Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning Guide

Cleaning fiber optic connectors is necessary to keep the quality connections between all fiber equipment. It is one of the most important preventative maintenance procedures to avoid premature failure of the system. It is known that fiber optic connector terminates the end of an optical fiber and mechanically couples and aligns the cores of fibers, so light can pass. Experts studies have shown that one micrometer dust particle can block up to one percent of the light and cause a 0.05dB loss on a single-mode fiber cable. Although a 9-micrometer speck is too small to notice without a microscope, it can block a fiber core. Thus keeping the fiber end face and ferrule absolutely clean is very essential. The following article will provide some detailed information about the tips and procedures for cleaning fiber optic connector.

Tips Before the Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning

Before the fiber optic connector cleaning, there are some tips which should be kept in mind.

  • 1.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.Always inspect your connectors or adapters before you begin the cleaning process.
  • 5.Store unused protective caps in a reasonable container to prevent any transfer of dust to the fiber.
Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning Process

Step 1—Use a fiber microscope to inspect the fiber end, if it is contaminated as images shown below, it should be cleaned with the dry cleaning method.

contamination in connectors

Tips: Dry cleaning is a type of cleaning method which does not require the use of any solvent. First, use a reel-based cassette cleaner with medium pressure as shown below, then wipe the connector end face with 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. Finally, inspect the connector end face for contamination again after cleaning. Dry cleaning method will generally remove airborne contamination and should be attempted first.

reel-based cassette cleaner

Step 2—Inspect the connector.

Step 3—If the connector is dirty, repeat the dry cleaning method and inspect the connector again.
Step 4—Clean the connector with a wet cleaning technique if it’s still dirty.

Tips: Wet cleaning is another type of cleaning method which requires the use of a solvent such as isopropyl alcohol. First, lightly moisten a portion of a lint free wipe with fiber optic cleaning solution (or > 91 percent isopropyl alcohol), then wipe the end face against the wet area, and 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.

Step 5—Inspect the connector again.

Step 6—If there is still contamination on the connector, repeat these steps until the connector is clean.

Step 7—After cleaning, immediately install a protective cover over the end of the cable to avoid re-contamination or insert the fiber for immediate use.

Note: Do not use a cleaning process that will leave a residue on the end face. Alcohol and wet cleaning procedures are the most common procedures that will leave residue on the surface of the devices.

Summary

Fiber optic connector is an indispensable component of optical network. Therefore, the cleanliness of the connector becomes increasingly important. This passage has briefly introduced the procedures of fiber optic cleaning. If you need to clean your connectors, you can follow my suggestion. In addition, choosing a suitable cleaning tool is also important for fiber optic connector cleaning. FS.COM supplies all kinds of fiber optic cleaner, like pen cleaner, cassette cleaner. All of these optic connector cleaners are designed to effectively and quickly clean connector end face, both the unmated patch cord and through the adapter. They are also provided with high quality and reasonable price. If you have any requirement of our products, please visit FS.COM or contact sales@fs.com.

The following two tabs change content below.

Optical Communication

Work as an English editor at FS.COM, a professional supplier and manufacturer of fiber cables.

Leave a Reply