Recovery of Telecom Equipment and Fiber Optic Connections from Catastrophic Water Damage

This article is based on an original publication by Chemtronics.

How can telecommunications equipment and fiber optic connections be recovered from water damage due to disasters such as hurricanes, floods or severe water impact causes? Although such water damage can be extensive, equipment may be salvageable. Cleaning solutions and processes designed to target water and trap moisture can allow the assemblies to be cleaned, removing oil and grease, soot and debris deposits.

  • Step 1: The affected telecommunication and fiber optic equipment should first be rinsed thoroughly with clean water to remove debris such as salt, sediment or other particulates. Once the rinse runs clear and the equipment has been entirely flushed, it should be allowed to drain completely. (Note that this step will not create further water damage, as the equipment has already been damaged by water.)
  • Step 2: Moisture must now be removed from the equipment parts and assemblies using a hydrophilic solution designed to carry moisture away from the components. An aerosol spray will also help dislodge and flush away trapped moisture as well as other surface contaminants. Equipment and assemblies should then be left to dry completely - dusters may be employed to speed up the processes, effectively drying excess moisture and solvent in reduced time.
  • Step 3: The equipment may require additional cleaning steps to remove other contaminants or any remaining moisture. Using a plastic-safe cleaning solution, thoroughly spray equipment and leave to dry, making sure all contaminated areas have been completely cleaned. Again, a duster may be used to remove the remaining solvent from components and to speed the drying process.
  • Step 4: The backplane connections should now be cleaned and effectively restored using the appropriate swab and a small amount of fiber optic cleaner. Feed the moistened swab tip through the alignment sleeve to clean the backplane connection, and then repeat a second time using a dry swab. The use of this process allows the first moistened swab to remove all types of contaminants while eliminating the static bond that holds contaminants to the end-face. The second dry swab removes any remaining solvent.
  • Step 5: Remove any remaining contaminants from the connector end-face with the appropriate wipes, swabs and cleaner using a wet to dry cleaning motion. Repeat 2-3 times.
 

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