What Contamination Can Be Found on Fiber?
In very general terms, the contamination found on termini end-faces will fall into three basic categories: particulates, oils and salts. Each requires specialized methods for proper removal. Particulates are solids usually held on the end-face by electrostatic attraction. Static charges will actually attract dust particles in the same way a magnet attracts iron filings! The … Continued
Can’t Use IPA — So What Else Is There? What Can I Use to Clean My Fiber Networks?
Fiber optics need fast, consistent and reliable cleaning for optimal operation. The selection of a cleaning fluid is a complex trade-off of many attributes: cost, storage, handling, purity, actual cleaning ability, drying time and worker safety to name a few. Modern, nonflammable fluids are the best choice to ensure a clean surface that is optimized … Continued
Saving Money — Can I Re-Use My Cleaning Wipes?
It’s laudable to try to control costs and protect the environment, but re-using lint-free wipes is a false economy. In fact, it creates a network nightmare because everything becomes cross-contaminated. You can’t clean with a dirty wipe. Let’s suppose a company provides a large, high-quality 9×9 inch (23x23cm) wipe for their techs. That wipe becomes … Continued
What’s the Best Way to Clean Ports, Down Inside Alignment Sleeves?
Cleaning inside the alignment sleeve is one of the most challenging cleaning tasks in industry today, and yet it must be performed quickly, consistently and reliably for the fiber network to operate to its rated specifications. To clean inside an alignment sleeve, you should use a clean-room grade optical swab or a push-to-clean cleaning tool. … Continued
Cleaning Jumpers and Exposed End-faces — What’s the Best Way?
The fiber end-face should be inspected with a fiberscope of at least 80-200x magnification, and if it is contaminated, it should be cleaned using wet-dry cleaning. With the wet-dry cleaning method, an optical quality cleaning cloth and fluid are used. When using this method, dampen the cleaning cloth with the Sticklers® Fiber Optic Splice and … Continued
How to Use Fiber Optic Duster “Canned Air” to Clean Connectors and Ports?
No, this is not a recommended practice. It’s OK to use an aerosol fiber optic duster, sometimes called an “air duster” or “canned air”, to clean keyboards and blow dust out of racks, but don’t use it on end-faces. A dry aerosol blast will not remove wet liquid contamination such as fingerprint oils. It does … Continued
How Can Better Cleaning Help My Optical Power Budget?
Absolutely. A signal loss budget or “optical power budget” can be a victim of either poor cleaning tools or poor technique. A few minutes with your OTDR will demonstrate that clean connectors improve (reduce) signal losses, particularly in respect to insertion loss and back reflection. WDM networks also enjoy reduced chromatic aberration. All this enables … Continued
My Fiber Cleaning Tools Have Static Charges. Should I Be Worried?
The issue of static charges on fiber tools is interesting. Static on fiber cleaning products are only an issue if the work environment involves the manufacture of electronics. This is because many electronics manufacturers have an ESD control program that restricts materials at the workbench. The maximum allowed on the workbench is a static charge … Continued
Should I Clean Patch Cables — Especially New Ones Right Out of the Bag?
Everybody asks, how to clean patch cables, also called patch cords or jumpers. But what they really are asking is, do I need to clean them, when they’re new and right out of the bag? The answer is yes, you do. Here’s why: There are three “P”s to perfect fiber connectivity: Perfect core alignment Perfect … Continued
Can I Use “Reagent Grade” High Purity IPA to Clean My Fiber?
Some companies buy the purest IPA they can get, which is called “reagent grade” IPA. They use this to try to solve the fiber cleaning problem. But I believe that the purchase of 99.9% “reagent grade IPA” is a waste of money and effort. Here’s the ‘little secret’ about reagent-grade IPA: since it is the … Continued