In fiber networking installations, workmanship is critical to reach acceptable results because even a small imperfection or microscopic dirt on the face of the fiber can result in significant problems with optical propagation. To help installer avoid these problems, this article offers a hands-on tutorial for fast, safely, and correctly creating fiber optic connections that meet good standards of quality workmanship and ensure optimal coupling efficiency. The following steps for fiber optic cable termination will provide a solid base of information that will have great reference value for both new and experienced field technicians those terminate fiber optic cables often.
1. Insuring Safety
First of all, you should protect yourself during the installation process and leave the installation area in a safe condition for other people beside you. Fundamental safety tools include a dark work surface, such as a black work-mat, and a proper trash receptacle for fiber scraps that is clearly marked as to its contents. Using a piece of black tape to stick your scraps on isn’t an acceptable work practice other than just incorrectly flick off the cleaved fiber scraps with fingers which could be harmful to the occupants nearby. Then, use a fiber optic microscope to check a fiber to make sure the other end isn’t connected to a power source since the invisible laser light is harmful to the eyes while you may not eve realize you’re looking into it until it’s too late.
Once you have got your bulk fiber cable, strip the cable down to the bare fiber using an appropriate fiber stripper. After you have prepared the end of the cable you may begin to mix the epoxy resin and hardener together and load it into a syringe, unless of course you are using pre-loaded epoxy syringes, which are premixed and kept frozen until use. Now, from the syringe you must inject the epoxy directly into the connector ferrule.
Injet epoxy into the fiber optic connector ferrule and then insert the fiber optic cable so that the cable is seated inside of the connector wall and the bare fiber core sticks out about a half an inch from the front of the ferrule.
If your cable is jacketed, you will need to use a crimping tool to secure the connector to the jacket and strength member of the cable. Two crimps would be needed at this point.
After that, the next step is to place the connected end into a curing holder to ensure that the end of the fiber is not damaged while curing. Now place the cable and curing holder into a curing oven. To avoid flicking while curing with a conventional oven, situate the connector so that the end is facing down. This positioning will ensure that the epoxy does not come out of the back side of the connector and compromise the strength member of the cable. Then you need to refer to the documentation of your specific epoxy for accurate curing times and temperatures.
After you have sufficiently cured the epoxy, you are now ready to move on to the next step, cleaving the excess protruding fiber core. The tool you need is a fiber optic cleaver. Get as close to the ferrule tip as possible while avoiding any sort of twisting motion.
Once cleaved, it is important that you properly dispose of the fiber clipping. A regular piece of tape will do just fine at retaining your fiber debris. If you do not properly dispose of all fiber pieces they could easily end up in your skin or even in somebody’s eye or respiratory system. A short strand of fiber can cause more damage than you would at first imagine.
After the excess fiber cleaved and properly disposed of, you can begin the task of polishing the fiber tip to a smooth finish. Using fiber optic polishing tool you can effectively remove any excess epoxy from the ferrule end and buff out any imperfections on the face of the fiber. You can polish the cable tip with the 5-15 micron film, 5 micron aluminum oxide film, 3-6 micron diamond film, 1 micron diamond film, and HX film in order. A smooth fiber surface makes great sense to any light passing through.
9. Cleaning Again
If you have finished with your polished finish, you can move on to the cleaning of the ferrule and fiber tip. Using a lint-free wipe dipped in 99% reagent-grade alcohol, gently wipe the surface area of the ferrule and fiber tip and immediately wipe them dry with another dry lint-free wipe. You may optionally use a can of compressed air to finish the process.
Now the connected cable is complete. The last step is to ensure good standard. First you need to inspect the fiber tip with a 100x to 200x fiber optic microscope. And then test your cable with a fiber optic test equipment for insertion loss and return loss where needed.
In addition, most tools which are used in the steps can be found in a Fiber Termination Kit. Fiber termination technicians should keep such a kit by the side for much more convenience.
About the author:
FIBERSTORE is a famous Chinese fiber optic products supplier. It supplies almost all the fiber network solutions including bulk fiber cable, tranceiver modules (SFP, GBIC, XFP, etc.), fiber optic patch cables and cable managements (such as fibre termination box). Visit the website for more details.