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How to Choose a Fiber Optic Tool Kit

Fiber Optic Tool Kits, What Kind Do You Need?

Fiber optic tool kit

Fiber optic tool kit is a very big category including tools for finishing a variety of jobs in fiber optic industry. So before looking further, please ask yourself: what do I want to do using this tool kit?

There are kits available for traditional epoxy and polishing connector termination, quick connector termination, fusion splicing, mechanical splicing, optic cleaning, fiber optic testing, and many more.

So let's take a quick look at each type and their functions.

1. Traditional Epoxy and Polish Connector Termination Tool Kit

This type of kit sometimes is also called universal connectorization epoxy tool kit. They include all the tools necessary for hand-polishing termination of epoxy optic connectors such as FC, SC, ST, LC, etc. The following list shows all essentials items that should be included.

a. Fiber cable jacket stripper to remove outer jacket from optical cables
b. Fiber stripper to remove fiber coatings (900um tight buffer or 250um UV coating layer) to expose the bare fiber cladding
c. Kevlar scissors to cut the yellow strength member inside fiber jacket
d. Fiber connector crimp tool for FC, SC, ST, LC
e. Fiber scribe tool to scribe the bare fiber
f. Epoxy for fixing the fiber inside the connector, empty syringes for epoxy dispensing into the connector
g. Glass polish plate so you can place rubber polish pad on top of it
h. Rubber polish pad so you can place the lapping films on top of it
i. Lapping films (several grits included, typically 12um, 3um, 1um and 0.5um)
j. Connector hand polish pucks for FC, SC, ST, LC
k. Inspection microscope so you can inspect the quality of your work
l. Heat cure oven to cure the epoxy (either 220V or 110V)
m. Other misc. items for cleaning such as Kimwipes, Isopropyl alcohol, etc.

2. Quick Termination Connector Tool Kit

90 percent of quick termination connectors don't require polishing. They have a factory pre-polished fiber stub inside the connector body, all you need to do is strip your fiber, clean, cleave the fiber and then insert the cleaved fiber into the connector body, with or without assembly tool assistance, then finally crimp the connector with specialized tool.

There is no universal quick termination connector tool kit, since each connector is designed differently by their manufacturers and requires proprietary assembly tool. The major brands in the market include:

a. 3M Hot Melt connectors

Although 3M Hot Melt connectors are categorized as quick termination, they actually require polishing. The connectors have hot melt epoxy pre-injected in the body, you just heat the connector, insert your fiber, scribe it, let it cool down, and then polish the connector. The process is very similar to traditional epoxy polish connectors, but the epoxy mixing and dispensing steps are removed which reduces termination time to less than 2 minutes. 3M Hot Melt connectors are a popular choice among installers.

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