The beginning of my first week was spent at various orientations and safety meetings, some for general SURF and some more specific to LIGO and the lab. In between these I started work.
Jenne and I took out the spare STACIS and took it apart, taking out the circuit boards. I've spent some time looking through the boards and sketching various parts of the board in trying to understand the exact function without any useful technical diagrams (STACIS supplied us only with a picture of the board without components, not all that helpful). I think I now at least understand the basic block diagram of the circuitry: the STACIS geophone signal goes through a preamplifier and filters (the semi-circular board), and converts it into a signal for the PZT stacks. This signal then goes through a high voltage amplifer, and then goes to the five PZTs (3 in the z, one each in the x and y direction). The unit I am looking at has an extension board, which allows us to tap into the signal going into the preamp and the one leaving it. This should allow us to input our own signal instead of the geophone signal, and thereby drive the PZTs ourselves.
My next step, once I get a resistor to replace a burnt one on the high voltage amplifier, is to take a transfer function of the STACIS and see if it is possible to drive the PZT stacks with the cables from the extension board. If that does not work, I'll have to keep tracing the circuit to determine where to input our own signal.