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'[PICLIST] Cheap Optical Fibre ?'
2002\03\23@190641 by Graeme Zimmer

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Here's a question....

I can think of umpteen applications, if only I could find a supply of
cheap(ish) optical fibre.

An example would be a remote Receiving Antenna for VLF
(no metalic connection so as to get away from noise).
It would feed the sigs down the fibre in simple analog format.

The fibre would need to have low enough attenuation to go 100 ft or so
and the exciter LED would need to be modulated up to a few hundred Khz.

Any suggestions as to manufacturer and or fibre type ?
(glass, plastic ?) Is unclad fibre cheaper and/or useable ?

Thanks in advance .............. Zim

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2002\03\23@192027 by Jinx

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Tip to get short lengths (2m or so) of really cheap fibre - try
a local telecoms depot or roadside workgang for off-cuts.
Did it once and got a hunk of the good stuff. If they're a
friendly buch like mine were you'll also stagger out under
the weight of copper cable they'll let you take from the bin

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2002\03\24@032041 by Russell McMahon

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> I can think of umpteen applications, if only I could find a supply of
> cheap(ish) optical fibre.
>
> An example would be a remote Receiving Antenna for VLF
> (no metalic connection so as to get away from noise).
> It would feed the sigs down the fibre in simple analog format.
>
> The fibre would need to have low enough attenuation to go 100 ft or so
> and the exciter LED would need to be modulated up to a few hundred Khz.


100 feet would probably be pushing things but I'm told that VERY short range
can be obtained using mono-filament fishing line. I've never tried it but
I've heard of it being used for eg isolation purposes.



       RM

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2002\03\24@033113 by Jinx

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> 100 feet would probably be pushing things but I'm told that
> VERY short range can be obtained using mono-filament
> fishing line. I've never tried it but I've heard of it being used
> for eg isolation purposes

A friend used a short length of thick fishing line in a PSU opto
when he couldn't get a "real" opto. My only experience has been
with the 1mm sheathed nylon optic fibre. Not the best quality,
and the price reflects that, but it's fine to at least 6m. A photo-
diode and LP311 picked the data from a red LED up no problem

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2002\03\24@152410 by Jinx

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Just something to bear in mind with optical connections -
reflections of signals that bounce off the inner walls of the
fibre can interfere with signals that took the straight-through
path. At high frequncies (the longer the cable the greater
the effect) the pulse-stretching that results from some rays
taking the long trip can cause "0" bits to be truncated or
masked completely

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2002\03\24@154107 by Martin McCormick

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       The monofilament fishing line is a truly novel idea.  It
is clear so a few feet should pass a signal all right.
What a variation on the old mechanical telephone made from two
cups and a piece of fishing line!

       To me, the big fiscal stumbling block is not the fiber as
much as the connectors that one has to use to properly terminate
a piece of fiber.

       The guys that do fiber here at the university where I
work use $20,000 fusion splicers and each connector that feeds in
to a router or patch panel costs several Dollars.

       What we need is some kind of clear goo with the same
index of refraction as the fiber that would allow one to cut the
fiber with a pocket knife or pair of wire cutters and still have
it work correctly.

       This discussion also reminds me of my days in the
eighties as an audio visual service technician.  I once
discovered that film carries a tiny trace of the projection
lamp's light within the clear backing material.  It's known by
many technicians that you can make a lot of noise by putting your
hand in front of the projection lens and reflecting the light
which is modulated by the shutter back towards the machine.  If
you have the covers off the sound optics, some of that light will
get to the photo cell and you hear a 72-HZ square-wave buzz in
the speaker.

       I once discovered that I could hear a tiny bit of that
buzz if there was film in the projector and no exciter lamp.  If
one ran the projector with no film, the faint buzz was gone.
This says to me that a little light was bouncing around between
the  front and back surfaces of the film, itself and causing the
film to appear to glow slightly as it passed over the photo cell.

       I also once held a scrap of fiber in such a way as to
catch some of the projection lamp light while I held the other
end approximately where the exciter bulb went.  You could hear
faint sound if you got everything just right.  The other folks in
our shop thought I was kind of crazy.  Hey! One of my favorite
questions about technology is, What else can you do with it?

