As a smart network technician yo9u should never ignore dirty connectors of fiber optic cables. The reason behind is that major failures of fiber optic networks are caused because of these dirty connectors, There are many option available in market including solvents and swabs that claim optimal cleaning of fiber optic connectors. In this article I will try to shortlist all possible and better ways to clean your fiber optic connectors.
Why to clean connectors
- If you don’t keep your connectors clean you will surely observe reduced signal strength.
- Other than by cleaning connectors although you have some minor cost involved but it extend the life of connectors exponentially.
- Any type of dirt on the fiber optic cable causes the light signals to reflect and this results in signal loss.
Types of fiber optic cleaners
- IBC cleaners that are usually cloth based cleaners that remove dust and debris from the connector end face.
- Simple wet perforated wipes are also popular for cleaning splices and connectors. Dry wipes are some times harmful and may cause a scratch which further results in signal loss.
- Some people use IPA (alcohol) based fluids for cleaning connectors but that is not an ideal solution as it also attracts more dust while it is in the process of drying.
- Sticklers solution is is a very good fluid that you can use with dry wipes to clean fiber optic splices and connectors.
- One click cleaners are widely popular option among the network technicians because of their ease of use.
- Fiber optic cleaning swabs must be present in your cleaning kit as they are the first hand tool that you need while you start cleaning.
- Tape based fiber optic cleaners are also very hand and gaining popularity because of the reason that the tape can be re installed in them when finished.
How to use the One click cleaner
One click cleaners operate in a very easy way using the steps given below
- Remove the cap of the cleaner.
- Insert the tip of the cleaner into Guide cap and push both ends together until you hear a click.
- The one click cleaner can also be used to clean fiber optic bulkhead using the same technique and it is demonstrated in video below.
TUTOOLS One click fiber optic cleanerBest Pick
TUTOOLS is a brand known for its after sales support and that is the reason it is one of the most top selling fiber optic cleaner at Amazon and also declared Amazon Choice. The cleaner can easily be extended for cleaning connectors of any type including LC/MU 1.25mm UPC/APC Fiber connectors. The device is RoHS compliant which means that is not made with any of the toxic substances that are harmful for humans.
This cleaner is in a shape of pen and can rotate at 180 degrees to perform complete cleaning of fiber optic cables. You will hear a voice of click which indicates that cleaning process is complete.
This cleaner cleans the connectors almost 100 percent and it is more cost effective as compared to wipes bases cleaning solutions.
FiberShack SC fiber optic cleaner penStaff Pick
This is also a one touch cleaner pen ideal for use in field and you can put it in your pocket. It comes in a smart container that prevents breakage of pen cleaner. A single pen cleaner costs around 30 dollars but can give you more than 800 cleans and removes dirt. This pen is made from anti static microfibers that are totally dust free.
Lint Free Alcohol WipesBudget Pick
As these wipes have 90 percent alcohol so it is quite suitable to be used for cleaning fiber optic. It evaporates very quickly and thus has very less chances of dust particles to stick with the cable. It is test by our review team and it does not leaves any lint. You can put it in your pocket and it can clean both SC and FC fibers. You can refund it in case you are not satisfied with quality. Other than cleaning connectors, you can also use it to clean plastic surfaces as it is non-abrasive. These wipes are also known to clear dirt, oxides and oil from magnetic tape heads.
Sticklers Lint free wipes and fluid
The cleaning fluid and wipes is a lethal combination for cleaning fiber optic splice and connectors. They are better than IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) based wipes and swaps as it dries more quickly and thus attracts lesser dirt. The wipes are made up of paper instead of cloth which reduces lint. This combination of wipes and liquid is also ideal for cleaning glass lenses, mirrors, LCD and LED televisions and tablet screens. The liquid is totally fire proof and non flammable and also safe to use on plastic surfaces as well. the bottle can easily be carried by technicians in their bags and it is leak proof as well. Expert technicians use sticklers wipes and solvent to clean fiber optic cable before field terminating or fusion splicing.
Fiber Optic Cleaner for MPO and MTP Connectors
It is the most effect cleaning tool especially for MPO and MTP connectors and exposed MPO modules of fiber optic cable. It saves your time by cleaning all 12 fibers simultaneously. As a network technician it is a best tool for cleaning the ferrule end-faces of MPO and MTP connectors. It can be used for both simplex and duplex connector types. It is very easy to use tool and don’t require any formal training.
Fiber Optic Cleaning Swabs
These cleaning swabs are perfect for removing lint, dust and other unwanted contaminants on single and multi mode ST, SC,FC, LC, SC/APC & MU Fiber network cables. These are end faced and have dual 2mm and 2.5mm color coded heads so they further reduce your cost. These are free of solvent and alcohol and so they are safe to use. They don’t cause any risk of damage to end-face of the cable. They totally enhance the network performance and an important step towards zero packet losses.
Reel type tape based fiber cleaner
These reel type tape based fiber optic cleaners are also very effective for cleaning all types of cables including LC, SC, ST, FC, MU, MTRJ, MPO, MTP, and E2000 type fiber optic cable, adapter and coupler connectors. It is effective for removing oil, dust, and dirt particulates that can damage connectors. A single box can clean up to 500 connectors in a proper way after that you need to change the optical cleaning tape. It can easily clean all your simplex and duplex fiber contacts before establishing their final connection. Our review team has tested its reliability and found the results satisfactory.
In this article me and my review team has tried our best to showcase the most effective ways to clean bare fiber optic cable and connectors. Do let me know which way you prefer as a network technician.