Best Practices for Cleaning MIL DTL 38999 Connectors

Author: Rick Hoffman

Are you in the military or working in a field that requires the use of fiber optic technology? If so, then you know how critical it is to maintain the highest level of performance and reliability for your equipment. One often overlooked aspect of this maintenance is the proper cleaning of military fiber optic connectors. Ensuring that these connectors are kept free from dirt, oil, and debris is essential for achieving optimal signal transmission and preventing costly downtime.

In this article, we will explore the best practices for cleaning some of the most common military fiber optic connectors, equipping you with the knowledge to keep your equipment operating at its best. So, let's dive in and discover the essential steps to maintain the clarity and reliability of your military fiber optic connections.

Understanding the Special Circumstances of Military Fiber Optic Connectors

Military fiber optic connectors are designed to withstand harsh environments that they are often exposed to. Whether it be extreme temperatures, high humidity, or even exposure to dirt, dust, and water, these connectors are built to continue functioning efficiently under challenging conditions. However, due to the rugged use they undergo in military operations, there is an increased risk of contamination. The connectors can accumulate dirt, grime, and other foreign particles, which can disrupt the signal transmission and lead to performance issues.

Therefore, it is crucial to properly clean and maintain these connectors to ensure the maintenance of network signal integrity. By understanding the special circumstances in which these connectors operate and the potential risks they face, one can take the necessary precautions to keep them clean and operational, maximizing their effectiveness in military applications.

Tools Required for Cleaning Military Fiber Optic Connectors

When it comes to cleaning military fiber optic connectors, having the right tools is crucial to ensure optimal performance and minimize signal loss. One of the most effective tools for cleaning these connectors is a combination of fiber optic cleaning sticks and cleaning fluid.

Sticklers™ Cleanstixx™ 1.6mm Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning Sticks, are designed to reach the tight spaces in the connectors and remove dust, dirt, and residue that can impair signal transmission. These sticks are made with a durable material that provides gentle scrubbing action without causing damage to the delicate components of the connector. To enhance the cleaning process, using a specialized cleaning fluid is recommended. Sticklers™ Fiber Optic Splice & Connector Cleaner Fluid is highly effective in removing tough contaminants like oils and fingerprints. This cleaning fluid evaporates quickly, leaving no residue behind and ensuring a clean and clear connection. 

Step-by-step Cleaning Procedures for Military Fiber Optic Connectors

Here is a step-by-step cleaning procedure for military fiber optic connectors using sticks and cleaning fluid:

1. Gather the necessary materials: You will need fiber optic cleaning sticks and a cleaning fluid specifically designed for fiber optic connectors. These can be found at specialized stores or online.

2. Inspect the connector: Before cleaning, visually inspect the connector to check for any dirt, dust, or debris. Make sure the connector is disconnected from any active equipment and ensure the safety precautions have been taken.

3. Apply a few drops of cleaning fluid: Take a cleaning stick and apply a few drops of the cleaning fluid to the tip. Be careful not to overdo it, as excessive fluid may create more problems.

4. Clean the connector end face: Gently insert the cleaning stick into the connector, avoiding harsh or excessive pressure. Rotate the stick 360 degrees while applying moderate pressure to clean the end face of the connector.

5. Inspect the end face: After cleaning, visually inspect the end face of the connector using a fiber optic inspection scope or a microscope. Check for any remaining dirt, scratches, or damage. If needed, repeat the cleaning process with a new stick.

6. Remove the cleaning residue: Once satisfied with the cleaning, remove any excess cleaning fluid or residue using a clean, lint-free cloth. Wipe in a straight motion across the end face without applying excessive pressure.

7. Reinspect and reconnect: After cleaning and drying the end face, inspect it once again using a fiber optic inspection scope. Check for any signs of contamination or damage. If everything looks in order, carefully reconnect the connector.

Remember, proper cleaning and maintenance of military fiber optic connectors are crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Follow these step-by-step cleaning procedures to ensure the end face connectors stay in excellent condition and maintain reliable communication.

In conclusion, the proper cleaning of military fiber optic connectors is crucial for maintaining their performance and longevity. By adhering to recommended best practices, such as inspecting connectors, using the appropriate cleaning tools and solvents, employing proper techniques, and handling connectors with care, one can ensure a clean and efficient connection. By implementing these practices, military personnel can ensure the integrity and reliability of their fiber optic connectors, enhancing operational readiness and success in demanding military applications.