By Edward J. Forrest, Jr., rMS™
Protection of high value connectors is far less expensive than replacement. At what point does fretting create signal loss? Best practice prevents it in the first place.
The electronics industry has long used ‘gold finger protectants’ to reduce this wear. These lubricants are administered by a pen or swab tool and do not float or freeze. Hybrid electrical and fiber optic connectors are only some of the esoteric designs that include TFOCA-II, DOD ‘football ferrules’ and the proliferation of high fiber count “MT-Types”. Each of these must be considered in applications-specific ways and means to assure highest customer satisfaction.
As well, common Category cables shall be considered and protected. This includes not only protecting the transmission surfaces from galling, but also, insulating against moisture and fungus growth.
To accomplish this, a light bead of conformal coating serves as a moisture barrier (image 1). These coatings are used to seal printed circuit boards. These coatings release easily and, while perhaps not 100% moisture-proof, will deter moisture and dust from entering the connections. The coating tacks in a few minutes and sets within 24 hours.
It’s removed using a hydrocarbon pen from the same manufacturer. The solvent formula in the pen is also used for precision end face cleaning, solvent-transfer to cleaning tools, and, IPA replacement for fusion splice prep. Chemical consolidation reduces applications errors and costs.
CircuitWorks Clear Overcoat Pen (CW3300C) can be used to tack and seal connectors.
Fiber-Wash MX Cleaning Pen (FW2150) breaks down coating when connector needs to be removed.
About the author:
Edward Forrest is a fiber optic cleaning expert and consultant, and author of the following books on the subject: “Breaking Through Myth to Reality: A Future View of Fiber Optic Inspection and Cleaning”, “The Inextricable Interaction Between Precision Inspection and Precision Cleaning a Fiber Optic Connection”, “How We Do and Should Not, Should and May Not, Clean and Inspect a Fiber Optic Connection”, and “How To Precision Clean All Fiber Optic Connections”.
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