In this paper we describe the architecture and the performances of a hybrid modular acquisition and control system prototype for environmental monitoring and geophysics. The system, an improvement of a VME-UDP/IP based system we developed for interferometric detectors of gravitational waves, is based on a dual-channel 18-bit low noise ADC, a 16-bit DAC module at 1MHz, and a 20-bit slower ADC necessary for the acquisition of an external calibration signal. The module can be configured as stand-alone or mounted on a motherboard as mezzanine in parallel with other modules. Both the modules and the motherboard can send/receive the configuration and the acquired/correction data for control through a standard EPP parallel port to a standard PC, where the real-time computation is performed. Experimental tests have demonstrated that the distributed control systems implemented with this architecture exihibit a delay time of less than 25 μs on a single channel, that is a sustained sampling frequency of more than 40 kHz. The system is now under extensive test in two different experiments: the remote control and data acquisition of a set of seismometers, velocimeters and accelerometers to simulate a geophysics networks of sensors and the remote control of the end mirrors of a suspended Michelson interferometer through electrostatic actuators for interferometric detectors of gravitational waves.
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