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Author Topic: Christmas in November!  (Read 393 times)

Mac Kerr

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Christmas in November!
« on: November 20, 2019, 02:13:18 pm »

Today the fiber inspection microscope I ordered off eBay arrived! All in this was about $675 tax incl. The more I use fiber the more I realize that much of the fiber sent out by rental houses are not well maintained, and to reduce the risk of further contamination it is important to inspect and clean fiber ends before testing. In August Pete Erskine and I did a big corporate event that took 2 arenas for the audience of about 25,000. There was a lot of fiber involved, with the main comm and video runs from FOH to BS at each location being on a TAC 12 with ST connectors. Comms used 6 of those strands and video used 4 (I think). There were not a ton of spares in that 12 strand fiber. On our shop prep day Pete prepped the comm systems for each location and I inspected and cleaned fiber. I used Pete's electronic microscope and cleaning supplies because I did not own my own fiber maintenance  kit. It became clear to me at that point that going forward it would be important that I carry the supplies that I would need to do my job. When you look at the surface of a fiber connection through a microscope it is very clear how clean it is or isn't. At that prep I quickly saw how dirty much of the fiber we had really was. I got the url from Pete for the microscope he had as I found it easy to use, and was reasonably priced.

This kit is from JDSU, I assume a Chinese supplier, through a dealer in CA. Delivery took about a week, and today it arrived. The kit includes the JDSU HP3-60 microscope and optical power meter as well as a remote microscope probe for inspecting bulkhead mounted connectors. Also included was a visual fault indicator, a set of adapters to a variety of fiber connector types, and a cleaning kit. It comes in a soft case.

This scope uses a video display rather than a direct view. I went for this much more expensive option over a $60-$70 direct view scope for safety reasons. I'de like to avoid looking into a live, lit up, fiber if possible. The scope input on the main body has a 400x magnification, the separate probe can be either 200x or 400x.


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Mac Kerr

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 02:25:58 pm »

An additional feature outside the microscope is the power level meter which will tell you the power of the signal coming out of a lit fiber as well as the wavelength. The power meter and microscope are separate inputs to the device.
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Geert Friedhof

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2019, 03:49:07 pm »

Yes to the powermeter.

I have experienced more problems with kinks and bad joints than with connectors in my profession as an IT consultant.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 03:58:04 pm »

Yes to the powermeter.

I have experienced more problems with kinks and bad joints than with connectors in my profession as an IT consultant.

In the entertainment industry I usually find the fiber to be tactical fiber which is more tolerant of bends than install type fiber, and since it gets deployed and picked up many times over its lifespan, I have found dirty connectors to be the greater concern. Unfortunately most rental shops do not maintain their fiber inventory well. Upon inspection I have found a majority of the fiber I inspected to be quite dirty. The rule of thumb seems to be, "if the fiber doesn't work, clean it". This may mean you have no compounded the problem by transferring the contamination to the equipment you are connecting to. Inspecting and cleaning prior to use is a better path.

Once you know that you have made all your connections with clean fiber, if you have problems the optical power meter becomes an important tool in troubleshooting.

Since the OPM also tells you the wavelength of the light you can make sure you have compatible SFPs  as well.

Mac
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Geert Friedhof

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2019, 04:21:51 pm »

Makes sense.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2019, 01:25:55 am »

An additional feature outside the microscope is the power level meter which will tell you the power of the signal coming out of a lit fiber as well as the wavelength. The power meter and microscope are separate inputs to the device.

I was just about to ask you if it had or you carried a power meter. 

Do you carry an OTDR with you? 
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Chris Hindle

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 12:25:01 pm »

Congrats Mac.
Generally, it's a 2 out of 3 decision.
1> Will this make me money?
2> Will this save me money?
3> Will this make me happy.

You scored the Hat Trick.
Merry Christmas.
Chris.
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Ya, Whatever. Just throw a '57 on it, and get off my stage.

Mac Kerr

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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 12:58:53 pm »

I was just about to ask you if it had or you carried a power meter. 

Do you carry an OTDR with you?

No. That is a more expensive tool, and frankly, if there is a fault in a fiber, caused by a break or bend, a visual inspection will either find the bend or not find the break. With no way on site to deal with a break we either have to use one of our spares or run another fiber. If I was a shop supplying fiber for rent I think it would be a tool I might employ in the process of maintaining and troubleshooting my inventory.

Fortunately I'm not.

Mac
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Re: Christmas in November!
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 12:58:53 pm »


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