SBIG - Aluma U 814 USB 2.0 CCD Monochrome Camera

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Manufactured by:
Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG)

Product Description

SBIG Aluma U 814 USB 2.0 CCD Monochrome Camera

Our mid-size Aluma® Series cameras offer performance and features not available in any other scientific-grade imaging camera. This lightweight (2.2 lbs) and compact (4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4″ with handles) camera includes two-stage cooling, USB 2.0 and optional WiFi 802.11 b/g/n interfaces, ultra-reliable even-illumination shutter, and fast low-noise readout. Aluma can be operated from a tablet or smartphone, or from a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux PC.

The Aluma series supports a wide range of accessories, including the 8-position FW8S-Aluma filter wheel with micron-level filter positioning, FW8G-Aluma filter wheel with built-in autoguider, AO-8A Adaptive Optics accessory, and Remote Guide Head.

New!  Aluma is now available in two versions – the original with USB and WiFi, and now a lower-cost Aluma U version with only the USB interface.

Aluma 814 – Incredible Sensitivity

The ICX-814 CCD is one of the best optical sensors ever produced, with peak quantum efficiency over 75%, very broad spectral sensitivity, and extraordinary blue sensitivity. It also has very low read noise, large dynamic range, and extremely low dark current. This combination of high sensitivity and very low noise means you get cleaner, deeper images – faster.


  • Wide variety of imaging sensors
  • Light weight, compact design
  • Centered optical axis for optimum instrument balance
  • Ultra reliable even-illumination (photometric) mechanical shutter
  • Support for iOS, Android, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux
  • USB 2.0 and optional WiFi 802.11 b/g/n communications interfaces
  • Full frame image buffering eliminates readout artifacts and provides 100% reliable wireless download
  • 2-Stage TE cooling with typical -50C from ambient
  • Twin variable speed fans with SmartCoolingTM technology
  • High accuracy temperature regulation
  • Built-in RBI Pre-flash (full frame front-illuminated sensors only)
  • External TTL trigger inputs and output
  • Included 110V / 220V power supply and optional 12VDC operation
  • User-rechargeable desiccant plug
  • Built-in 1/4-20 tripod mount
  • Support for high precision 8-position filter wheels
  • Support for external guide head, self-guiding filter wheels, and adaptive optics
  • Bulletproof firmware update capability – virtually impossible to “brick”

Multi-Platform Operation

Aluma is designed to operate via USB 2.0 and optionally WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. Designed from the ground-up to support operation on any modern computing platform, Aluma is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. Fully-documented and supported drivers are available for all platforms, including ASCOM drivers. The Aluma camera interface specification is fully documented, supporting the development of fully custom interfaces.

Software Included

All Aluma models ship with MaxIm LT for Windows – a special version of MaxIm DL specific to our cameras. Aluma also supports third-party applications through ASCOM and native drivers.

Compact and Lightweight Design

Aluma cameras measure just 4.25″ x 4.25″ x 4.0″ with handles (3.5″ without handles) and weigh just 2.2 lbs (1 kg).

Mechanical Shutter

The Aluma 814 has electronic shuttering, allowing a minimum exposure of just 0.001s. In addition it has a high reliability mechanical shutter, which facilitates accurate dark/bias calibration frames.

High Performance ICX-814 Image Sensor

The Aluma 814 uses the popular 9 megapixel SONY ICX-814ALG sensor. This sensor has 3388 x 2712 pixels at 3.69 microns square, for a 14.6 mm x 12.8 mm optical format.

This is a high sensitivity interline CCD sensor with extremely low dark current and very low read noise. Combining this high-performance sensor with Aluma’s high cooling performance and low readout noise results in exceptionally clean images.

This sensor includes microlens technology that concentrates light on the sensitive area of each pixel. The CCD’s sensitivity peaks in the center of the visible spectrum at 550 nm, and maintains high sensitivity throughout the visible spectrum. The ICX-814 is particularly good in blue compared to other sensors on the market.


All Aluma cameras include our powerful new SmartCooling technology. The two-stage cooler, powerful fans, and advanced heat sink designed using thermal flow simulation combine to produce typical cooling delta from ambient of -50C. This is quite a feat considering the Aluma’s very compact and lightweight package.

SmartCooling automatically adjusts the fan speed to optimize cooler performance and power consumption. The camera’s firmware is constantly monitoring the sensor and heat sink temperatures, as well as controlling the cooler power. When full cooling power is needed – when ramping down or running near full power – the fans ramp up to their maximum speed, resulting in the strongest possible cooling. When less cooling power is needed the fans automatically slow to reduce noise levels and power consumption. SmartCooling also prevents any possibility of overheating by backing off power if the heat sink gets too hot – so you don’t need to worry if your camera is baking in a hot observatory during the day.

Included Accessories

  • MaxIm LT software
  • Deluxe carrying case
  • Universal power supply (110V / 220V, 50-60 Hz)
  • 2″ Nosepiece adapter
  • USB flash drive containing software, drivers, and documentation
  • 15 foot (4.5 m) USB cable
  • Tracking interface cable


Name SBIG - Aluma U 814 USB 2.0 CCD Monochrome Camera
Manufacturer Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG)
Model SBI-ALUMA-U814
In The Box SBIG U Aluma 814 CCD Camera MaxIm DL Software - on included flash drive also has drivers and documents Deluxe Carry Case Universal Power Supply (110V/220V, 50-60 Hz) 2" Nosepiece Adapter 15 ft. (4.5m) USB Cable Tracking Interface Cable
CCD Sensor Sony - ICX814
A/D Converter 16 bits
Antiblooming Yes
Computer Interface USB 2.0 / (WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0 optional upgrade)
Cooling ~ 50 °C
Dark Current 0.025 e-/p/s typical
Exposure 0.001 sec minimum
Filter Wheel Yes
Full Frame Download ~1 sec via USB, ~ 8 sec via WiFi
Full Well Capacity 15,000 e-
Operating System Windows 32 and 64 bit, Macintosh, Linux, iOS, Android
Peak QE 77%
Pixel Array Format 3388 x 2712
Pixel Size 3.69
Pixel Digitization Rate 8 MPix/sec
Power 12 VDC, 5A max
Read Noise 4.5 e- typical
Remote Guide Head Yes
Self-Guiding Filter Wheel Yes
Sensor Size 12.48 mm x 9.98 mm
Shutter Mechanical, Even-illumination
Temperature Regulation Yes
Total Pixels 9 million pixels


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In the Box

SBIG U Aluma 814 CCD Camera
MaxIm DL Software - on included flash drive also has drivers and documents
Deluxe Carry Case
Universal Power Supply (110V/220V, 50-60 Hz)
2" Nosepiece Adapter
15 ft. (4.5m) USB Cable
Tracking Interface Cable