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Black Box Explains…Terminating fiber

Terminating fiber cable used to be a job for experts only. But today, prepolished connectors make it possible for anyone to terminate multimode fiber—all you need is a bit of patience and the right tools. Here’s how to terminate fiber with ST connectors:

Step 1 — Slide the connector strain-relief boot, small end first, onto the cable.
Step 2 — Using a template, mark the jacket dimensions to be stripped (40 mm and 52 mm from the end).
Step 3 — Remove the outer jacket from the cable end to the 40 mm mark. Cut the exposed Kevlar. Carefully remove the jacket to the 52-mm mark, exposing the remaining length of Kevlar.
Step 4 — Fan out the Kevlar fibers and slide the crimp ring of the connector approximately 5 mm over the fibers to hold them out of the way. Mark the fiber buffer 11 mm from the end of the cable jacket. Also, mark the buffer where it meets the jacket.
Step 5 — Bit by bit, strip off the buffering until you reach the 11-mm mark. Check the mark you made on the buffer at the jacket. If it’s moved, carefully work the buffer back into the jacket to its original position. Step 6 — Clean the glass fiber with an alcohol wipe. Cleave the fiber to an 8-mm length.
Step 7 — Carefully insert the fiber into the connector until you feel it bottom out and a bow forms between the connector and the clamp. Cam the connector with the appropriate tool.
Step 8 — Crimp the connector.
Step 9 — Slide the crimp ring up the jacket away from the connector, releasing the Kevlar fibers. Fan the fiber so they encircle the buffer. The ends of the fibers should just touch the rear of the connector—if they’re too long, trim them now.
Step 10 — Crimp the connector again.
Step 11 — Slide the strain-relief boot over the rear of the connector. You might want to put a bead of 411 Loctite adhesive for extra strength on the rear of the boot where it meets the jacket.

Although the details may vary slightly with different connectors and termination kits, the basic termination procedure is the same.