How to Save Time When Testing Multiple Cable Types

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Changing out reference cables during the insertion loss and return loss testing process to accommodate new DUT types can cause downtime for a manufacturing line and drastically reduce the efficiency of the cable production process.

With single channel DUTs and reference cables, the issue may seem inconsequential. However, in the modern fiber production line every minute counts; any method that can speed up time per test, minimize the time between tests, and prevent downtime are ways to make your cables more profitable.

Figure 1: An OP940 insertion and return loss meter with multiple reference cables: MTP, LC Duplex, SC, and FC connectors.

One way to minimize this downtime is to connect multiple different reference cables to your multi-channel insertion loss and return loss test set in advance.

Having reference cables that match the different connector types you commonly test or that will be tested that day at that test station will minimize the time it takes to start testing new DUT types.

Additionally, it allows connector-level insertion loss testing for many types of hybrid cables without a complicated test setup if you have a reference cable that matches each.

Ideally, the setup includes enough channels to accommodate the different reference cable types at once, as shown in Figure 1. Discuss with your sales engineer your testing needs and they can recommend an ideal test setup and channel count.

Figure 2: Connector end-faces before (top) and after (bottom) cleaning.

Finally, having reference cables that are only disconnected from time to time means that you have more repeatable IL/RL results and you can prevent damage to high quality reference cables and the interfaces to the test equipment.

This will reduce overall downtime and cost associated with troubleshooting and repairing the damage to those connections.

See Application Note AN-137 Preventing Damage to Optical Connectors and learn tips and tricks for preventing damage and maintaining the performance quality and longevity of optical connectors.

For more information on this, contact OptoTest.

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OptoTest engineers and manufactures highly reliable fiber optic test equipment, including custom systems. We are a worldwide leader producing the fastest and most accurate Return Loss and Insertion Loss equipment for cable assembly production, R&D, Mil/Aero and Harsh Environments testing.
 
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