Questions from our Training Classes! -Part II

Our instructors get a lot of questions form students.  We thought everyone could learn something by sharing!  Here are a few.
Do you have to replace connectors if they have physical damage but still pass a loss test?
The short answer is “yes”.  Although a connector with partial damage to the endface may still pass the optical loss test requirements, the intrinsic damage to the glass may continue to expand and degrade due to cyclical temperature changes, continued pressure contact with its mated connector, and other extrinsic forces.  Also, the connector may fail a reflection/return loss requirement now or for future needs. Although it is passing, there would be questionable performance for the future.  The best option is to replace connectors when damage is noticed, rather than face an outage and possible downtime in the future. Always remember to clean connectors before connecting. You will greatly reduce damage when done properly!
What is used to seal the cables with gel in them? 
Typically an RTV, silicone, or epoxy is applied over and injected slightly into the ends of open buffer tubes to prevent the axial migration of cable’s non-hygroscopic gel into splice trays, closures, panels and racks. Gel-filled cables have long been used to prevent water migration, but they can be messy to work with and can still be a problem if the cable ends are not sealed properly. Gel can leak out and make a mess, while leaving room for moisture to get in. Many outdoor loose tube cables today are “gel free” or “dry block” cables.  This cable type uses a powder or swellable tapes/fibers to prevent moisture migration.