Fibre Optic Power Meters

As fibre optic networks expand across Australia so does the need for testing equipment. While its easy enough to detect whether there is a break in the line, it can be less easy to detect other faults. Fibre optic power meters measure the signal strength of the light flowing down a fibre optic cable. Fibre optics require carefully calibrated power levels, and too much or too little power can be a problem; using power meters is the first step in ensuring your power levels are correct.

How Fibre Optics Works

In simplest terms, fibre optics works by shooting a laser beam down a glass tube, carrying information at the speed of light. The effective transmission rate is actually only about two-thirds of the speed of light in a vacuum, in part because the light reflects off the interior of the cable, effectively increasing the distance it has to travel. At the far end of the cable, a photosensitive cell picks up the signal and transfers it into electrical impulses.

Understanding Meters

In many ways, fibre optic power meters are no different from other kinds of meters such as air flow meters, anenometers, electric circuit meters and multimeters. In all cases, you put the meters probe into a current and then measure the currents effect on the probe. Whether the current is originally air, water, light or electricity doesn't matter; the meter converts it to electricity and then measures that.

Using Fibre Optic Power Meters

For most fibre optic power meters all you have to do is connect the meter to the cable with an optical patch cable. Then you calibrate the meter to the right wavelength, and take the reading off the display. Most meters are easy to use, with one button operation once you know the wavelength.

Visual Fault Testers

Once you know you have a problem, the next step is finding it. A visual fault locator works by shining a brighter visible light down the cable so that you can see any faults. Just connect the locator and look for any places the light spills out.