Fiber optic cable can be accidentally damaged, cut or smashed. According to the Electronic Technicians Association, one of the main causes of optical fiber failure is “backhoe fade” , during which the optical fiber cable is cut or damaged while digging. For this occasion, you can easily look for a backhoe and get the cable cut. However, if it is caused by moles, it will likely be difficult to troubleshoot it. On the flip side, it means that the cost to repair fiber optic cable might be a little bit expensive because of the equipment involved. Here are a few tools and steps suggested for you to repair broken fiber optic cable.
Repair Kits for Fiber Optic Cables That You Might Need
(1) The OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer)
(2) Fiber Optic Stripper / Cutter
(3) Fiber Optic Cleaver with High Precision
(4) Fusion Splicer
How to Repair a Fiber Optic Cable
Step 1: Use an OTDR to locate the fiber optic cable break.
The first thing you should do is search for a break in your fiber optic line. A device known as an OTDR is commonly used by fiber-optic technicians.
With the ability to act in the same way as radar, sending a light pulse down the optical fiber connection. When it comes across a break, it will be diverted to your device. It aids the technician in determining the location of the break.
Step 2: Remove the damaged fiber optic cable with a fiber optic cutter.
You should dig up the fiber optic cables with the break once you know where the break is. The damaged piece is taken out with a fiber optic cutter.
Step 3: Using a Fiber Optic Stripper, remove the fiber optic cable.
To reveal the fiber-optic tube within, use a fiber optic stripper to strip the fiber on both ends and gently peel the jacket away. Then, using fiber optic cutting tools, cut any sheath and yarn.
Step 4: Using a High Precision Fiber Cleaver, trim any damage on the Optical Fiber Ends.
The basic 6 steps for fiber cleaving with a high precision fiber cleaver are shown in the diagram below.
Step 5: Cleaning the Striped Fiber Optic Cable
This step is critical for ensuring a clean wire strip at your terminal. Alcohol and lint-free wipes are needed to clean the stripped fiber.
Step 6: Splice the Fiber Optic Cable
Splicing optical fiber cable can be done in one of two ways: Mechanical splicing and fusion splicing are two types of splicing.
(1) Splicing by mechanical means
Put inline splice quick-connect fiber-optic connectors to the fiber if you wish to make a mechanical connection. Maintain a precise alignment of the two fiber ends to allow light to travel from one fiber to the other. (Average loss: 0.3 dB)
(2) Splicing Fusion
A fusion splicer is used to accurately align the two fiber ends in fusion splicing. You must apply a fusion splice protector on the fiber and insert the spliced fibers into the fusion splicer. The fiber ends are then “fused” or “welded” together with heat or an electric arc. This creates a continuous connection between the fibers, allowing for extremely little light loss. (Average loss: 0.1 dB)
Step 7: Use an OTDR to test the connection of fiber optic cable.
The third step would be to use the OTDR to inspect the fiber-optic connection. Then put back those splices into the splice enclosure. Rebury the fiber optic cables after closing the cage.
Because the failure of an optical fibre cable will cause a disruption in data transmission, repairing the damaged optical cable in a timely manner is critical. After going through the steps for repairing the fibre optic cable, you may be wondering whether you should use mechanical splicing or fusion splicing. If cost is not an issue, fusion splicing is the way to go because the signal loss is low. If you’re on a tight budget, consider mechanical splicing, which doesn’t require an expensive tool.