Fiber optic cable can be accidentally damaged, cut, or smashed. According to the Electronic Technicians Association, one of the leading causes of optical fiber failure is “backhoe fade,” during which the optical fiber cable is cut or damaged while digging. For this occasion, you can quickly look for a backhoe and get the cut line. However, if it is caused by moles, it will likely be challenging to troubleshoot it. On the flip side, it means that the cost to repair fiber optic cable might be a little bit expensive because of the equipment involved. Here are a few tools and steps suggested for you to improve broken fiber optic cable.
Fiber Optic Cable Repair Kits That You May Need
(1) OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer)
The OTDR is widely used to measure fiber length, transmission attenuation, joint attenuation, and fault location. For more information about OTDR, please refer to the Working Principle and Characteristics of OTDR.
High Precision Fiber Optic Cleaver
Fiber optic fusion splicer may be the act of joining two optical fibers end-to-end using heat. The machine is to fuse both the fibers together so that light passing with the threads is not scattered or reflected from the splice.
Steps to Repair Fiber Optic Cable
Step 1: Use OTDR to Identify the Break in Fiber Optic Cable
The first thing you need to do is to look for the break-in of your fiber optic cables. Commonly, fiber-optic technicians utilize a device which is known as an OTDR. With the ability to work like radar which sends a light pulse right down to the optical fiber cable. It will be deflected to your device when it encounters a break. It helps the technician know the position of the holiday.
Step 2: Use Fiber Optic Cutter to Cut Out the Damaged Fiber Optic Cable
After knowing the location of the break, you should dig up the fiber optic cables with the holiday. The fiber optic cutter is used to cut out the damaged section and fiber optic jumper is used to connect wires.
Step 3: Strip the Fiber Optic Cable by Fiber Optic Stripper
It would help if you used a fiber optic stripper to strip the fiber on both ends and peel the jacket gently to expose the fiber-optic tube inside. Then, cut any sheath and yarn with fiber optic cutting tools.
Strip the Fiber Optic Cable by Fiber Optic Stripper
Step 4: Trim Any Damage on the Optical Fiber Ends by High Precision Fiber Cleaver
The following picture lists the main six steps for fiber cleaving by high precision fiber cleaver.
Step 5: Clean the Striped Fiber Optic Cable
This step is crucial to ensure that your terminal will get a clean wire strip. You have to clean the stripped fiber with alcohol and lint-free wipes. Ensure that the thread doesn’t touch anything.
Step 6: Splice the Fiber Optic Cable
Generally, there are two methods to splice optical fiber cable: (1) mechanical splicing; (2) fusion splicing.
(1) Mechanical Splicing
If you want to produce a mechanical connection, you need to put inline splice quick-connect fiber-optic connectors to the fiber. Hold the two fiber ends precisely aligned, thus enabling light to pass from one fiber into the other. (Typical loss: 0.3 dB)
(2) Fusion Splicing
Infusion splicing, a fusion splicer is used to precisely align the two fiber ends. You have to convey a fusion splice protector to the fiber and place the spliced fibers within the fusion splicer. Then, the fiber ends are “fused” or “welded” together using some heat or electric arc. This produces a continuous connection between the fibers enabling deficient loss of light transmission. (Typical loss: 0.1 dB)
Step 7: Perform the Connection Test of Fiber Optic Cable with OTDR
The very last thing would be to see the connection of fiber-optic using the OTDR. Then put back those splices into the splice enclosure. Close the section, after which rebury the fiber optic cables.
The failure of optical fiber cable will lead to an interruption for data transmission, so fixing the damaged optical cable in time is an important task. After going through the steps for repairing the fiber optic cable, you may wonder whether you should choose mechanical splicing or fusion splicing. Here the suggestion is if the price is not a factor, you should go with fusion splicing since the signal loss is low. If you have a tight budget, you can consider mechanical splicing, which requires an expensive tool.