Inspection and cleaning of LC, ST, SC and MPO connectors and adapters requires the appropriate equipment.
1)Fiber Scope. Handheld manual at a minimum, or ideally an electronic viewer that can not only display but also record the results.
2)Cleaners. Currently the most efficient ones available are the ‘one-click’ pen stick style cleaners, which have a small reel of cleaning tape inside them, and when the cleaner is compressed against the endface of the connector, or in a bulkhead, the cleaning tape inside runs over the endface, cleaning it. ‘One Click’ cleaners are available for LC, ST or SC and MPO Connectors. Lint free wipes are also useful.
3)Fiber optic cleaning fluid. We mentioned this earlier. It is preferred to Iso-Propyl Alcohol as it does not leave stains when it dries, is not inflammable, so safe to use in most areas and is readily available in small pocket size dispensers.
4)Cleaning sticks (like high grade cotton buds) useful for ‘wet’ cleaning bulkhead connectors.
The best way to inspect fiber is to assume that the connectors are dirty before starting. The procedure should go like this. Inspect, Clean if necessary, Inspect and then Connect.
At the panel, before connecting the fiber cord, the couplers on the fiber shelf or outlet must be inspected. If they are dirty they must be cleaned, then re-inspected before connecting. If testing a fiber panel, it would make sense to inspect the complete panel before starting testing. This may seem long winded, but at least this way it will make the testing thorough and give good results.
Written by James Donovan
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