I had Rich show me his approach to a chassis for the Acromag modules. The document tree for his design can be found on the DCC. Note that he's using the high densitymodel ES series, which is available as a bare board variant with pluggable screw terminals:
He can fit up to 4 of these in a 2U chassis and has outsourced the wiring from front panel Dsubs to the board connectors to an external company. At the 40m (and in West Bridge) we currently only have the rail mounted XT series
At first glance the specs are very similar. Both A/D and D/A flavors have 16-bit precision in both cases. The high density ES series with Rich's layout can achieve 128 A/D per 2U, 64 D/A per 2U, or 384 DIO per 2U. Into a 4U chassis of the type we have currently we can fit ~32 XT modules (assuming two rows), which results in very similar numbers, except for the DAC, of which we could fit more.
XT1221-000 (8 diff. channel 16-bit ADC) $495.00 $61.88/ch
XT1541-000 (8 channel 16-bit DAC and 4 discrete I/O ) $525.00 $65.63/ch
XT1120-000 (16 channel DIO) $320.00 $20.00/ch
ES2162-0010 (32 diff. channel 16-bit ADC) $2050.00 $64.06/ch
ES2172-0010 (16 channel 16-bit DAC) $1400.00 $87.50/ch
ES2113-0010 (96 channel DIO) $1100.00 $11.46/ch
It's cheaper to stick with the current XT models, but they need the bulkier 4U chassis. The good news is that actually all these models have 16 bit precision, which wasn't clear to me before. Lydia and I will work out what connectors we want on the boxes, and how many modules/channels we need where. Rich also got me in touch with Keith Thorne, who handles the analog I/O Acromag at LLO, and I will ask him for advice. From his documents on the DCC it seems that he is using yet another series: EN. The 968EN-4008 for example is a rail-mounted ADC with pluggable connections, but looses quite clearly in price per channel.
For a generic multipurpose DAQ interface box the ES series is the best approach in my opinion, because it offers a more compact design. We could for example fit 1 ADC, 2 DAC, 1 DIO in a 2U chassis for 32/32/96 channels. The combined price tag for this scenario would be ~$6k.