The Proper Method to Clean APC Fiber Optic Connectors

Author: Harvey Stone

This brief technical note explains the optimal technique for cleaning angled polished connectors, also known as APC fiber optic connectors. To learn more, download the tech article.

Proper cleaning of APC fiber optic connectors in any environment can be difficult. In order to clean an APC connector the cleaner must be aligned at the 8° angle to ensure contact is made with the end face. Or the material on the cleaner must be capable of conforming to the 8° angle of the end face.

Automated port cleaning devices have a problem cleaning APC  because they do not clean the entire end face. Automated port cleaners (gun style, stick and click, push-to-clean or push button) have “floss” like material that wipes the end face. They do wipe the center of the connector end face including the contact area for a UPC (Ultra Physical Count) polished connector. But they do not clean the entire connector end face of an APC or UPC  connector. This may result in contamination migrating to the core area.

Most cleaning sticks consist of a fabric wrapped around a stick. Others consist of foam material attached to a stick (typically foam sticks, unless the foam is specially treated, is not considered an appropriate material for cleaning fiber optics components.  Open cell foam by its nature is not clean enough for these types of optical applications). Sticklers™ patented fiber optic cleaning sticks have a fibrous molded cleaning head that cleans the entire connector end face and conforms to the various polishing geometries including APC.  The fibrous structure conforms to the geometry of a UPC polish and entraps particulate matter in its structure. The cleaning head also conforms to the 8° angle of an APC polish connector cleaning the entire end face.

Download the tech article for illustrated details.