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Fun Stuff - Photos of some unusual fiber optics projects
In addition to teaching fiber optics installers, I occasionally have the opportunity to do some fiber optics work myself. In addition to the usual connectors and fusion splicing jobs, some of my projects are more interesting than others, so I'm sharing them here...

Virginia State Police Bomb Squad Robot
Repairing the fiber optic control tether after it was accidentally broken during training. A single optical fiber in the tether carries control signals to the robot and simultaneously returns video to the operators.  Instead of driving the robot indoors, it was easier to just repair it in the parking lot.

(Click on any photo for a larger image)

Submarine Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Replacing the tether cable for the ROV (like the ones seen in the movie Titanic) was a unique experience. The ROV is controlled from a ship on the surface and is often used to support the submarine "Marian S201" shown below, especially if the sub were to become entangled underwater and needed to be cut free. Electrical conductors inside the heavy-duty cable carry power to the ROV, while optical fibers carry control signals to the robot and return video to the operators. The loose-tube gel-filled buffer tube is stainless steel to protect it from crushing pressure at depths of thousands of feet, so it was really a challenge to work with. Allowing my son Marc and I to get a brief "tour" inside while the systems were powered up was a bonus. Too bad we couldn't take it for a dive. The sub's outer hull coverings were removed for maintenance. More info on the sub can be found on the Submergence Group Website.

(Click on any photo for a larger image)

Phone and internet distribution system upgrades, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Army Base, MD
Providing assistance with phone system upgrades at the base proved to be both fun and challenging. The challenge was mostly due to the large number of installation locations where I had to set up the workstation (see photos of a few spots), then do the splicing work and break it all down again to move to the next spot. Most of the work involved fusion splicing pigtails onto outdoor fiber cables upon building entry, terminated in racks at the originating communication huts and wall-mounted panels in the destination buildings. Some of the work involved splice closures placed into underground concrete vaults. For the outdoor locations, I set up the fusion splicer workstation in the back of my van (plenty of room in a Dodge Grand Caravan with the rear seats removed) so I could do the work in nice shady air conditioned comfort, as you can see in some of the photos, except once when I only had a single tray to do and did the work on a table outside the van. In the last two photos, you can see down inside one of the vaults when the manhole cover and risers were removed for resealing. Note the top splice closure and cable storage loop. The lower metal splice closure contains copper splices in conventional phone cables.

(Click on any photo for a larger image)

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.  Last modified: 04/26/13.