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How to check optical connectors?

How to check optical connectors: In this article I will explain how to check the connectors. As per my knowledge, technician or site engineers do not check the connection before use and without knowing the malfunction of the connectors, technicians use the connectors at the site, due to which sometimes they have to face unwanted troubles.To overcome such problem, today I will discuss in this article how to check the connectors.

To properly inspect the end face of the connector, a microscope designed for the fiber-optic connector end face is recommended. The many types of inspection tools are in the market but there are two main categories: fiber inspection probes (also called video fiber scopes) and optical microscopes.
How to check optical connectors detail process
Checking Process of Optical Connectors

Characteristics of inspection tools

Fiber inspection probes/ video fiber scopes:
➤Test result of connectors image is displayed on an external video screen, PC or test
➤This instrument provide eye protection from direct contact with a live signal. Actual output image capture capability for report documentation.
➤It is very easy to use in crowded patch panels.
➤It provide easy and Ideal way for testing patch cords or individual connectors mounted on pigtail and multi-fiber connectors (eg MPO / MTP).
➤Different degrees of magnification are available (100X/200X/400X).
➤Adapter tips for all connector types are available.

Optical microscopes:
➤Optical microscopes provide safety filter for the users to protects eyes from direct contact with a live fiber.
➤Two different types of microscopes are needed: one to inspect patch cords and another to inspect connectors in bulkhead patch panels.

It is always to be remembered that never use a direct magnifying device or optical microscope to inspect live optical fiber.  A fiber inspection probe comes with different tips to match the connector type: angle-polished connectors (APC) or flat-polished connectors (PC).

Optical Connector Inspection Instructions

Visual fiber interconnect inspection is the only way to determine the cleanliness of the connectors prior to mating. A video microscope magnifies an image of a connector’s end face for viewing on a laptop or a portable display, depending on the product used.
Inspection result of optical connectors
Inspection Instruction

INSPECT: Select the appropriate tip for the connector/adaptor to be inspected. carefully inspect both side of connector end faces (patchcord/bulkhead/ pluggable interface) using the microscope.

CLEAN : No. During the inspection defects are found on the end face of optical connectors; clean the connector using a designated optics cleaning tool, better to use Isopropyle Alcohol for cleaning.

CONNECT: Yes. If non-removable, non-linear features and scratches are within acceptable criteria limits according to operator’s thresholds or standards, the fiber interfaces can be connected.

Tools needed for inspection of Optical Connectors

There are two methods for fiber end face inspection. If the cable assembly is accessible, insert the connector ferrule into the microscope to conduct the inspection; this is generally known as patch cord inspection. If the optical connector is within a mating adaptor on the device or patch panel, You have to insert a probe microscope into the open end of the adaptor and see the connector inside; This is known through bulkhead or adapter connector inspection.

Patch cord inspection

➤Select the appropriate tip that corresponds to the connector type under inspection and fit it on to the microscope.
Insert the optical connector into the tip of the tester and adjust focus to inspect. (Last line in drawing: single-mode fiber).
Inspection process of patch cord
Inspection process of patch cord

Bulkhead/through adaptor connector inspection

Select the appropriate tip / probe that matches the connector type under inspection and fit it into the probe microscope. 
Insert the probe into the bulkhead and adjust the focus to observe. (Last line in the drawing: singlemode fiber).
Bulkhead/through adaptor connector inspection
Connector inspection

Cleaning of Connectors

Cleaning of connectors are also a very important job in the optical fiber work.The connectors are cleaned in many ways like-Dry Cleaning, Damp cleaning, Bulkhead / through adaptor connector cleaning etc. Some tools are also used to complete the cleaning process of the connectors.

In dry cleaning uses wipes paper. You have to remember that EXPOSED WIPES CAN EASILY BECOME CONTAMINATED IN THE FIELD. In Damp cleaning uses cleaning fluids or solvents.Also available are pre-soaked wipes supplied in sealed sachets.

Overall be careful about the cleaning of connectors and used proper cleaning tools.How did you like this article " How to check optical connectors " I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.Please like and share my page to keep up with the new article.

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