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Frequently Asked Questions for the AC3000 System

What is the difference between red light and white light analysis?
The 3000 has the ability to analyze surfaces using either red light or white light. This gives the customer the maximum versatility for the system. The Red Light or Monochromatic Light mode uses Phase Shift Interferometry to measure smooth, continuous surfaces. A single wavelength of light is more coherent and causes interference over a wider range so that fringes will appear over the entire surface being analyzed. The interferometric objective is only moved a short distance to determine the direction in which the fringe pattern shifts. This is a much faster measurement but is limited to measuring heights which are 1/4 of the wavelength of the light source being used. With red light at a wavelength of 650 nanometers, the system is limited to heights of 162.5 nanometers or less.

The White Light (aka Broadband Analysis) uses Phase Shift Interferometry to measure rough surfaces with varying step heights. White light has a lower coherence and provides an interference pattern with only a few fringes visible on the surface to be measured. The interferometric objective is moved continuously to scan the surface from the highest point on the connector to the lowest. Typically, this is from the center apex of the connector to the outside edges (for PC connectors). The fringe pattern at the beginning of the measure function is positioned on the highest point on the connector using the focus knob. After the measure function is started the objective moves back approximately 2 microns so that the fringes are off the surface. It then scans a distance of 8 microns down into the surface. This means the maximum surface height differential is 6 microns from the highest point to the lowest point on the surface. After the scan is complete, the instrument is able to assign a height to every point, even if it is rough or shows step heights. White light will always give the “True View” of the surface. It can measure protruded and undercut fibers up to 6 microns above and below the surface of the connector. This is useful for identifying problem connectors or for specifically designed connectors where the fiber should be recessed or protruded. This feature allows it to look at sections of multifiber connectors to provide information on fiber heights and curvature. It can also measure adhesive reliability by checking for fiber that is pushed back after exposure to temperature and pressure.

In both the red light and white light mode, the distance between two adjacent dark fringes is approximately ½ wavelength.

What mount type should be used with the Auto Level feature in the ACCIS software?
It is recommended that the Locking V groove mount be used with the Auto leveling feature. A precision bore mount does not hold the connector in place as securely as the locking v groove mount due to certain tolerances and variations.

How do I know if my Locking V groove mount is worn and needs to be replaced?
The Auto-leveling feature in the ACCIS software includes a mount wear detection system. If the mount’s Locking Lever is not used properly or the mount has moved during Auto-Leveling or the mount is worn, a deviation of apex rotation from following a perfect circular path will occur. If the mount has worn more than 75%, a warning will appear in the Auto Leveling prompt. Mount replacement is recommended when Degree of Mount Wear reaches or exceeds 100%.

How do I measure multifiber connectors on the NC/AC 3000 and what parameters are measured?
To measure a multifiber connector, a connector specific multifiber mount and a variable tilt stage is needed. Select "Ribbon“ in the Scan Type field of the Set Up menu. Insert the connector into the mount and center each fiber on the crosshairs and adjust the focus knob to maximize the fringe pattern. Perform a measurement for each fiber. Measurements for radius of curvature and spherical height or planar height can be compared across the connector surface. Alternatively, select 500 ROI in Setup and center crosshair between two fibers. Measurements are not applicable but information on differential height and distance can be measured on the Surface Contour Display. It is recommended that the NC/AC 3005 be used to accurately measure multifiber connectors to TIA/IEC specifications.

What is the difference between F4 and F12 (Quick Scan)?
•F4 MEASURE - Activates scanning and measurement of the connector. A prompt appears indicating that the measurement process is ready to begin. At this point, the operator can adjust the focus and centering of the fiber over the crosshairs in the live image. The operator must click “Start” to begin measurement process. The connector ID can be changed during the measurement process.

•F12 Quick Scan (QS) - Activates the Quick Scan mode. The scanning process will begin immediately, therefore all focusing and centering should be done previous to activating quick scan. The connector ID cannot be changed once quick scan has been activated. Auto increment should also be selected in the Options menu.

Can a Bar Code Scanner be used with the ACCIS software?
Yes, the software can be used with bar code scanners that are compatible with a Keyboard Wedge device. The bar code scanner and the keyboard are plugged into the keyboard wedge device, which is then plugged into the CPU’s keyboard connection. The information resulting from the scanning of a bar code symbol is treated by the PC or terminal as if it originated from the keyboard, while the keyboard itself remains fully functional. Because the terminal or PC cannot differentiate between bar coded data and actual keyboard data, a keyboard wedge interface allows bar code reading capability to be rapidly added to an existing computer without changing the application software.

What needs to be calibrated in the system to assure accurate measurements?
If measuring APC connectors, it is recommended to perform a 0º-8º Calibration procedure to assure that the micrometer controlled variable tilt stage accurately tilts to 8º. A NIST traceable 0º-8º flat is used during this procedure.

To calibrate the machine to accurately measure apex offsets, it is recommended to perform an Auto-Leveling procedure to assure that the connector is being held perpendicular to the objective lens. NOTE: If inspecting FC/SC/ST/bare ferrules or bare fibers with industry standard bare fiber adapter, use a 2.50mm locking v groove mount with the 2.5mm leveling tool. If inspecting LC or MU connectors, use a 1.25 locking v groove mount with a 1.25mm leveling tool. Auto-leveling does not have to be performed if inspecting multifiber connectors.

To calibrate the machine to accurately measure radius of curvatures and fiber heights, it is recommended to perform a Magnification Calibration/Auto Calibration procedure to assure that the correct magnification calibration factor is being used.

Which mounts do I need to use to measure connectors?
Various mounts and inserts are offered by Norland products. For measuring PC/APC connectors, bare ferrules, and bare fibers using the industry standard bare fiber adapter, it is recommended to use the locking v groove design. The locking v groove design provides the greatest accuracy and longest wear of any mounting system on the market today. If measuring APC connectors, inserts must be used to correctly key the connector into position.

What is the difference between the print command and the report generation command?
The print command prints all data and surface displays of the connector measurement. Report generation allows the customer to configure the data as desired and only print what is needed. The reports contain user preferred test results, company information, client information, Insertion and Return Loss information, 3D image and live image of the connector, as well as a Barcode representing the Connector ID for that particular scan. This barcode is in a section of the report, which on specially made printout forms, can be peeled off of the report for labeling a bag used for the tested connector. The forms are supplied by Norland Products.