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Care And Cleaning Of Military Fiber Optic Connectors

Aug 17, 2007
In the world today, fiber optics are used in many military applications, on aircraft, spacecraft, and in rugged outdoor terrains. This is due to the fact that military fiber optic connectors are much more durable and can withstand brutal environments and extreme weather changes than when the technology was introduced. In this article, we'll look at some of the basics types of connectors and discuss methods of care and cleaning of a military fiber optic connector.

There are essentially 4 different categories of connector. These categories are: the Light Connector, the multi-terminus connector, the single terminus connector, and the COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) connector. Inside these different types of connectors, only some are to be considered "military":

Types of connectors:
-Mil-C-83526 (multi-terminus)
-Mil-C-28876 (multi-terminus)
-Mil-C-38999 (multi-terminus)
-Mil-C-83522 (single-terminus)

As rugged as these connectors are, they still require precision when it comes to the care and cleaning. There are two different methods of cleaning military fiber optic cables depending on the connectors design.

Cleaning with Lint-Free Wipes and Solvents or Alcohol Pads:
Saturate your dry lint-free wipe with alcohol using a pump dispenser designed for use in a cleaning military fiber optic connector. The design of the pump dispenser keeps the alcohol free of dust and debris. Prepackaged, pre-saturated alcohol pads are also available for times when dry pads and solvent are inappropriate. With the connector end face down, wipe the connector with the alcohol soaked pad until clean and then use a dry pad to wipe the connector clean.

Cleaning with Swabs and Solvents:
Cleaning these connectors with swabs is especially useful for cleaning recessed connection points but can also be used to clean the entire connector. Insert the saturated swab into recessed points or apply the swab to the exposed surface of the connector and rotate the swab carefully applying different degrees of pressure. Check the connector for cleanliness using and optical microscope and repeat if necessary.

For a complete cleaning environment for your military fiber optic connectors, you will also want to use dust caps and canned air to prevent debris from collecting on the connectors while working. Though military connectors and cabling are designed to be more rugged than standard fiber optic connectors are, the times when the fiber optic connectors are open are when the fibers are most vulnerable. Taking extra precaution during cleaning and maintenance are essential to the longevity of your fiber optic network.
About the Author
Christine is a freelance copywriter. For more information on militaryfiber optics , visit http://www.AmericanFO.com
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