Verifying Modular Connectors


Applies to

MAX-700D series, FTBx-700D series and OX1-PRO series instruments

Problem

A major cause of instruments having to be returned to manufacturers for calibration and/or repair is damaged optical connectors occurring from operational degradation, misuse, or a combination of the two.

As a result, EXFO have developed a next generation of test devices containing the ubiquitously named ‘click-out’, ‘swap-out’ or ‘modular’ connector; 700D series instrument modular connectors utilize an EXFO Universal Interface (EUI) for the external port whereas the OX1-PRO device modular connector features an SC connection.

Despite the advantages and flexibility afforded by these innovations, they do require some care to properly use and maintain since they act as an additional intermediary between the instrument’s external connection point and internal optical port.

As a result, this technical advisory therefore provides information on helping to verify that your modular connectors are operating correctly, and ordered troubleshooting steps to follow in the event that you experience problems.

Troubleshooting steps

Optical Output Diagnostics Information

 

All instruments featuring click/swap-out / modular connectors include a software application for helping verify optical output port operation and use a star rating system to help determine the quality of the port:

 

*****

<0.5dB Insertion Loss

****

>1.25dB Insertion Loss

***

>2dB Insertion Loss

 

Any verification receiving a rating of 3 stars or less will require the steps in this advisory to be attempted.

 

Note:

These values do not apply to EXFO Advisor which provides a separate qualitative link assessment; see KB0010672 for more information on this feature.

 

To run Optical Output Diagnostics on 700D series instruments:

  1. Select the OTDR tab.
  2. Select the button.
  3. Select the Optical Output Diagnosis… button.
  4. Follow the instructions given by the diagnostic wizard.

 

To run Optical Output Diagnostics on OX1-PRO series instruments:

  1. From the Main Menu select Settings option.
  2. Scroll down and select Optical output diagnosis option.
  3. Follow the instructions given by the diagnostic wizard.

 

Consult the relevant section/s of the appropriate User Manual for further information if required.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

After each of the troubleshooting steps described below, the Optical Output Diagnosis application should be re-run to determine whether the action taken has improved or resolved any issues seen.

 

Possible Cause 1: Launch cable

Proposed Solution

• Check that the launch cable is the required minimum length and unconnected, other than to the test instrument.
• Check that the launch cable connectors are not dirty and/or damaged.
• Consider reattempting the test using a different launch cable.

Consult Cleaning Optical Fiber Connectors in KB0011308.

 

Possible Cause 2: EUI connector (if applicable)

Proposed Solution

• Check that the external EUI connector is not dirty and/or damaged.
• Consider replacing the EUI connector with another if available.

Consult Cleaning EXFO Universal Interface Connectors in KB0011308.

 

Possible Cause 3: External optical port

Proposed Solution

• Check that the external optical port / bulkhead connector is not dirty and/or damaged.

Consult Cleaning Optical Bulkhead Connectors in KB0011308.

 

Possible Cause 4: Modular connector

Proposed Solution

• Remove the connector module and check that the intermediate connector (connecting to the internal optical port) is not dirty and/or damaged.
• Carefully attempt to refit the connector module, ensuring that it mates with the internal optical port correctly.
• Consider replacing the modular connector with another if available.

Consult Cleaning Optical Bulkhead Connectors in KB0011308.

IMPORTANT NOTE

Modular connectors should only be removed and refitted when the correct inspection and cleaning materials are available for use, and should not be removed and refitted more than is necessary.

Before installation, ensure the connector module is properly inspected for any damage and that all packaging and any dust caps are removed.

After fitting a modular connector, ensure that the Optical Output Diagnosis application is run to detect any issues.

 

Possible Cause 5: Internal optical port

Proposed Solution

• Check that the internal optical SC port is not dirty and/or damaged.
• Return the instrument for repair by completing an RMA, stating that you have followed the advice given in this Knowledge Base article.

Consult Cleaning Optical Bulkhead Connectors in KB0011308.

IMPORTANT NOTE

It is generally not recommended to inspect, clean or otherwise attempt maintenance of internal optical ports, so if required to do so, exercise caution when interacting with the internal port to avoid causing any unintended damage.

It is not possible to easily connect directly to the internal optical port to perform testing.

 

If you are unsure of any of the information given in this article, contact EXFO Technical Support for further assistance.