Tools are extremely important for cable installers working on either copper or fiber cable. Let’s see how well you know your tools and how to use them. Correct answers and explanations are in red.
1. What tools are found in a cable tech’s toolkit no matter what kinds of cables are being installed?
A. Cable cutter
B. Cable jacket stripper
C. Crimp tool
D. All of the above
A cable installer will have all these tools and more whether they are installing fiber or copper cabling.
2. Why do most crimpers have a “ratchet” action?
A. To keep the tool closed unless it is being used
B. To prevent damage to the jaws
C. To ensure complete crimping of the connector to the cable
D. To meet military/government specifications
Ratchet-action crimpers require the user to fully complete a crimp before the crimp tool will release, ensuring that no crimp will be improperly made.
3. Fiber crimpers usually have two crimp sizes to crimp both the ______ and the ______ to the connector (choose two).
A. Kevlar strength members
B. Cable jacket
C. Bare fiber
D. Connector ferrule
Most fiber optic connectors have a crimp bushing with two sizes, one to crimp the strength members of the cable to the connector and another to crimp the bushing to the cable jacket.
4. Fiber strippers are used to remove the ______ for splicing and termination.
A. Cable jacket
B. Fiber primary buffer coating
C. Fiber cladding
D. Fiber core
A fiber stripper removes the primary buffer coating of the fiber, not the jacket and certainly not the cladding which is part of the solid glass structure of the fiber.
5. Fiber strippers have ______ to prevent damaging the fiber during stripping.
A. Spring-loaded jaws
B. Teflon-coated jaws
C. Plastic jaws
D. Precisely machined jaws
A fiber stripper must cut almost completely through the plastic primary buffer coating before stripping it but must be made precisely to ensure it does not nick the fiber itself, which is likely to cause a break in the fiber.
6. A fiber ______ scores the fiber and precisely breaks it for splicing.
A fiber cleaver is the tool that scribes and breaks a fiber precisely—what we call cleaving the fiber. A scribe is used to scratch the protruding fiber in an adhesive/polish connector to break it off cleanly.
7. Every fiber optic toolkit needs a ______ to polish connectors on.
A. Flat glass plate
B. Flat plastic plate
C. Rubber pad
D. Domed plastic fixture
Fiber optic connectors should be polished on a flat surface on top of a 1/8-inch (3 mm) rubber pad of medium hardness.
8. The proper adjustment of the cutting blade on jacket stripper should make the stripper ______.
A. Fully cut through the jacket material
B. Cut the jacket material and any strength members in the cable
C. Cut the jacket material and any insulation on the cable
D. Not quite cut through the jacket so as to not damage the wires or fibers in the cable
The blade of the jacket stripper should not quite cut through the jacket of the cable, just so it can be twisted off and removed, so the blades do not nick the wires or fibers in the cable.
9. The same punchdown tool can be used for 66 blocks and eight-pin modular jacks.
Modular jacks use the same punchdown tool as a 110 block.
10. The same tool can be used for crimping fiber and coaxial connectors if you have the correct size crimp ______.
Crimping tools generally have replaceable dies in the jaws that can be changed to match different types of connectors.
HAYES is a VDV writer and educator and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.