Reliable Data Acquisition System for a Low-Cost Accelerograph Applied to Structural Health Monitoring
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This paper presents and evaluates a continuous recording system designed for a low-cost seismic station. The architecture has three main blocks. An accelerometer sensor based on MEMS technology (Microelectromechanical Systems), an SBC platform (Single Board Computer) with embedded Linux and a microcontroller device. In particular, the microcontroller represents the central component which operates as an intermediate agent to manage the communication between the accelerometer and the SBC block. This strategy allows the system for data acquisition in real time. On the other hand, the SBC platform is used for storing and processing data as well as in order to configure the remote communication with the station. This proposal is intended as a robust solution for structural health monitoring (i.e. in order to characterize the response of an infrastructure before, during and after a seismic event). The paper details the communication scheme between the system components, which has been minutely designed to ensure the samples are collected without information loss. Furthermore, for the experimental evaluation the station was located in the facilities on a relevant infrastructure, specifically a hydroelectric dam. The system operation was compared and verified with respect to a certified accelerograph station. Results prove that the continuous recording system operates successfully and allows for detecting seismic events according to requirements of structural health applications (i.e. detects events with a frequency of vibration less than 100 Hz). Specifically, through the system implemented it was possible to characterize the effect of a seismic event of 4 MD reported by the regional seismology network and with epicenter located about 30 Km of the hydroelectric dam. Particularly, the vibration frequencies detected on the infrastructure are in the range of 13 Hz and 29 Hz. Regarding the station performance, results from experiments reveals an average CPU load of 51%, consequently the processes configured on the SBC platform do not involve an overload. Finally, the average energy consumption of the station is close to 2.4 W, therefore autonomy provided by the backup system is aroud of 10 hours.
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