Fiber Termination Tools
Cleerline SSF™ fiber optic cable is, as we so frequently say, Stronger, Safer, and Faster-to-terminate than traditional optical fibers. As we’ve demonstrated, we can install mechanical splice connectors on our cable in less than a minute. Our fiber is much easier to handle and to terminate than traditional fibers due to our polymer coating at the glass level.
However, like any other cable, fiber, Category, or otherwise, it is necessary to have the right tools for the job. Terminating fiber optic cable requires special considerations and some specific tools. We have everything you need in convenient termination kits. Some of the most important tools, found in both our SSF-FKIT02E and SSF-FKIT03P fiber termination kits, are outlined below.
When splicing and terminating fiber optic cable, it is crucial that the end-face of the optical fiber is as straight as possible. In fact, the end-face should be perfectly 90°, so that when two fibers are aligned light is able to move continuously from one fiber to the next.
Do not cut fiber with scissors or shears and then try to install a connector. Cutting fiber with shears basically smashes the end of the glass, creating jagged edges that will cause loss and poor alignment. Instead, use a fiber-specific cleaver.
Our termination kits include precision wheel cleavers. These hold the optical fiber under tension, then use a carbide blade to fracture the glass. This results in an exact cleave.
Cleavers in SSF™ termination kits are pre-adjusted to correctly cleave SSF™ glass – the blade height has been changed slightly to accommodate the SSF™ polymer coating. If using a non-adjusted wheel cleaver from a different manufacturer’s kit or needing to switch between traditional glass and SSF™ glass, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Visual Fault Locator
Each of our termination kits includes a visual fault locator (VFL). VFLs allow you to shine a light down the optical fiber, aiding in termination and allowing for quick verification. Unlike Optical Light Source and Power Meter testing kits, VFLs operate at a visible wavelength (thus the name visual fault locator). In our termination process, the VFL is used to ensure correct insertion of the fiber into the connector.
A VFL will also allow you to verify whether a fiber has any breaks or major issues. If you plug your VFL into one end of a cable and don’t see light from the other end, there is a problem. However, VFLs do not provide any information on insertion loss, so they are not a replacement for testing equipment. It is possible to have light pass from one end of the cable to the other, but still have an insertion loss rate too high for signal functionality.
Aramid Strand Scissors
All Cleerline SSF™ fibers incorporate aramid yarns into the cable for strength and protection. You might be more familiar with aramid yarns under the name of Kevlar®. Cutting through the aramid yarns with regular scissors or cutting tools will do a number on the blade in use, so we include aramid strand scissors in all kits. Use these when trimming aramid yarns.
Tri-Hole Fiber Strippers
Unlike traditional fibers, do not use fiber strippers on Cleerline SSF™ optical fibers. The SSF™ polymer coating is designed to stay in place during connector installation. Remove the colored Soft Peel coating on the fiber by using your fingertips or fingernails. We include fiber strippers in our termination kits simply to allow removal of the outer layer of jacketing from the optical fiber.
Again, to prepare Cleerline SSF™ for connector termination, remove the colored Soft Peel coating with your fingernails, not with fiber strippers.
As we’ve previously discussed, cleaning your optical connectors is extremely important. Our SSF-FKIT03P termination kit includes AquaKleen™ and a fiber optic cleaning cube for wet/dry cleaning. Additionally, this kit includes a round cable slitter, pliers, and some additional hand tools.