Andor SDK2 camera plugin

../../../_images/ikon-m_934_header.jpg ../../../_images/ikon-L.jpg


Andor Technology manufactuer offers a large catalogue of scientific cameras. Covered scientific applications are low ligth imaging, spectroscopy, microscopy, time-resolved and high energy detection. Andor is providing a unique Software Development Tool (SDK) for both Windows and Linux, supporting different interface buses such as USB, CameraLink and also some specific acquisition PCI board.

The Lima module as been tested only with these camera models:
  • IKon-M and IKon-L (USB interface, Linux OS debian 6)

  • IKon-L (USB interface, Windows XP - 32bits)



First, you have to install the Andor Software developpement Kit (SDK) in the default path (/usr/local). For our tests, we used the SDK for Linux version V2.91.30001.0 and ran the install script install_andor for which option 5 (All USB Cameras) was selected, the default installation is made under /usr/local/ with:

  • /usr/local/include, header files

  • /usr/local/lib, library files

  • /usr/local/etc/andor, configuration files

The Linux SDK 2.91 has shared libraries which has been compiled on recent linux kernel, check first you have the right kernel and libc available by compiling one of the example program available under examples/console. Andor python module needs at least the lima core module.

For the USB camera the SDK is using the libusb under linux, check first your system is equiped with the libusb package otherwise you will not compile the Andor Lima plugin.

Windows XP - 32 bits

First, you have to install the Andor Software developpement Kit (SDK) in default path (C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Andor iKon\\Drivers).

Add the location of the file \\Lima\\camera\\andor\\sdk\\msvc\\bin\\ATMCD32D.DLL to your PATH environment variable.

Installation & Module configuration

Follow the generic instructions in Build and Install. If using CMake directly, add the following flag:


For the Tango server installation, refers to PyTango Device Server.

Initialisation and Capabilities

Implementing a new plugin for new detector is driven by the LIMA framework but the developer has some freedoms to choose which standard and specific features will be made available. This section is supposed to give you the correct information regarding how the camera is exported within the LIMA framework.

Camera initialisation

The camera will be initialized within the AndorCamera object. The AndorCamera() contructor sets the camera with default parameters for Preampifier-Gain, VerticalShiftSpeed and the ADC/HorizontalSpeed.

These parameters are optimized for the faster mode, which means the maximum gain, the “fasten recommended” VSSpeed (i.e as returned by GetFastestRecommendedVSSpeed() SDK function call) and the ADC with the faster Horizontal speed.

All the parameters can be set and get using the corresponding methods, the default values (max speeds and gain) can be applied with -1 as passed value:




Some other methods are available but they can not be supported depending on which camera model you are using:




The above parameters, only support enumerate type for values.

Std capabilities

This plugin has been implemented in respect of the mandatory capabilites but with some limitations which are due to the camera and SDK features. We only provide here extra information for a better understanding of the capabilities for Andor cameras.

  • HwDetInfo

    getCurrImageType/getDefImageType(): the methods call the SDK GetBitDepth() function to resolve the image data type. The bit-depth correspond to the AD channel dynamic range which depends on the selected ADC channel. By experience and with IKon detectors we only have Bpp16 of dynamic range, but the methods can return Bpp8 and Bpp32 as well.

    setCurrImageType(): this method do not change the image type which is fixed to 16bpp.

  • HwSync

    get/setTrigMode(): the only supported mode are IntTrig, ExtTrigSingle, ExtGate and IntTrigMult

Optional capabilities

In addition to the standard capabilities, we make the choice to implement some optional capabilities which are supported by the SDK and the I-Kon cameras. A Shutter control, a hardware ROI and a hardware Binning are available.

  • HwShutter

    setMode(): only ShutterAuto and ShutterManual modes are supported

  • HwRoi

    There is no restriction for the ROI setting

  • HwBin

    There is no restriction for the Binning but the maximum binning is given by the SDK function GetMaximumBinning() which depends on the camera model


Plug your USB camera on any USB port of the computer, that’s all !

How to use

This is a python code example for a simple test:

from Lima import Andor
from lima import Core

cam = Andor.Camera("/usr/local/etc/andor", 0)
hwint = Andor.Interface(cam)
ct = Core.CtControl(hwint)

acq = ct.acquisition()

# configure some hw parameters
.... wait here for cooling

# set some low level configuration

# setting new file parameters and autosaving mode


# set accumulation mode

acq_pars= acq.getPars()

acq_pars.acqMode = 2
acq_pars.accMaxExpoTime = 0.05
acq_pars.acqExpoTime =1
acq_pars.acqNbFrames = 1

# here we should have 21 accumalated images per frame
print acq.getAccNbFrames()

# now ask for 2 sec. exposure and 10 frames


# wait for last image (#9) ready
lastimg = ct.getStatus().ImageCounters.LastImageReady
while lastimg !=9:
  lastimg = ct.getStatus().ImageCounters.LastImageReady

# read the first image
im0 = ct.ReadImage(0)