Among key sources of loss that can bring a fiber network down, dirty and damaged end-faces are the threat most underestimated. Fiber optics has zero tolerance for dirt! Thus, proper end-face cleaning and inspection are very necessary. Today, three common types of fiber optic cleaning tools will be introduced here.
The lint free pads wetted cleaning solution is a traditional cleaning method for single and multifiber connectors but not in an adapter. It general includes two steps:
- Step 1. Wipe the pad across the ferrule end face several times to remove contamination.
- Step:2. Dry the connector by blowing with dry compressed air.
Note: that most shop air supplies have a significant amount of oil that will further contaminate the ferrule, so choose the right dry air.
Pen type cleaner, also called push-type cleaner, features an easy one push action which quickly and effectively clean the end-face of connectors on jumpers or through adapters. It is a cost-effective per clean option to clean single fiber connector and maximize network performance. In general, several steps are included when using pen type cleaner. Take example of “one-push” cleaner here:
- Step 1. Select the cleaner model for the connector type to be cleaned, for example, 2.5 mm for SC, FC and ST, and 1.25 mm for LC and MU.
- Step 2. Remove the guide cap and insert cleaning tip inside the adapter.
- Step 3. Simply insert the cleaner into an adapter and press the cleaner forward until it pushes.
- Step 4. Remove the cleaner and replace the cap on it to prevent any contamination of the cleaning tip. Also apply the dust cap to the adapter, or proceed to make the connection.
Note: There is mini pen type cleaner which is useful when the work space is limited and it is difficult for workers to access to adapters.
Reel cleaner is an advanced dry cloth reel cassette with micro-fiber cloth that captures debris and other contamination from ferrule end-faces for single and multifiber connectors. Thus, it is also called cassette cleaner. Compared with pen type cleaner, reel type cleaner can quickly and effectively clean a variety of connectors. Its refillable cleaning tapes makes it ideal for lab, assembly lines and field use. When using reel connector, there are also several steps.
- Step 1. Select the cleaner model for the connector type to be cleaned, basic model for all connectors except MTRJ and MTP/MPO types w/pins, and the slot model for MTRJ and MTP/MPO types with pins.
- Step 2. Remove the connector dust cap and slide the cover back on the cleaner.
- Step 3. Slide the end face along the cloth surface several times.
- Step 4. Replace the dust cap and close the cleaner cover.
- Step 5. Advance the cleaner reel every 5-10 connectors.
- Step 1. Remove the cap from the tip of the cleaner and remove the dust cap from the adapter.
- Step 2. Insert the cleaner tip into the MTP/MPO bulkhead or adapter.
- Step 3. Rotate the cleaner wheel to clean the end-face in the adapter.
- Step 4. Replace the dust cap and the cleaner cap.
Stand-Alone Connector Cleaning:
- Step 1. Open the door on the cap at the tip of the cleaner and remove the dust cap from the connector.
- Step 2. Insert the connector into the cap at the tip into the cleaner.
- Step 3. Rotate the cleaner wheel to clean the connector end-face.
- Step 4. Replace the dust cap and close the door on the cleaner cap.
In addition to the above three cleaning tools, there are a wide variety of tools available to clean end-faces. While the more complex tools may achieve better results, but cost far more money. Users should determine the best approach for the application and budget. In addition, to be remember that the one key criterion for wiping materials is that they be lint-free. Shirtsleeves are unacceptable. Where to buy cost-effective fiber optic cleaning tools and consumables? I will always highly recommend you FS.COM.