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Is working with fiber optics difficult?

  1. Dec 10, 2008 #1
    This isn't really an "engineering" question but I really didn't know where else to ask. I just want to know if any of you out there have experience working with fiber optic wires and how difficult they are to work with. Is there any special equipment involved if you are not going to be splicing two cables together? What special tools are required for properly cleaving/cutting the ends? I ask because I might be taking on a project soon where I will be working with FO wires for the construction of temperature sensors. This isn't anything that would involve data transfer or anything, just sending and receiving light from a LED/photodiode back and forth. I just don't want to start this project if a considerable amount of equipment is required to cut and terminate FO wires for use as temperature sensors. From what I have read, this stuff can get rather complicated and expensive.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2008 #2


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    I've worked with the cheap stuff such as is used in lamps, just to add lights to Hallowe'en makeup that didn't have room for bulbs or LED's. The only thing that I've noticed is that you have to use an optically-clear adhesive if there's any chance of it getting on the ends of the fibres. Also make sure that you have a good solid connection between the cable and the termini if there's any movement of the parts or vibration in the system.
  4. Dec 10, 2008 #3


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    The simplest as danger said is just to use large (1-2mm) plastic light-pipe, you can cut this with a scalpel and polish the ends on your jeans.

    If you can use typical comms fibres (eg for ethernet) then just buy cables terminated with the correct sort of plugs and it is plug and play. Or you can fairly easily cleave and polish fibre ends with small portable rigs meant for fixing telecoms stuff. see http://www.lanshack.com/fiber-optic-tutorial-termination.aspx

    One difficulty is buying bare fibre in less than multiple km lengths - practice your 'begging samples from manufacturers' skills (always usefol for an experimentalist!)
  5. Dec 10, 2008 #4


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    If the length needed is less than a foot or so, then my technique is to buy a cheap f/o lamp (about $3) and take it apart. :biggrin:
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