Light source and power meters
What are a light source and power meter used for?
A light source and a power meter are required to perform the most important measurement of a fibre optic link, the total insertion loss of that link. Basically, you compare the amount of light going into one end of the fibre with the amount of light coming out of the other end of the fibre. The difference between these two power levels is the total loss of the link.
On OTT’s Certified Optical Fibre Installer (COFI) and Certified Fibre Characterisation Engineer (CFCE) courses you’ll learn when to carry out insertion loss measurements and what information they can and can’t provide. You’ll also learn how to do insertion loss measurements properly to get accurate and reliable test results.
What light source and power meter do you need?
There are many different types of light sources and power meters available, from simple hand held units up to sophisticated testers that guide you through the required sequence of taking your reference readings and measurements.
An optical loss test set integrates both a light source and a power meter into the same unit, a pair of these is often used for bi-directional measurements on singlemode systems.
When testing multimode fibres you should use an encircled flux compliant light source to ensure accurate measurements.
The lasers and detectors of some OTDR modules can also be used to do the insertion loss measurements.
Below you will find links to major manufacturers of light sources and power meters, with some example products.
The OLS4 Quad wavelength light source can be used by technicians certifying both singlemode and multimode networks. When used with an AFL power meter such as OPM5 or OPM4 the wave ID feature can reduce test times carrying out simultaneous multiple wavelength tests over one fibre.
The OPM5 Optical Power Meter is a versatile tool for testing all network types such as FTTx/FTTh, LAN/WAN, Telco, CATV, etc. It provides file management for stored test data and USB transfer to PC. The included TRM® 2.0 Reporting PC Software provides full data management and pass/fail certification to industry standards.
EXFO offers a broad range of light-source and power meter testing solutions, from general-purpose ones to those optimised for certain types of networks. EXFO optical loss test sets are available in dedicated handheld instruments and platform-based modules to suit various network architectures and test requirements.
The FLS-300 can have up to three singlemode wavelengths on a single port, or four wavelengths (two multimode, and two singlemode) on two ports. It offers auto-wavelength recognition with the compatible AFL Power meter, the FPM-300, and also the FOT-300 Optical Loss Test Set. The FPM-300 Power meter has a high-power option and 10 calibrated wavelengths.
VIAVI offer a range of SmartClass and SmartPocket handheld light source and power meters & loss test sets for installation and maintenance of singlemode and multimode fibre optic networksfor a wide range of applications.
The VIAVI SmartPocket™ Optical Light Source OLS-36 is a quad-wavelength solution covering both multimode and singlemode wavelengths in one product. It has auto-wavelegnth and TWINTest transmission modes and can have fixed or interchangeable connectors.
The SmartPocket Optical Power Meter OLP-35 covers all standard singlemode Telecommunication networks. Auto-wavelength recognition, Internal data storage and Report generation with the OFS-355 software.