Fiber Cleaning | Fiber Optic Cleaning Kit – Fluke Networks

By: Airmagnet  11-11-2011

Clean End Faces with the IBC 1.25mm or 2.5mm Cleaner:

  1. Open or remove the guide cap from the IBC Cleaner.

Clean End Faces with the IBC MPO Cleaner:

  1. Open or remove the guide cap from the IBC Cleaner.
  2. Push the cleaner straight into the connector.

Inspect every end-face first. If it is clean, then it can be inserted as is. Most likely, it has accumulated some form of contamination and needs to be cleaned right before insertion:

Cleaning patch cords with a Cleaning Card:

  1. Remove the plastic cover from one cleaning zone.
  2. Apply a minimal spot of solvent to the starting corner of the cleaning zone.
  3. Holding the connector perpendicularly, swipe the end-face from the wet spot into a dry zone.
  4. Inspect again to ensure a complete cleaning. If necessary, expose a new cleaning zone and repeat steps again.

Cleaning patch cords with a Cleaning Cube:

  1. Pull a clean wipe from the Cleaning Cube.
  2. Apply a minimal spot of solvent to the starting edge of the wipe.
  3. Holding the connector perpendicularly, swipe the end-face from the wet spot into a dry zone.
  4. Inspect again to ensure a complete cleaning. If necessary, repeat the steps again on a new portion of the exposed wipe on the Cube.

Cleaning inside ports with Swabs:

  1. Pull a clean wipe from the Cleaning Cube.
  2. Apply a minimal spot of solvent to the wipe.
  3. Touch the swab to the wet spot on the wipe for 3 seconds to absorb a minimal amount of solvent. A damp swab works better than a wet one.
  4. Insert the swab into the port and turn several times while applying gentle pressure.
  5. Follow the damp swab with a dry one, using the same procedure to remove any remaining solvent from the end-face and alignment sleeve.

* Note that applying solvent directly from the pen to a swab will result in excess solvent on the swab.

There are as many different cleaning techniques as there are fiber optic network technicians. While some techniques work some of the time, reliable and lasting performance of your fiber links require inspection and proper cleaning processes with every mating. Here are some well-known bad habits:

Dry Cleaning:

Wet Cleaning:

Cleaning with only a pre-soaked wet wipe or excessive solvent will leave liquid behind on the end-face which also causes problems. As that excess solvent dries, it can leave behind of film of dissolved contaminants that were never properly removed. In addition, residual isopropyl alcohol (IPA) can leave behind a “halo” as it dries that not only causes attenuation, but also can be very hard to remove. No solvent should remain at the conclusion of a cleaning.

Canned Air and Dusters:

Canned air and dusters are ineffective and should not be used to clean end-faces. The only thing dusters do is blow large particles around. On a patch cord, this may be effective, but inside a port this can result in those same particles settling elsewhere. Dusters are ineffective on smaller, statically-charged particles and totally useless on oil-based contaminants such as buffer gel or body oil. Last, dusters often expel a propellant that becomes a whole new contaminant that now requires an effective cleaning process to remove.

Thinking New Equals Clean:

Do not be lulled into thinking that end-faces on factory-terminated patch cords or pigtails will be clean when they are brand new and covered with a dust cap. Though dust caps are great at preventing damage to the end-face, the caps themselves can be a source of contamination. The plastic used to create dust caps will outgas a residue as its plasticizers deteriorate over time and the surface of the cap may contain mold-release substances used in their high-speed production process. Don’t be surprised to find a contaminated end-face upon removal of a protective cap. For repeatable and reliable end-face cleaning, always use Fluke Networks’ tools to follow the recommended wet and dry process.


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