DIY fiber optic microscope

Fiber optic microscopes are used to inspect connectors to check the quality of the termination procedure and diagnose problems. A well made connector will have a clean, smooth, polished and scratch free finish. There is not be any signs ofcracks, chips or fiber not even with the ferrule front. The magnification for viewing connectors can be 30 to 400 power but it is best to use a medium magnification. Dealextreme sells cheap Illuminated Pocket 60X to 100X Zoom Microscope that can be used for this if you make yourself a simple adapter that hold the fiber optic connector nicely in place when you want to look at it. It is hard to keep it steady while holding it at hand. You need to work out some kind of universal adapter for 2.5mm ferrules (works with FC/SC/ST connectors) and maybe another for 1.25 mm ferrules (LC and MU connectors) to keep the fiber well in place when you look at it.

A lot of “bad” fibers can be traced back to dirty connectors. You can see the dirt with microscope. But usually it is always easiest just to clean the connector every time you suspect it could be dirty. So always clean the fiber before plugging it into an interface. Cisco document Inspection and Cleaning Procedures for Fiber-Optic Connections gives you a lot of information on fiber connector cleaning.

WARNING: Remember to check that no power is present in the cable before you look at it in a microscope ­ to protect your eyes! The microscope will concentrate any power in the fiber and focus it into your eye with potentially hazardous results. Some commercial fiver microscopes have laser safety filter in them but this DIY model does not have it.



  1. Alia Markegard says:

    This post is beyond awesome. I am always wondering what to do and what not to do so I will follow some of these tips.

  2. Terina Guttery says:

    I really like your site

  3. Wilford Leopold says:

    Hi chum, your blog’s layout is basic and clean and i’m keen on it. Your weblog posts are fantastic. Please maintain them coming. Greets!!!

  4. Benedict Chenevey says:

    really nice blog, great work, decent to study.

  5. tomi says:

    I don’t like this kind of software products at all. All kinds of spam comments keep coming in to this blog that needs to be deleted.
    Wed blogging space would be be better of without such products!

  6. Rae Bregel says:

    Hi there I’m keen on your submit

  7. Bret Ausmus says:

    Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

  8. Tim Surls says:

    I was going to purchase a leupold scope, but after researching and reading some reviews, I chose a celestron scope instead. I use it almost daily in the woods, and am very happy with it. I guess it’s all about what you will be using it for.

  9. Graham says:

    I only think that fiber optic scope can only be used in medical field but your explain about the product is interesting and easy to follow.
    what if I didn’t use LC and Mu connectors?

  10. kim@fiberoptic microscope says:

    Very interesting to read and it is in fiber optic. Is this out in the market and is it already used by in the industry as of now?

  11. Luigi Fulk says:

    I simply want to say I am newbie to blogs and honestly enjoyed this page. Probably I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly come with incredible stories. Cheers for revealing your blog.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It seems that this product looks like the microscope that I used attached to iPhone/iPad:

    100X Zoom LED Digital Microscope Lens Case w/ Clip for iPhone / iPad / Cellphone / Tablet – Black

    I think that combination of microscope and tablet/smartphone would be a good tool to inspect fiber optics. I think more easy to use than just microscope on your eye especially if you normally use glasses (I think it would be better, I have not tried though..)

    Other products microscope add on to cellphone:

    Universal 60X Telephoto Lens Set for iPhone / iPad / Samsung / HTC + More Cellphone / Tablet PC

    60X Zoom LED Micro Lens Microscope w/ Protective Case for iPhone 5 – Silver

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fiber-optic technicians: How confident are you about your connector cleanliness?

    In mid-2005, the eye care community breathed a sigh of relief when the first fiber inspection probes made their way to the market. These probes were able to display an image of the endface on an LCD rather than directly on a tech’s retina. However, this image had to be interpreted. What constituted a defect or contaminant had to be based on user knowledge and gut instinct; depending on the quality of the focus, image centering, and several other parameters, there was always a chance of misinterpretation.

    Regardless of the power of the on-board intelligence, poor focus and poor image capture will lead to errors. More often than not, an out- of-focus speck, scratch, or trace will simply not appear on the screen. The intelligent software will give the connector a thumbs up, when in reality it should not have. This is what is referred to as a “false positive.” As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.

    Many papers and studies have shown the impact that connector cleanliness has on network issues and failures. Unfortunately, very few technicians, operators, and managers acknowledge this.

  14. tomi says:

    Please post your question related to this topic here. I will try to answer them…


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