How to clean a fiber optic connector?

Do you know how important is to maintain a fiber connector clean? In fact, having a clean eviroment for the connector is one of the most important procedures in the conservation of a fiber optic system. This is necessary to keep quality connections.
If any particle of dust, lint, oil or any other dirt get on the end of the connector, this will interrupt the correct function of the signal that is being sent over the fiber.
An improper maintenance of the cables can also cause other problems such as scratching the glass surface, instability in the laser system, and a misalignment between the fiber cores.
So, the questions is: What to do to clean my fiber optic? Simple:
Before beginning all the process, make sure the cable is disconnected from both ends and turn off any laser sources. Don’t forget to wear safety glasses and check the connectors before you clean them.
Step 1: Inspect the fiber optic connector, component, or bulkhead with a fiberscope.
Step 2: If the connector is dirty, clean it with a dry cleaning technique. This procedure consists of using a reel-based cassette cleaner with medium pressure, wipe the connector end face against a dry cleaning cloth in one direction. This step must be done in both parts of the fibre optic and can be repeated at least two times.
Step 3: If the connector is still dirty, clean it with a wet cleaning technique followed immediately with a dry cleaning in order to ensure no residue is left on the end face. You can use a special solution for fibre optic or 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. Wipe the end face against the wet area and then onto a dry area to clean potential residue from the end face.
Wet cleaning is more aggressive than dry cleaning, and will remove airborne contamination as well as light oil residue and films.
Similar to the dry cleaning method, this one, can be done twice if you consider that the fiber optic isn’t clear yet.
IMPORTANT: The end face of the connector should never be touched during the cleaning process and also the clean area of a tissue should not be touched or reused.
The fiber end should be inspected with a fiberscope of at least 200x magnification, and if it is contaminated, it should be cleaned with one of the methods explained before.
DO’s and DON’Ts when it comes to cleaning a Fiber Optic:
 DO’s:
Turn off any laser sources before you inspect fiber connectors, optical components, or bulkheads.
Make sure that the cable is disconnected at both ends and the card or pluggable receiver is removed from the chassis.
Wear the appropriate safety glasses when required in your area. Be sure that any laser safety glasses meet federal and state regulations and are matched to the lasers used within your environment.
Inspect the connectors or adapters before you clean.
Use the connector housing to plug or unplug a fiber.
Keep a protective cap on unplugged fiber connectors.
Store unused protective caps in a resealable container in order to prevent the possibility of the transfer of dust to the fiber. Locate the containers near the connectors for easy access
Discard used tissues and swabs properly.
 DON’TS:
Use alcohol or wet cleaning without a way to ensure that it does not leave residue on the end face. It can cause damage to the equipment.
Look into a fiber while the system lasers are on.
Clean bulkheads or receptacle devices without a way to inspect them.
Touch products without being properly grounded.
Use unfiltered handheld magnifiers or focusing optics to inspect fiber connectors.
Connect a fiber to a fiberscope while the system lasers are on
Twist or pull forcefully on the fiber cable.
Reuse any tissue, swab, or cleaning cassette reel.
Touch clean area of a tissue, swab, or cleaning fabric.
Touch any portion of a tissue or swab where alcohol was applied.
Touch the dispensing tip of an alcohol bottle.
Use alcohol around an open flame or spark; alcohol is very flammable.
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How To Clean The Fiber Optic Connector

Fiber optic cleaning is one of the most important thing in the process of fiber optic system maintenance, which is required to keep quality connections between fiber optic equipment. As we know, the fiber optic connector consists of fiber optic plug and the adapter. The ends of the fiber optic cables are held in the core of ferrule in the plug. Keeping the fiber end face and ferrule absolutely clean is very essential, since any particles such as dust, oil or lint on the end face of the fiber, it will disrupt the light transmission trough the fiber and lead to the completeness of optical signals for the component or the entire system.
For proper performance of the SC fiber optic cable, you must keep the SC connector clean and free of dust. Small micro-deposit of oil and dust in the canal of the connector could cause loss of light, reducing signal power and possible causing intermittent problems with the optical connections. Below picture show the part of the end face of an unclean and clean ferrule of SC connectors.
What should be followed before the fiber optic cleaning
1.Before cleaning the fiber optic connectors, make sure to disconnect the fiber optic cables from both ends and then turn off any laser source.
2. Do not allow the end of the fiber optic cable to make contact with any surface including your fingers.
3.Never to bend the fiber cable, which will in turn cause internal breaks along the fiber and cause poor performance or instability.
4.Use the finger cots or powder free surgical gloves to handle the fiber optic cables.
5.Use fresh spectroscopic grade Methanol or Isopropyl Alcohol as the only cleaning solvent.
6. In the daily connection work, a connector housing should be used when plugging or unplugging a fiber. A protective cap should be used to cover the unplugged fiber connectors.
7. In the process of the fiber optic cleaning, the end face of the connector should never be touched and also the clean area of a tissue of swab should not be touched or reused.
Cleaning Procedure
At the beginning of cleaning job, a fiber microscope should be used to inspect the fiber end, if it is contaminated as either images shows below, it should be cleaned with the dry cleaning method.
1.Blow the fiber surface with a stream of Clean Dry Air (the so called CDA), which will dislodge larger, loose particles. Keep in mind, don’t tip the can of the CDA while blowing. Because the liquid may be released contaminant on the surface of the fiber.
2.Place 1-3 drops of spectroscopic grade methanol or isopropyl alcohol in the center of a lens tissue. Do not use Acetone as a cleaning solvent on the fiber optical surfaces. Besides, to ensure the purity of the methanol or alcohol, you should never insert the lens tissue or swabs into the liguid.
3.Hold the fiber by the connector. Place the wet portion of the lens tissue on the optical surface and slowly drag it across. At this step, don’t use lens paper to dry it because the dry lens paper is extremely abrasive.
4.Examine the surface of the fiber under high density light using a magnifier, an optical loop, or a video inspection tool. If streaks or contaminants still remain, repeat the process using a fresh lens tissue.
5.Immediately install a protective cover over the end of the cable to avoid re-contamination or insert the fiber for immediate use.