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Network Operations Group

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'[EE]: -Re: Cheap Optical Fibre ?'
2002\03\24@163323 by hard Prosser

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100 feet is probably getting to the limits for plastic fibre. Glass would
be preferable - but may be harder to get hold of cheaply. Also, as the core
size is smaller, it gets a lot harder to actually launch enough light into
the fibre. The problem is not only attenuation but bandwidth, the BW of
plastic fibre being quite limited, due to the "stepped index" and large
core construstion, while glass fibre is mostly graded index (or  for
telecom - single mode).
I very much doubt that fishing line will get you more than a few metres,
proper plastic fibre might do the job, and glass would be fine - but you
may need fiddle with the leds to get enough light in.

If there is a cable factory handy, you might be able to score scrap lengths
of fibre - we used to chuck out anything less than 1km lengths as the
cables were always longer than this - but that was mostly single mode
anyway.

Otherwise, as suggested, a jointing gang may let you have some - but again
it is likely to be single mode and very hard to get enough launch power
(the core diameter is only about 10 microns).

My best bet for fibre type is the 62.5/125 micron glass fibre that was/is??
used for FDDI data transmission - but I have no idea where you might find
any going cheap. 50/125 telecom multimode would be OK too but that was
getting scarce 10 years ago! IIRC there was also a 100micron core size
material but I didn't handle any of it.

Also - is using glass - be careful. The fibre is very easily embedded in
skin, or eyes etc. and can be very difficult to remove. I still have a
small piece in one of my thumbs 10years after last using the stuff. I can
only feel it every so often - just enough to remin me it's still there!

In order to get light in and out of fibre you need to have a smooth end
face. This is mormally acheived with glass by using a special cleaving tool
or by polishing the fibre end. You may be able to get a good cleave by
scratching the fibre with a hardened steel tool and bending it slightly
(wear glasses) - check with a magnifier that the centre of the fibre is a
smooth face. If you hold the far end to a light source you should be able
to see light coming through the core - once you have cleaved that face also
and especially for larger core fibres - single mode can be difficult.

Best of luck

Richard P






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Here's a question....

I can think of umpteen applications, if only I could find a supply of
cheap(ish) optical fibre.

An example would be a remote Receiving Antenna for VLF
(no metalic connection so as to get away from noise).
It would feed the sigs down the fibre in simple analog format.

The fibre would need to have low enough attenuation to go 100 ft or so
and the exciter LED would need to be modulated up to a few hundred Khz.

Any suggestions as to manufacturer and or fibre type ?
(glass, plastic ?) Is unclad fibre cheaper and/or useable ?

Thanks in advance .............. Zim

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2002\03\25@090105 by Shawn Yates

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I have had great success using parts from Industrial Fiber Optics with
standard 1mm POF.  Distances of about 80 meters (about 240 feet).  THey have
a green LED now what is attenuated less by the POF so it goes even farther,
but I have not played with that one yet.  I use the E-97 transmitter and the
D96 detector.

I buy the cable from Moritex and its $489 (us) for a roll of 500 meters.

Industrial Fiber OPtics web site:       http://www.i-fiberoptics.com

Moritex phone number 800-548-7039

Hope that helps

Shawn

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'[PICLIST] Cheap Optical Fibre ?'
2002\03\25@211658 by Dwayne Reid

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At 11:06 PM 3/23/02 +1100, Graeme Zimmer wrote:
>Here's a question....
>
>I can think of umpteen applications, if only I could find a supply of
>cheap(ish) optical fibre.

Industrial Fiber Optics <http://www.i-fiberoptics.com/>

I *LOVE* their stuff!  Easy, quick, inexpensive!

Its only plastic fiber but it is good for a reasonable distance and can go
fast: they have 10 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s, 155 Mb/s components.  Check out their
optical connector: kind of like a split bolt with a knurled thumbnut.  Cut
the fiber and slide it into the connector.  Tighten the thumbnut and its done!

I'm using their stuff for communications in our newest generation of
outdoor Christmas Lighting sequencers.

dwayne


Dwayne Reid   <.....dwaynerKILLspamspam@spam@planet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax

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2002\03\26@020631 by Graeme Zimmer

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A quick thanks to all who responded to my request for info...

Thanks to Richard for his safety warnings.  I had no idea that glass fibre
could be so nasty.

Thanks to Shawn and Dwayne for their pointer to Industrial Fiber Optics
at  http://www.i-fiberoptics.com   their catalog was just what I was looking for...

Also I found that the Farnell catalog has quite a range of fibre components.

Also Agilent has a relatively low cost Evaluation kit for their "Versatile
Link" series.

Any more pointers gratefully received please.

Thanks again ........... Zim

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