A novel detector module configuration based on silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) detectors with LYSO scintillators, a multichannel mixed analog/digital ASIC and an FPGA-based digital data acquisition system has been developed for preclinical positron emission tomography (PET). The SCEPTER ASIC, originally developed for soft X-ray detection at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has a unique architecture incorporating multiple peak detectors and time-to-amplitude converters, and offers an extremely low dead time, making it ideal for coincidence detection. A representative pair of channels in the prototype system has been characterised. Measured energy and timing resolutions are reported for coincidences between a singlepixel SiPM detector and a conventional PMT. A timing resolution of 11.7 ns was achieved during a 48 hour run. Energy resolution for the SiPM device and data acquisition system was found to be 17%.