Scitec Instruments has released a Visual Fault Locator for visually identifying breaks or microbends in optical fibres. The instrument can also be used for fibre identification in an optical fibre bundle.
The VLF-280 is a hand-held, battery-powered, stabilised fibre optic laser source that emits visible (red) light at 650nm. Its intended function is to allow an operator to identify the exact location of a break, microbend, or other discontinuity in a fibre optic cable. As the radiation is visible, light emanating from a break or microbend enables the user to locate the exact position of a fault. This can be done even at very short distances that would not be detectable by conventional means such as an Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer, (OTDR). It is also useful for identifying a particular fibre in a cable by exciting the fibre to be located with visible radiation.
The fibre to be tested is connected to the source by a standard 2.5mm fibre optic connector. The source may be used in one of two modes, modulated or continuous. In the modulated mode the laser is turned on and off at 6Hz. This mode is helpful in enabling the user to identify the source radiation in the presence of high levels of ambient light. It also aids in conserving battery life.