Basic Knowledge of Fiber Optic Connector

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

Terminating the end of an optical fiber, the fiber optic connector is utilized to join optical fibers where a connect or disconnect capability is required. A optical fiber connector has three major components: the ferrule, the connector body and the coupling mechanism. Generally made from ceramic, metal or high quality plastic, the ferrule is a thin structure (often cylindrical) that holds the glass fiber. The connector body is a plastic or metal structure that holds the ferrule and attaches to the jacket and strengthens members of the fiber cable itself. And the coupling mechanism is a part of the connector body that holds the connector in place when it gets attached to another device.
Since the fiber cable transmits pulses of light instead of electrical signals, it is important to choose a good optical fiber connector that aligns microscopic glass fibers perfectly in order to allow for communication. Nowadays, there are many different types of fiber optic connectors in the market (as shown in the following figure). Different kinds of optical fiber cables may need different connectors. Seen from the types of optical fiber, the fiber optic connectors may be loosely classified into standard fiber optic connectors, small form factor fiber optic connectors and ribbon fiber connectors. These family types of fiber connectors sometimes may overlap with each other.
Fiber Optic Connector Types
Standard Fiber Optic Connectors
Generally having a ferrule of 2.5 mm, standard fiber optic connectors are connectors commonly used in the fiber network. They can be both simplex and duplex and available in single mode and multi-mode fibers. ST, FC, SC, FDDI and ESCON are all standard fiber connectors. But they also differ from each other. ST connector is the most popular connector for multi-mode fiber optic LAN applications. FC connector is specifically designed for telecommunication applications and provides non-optical disconnect performance. SC connector is widely used in single mode applications for its excellent performance. FDDI connector, which is a duplex multi-mode connector, utilizes two 2.5mm ferrules and is designed to used in FDDI network. ESCON connectors are similar to FDDI connectors, but contain a retractable shroud instead of a fixed shroud.
Small Form Factor Fiber Optic Connectors
To meet the demand for devices that can fit into tight spaces and allow denser packing of connections, a number of small form factor fiber optic connectors have been developed since the 1990s. In this type of small form factor fiber optic connectors, some are miniaturized versions of older connectors, built around a 1.25mm ferrule rather than the 2.5mm ferrule. For example, the LC, MU, E2000 connectors. While the others are based on smaller versions of MT-type ferrule for multi-mode fiber connections, or other brand new designs. For example, the MT-RJ connector, which has a miniature two-fiber ferrule with two guide pins parallel to the fibers on the outside. Its overall size is about the same as an RJ45 connector.
Ribbon Fiber Connectors
MTP and MPO are compatible ribbon fiber connectors based on MT ferrules which allow quick and reliable connections for up to 12 fibers. Since the MTP product complies with the MPO standard, the MTP connector is an MPO connector. Along with the MTP patch cables (for example, MTP-MTP fiber trunk cable), MTP connectors can upgrade the 10G network to 40G/100G.
Conclusion
The optical fiber connector is an essential part of fiber optical network. As the popularity of fiber optical network, about 100 fiber optic connectors have been introduced to the market. As the main professional fiber optic products supplier in China, fiber-mart.com offers various kinds of fiber cable connectors, especially the commonly used FC, LC, SC, ST and MPO connectors.

New Application of Fiber Optic Connector Assembly at the Scene

by http://www.fiber-mart.com

Recent years, PON technology has been more widely used in the fiber optic industry because of its advantages on building cost, protection cost and the broad width. And in China, the three major telecom operators – China telecom, China unicom and China mobile all bring the EPON and GPON into the telecommunication network, at the same time, in order to support the application of PON technology, ODN network is built strongly, then it put forward higher requirements to fiber optic connection, protection as well as the application and management of fiber cable devices, the most obvious device among them is fiber optic patch cable.
We all know that tradition fiber patch cables are made to follow as the certain length of fiber optic connector assembly process, different lengths of fiber cables and connectors composed of a wide variety of fiber patch cords, they can be used in fiber optic patch panels, fiber transfer boxes, fiber cable devices and the connection between the devices and other optical ports, but just because these different fiber patch cables, it bring heavy pressure to storage management. Except this, traditional factory custom the length of fiber patch cables usually more than the actual length if the route and it leaves the length of the excess in a small disk space, we can see from the figure that not only it adds the cost of distribution frame and other cable devices but also not easy to manage, and too longer fiber cables always happens intertwined, knotted squeeze and circumstances, then result in unnecessary trouble, increase the cost of maintenance and management.
Therefore, how to control the length of fiber patch cables effectively, to avoid all the trouble. To solve the problem, Fiberstore makes his opinion. we use the on site assembly of fiber connectors, and on the 2 mm or 3 mm fiber pigtail?into end and make fiber patch cable at the scene, replacing the traditional custom factory fiber patch cables, it can greatly alleviate the traditional fiber patch cables left too long, difficulties of managements, frequent failure those a series of maintenance problems. Fiberstore comes with the close communication with all the operators and joint efforts, apply the fiber optic connector assembly of FTTH at the secne into fiber patch cables managements of fiber equipments.
After the constant experiments and used for many time successfully, we have to believe that the embedded optical fiber types of fiber optical connector assembly at the scene will be the first choice for the fiber distribution frame, cable box, optical distribution boxes and other cable device in the future, it also can give ODN network cabling system maintenance and management to bring a revolutionary change.