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Cleaning Fiber Endfaces

When a fiber optic link does not operate correctly, the cause is frequently a dirty endface in a connector.  Here are some examples of dirty endfaces and an endface that has been correctly cleaned and polished.  A "brand new in the bag" connector can be contaminated.  To inspect is to know!  If you already have a Fiber Inspector FI-1000 and fiber cleaning supplies with your CertiFiber Pro kit, you can save a lot of time and avoid frustration by taking the time to clean and inspect before you attempt to certify fiber links.

 

Always clean and inspect the endfaces in fiber connectors before you make connections.  Fluke Networks recommends that you use a mechanical device, such as the Fluke Networks Quick Clean Cleaner, to clean connectors on network equipment.  If you do not have such a device, if the device does not clean the connector sufficiently, or when you clean connectors on test reference cords, use other optical-grade supplies such as wipes and solvent.

 

 

How to use the Quick Clean Cleaner

 

To prevent damage to the device and to connectors and to keep contamination off of endfaces, read all instructions and obey all safety precautions given in the instructions for the device you use to clean connectors. 

Quick Clean Instruction Sheet                             IBC Fiber Endface Cleaners Instruction Sheet 

 

  1. Use the video probe to inspect the connector. If it is dirty, continue to step 2.

  2. To clean a bulkhead connector, remove the cap. To clean the connector on a fiber cable, remove only the tip of the cap.

  3. If necessary for a bulkhead connector, extend the tip of the device.

  4. Push the device straight into the connector until you hear a loud click. Then remove the device.

Use the video probe to inspect the connector. If necessary, clean and inspect the connector again. If the mechanical device does not clean the connector sufficiently, use a swab and solvent to clean the connector.

 

IMPORTANT:  To clean the connectors on test reference cords, use wipes, swabs, and solvent.  The Quick Clean Cleaner cleans the fiber core, but can leave contamination around the core.  The contamination can move to the core when you make connections.  

 

 

How to Use Wipes, Swabs, and Solvent

 

To Clean Bulkhead Connectors

  1. Use a video probe to inspect the connector. If it is dirty, continue to step 2.
  2. Touch the tip of a fiber optic solvent pen or swab soaked in solvent to a lint-free dry wipe or fiber cleaning card.
  3. Touch a new, dry swab to the solvent spot on the wipe or card. Push the swab into the connector, twist it around 3 to 5 times against the endface, then remove and dispose of the swab.
  4. Dry the connector with a dry swab by twisting it around in the connector 3 to 5 times.
  5. Use a video probe to inspect the connector. If necessary, clean and inspect the connector again.

 

To Clean the Optical Connectors on the Modules (CFP or OFP fiber modules)

To clean the optical connectors on the CFP or OFP modules, first use the procedure given above “To Clean Bulkhead Connectors”. If a connector is very dirty or the procedure above does not make it clean, use this procedure:

  1. Unscrew the adapter on the connector.
  2. Clean the ferrule or photodiode lens with a dry, optical-grade wipe made for fiber optic connectors.
  3. Use a video probe to inspect the connector. If necessary, clean and inspect the connector again.
  4. If the connector stays dirty, use a wipe that is moist with optical-grade solvent to clean the endface. Dry the ferrule with a dry wipe.

Note: If the OTDR Port Connection Quality gauge for the OptiFiber Pro module stays in the Poor range after you clean the OTDR connector, remove the adapter from the module and inspect the adapter for damage. Make sure that the white plastic ring inside the center tube shows no damage.

 

To Clean Connector Ends

  1. Use a video probe to inspect the connector. If it is dirty, continue to step 2.Touch the tip of a fiber optic solvent pen or swab soaked in solvent to a lint-free dry wipe or fiber cleaning card.
  2. Rub the connector endface across the solvent spot, then back and forth once across the dry area of the wipe or card. Typically, one or two short strokes (~1 cm or ~0.4 in) are sufficient to dry the endface.
  3. Use a video probe to inspect the connector. If necessary, clean and inspect the connector again.

Note: For APC connectors, hold ferrule against the cleaning area at the same angle (typically 8°) as the ferrule endface. For some connector types, such as VF-45, it is necessary to use a different method to clean the endface.  

 

Author: Robert Pokorny

Creation Date: 2017-03-23

Last Modified: 2017-03-23