Cleaning System for High Density Fiber Optic Connectors

Photo of Garry Atmadja, Thomas Beales TL, Eric Pruden, and Shelley Xu Students: Garry Atmadja, Thomas Beales TL, Eric Pruden, and Shelley Xu

Sponsor: Petroleum Geo-Services

Date: Spring 2012

Requirements:
Operators will use the cleaning system in the field while travelling from connection to connection. It is important that the system be lightweight, portable (own power source or human powered), quick to use, and easy to operate. A single operator must clean each connection in two minutes without using hazardous materials. The system should clean 1000 connectors without maintenance (repair, recharge, etc.), and should be robust. After cleaning, the insertion loss for the connection should be under 0.5dB and the return loss should be greater than 50 dB.

Problem:
Because PGS is venturing into onshore seismic activities, fiber optic cable connectors are disconnected more often resulting in higher susceptibility to contaminants. This project focuses on the design of a system to clean these connectors.

Solution:
The team conducted a series of experiments to develop a working prototype. The first experiment tested different cleaning materials, and the team found that lint free wipes and mounting tape were the two methods that seemed most promising. Two simple prototypes, one using wipes and the other using tape, were constructed to determine the best way to apply each method. From this experiment the team determined the best method was to use a wipe in a hypocycloidal motion. The cleaning system prototype fits on both the plug and receptacle of the connector. A wipe is secured to a dowel that turns in a hypocycloidal motion when the system is operated. The operator actuates the system by turning a knob located at the top of the dowel.

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Photo related to Cleaning System for High Density Fiber Optic Connectors project
Photo related to Cleaning System for High Density Fiber Optic Connectors project
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