Look, No Hands!

May 30, 2018 / General, Installation and testing, Upgrading and troubleshooting, Best Practices

Did you ever have one of those days where your hands feel like two foreign objects that aren’t connected to your body or your brain? Yesterday started off as one of those days for me. It went something (maybe not exactly) like this.

The first mistake was my decision to carry too much stuff out to my truck while simultaneously balancing my coffee. It didn’t go very well. Not only was I now five minutes late from running back in to change my shirt, but now I had a cleaning charge to worry about.

After making it to the office in one piece (suprisingly), I checked in with the team and gathered up my tools to head to a job site. I arrived without incident, but then proceeded to drop my cell phone in the parking lot. Of course it landed just perfectly, and now there is a nice lightning bolt crack in the screen to distort my view. Well at least I’m due for an upgrade I thought.

The day’s job involved inspecting some previously installed fiber links for one of my longtime customers to help them determine why some portions of the network weren’t running as well as it should. I had an inkling that their onsite techs had maybe contanimated some connectors during a recent reconfiguration.

Arriving at the 3rd floor telecom room servicing the area of complaint, I remembered how tiny of a space I was dealing with—no where but the floor for my tool bag and almost virtually impossible to squeeze my body between the wall and the rack (30 years later, I’m not exactly at my high school weight).

Holding my FI-500 FiberInspector in my left hand, I plugged the probe into the first port on the fiber panel and pressed auto focus to inspect the end face. That’s when apparently my left hand decided to stick with that day’s trend of not functioning and my FI-500 fell to the floor. Thankfully its durable housing did a better job of protecting the tester than the cheap case on my cell phone, but unfortunately I now had to figure out how to bend down and pick it up while squeezed between the rack and the wall. It wasn’t pretty.

Then while awkwardly bent over I remembered that little strappy looking thing in my kit. I fished around and felt the unmistakable flat magnetic accessory that I had never used. I attached the magnetic strap to the back of my FI-500, slapped the rare-earth magnet to the rack and my fiber inspector hung there suspended in front of me completely hands free!!

I was now free to move the probe from port to port until I found the culprit—a fiber end face that looked like it had come into contact with my earlier coffee mishap. After cleaning the port with my Quick Clean Cleaner and the patch cord end face with my Cleaning Cube, followed by reinspection (of course), I was on my way to the next job armed with the discovery of my Mag Kit Magnetic Strap and an optimistic feeling that the rest of my day would be better. And it was.