Cleaning Supplies

Fiber Optic Cleaning Kit and 400X Handheld Microscope

Why are these needed?

If a fiber optic is not transmitting properly or you need to splice a fiber, a fiber optic cleaning kit and microscope will be necessary for you in that process.

The 400X Handheld Microscope:

Fig. 1 400X Handheld Microscope

When a fiber is not transmitting correctly, the first thing you need to check for is if the connector end-face is clean. This piece of equipment makes it possible to see the transmitting core of the fiber optic in great detail.


Fig. 2 A dirtied connector end-face.

This picture shows a fiber optic connector that has been gotten been dirtied by a substance. This substance could be any type of particulate matter. Due to the very exact nature of fiber optics, even a very small amount of dust affect the performance of the fiber.

Specification of 400X Handheld Microscope:

The microscope has an attached 2.5 mm universal adaptor for various connector types and bare fibers. It also has an illuminating LED that shines on the connector and an adjustable focus. The LED is powered by 3 AAA batteries.

How to use the Microscope:

To inspect a fiber end or connector end-face, make sure there is no transmission going through the fiber. Due to the large amount of magnification from the microscope, a data being transmitted while someone is looking through the microscope could cause permanent damage. Next, insert the fiber or connector into the universal connector and make sure the connection is secure. Then, put your eye up the seeing apparatus and press the button just below the apparatus to turn on the LED. You then may have to use the dial just in front of the viewing apparatus to adjust the view until the core comes into view.

Fiber Optic Cleaning Kit:

Fig. 3 Fiber Optic Cleaning Kit

When you discover that you have a dirtied optic end or you need to perform a splice on a fiber. You will need to use a cleaning kit. Cleaning kits may come with various different materials. The kit shown in the photo has all the basic materials needed for cleaning fiber optics.

Fiber Optic Splice & Connector cleaner (Lop left in Fig. 3):

This is a general cleaning solution used by all the products in the cleaning kit. Specifics instructions about use are with the other supplies in the kit.

Bench top wipes (Top middle in Fig. 3):

These wipes are used indoors for cleaning fiber optics after stripping for termination or splicing. These are extremely necessary because if the fiber optic is dirty before it is connected to other fibers via splicing, the connection will forever have any particulate matter in the joined section.

To clean a fiber splice: Take a wipe and fold into a square. Dampen the entire wipe with the cleaner and wipe the buffered section until you hear a clean “squeak”.

To clean a polished connector face: Take a wipe and fold it into a square. Dampen half of the square with the cleaner. Lay the wipe on a bench top and drag the end-face across the wipe from the damp area to the dry area. Do this 2-3 times on different areas of the wipe.

Clean Wipes with Clean Swipe Slots (Top Right in Fig 3):

This product is used to clean dirty connector end-faces. The “swipe slots” help control the use of the wipes, so no one uses the same part of the wipe twice.

To use the Clean Swipe Slots: Remove one of the sheets from the roll of sheets inside the box and weave it into the lid of the box so the wipe is overtop the silver grating. Spray the cleaner onto one side of an unused slot and glide the end-face across the sheet, from the wet side to the dry side. After every slot has been used once, remove sheet and replace.

The “CleanStixx” (Bottom right in Fig. 3):

These are used to clean the inside of specific types of fiber connector ports. If you find that a connector end-face, you will want to clean the inside of the port to make sure the matter did not come from the port itself. These sticks are used to clean the inside of these ports. There are five different types of sticks, but this kit only came with the two types shown. The blue sticks are used to clean ST, SC and FC ports with alignment sleeves. The green stick is used to clean LC and MU ports with alignment sleeves.

To Clean a Port: Fill the well in the cleaner bottle’s cap with cleaner and moisten the tip of the stick for 1 second in the well. Do not saturate the stick with cleaner. To clean UPC (Ultra Physical Contact) ports, insert the stick and rotate completely 10 times. To clean APC (Angled Physical Contact) ports, insert stick and rotate at ¼ turns 10 times. To clean MPO (Multi-fiber Push On) or MTRJ (Mechanical Transfer-Registered Jack) ports, scrub the end-face.

Outdoor Clean Wipes (Bottom left in Fig. 3):

These wipes are used to clean splices and end-faces outside. These are more convenient then the bench top wipes outdoors because they do not need a bench top to be used in some applications.

To clean a splice or end-face: open package, but do not remove the wipe. Spray the wipe with the cleaner and rub the splice or end-face against the wipe. After use, discard the package and the wipe.


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