pounds for a wedge} it can be at least a ½ hr time period to get everything together. Must admit though if given the time it’s a good feeling setting up everything, to give the once over all the components. My usual observing location is my driveway , storage location is only metres away in the work shed. This sounds good but it is frustrating to either dismantle or unpack from storage the scope and set up only a few steps away, the crusher though is at the end of the observing session. Imagine if you will its 2.00am , the temp has fallen , the coffee is cold, eyes are strained, the wind is going through the polar feece and goretex and worst of all there is a advancing wall of cloud…. bugger…. you look at the scope and the task of taking it all apart, there must be another way.


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JMI Wheely Bars

There is… one example is the JMI wheely bar. This device is designed to allow a tripod and scope to be mounted on it and thus be be able to be moved from one location to another.

Features of the JMI wheely bars include a sturdy base with three extensions that can be adjusted to suit a variety of different sized tripods, wheels that can be locked into position and leveling bolts to get the scope well leveled. There a series of different models to suit different makes and models of scopes and tripods, the standard field tripod that comes with the 10”LX200gps is matched to the JMI medium universal wheely bar. It is designed that the tripod should be fully retracted to keep the center of gravity low. This in practice means that the lower lock knob on the Meade field tripod has to be removed to prevent interference with the leveling bolts. The instructions for intial set up are clear and easy to follow and the procedure basic.

Operational use of the Wheely bar has been a total success and a total relief, the frequency of use my scope is getting has increased dramtically. After three weeks the idea I had that the Wheely bar was a luxury accessory has quickly changed, set up time and pack away time is cut down to about five minutes tops. Taking advantage of windows of opportunity with weather and time has been great, accessories on the scope can be left on and the daunting task of attaching the OTA to the wedge only has to be done if I want to observe in Altizumith mode.


The standard wheels that come with the Medium universal wheely bar are rated for use only on hard surfaces. An upgrade can be bought that includes larger wheels that can traverse lawn etc. On my driveway the wheels perform well, while moving though care has to be taken if you come to a crack or ridge in the concrete, I simply put a foot underneath the extension near the wheel and lift a little and everything is well. One thing while moving is the locking mechanism on the wheel {usally the leading wheel} can hit the leveling bolt which prohibits movemnt, a simple solution is to remove the bolt.


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Moving into position

Care should be taken while moving , always pull or push above the centre of gravity, I pull the scope along which is very easy.

For set up and leveling, the leveling bolts can be used for accurate results by turning the knobs on the leveling bolts or locking the wheels. With my field tripod one leg is ½ inch out from the other two so its simple to just compensate for it using the bolts, when this is done the bolts can be locked using the nuts.


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In position

I use a set of vibration pads underneath each leveling bolt, im very happy with the sturdiness of the setup.

The cost of the JMI medium wheely bar is $179.95 US, I bought mine used for $150 AUS , expensive yes but after a short time of use the value I believe is worth it. I would be hesitant maybe to get some if I only used my scope in Altizmuth mode, but the scope is mainly used with the wedge attached and a host of add ons. The convenience gained is well worth the price I paid and I highly recommend the JMI Wheely bar…clear skies.


Review by Stuart WelfareDiscuss this review at the IceInSpace Forums.

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