Fiber optic cable can be accidentally damaged, cut or smashed. According to the Electronic Technicians Association, one of the main cause of optical fiber failure is “backhoe fade” , during which the optical fiber cable is cut or damaged while digging. For this occasion, you can easily look for backhoe and get the cut cable. However, if it is caused by moles, it will likely be difficult to troubleshoot it. On the flip side, it means that the cost to repair fiber optic cable might be a little bit expensive because of the equipment involved. Here are a few tools and steps suggested for you to repair broken fiber optic cable.
Fiber Optic Cable Repair Kits That You May Need
(1) OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer)
The OTDR is widely used for the measurement of fiber length, transmission attenuation, joint attenuation and fault location. For more information about OTDR, please refer to Working Principle and Characteristics of OTDR.
(2) Fiber Optic Cutter / Stripper
Fiber optic cable cutter and fiber optic stripper are important tools in the fiber optic splicing and some other fiber optic cable cutting applications.
Fiber optic cable cutter and fiber optic stripper
(3) High Precision Fiber Optic Cleaver
Fiber optic cleaver is used to cut the fiberglass for fusion splicing, also ideal for preparing fiber for pre-polished connectors to make a good end face. So it is very important in the fiber splicing process, and it usually works together with the fusion splicer to meet the end needs.
High Precision Fiber Optic Cleaver
(4) Fusion Splicer
Fiber optic fusion splicer may be the act of joining two optical fibers end-to-end using heat. The machine is to fuse both the fibers together in such a way that light passing with the fibers is not scattered or reflected back from the splice.
Steps to Repair Fiber Optic Cable
Step 1: Use OTDR to Identify the Break in Fiber Optic Cable
The first thing you need to do is to look for the break in your fiber optic cables. Commonly, the fiber-optic technicians utilize a device which is known as an OTDR. With the ability to work like radar which sends a light pulse right down to the optical fiber cable. It will be deflected to your device when it encounters break. It helps technician know the position of the break.
Step 2: Use Fiber Optic Cutter to Cut Out the Damaged Fiber Optic Cable
After knowing the location of the break, you should dig up the fiber optic cables with the break. The fiber optic cutter is used to cut out the damaged section.
Step 3: Strip the Fiber Optic Cable by Fiber Optic Stripper
You should use fiber optic stripper to strip the fiber on the both end and peel the jacket gently to expose the fiber-optic tube inside. Then, cut any sheath and yarn by fiber optic cutting tools.
Strip the Fiber Optic Cable by Fiber Optic Stripper
Step 4: Trim Any Damage on the Optical Fiber Ends by High Precision Fiber Cleaver
The following picture lists the main 6 steps for fiber cleaving by high precision fiber cleaver.
6 steps for fiber cleaving by high precision fiber cleaver
Step 5: Clean the Striped Fiber Optic Cable
This step is crucial to ensure that your terminal will get a clean wire strip. You have to clean the stripped fiber with alcohol and lint-free wipes. Ensure that the fiber doesn’t touch anything.
Step 6: Splice the Fiber Optic Cable
Generally, there are two methods to splice optical fiber cable: (1) mechanical splicing; (2) fusion splicing.
(1) Mechanical Splicing
If you want to produce a mechanical connection, you need to put inline splice quick-connect fiber-optic connectors to the fiber. Hold the two fiber ends in a precisely aligned position thus enabling light to pass from one fiber into the other. (Typical loss: 0.3 dB)
(2) Fusion Splicing
In fusion splicing, a fusion splicer is used to precisely align the two fiber ends. You have to convey a fusion splice protector to the fiber, and place the fibers which is spliced within the fusion splicer. Then, the fiber ends are “fused” or “welded” together using some type of heat or electric arc. This produces a continuous connection between the fibers enabling very low loss light transmission. (Typical loss: 0.1 dB)
Step 7: Perform the Connection Test of Fiber Optic Cable with OTDR
The very last thing would be to see the connection of fiber-optic using the OTDR. Then put back those splices into the splice enclosure. Close the enclosure after which rebury the fiber optic cables.