Quantcast Fiber-optic testing transmitter to the optical receiver. The core is usually made of plastic, glass, or plastic-clad silica (PCS). Glass-core fibers are usually smaller in diameter than plastic or PCS cores.">

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Fiber optics are a relatively new type of transmission media. Figure 2-31 depicts a typical fiber-optic cable design. The core of the fiber-optic cable is the optical transmission path, which carries data from the optical transmitter to the optical receiver. The core is usually made of plastic, glass, or plastic-clad silica (PCS). Glass-core fibers are usually smaller in diameter than plastic or PCS cores. The major disadvantages of glass cores are that they have high attenuation (25 dB/km), require precision tools and connectors, and are extremely susceptible to mechanical damage. Plastic cores are typically more rugged than other types of cores, but their attenuation is high (35 dB/km). PCS cores are fairly rugged and have a relatively low attenuation (10 dB/km). A fiber-optic cable may consist of one fiber, multiples of single-optical fibers, or bundles of optical fibers. Fiber-optic cables are well suited for the transmission of high-speed data over relatively short distances. They are virtually immune to crosstalk or interference through inductance. (Interference is a characteristic of metallic cables.)

Figure 2-31. - Typical fiber-optic cable.

Testing techniques and the principles of measurement for fiber-optic and conventional cable are similar. For example, if both ends of the cable are exposed and can be used for testing, relatively unsophisticated equipment can be used to measure cable parameters, such as continuity and attenuation. This includes equipment such as optical multimeters and optical power meters (OPM). If only one cable end is available, then more sophisticated equipment such as an optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR), is used. The following section lists and defines some common optical test equipment.

Q.29 What is the main disadvantage of using fiber-optic cables? answer.gif (214 bytes)


The portable optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) is used to check loss at each splice, at each connector, and of the entire system. Loss measurements are figured by using the same methods you would use for wire loss measurements. The OTDR injects a short, intense laser pulse into the fiber and monitors reflections caused by breaks, inclusions, microcracks, and discontinuities. Discontinuities appear as a spike on the OTDR display. The loss at the discontinuity point is directly related to the distance between the major pulse triggered by the laser and the spike. The manufacturer's manual provides you with conversion factors to figure actual losses and locations of the discontinuities.


An oscilloscope is used with an OTDR to provide visual evidence of fiber faults, connector and splice locations, and attenuation locations.


The optical multimeter measures light sources and light in cable and at the detector, fiber cable transmission loss, and connector splice loss. For cable transmission measurements, transmission through a short length of cable is compared with transmission through a known longer length.


The optical ohmmeter measures the input versus the output of light in an optical fiber. It displays attenuation losses based on a comparison of known and unknown cable signals. It can be used in manufacturing, connecting, and installing cable. It is as simple to use as a digital voltmeter.


The optical power meter measures current by converting light power from plug-in units, such as light emitting diodes, into electrical current. In some models, the readout is in power units, watts. In other models, the readout is in absolute power levels and attenuation. Some units operate with a variety of power sensors for conventional coaxial and waveguide systems and fiber-optic systems.


The radiometer/photometer measures light power in watts from dc to unlimited ac response. It uses plug-in sensor heads and, for low-light displays, it uses spectrometers and fiber-optic measurements.


Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) is test equipment designed to evaluate the operational performance of a piece of equipment or printed circuit board (pcb). ATE assists you in troubleshooting a fault to the defective component. Basically, ATEs are state-of-the-art, computer devices in which software programs are specifically tailored to meet the requirements of the device being tested.

The AN/USM-465 Portable Service Processor (psp), shown in figure 2-32, is the Navy's standard ATE for testing digital pcb's.

Figure 2-32. - AN/USM-465 Portable Service Processor.

The AN/USM-465 is part of the Support and Test Equipment Engineering Program (STEEP). It provides on-site screen testing and fault isolation of digital pcb's and modules. The psp is presently available on most ships and shore intermediate maintenance activities (SIMA) with Mini/Micro maintenance stations (2M). Psp's come with maintenance-assist modules (spare parts kit) and diagnostic kits.

The psp is easy to use. You have a choice of three pcb connectors (located on the top panel of the test set) into which you insert the pcb being tested. The software program, which is provided on magnetic tape cartridges, is then loaded into the test set. The test set automatically tests the pcb by applying input signals to the appropriate pins while monitoring the output signal for a correct indication. An LED display will give you a pass or fail indication. If a pcb fails the operational test, the psp tells you (via LED display) what troubleshooting steps must be taken. The psp uses a guided probe fault isolation technique that tells you what test points to check on the faulty pcb. The software program guides you from the faulty output backwards toward the input until the fault is located. The probe is a standard 10 megohm, 10 to 1 oscilloscope probe. The guided probe circuitry and software is also unique because it is capable of locating faults within feedback loops and can sense when you have placed the probe at an incorrect test point.

An interesting advantage is that if the psp itself fails, the faulty board inside the psp can be identified by the test set's own capability. After you replace the faulty pcb with a good one from the spare parts kit, you can use the psp to identify the faulty component on its own pcb.


The Huntron Tracker 2000, shown in figure 2 - 33, is a versatile troubleshooting tool used to statically test resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, multiple-component circuits, and integrated circuits. Its built-in features eliminate the use of multiple pieces of test equipment. These features and its lightweight portability make the 2000 a widely used tool for troubleshooting.

Figure 2 - 33. - Huntron Tracker 2000.

We recomment you review setup and operating procedures discussed in NEETS Module 16, Introduction to Test Equipment, NAVEDTRA B72 - 16 - 00 - 95, before continuing with this chapter. Since the 2000 was covered in depth in module 16, we will cover only the most common troubleshooting procedures and provide a few troubleshooting tips.

Q.30 What two features make the Huntron Tracker 2000 a widely used troubleshooting tool? answer.gif (214 bytes)

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