Reliable and efficient fiber installations are critical to the high performance network. Cleaning fiber optic components is essential for quality connections between fiber optic equipment. It is one of the most basic and important procedures for the maintenance of fiber optic systems, because any contamination in the fiber optic connection will cause failure of the component or failure of the whole system. Some basic cleaning procedures for fiber optic cable and connector will be described in this article.
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.
Dry cleaning: Using a reel-based cassette cleaner (see the picture below) with medium pressure, wipe the connector end face against a dry cleaning cloth (single swipe per exposure) in one direction. For angled physical contact (APC) polished connectors, ensure that the entire end face surface mates with the cleaning cloth. Dry cleaning will generally remove airborne contamination and should be attempted first. Inspect the connector end face for contamination after cleaning.
Step 3: Inspect the connector.
Step 4: If the connector is still dirty, repeat the dry cleaning technique.
Step 5: Inspect the connector.
Step 6: 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.
Wet cleaning: Lightly moisten a portion of a lint free wipe with fiber optic cleaning solution (or > 91% Isopropyl Alcohol) and applying medium pressure, first wipe the end face against the wet area and then onto a dry area to clean potential residue from the end face. For APC polished connectors, ensure that the entire end face surface mates with the cleaning wipes. Wet cleaning is more aggressive than dry cleaning, and will remove airborne contamination as well as light oil residue and films.
Step 7: Inspect the connector again.
Step 8: If the contaminate still cannot be removed, repeat the cleaning procedure until the end face is clean.
Note: Never use alcohol or wet cleaning without a way to ensure that it does not leave residue on the end face. Or it will cause equipment damage.
Step 1: Make sure that the lasers are turned off before you begin the inspection.
Warning: Invisible laser radiation might be emitted from disconnected fibers or connectors. Do not stare into beams or view directly with optical instruments.
Step 2: Remove the protective end cap and store it in a small resealable container.
Step 3: Inspect the connector with a fiberscope.
Step 4: If the connector is dirty, clean with a cartridge or pocket cleaner.
Reminder: For cartridge cleaners, press down and hold the thumb lever. The shutter slides back and exposes a new cleaning area. For pocket cleaners, peel back protective film for one cleaning surface. For manual advance cleaners, pull on the cleaning material from the bottom of the device until a new strip appears in the cleaning window.
Step 5: Hold the fiber tip lightly against the cleaning area.
Reminder: For single, non−APC fiber connectors, rotate the fiber once through a quarter turn, 90 degrees. For APC connector end faces, hold cleaning area at the same angle as the end face.
Step 6: Pull the fiber tip lightly down the exposed cleaning area in the direction of the arrow or from top to bottom.
Warning: Do not scrub the fiber against the fabric or clean over the same surface more than once. This can potentially contaminate or damage your connector.
Step 7: Release the thumb lever to close the cleaning window, if you use cartridge type cleaners.
Step 8: Inspect the connector again with the fiberscope.
Step 9: Repeat the inspection and cleaning processes, as necessary.
Warning: Throw away any used cleaning material, either cards or material cartridges, after use.
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