LC connectors, the acronym for “Lucent Connectors,” are a fiber optic connector designed for networking and telecommunications data signal transmission. These are known for having a rectangular shape that is half the size of SC connectors. The SC connector is short for “Subscriber Connector,” which is larger and more square-shaped. LC connectors are suitable for high-density applications because of their compact design and are often used in places like data centers. They feature a push-pull latching mechanism, allowing them to be connected or disconnected easily and securely, without tools.
The LC connector handles high-speed data transmissions between optical single-mode and multimode fibers in data centers, telecommunications networks, LAN/WAN connections and similar places. They differ from SC connectors, which can be used in the same applications, but are appropriate in more spacious settings. LC connectors are half the size of SC connectors, making them a great choice for high density applications. By replacing existing ST or SC connectors with LCs, your space or density may be doubled.
It is important to follow procedures from the specific manufacturer when installing LC connectors, which can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Below are some supplies typically needed, as well as general LC connector installation directions:
BEFORE BEGINNING THE INSTALLATION, BE SURE TO HAVE:
- • LC connectors
- • The appropriate fiber optic cable
- • Fiber cleaver or precision cleaver
- • Fiber optic stripper
- • Fiber optic microscope or inspection scope
- • Epoxy or adhesive (if pre-polished connectors are not used)
- • An epoxy curing oven (if epoxy is used)
- • Fiber optic polishing film or a connector polishing kit
- • Fiber optic testers and light sources
- • Isopropyl alcohol and lint-free wipes
- • Heat shrink tubing (if any strain relief is needed)
- • Fiber optic labels (optional to identify them)
- 1. Prepare to install the fiber, using a fiber optic stripper if you are working with bare fiber. If it is a pre-terminated cable, it must be cleaned and contaminant-free.
- 2. Next, cleave the fiber per manufacturer’s instructions, to create a flat and sanitary surface. Use a fiber optic microscope or inspection scope to examine the cleaved end.
- 3. Attach the connector to the fiber if it is not a pre-polished LC connector. Then apply a small amount of epoxy to the ferrule and insert the cleaved fiber, ensuring the center hole is aligned.
- 4. Polish the connector if it is not pre-polished. That requires placing it in a polishing fixture, then using film or a connector polishing kit. The connector should be polished in a circular or figure-eight motion. For best results, inspect it with a fiber optic microscope after polishing.
- 5. Clean the connector end face with isopropyl alcohol or lint-free wipes.
- 6. Inspect the connector again with a fiber optic microscope to ensure its end face is clean and scratch-free.
- 7. If there is a boot, slide it onto the connector’s body, then insert it into the equipment’s receptacle.
- 9. Finish off the LC connector installation with optional heat shrink for added strain relief and/or fiber optic labels for cable identification.
*If you are field mounting these small connectors, here are a couple more installation suggestions:
- • Since the ferrule is half the size of ST or SC connectors at 1.25", make sure you don’t apply too much pressure on the small end-face during the polishing process. This is critical, since fractures can occur at that time.
- • You should always follow the polishing procedures prescribed by the manufacturer, as they can differ from one OEM to another. Be sure to use the specific polishing paper, also known as lapping film, that they instruct to use. Failure to comply with this step will likely almost always result in catastrophic results on the final product.
Ready to learn about more types of fiber optic connectors? Read the CableOrganizer® article here for information about LC connectors, SC connectors, FC (ferrule connectors), MT-RJ connectors, ST (straight tip connectors), and the Multiple-Fiber Push-On/Pull-Off (MPO/MTP) connectors.