I looked into this a bit more and crossed off some of the points Rana listed. In order to use REFL 55 as a sensor, I had to fix the frequent saturations seen in the MICH signals, at the nominal (flat) whitening gain of +18 dB. The light level on the REFL55 photodiode (13 mW), its transimpedance (400 ohm), and this +18dB (~ x8) gain, cannot explain signal saturation (0.7A/W * 400 V/A * 8 ~ 2.2kV/W, and the PRCL PDH fringe should be ~1 MW/m, so the PDH fringe across the 4nm linewidth of the PRC should only be a couple of volts). Could be some weird effect of the quad LT1125. Anyway, the fix that has worked in the past, and also this time, is detailed here. Note that the anomalously high noise of the REFL55_Q channel in particular remains a problem. After taking care of that, I did the following:
Rana also suggested checking if the digital demod phase that senses MICH in REFL55_Q changes from free-swinging Michelson (PRM misaligned), to PRMI aligned - we can quantify any macroscopic length mismatch in the PRC length using this measurement. I couldn't see any MICH signal in REFL55_Q with the PRM misaligned and the Michelson fringing. Could be that +18dB is insufficient whitening gain, but I ran out of time this afternoon, so I'll check later. But not sure if the double attenuation by the PRM makes this impossible.