Fiber Optic Connector Repair
Fiber optic connectors can become scuffed and scratched on the mating surface with use or sometimes are improperly polished when terminating fiber. Even high power in DWDM systems can damage fiber endfaces.
Many connectors can be repaired using a technique that polishes (or grinds) off some of the ferrule as well as the fiber to remove the defects. This cannot repair connectors that have the fiber cracked into the connector. Here are examples of connectors that are repairable and how they look after repair.
The repair requires polishing the connector in a fashion that takes material off the connector ferrule as well as the fiber. Regular polishing film is not capable of doing this, as it is made with a grit of similar hardness to the connector ferrule to allow polishing the fiber quickly down to the ferrule. A diamond polishing film has a grit that is hard enough to polish the connector ferrule and remove the defects.
The method given here was developed by Krell Technologies using their Rev2 Micro Polisher. Using an automated polisher allows more control of the polishing process and gives more consistent results.
The process uses 1-3 steps, depending on the magnitude of the damage. For example, for a heavily damaged connector with a 2.5mm ferrule (SC, FC, ST), you polish first on 6 micron diamond film, then after removing the most material, polish on a 1 micron film and a final polish on an ultrafine film. As you can see, each step takes about 15 seconds so a connector can be repaired in around one minute.
Our thanks to Krell Technologies for permission to reprint this material.
Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics