Courtesy of
Astronomy Technology Today
May 2008


Another JMI Innovation Motor Drive for the Meade LightBridge

     We know of no company that has introduced more innovation to this market than JMI and it's doing it yet again with the development of a bolt-on motor drive system for the Meade LightBridge.
     The JMI Motor Drive for LightBridge, planned for availability by June of 2008, will feature friction drives on both axes to permit free-hand slewing of the scope without need of unlocking any clutches.  Of course, the user will also have the option of slewing with the motor drive system instead, but most LightBridge owners may come to rely on the JMI Motor Drive more for centering and tracking objects without the vibration induced by handling the scope.  This feature should prove especially important to vibration-free centering and tracking of objects at high magnification.
     A dual-axis hand control will allow the user to control the speed of both azimuth and elevation motions at the handset.  Initial installation of the Motor Drive system is easily accomplished in 30 to 45 minutes and disassembly requires only the removal of the single elevation clutch tension knob.
     A critical feature of the system is its provision for automatic centering of the elevation tangent arm with the press of a single button a feature that should be of particular interest to those of us who've experienced the frustration of running into the end of the range of motion of a tangent arm drive with no way to tell whether we've re-centered it other than to slew in the opposite direction while trying to hand-feel the center of the tangent screw in the dark.
     Pictured is a 12-inch Meade LightBridge mounted on JMI's Wheeley Bars for LightBridge and with the Motor Drive for LightBridge installed.  The projected price for the Motor Drive system for the 12-inch LightBridge is just $349.
     For further developments, please watch