I recently watched my coworker disassembling a personal computer using only one tool. Was it the correct tool for the job? Yes and no. It had been the tool he had… it worked, however, there exists definitely several tool available that would have made the work easier! This case is definitely one which many fiber optic installers know all too well. As being a gentle reminder, what percentage of you might have used your Splicer’s Tool Kit (cable knife/scissors) to remove jacketing or even slit a buffer tube and then use the scissors to hack away at the Kevlar? Do you nick the glass? Did you accidentally cut through the glass and need to start over?
Correctly splicing and terminating Sheathing line requires special tools and techniques. Training is important and there are many excellent types of training available. Do not mix your electrical tools with your fiber tools. Utilize the right tool to do the job! Being proficient in fiber work will end up increasingly necessary as the significance of data transmission speeds, fiber to the home and fiber towards the premise deployments continue to increase.
Many factors set fiber installations aside from traditional electrical projects. Fiber optic glass is quite fragile; it’s nominal outside diameter is 125um. The slightest scratch, mark or perhaps speck of dirt will change the transmission of light, degrading the signal. Safety is important simply because you will work with glass that can sliver into your skin without getting seen by the eye. Transmission grade lasers are incredibly dangerous, and require that protective eyewear is a must. This industry has primarily been coping with voice and data grade circuits that may tolerate some interruption or slow down of signal. Anyone speaking would repeat themselves, or even the data would retransmit. Today we are dealing with IPTV signals and customers that will not tolerate pixelization, or momentary locking of the picture. Each of the situations mentioned are cause of the consumer to search for another carrier. Each situation might have been avoided if proper attention was provided to the strategies used while preparing, installing, and maintaining fiber optic cables.
Having said that, why don’t we review basic fiber preparation? Jacket Strippers are used to remove the 1.6 – 3.0mm PVC outer jacket on simplex and duplex fiber cables. Serrated Kevlar Cutters will cut and trim the kevlar strength member directly under the jacket and Buffer Strippers will remove the acrylate (buffer) coating from your bare glass. A protective plastic coating is used towards the optical fiber proof-testing machine following the drawing process, but prior to spooling. The most common coating is really a UV-cured acrylate, that is applied by two layers, resulting in a nominal outside diameter of 250um for that coated fiber. The coating is very engineered, providing protection against physical damage due to environmental elements, like temperature and humidity extremes, being exposed to chemicals, point of stress… etc. while also minimizing optical loss. Without this, the producer would struggle to spool the fiber without having to break it. The 250um-coated fiber is the foundation for a lot of common fiber optic cable constructions. It is usually used as is also, specially when additional mechanical or environmental protection is not needed, including inside of optical devices or splice closures. For extra physical protection and ease of handling, a secondary coating of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or Hytrel (a thermoplastic elastomer which includes desirable characteristics to be used being a secondary buffer) is extruded on the 250um-coated fiber, improving the outside diameter as much as 900um. This sort of construction is referred to as ‘tight buffered fiber’. Tight Buffered might be single or multi fiber and therefore are seen in Premise Networks and indoor applications. Multi-fiber, tight-buffered cables often can be used for intra-building, risers, general building and plenum applications.
‘Loose tube fiber’ usually consists of a bundle of fibers enclosed in a thermoplastic tube known as a buffer tube, that has an inner diameter that is slightly larger than the diameter of the fiber. Loose tube fiber has a space for that fibers to grow. In certain climate conditions, a fiber may expand and then shrink repeatedly or it might be in contact with water. Fiber Cables will sometimes have ‘gel’ within this cavity (or space) yet others that are labeled ‘dry block’. You will discover many loose tube fibers in Outside Plant Environments. The modular form of loose-tube cables typically holds approximately 12 fibers per buffer tube using a maximum per cable fiber count of more than 200 fibers. Loose-tube cables may be all-dielectric or optionally armored. The armoring is utilized to guard the cable from rodents including squirrels or beavers, or from protruding rocks in a buried environment. The modular buffer-tube design also permits easy drop-off of teams of fibers at intermediate points, without interfering with other protected buffer tubes being routed with other locations. The loose-tube design will help with the identification and administration of fibers in the system. When protective gel is present, a gel-cleaner including D-Gel will be needed. Each fiber is going to be cleaned with all the gel cleaner and 99% alcohol. Clean room wipers (Kim Wipes) are a good decision to use with all the cleaning agent. The fibers inside a loose tube gel filled cable usually have a 250um coating so that they are more fragile compared to a tight-buffered fiber. Standard industry color-coding is additionally employed to identify the buffers as well as the fibers in the buffers.
A ‘Rotary Tool’ or ‘Cable Slitter’ may be used to slit a ring around and through the outer jacketing of ‘loose tube fiber’. Once you expose the durable inner buffer tube, use a ‘Universal Fiber Access Tool’ which is perfect for single central buffer tube entry. Used on the same principle since the Mid Span Access Tool, (that enables accessibility multicolored buffer coated tight buffered fibers) dual blades will slit the tube lengthwise, exposing the buffer coated fibers. Fiber handling tools for instance a spatula or a pick may help the installer to gain access to the fiber needing testing or repair. After the damaged fiber is exposed a hand- stripping tool will be utilized to eliminate the 250um coating so that you can work with the bare fiber. The next phase will likely be cleaning the fiber end and preparing that it is cleaved. A great cleave is one of the most essential factors of creating a low loss on a splice or even a termination. A Fiber Optic Cleaver is really a multipurpose tool that measures distance from the end of the buffer coating to the point where it will likely be joined and it precisely cuts the glass. Never forget to use a fiber trash-can for the scraps of glass cleaved from the fiber cable.
When performing fusion splicing you might need a Fusion Splicer, fusion splice protection sleeves, and isopropyl alcohol and stripping tools. If you work with a mechanical splice, you will want stripping tools, mechanical splices, isopropyl alcohol along with a mechanical splice assembly tool. When hand terminating optical fiber coloring machine you will require 99% isopropyl alcohol, epoxy/adhesive, a syringe and needle, polishing (lapping) film, a polishing pad, a polishing puck, a crimp tool, stripping tools, fiber optic connectors ( or splice on connectors) and piano wire.
Each time a termination is finished you must inspect the conclusion face from the connector with a Fiber Optic Inspection Microscope. Making sure that light is becoming through either the splice or yphlby connection, a Visual Fault Locator can be used. This device will shoot a visible laser on the fiber cable so that you can tell there are no breaks or faulty splices. When the laser light stops along the fiber somewhere, there is probably a break inside the glass when this occurs. When there is more than a dull light showing on the connector point, the termination was not successful. The light also needs to go through the fusion splice, if it fails to, stop and re- splice or re-terminate.