How do you clean optical cable

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris T. Kennedy, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. Chris T. Kennedy

    Chris T. Kennedy Stunt Coordinator

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    Have a cable. It could be bad....HOPEFULLY, it is just dirty. What chemicals are safe to use on the cable to clean it?
    Can I use an "Antibacterial Wipe?" :
    Benzalkonuim Chloride, water, SD Alcohol 40, Sorbic Acid (eee...acid on that optical cable...??), Cocamide DEA, Disodium EDTA, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, and OF COURSE....Fragrance. (My cables have to smell good too.)
    Seriously though, what is best to use and what should I NOT use?
    - Chris
     
  2. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    Well, I work in the fiber optics industry, and I have to clean fiber optic cable connectors all the time. However these are FIBER optic cables, and Toslink, while technically it uses the same physics principles could hardly be called a "fiber" optic cable! [​IMG] That being said, we use a cotton swab (preferably one that's not as soft and mushy as Q-tips) and isopropyl alcohol. Put a drop of i.p. on the cotton swab, and rub the connector tip. Then, blow it dry with a can of compressed air. This is less for drying actually (since the alcohol evaporates quickly) and more for blowing away any dust.
    This method is sort of a "field method" and is not ideal for high end fiber optics. Our assemblers use a much more effective method for cleaning connectors before they go into a product. However, this method will do just fine, I should think for the huge toslink connectors.
    Good luck.
    ------------------
    -Kieran
    My HT Page
     
  3. Sean-D

    Sean-D Agent

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    Chris,
    You can spray any connector or wire with electrical contact cleaner sold almost anywhere. It's safe for use on everything from computer boards to contacts and switches. Spray the solution on a q-tip and try to clean the tiny connector on the toslink cable and then try it. DO NOT spray the cable directly! If that doesn't work,I've got bad news. It's either a dead toslink connector on your equipment or a broken cable. Optical cables are very fragile. The glass fiber could be broken, or the toslink connectors where it's joined to the fiber itself could be broken. In my experience if there is any damage to the cable or connectors the cable must be scrapped. Unless you have some debris or dirt in your toslink connectors or toslink jacks on your equipment, it's probably going to have to be replaced. I however would advise you not to go with another toslink cable unless you absolutely have to. Always use COAXIAL DIGITAL cables whenever you can. Much, much more reliable connection.
    General Info:
    Make sure all plastic caps are removed from toslink cables before use. (a very common mistake)
    Does anyone know, if it is indeed broken, where he could find a kit or person who repairs toslink cables?
    ------------------
    Sean-D.
    "If at first you don't succeed...,remove all evidence that you ever tried."
     
  4. erikk

    erikk Stunt Coordinator

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    Fixing fiber optic cable (toslink by extension) isn't something you can just go out and buy a kit for. The equipment needed to "crimp" the connectors and test the line is VERY expensive. Like 5-15 grand a pop.
    If you know a computer guy he might have the equipment and do it for you. Computer fiber optic can be used just like toslink.
    The important thing to remember with fiber is that you can't bend it very much at all.
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    Erik K
    SV Subwoofers
     
  5. Chris T. Kennedy

    Chris T. Kennedy Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys, thanks for the info.
    As it turns out, I had some contact cleaner here I could use. ( Got it when I did work on arcade machines...heh heh..my home theater had a "lobby" for a while )
    Cleaned up the optical cable, but no luck. Jurassic Park DTS is silent, and silence is not golden. No audio when I plug it into the DVD player either. I think it is dead. It still passes the light, but I remember it being a little brighter than it is right now.... [​IMG]
    Unfortunately, it is not *my* cable. I have digital cable here that I hook into the single digital coax connector on my receiver. Therefore, the LD and DVD will have to be hooked up via optical. I can get by by switching out the coax for the CableTV with the DVD player, but I am "digitalsoundless" when it comes to the LD player right now. (Until I bite the bullet and go by another optical cable.)
    Thank you for the suggestions,
    Chris
     
  6. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    FYI, the "fiber" (more like "spaghetti noodle") in Toslink is plastic, not glass. It's not nearly as fragile as true fiber optic cable, although you still need to avoid tight bends in it, as even the plastic can crack or deform, ruining the light transmission.
    ------------------
    -Kieran
    My HT Page
     
  7. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    How ofetn do you have to clean the cable if it stays in the player the entire time?
     

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