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27 June 2006 Control system architecture of AMICA: a robotic instrument in an extreme environment
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AMICA is a camera conceived to automatically acquire infrared astronomical images in the extreme environment of Dome C (T ~ -70 °C, p ~ 640 mbar). For this reason, hardware and software are specially designed. They must guarantee the correct execution of observing procedures, while performing a continuous monitoring of the environmental conditions, the instrument status and the observing parameters, and a real-time adjustment of them when required. All temperature-sensitive components will be placed in a thermally controlled rack. The environmental control inside it is assigned to a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). It is responsible, in particular, for the overall system start-up. Instrument status, mainly concerning vacuum level and temperatures inside the cryostat, is directly monitored by the local cPC, which sends instructions to the PLC in case of failure, in order to start appropriate restoring procedures. All hardware components are conceived to be easily and fast replaceable. Main tasks of the AMICA Control Software (ACS) are: telescope interaction, observation management, environment control, events handling, data storing. Because of the high frame rate, typical of infrared imaging, the acquisition system has been interfaced with an independent application (STS), to perform read-out electronics control, fast data processing (co-adding from chopping raw frames), parameters checking (such as exposure time, chopping frequency, etc.), and data output. The software design has a multithreading architecture, based on the Object Oriented approach and developed for Windows OS platforms.
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Gianluca Di Rico, Maurizio Ragni, Leonardo Corcione, Enrico Giro, and Daniela Fantinel "Control system architecture of AMICA: a robotic instrument in an extreme environment", Proc. SPIE 6274, Advanced Software and Control for Astronomy, 62741K (27 June 2006);

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