Fiber Optic Connector Assembly
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Oven-Cured Epoxy Application and Connector Assembly:
1. Set the curing oven to the temperature recommended by the epoxy manufacturer. 2. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for mixing the epoxy. 3. Secure needle to the syringe and load the syringe with epoxy while ensuring it is free of air pockets. 4. Insert the needle tip into the back of the connector until it bottoms out against the ferrule. Maintain pressure and slowly inject epoxy until a bead appears on the end of the ferrule tip and continue to inject epoxy until the bead covers approx. 1/3 of the ferrule diameter end. 5. Wait 5 seconds after releasing pressure on the plunger before removing the needle.
6. (Optional) If required by the company, place the cure adapter over the connector ferrule. 7. Feed the optical fiber through the connector while ensuring the strength member fans back as the fiber is pushed forward. 8. Crimp the connector using crimpers (follow manufacturer’s data sheet). 9. Place the connector in the curing over and follow the manufacturers’ cure schedule for curing the epoxy. 10. Once epoxy has cured, remove the connector and allow it to cool. Proceed to polishing the connector. Clearly, following the manufacturer’s instructions with handling the epoxy, syringes and using the curing oven will avoid possible hazards and sloppiness will affect the connectivity of the optical cables and will make it difficult to polish in the next procedure, overall affecting the performance of the cable. Cable and Optical Fiber Preparation:
1. Have all tools ready.
2. Cut the cable 2” longer than you’ll need.
3. Install strain relief boot on cable end, small diameter first; must be placed on the cable first before connector. 4. (Optional) Install crimp sleeve if one is provided with the connector. 5. Locate appropriate strip chart from the connector manufacturer. 6. Use the strip chart to appropriately mark the cable jacket, cut jacket w/stripper, and remove the jacket from the cable by twisting/pulling it away. 7. Pull the strength member back.
8. Strip away the tight-buffer & coating to the length shown on the strip chart in ¼” increments to reduce the chance of breaking the optical fiber. 9. Clean fiber with a lint-free wipe soaked in cleaning fluid to remove coating residue so that the epoxy in the ferrule can bond with the cladding surface. 10. Use shears to cut the strength member to the length shown on the strip chart and then distribute it evenly around the tight buffer. Wear gloves and goggles to avoid any broken fibers from penetrating your skin or eyes. Whenever you’re working with optical cables there is never room for sloppiness because this cannot only jeopardize the performance of the cable, but also the safety of the individual splicing the cables. Oven-Cured Epoxy Connector Polishing:
1. Score the fiber with the scribe where it exits the epoxy bead, and then gently pull the optical fiber by lifting it from the connector end face. 2. Polish down the fiber end by holding the connector facing up. Arch a piece of 5mm, polishing film over it. Lightly rub the film in a circle over the connector until you can’t feel the fiber end “grab” the film. Then stop. 3. Place a clean piece of aluminum oxide polishing film over the rubber pad. 4. Insert connector into the puck and place the puck on the polishing film. 5. Remove the epoxy bead in a figure-8 pattern over the polishing film. 6. Repeat step 5, but will less polishing film to remove what is left of the epoxy bead. Again, follow the manufacturer’s procedures for polishing the epoxy connector. The most time-consuming steps are cleaning and polishing the fiber ends and also aligning the two cables that you need to connect. The biggest challenges would be curing the cables in the oven with the epoxy or adhesive that you have injected into the cable.
Oliviero, A., & Woodward, B. (2011). Connectors. In A. Oliviero, & B. Woodward, Cabling: The Complete Guide to Copper and Fiber-Optic Networking (4 ed., pp. 679-683). Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America: John Wiley & Sons,Inc.