As we know, fiber optic patch cords are capped at both ends with fiber optic connectors to allow them to be rapidly and conveniently connected to telecommunication equipment. Fiber optic connector is one of those high quality ceramic components used to achieve accurate and precise connections of the fiber ends. It is a simple device which allows fiber links to be readily connected and disconnected.
How to install fiber optic connectors to optical fibers so that they can achieve accurate and precise connections? The method for attaching fiber optic connectors to optical fibers varies based on connector types. Installation ways of fiber optic connectors largely depends on the connector types. Generally, connectors can be categorized into no-epoxy/no-polish connectors and epoxy-and-polish connectors. The following text elaborates on how to install these two kinds of connectors respectively.
No-epoxy/no-polish Connector Installation
How to install no-epoxy/no-polish (NENP) connectors to optical fibers? A no-epoxy/no-polish connector includes an precisely polished endface. When installing an NENP connector, there is no need to use an epoxy or to polish the endface. The field fiber is mechanically spliced to a factory-cleaved fiber stub. The following picture is an illustration of no-epoxy/no-polish connector installation.
The installation process begins with preparing the field fiber, which is done by stripping the protective coating down to the bare glass. Once the fiber is cleaned, it is then cleaved with a precision cleaver. Next step is to insert the field fiber into the connector until it is seated against the factory-stubbed fiber and locked into place mechanically by a rotating cam or other means. Typically this step is achieved by using a tool that holds the connector and activates the mechanical splice by a button or lever.
Epoxy-and-polish Connector Installation
How to install epoxy-and-polish (EP) connectors to optical fibers? The most common types of EP connectors use heat- or anaerobic-curing techniques. A heat-cure connector uses heat to harden an epoxy, which takes several minutes. An anaerobic EP connector uses a two-part epoxy, a hardener that is inserted into the connector and an activator on the fiber.
To install an EP connector, an epoxy must be inserted into the connector ferrule first to form a bond between the field fiber and the connector’s ferrule, and then the endface needs to be hand-polished. Next, the field fiber is stripped down to the bare glass and cleaned. If the connector is heat-cure, the fiber is inserted into the connector and placed in an oven for the epoxy to cure. If the type of connector is anaerobic, the bare fiber is painted with an activator and inserted into the connector. Once the epoxy has been cured, the fiber stub which is protruding above the ferrule is scribed and removed. The final step is to polish the endface of the connector using a fixture and several different polishing films.
Notes for Fiber Optic Connector Installation
Besides different installation methods for different connector types, several things need to be paid attention to when installing fiber optic connectors, especially when a fiber patch cord has two different types of connectors, such as LC-SC fiber optic patch cord or FC-ST fiber optic patch cord.
Any problems with a connector, such as poor installation and uncleanness, can greatly influence the transmission and reception of the light power. And such problems may render the fiber optic system inoperative. So it is very necessary to know something about installation of fiber optic connectors.