Fibre Optic Cabling
Epoxy Polish Terminations
Epoxy & Polish fibre optic cable terminations generally have 3 stages, they are :

1. Cable Preperation
2. Assembly
3. Polishing

So; lets take a look at each stage in turn and see whats involved.

1. Cable Preperation
a) Put bend relief boot and crimp sleeve on vable if applicable. It is much easier to do this now rather than wait until you have stripped the fibre.
b) Strip Cable; depending on what fibre you are using and what manufacturers connectors you need to strip back your fibre appropriately. Take a look at the manufacturers instructions that came with your connectors for information on how much to strip back.
c) Clean fibre; once you have stripped your cable back and removed coatings, clean the fibre. Use IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) and a wipe; pull the stripped fibre end through the wipe gently to clean.

2. Assembly
a) Mix epoxy and load syringe. Epoxies usually come in two part packs which need to be mixed prior to use following manufacturers instructions, then load into a syringe.
b) Inject epoxy, by inserting the needle of the syringe into the back of the connector. Inject the epoxy until a small bead of epoxy appears on the tip of the ferrule. Note; prior to injectiong the epoxy it is always worth checking the bore of the connector by holding up to the light to ensure it is not blcoked.
c) Carefully place connector onto cable, insert the fibre into the connector, rotate gently to help the fibre through the ferrule. Once the fibre emerges push the cable up into the back of the connector until firmly in place.
d) Cure epoxy. Once you have secured or crimped (as manufacturers instructions dictate) any cable strength components the epoxy is cured in a special curing oven.

3. Polishing
a) The fibre end protruding from the ferrule needs to be cleaved cleanly and as close to the epoxy bead as possible. This is often done using a ceramic cleaving tool to score the fibre and then pulling the fibre straight off (away from the ferrule). Scoring the fibre can be tricky and care needs to be taken not to break the fibre end off.
b) Remove excess fibre by gently stroking coarse polishing paper over the end of the connector.
c) First Stage Polish; there are differeing recomendations for this stage of polishing, but generally should be done using 5, 8 or 12 micron paper. Mount the connector into a polishing tool, which ensures connector is held at right angles to the polishing surface. Polishing is carried out by moving in a figure of eight motion with very light pressure and should continue until nearly all the epoxy has been removed.
d) Second Stage Polish; the process is similar to the first stage polish, however 1 micron paper is used. Polishing is completed when all the epoxy has been removed. During the process the end of the connector can be inspected through a microscope to ensure it is satisfactory.







Hot Melt Terminations
Terminating fibre optic cable using Hot Melt Terminations is a quick, easy and dafe method for fibre optic terminations. It has the advatage of using connectors ready loaded with epoxy which becomes soft when heated. A disadvatage is the handling of hot components so care needs to be taken.

The procedure for terminating fibre optic cable using Hot Melt Terminations involves four stages, they are :

1. Connector Preperation
2. Cable Preperation
3. Assembly
4. Polishing

So; lets take a look at each stage in turn and see whats involved.

1. Connector Preperation
a) Place the connector into a termination holder. This allows you to place the connector into a curing oven and remove it afterwards safely.
b) Place connector into curing oven; the curing oven must be able to heat the connector to the stated manufacturers temperature, usually in excess of 200°C.

2. Cable Preperation
a) Put bend relief boot and crimp sleeve on vable if applicable. It is much easier to do this now rather than wait until you have stripped the fibre.
b) Strip Cable; depending on what fibre you are using and what manufacturers connectors you need to strip back your fibre appropriately. Take a look at the manufacturers instructions that came with your connectors for information on how much to strip back.
c) Clean fibre; once you have stripped your cable back and removed coatings, clean the fibre. Use IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) and a wipe; pull the stripped fibre end through the wipe gently to clean.

3. Assembly
a) Remove the connector from the oven. Different manufacturers will require differing times in the oven for their connectors so ensure you check their instructions carefully.
b) Insert fibre into connector; since the epoxy begins to harden as it cools you have a limited amount of time - normally a few seconds - to insert the fibre through the connector and push the cable into the back of the connector until it is firmly seated.
c) Allow connector to cool.

4. Polishing
a) The fibre end protruding from the ferrule needs to be cleaved cleanly and as close to the epoxy bead as possible. This is often done using a ceramic cleaving tool to score the fibre and then pulling the fibre straight off (away from the ferrule). Scoring the fibre can be tricky and care needs to be taken not to break the fibre end off.
b) Remove excess fibre, usually a special piece of polishing paper is supplied with these kits and it is the only paper that should be used for this purpose. Rest the paper on the connector tip and move gently.
c) Polish, once any strengthing componets have been fixed or crimped into place polishing should begin. The epoxy used in these connectors is usually softer than that used in the epoxy & polish connectors; this means that usually only one polishing stage is required. The connector is placed into a polishing puck and moved in a figure of eight motion across the polishing paper until all the epoxy has been removed. During the process the end of the connector can be inspected through a microscope to ensure it is satisfactory.
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