The Basics of Installing Aerial Cables and Splice Boxes
The view of aerial cables hanging on poles is a common sight in most cities. Most aerial cables feature strong metals or aramid fibers. This ensures that the cables can withstand harsh outdoor environments making them a suitable choice for areas where laying underground cables is not an option.
Installing aerial cables is a relatively time-consuming and complicated task for various reasons. The installers must consider the probability of natural disasters and even man-made damages before the installation. However, installing aerial cables makes it easier to reuse the prevalent pole infrastructure and eliminates the need to dig up roads or install a new set-up. Here are a few prerequisites for installing aerial cables and splice boxes:
Before commencing the installation of the aerial optical cables, it is important to perform the following checks:
- Installers need to plan the route for installing the cables beforehand. Besides, they also need to decide on the materials and equipment that would be required before commencing the process.
- It is also essential to check the route for any clearance issues posed by trees, flyovers, driveways, and other obstructions.
- Installers also need to choose the location of splice boxes carefully to decide the cable order lengths and enable verification of the transformation design besides ensuring ease of access.
Choosing The Right Installation Method
There are generally two methods of installing aerial cables: the stationary reel and the moving reel method. Awareness of the working of both these methods is essential for installers to choose the right one.
- Stationary Reel Method
This method is suitable for installing cables above obstructions such as existing lateral cables, vehicles, and other placing equipment. Here is the step-by-step procedure for installing cables using this method:
- The first step involves the installation of various temporary cable supports, tangent poles, and chutes on each pole along the route.
- The next step involves threading a non-metallic winch or pulling rope through the cable supports and attaching it to the cable’s exterior with the help of a cable-pulling grip and a breakaway swivel. This enables the installers to pull the cable easily through the cable blocks and place it in the correct position.
- Installers must regulate the pulling winch to stop the operation once the installation tension exceeds the maximum rated cable load (MRCL). The installation tension can be monitored with the help of a dynamometer having an alarm or visual display.
- The cable should be pulled into its final position with enough slack to provide for building access or splicing. At this point, the cable’s tension should be increased until the correct level of sag is achieved. The cable should then be terminated at the dead-end pole on each end of the route.
- Moving Reel Method
This method is generally used in areas where no obstructions are hampering the raising of the cable or where the cable reel trailer or aerial lift truck can be easily moved along the pole line. This is a one-pass method and involves the following steps for its completion:
- The cable reel is mounted on the reel carrier, placed on an aerial line truck or a cable trailer, and then driven along the route. The cable is paid off the reel and guided to the pole using the right hardware.
- Installers need to ensure that there is enough slack cable available for slack storage and splicing by checking the distance between the aerial line truck and the position of the first pole.
- Next, the installers need to fit the cable with the appropriate dead-end support before raising it to the right support level and mounting the dead-end on the pole.
- After completing the cable pay-off and covering an adequate distance past the next pole, it should be raised to the appropriate height before being placed in a J hook.
- The same procedure should be followed until the entire route is covered and the dead-end pole has been reached. Here the installers need to tension the cable to the appropriate sag level using proper chain hoist equipment before attaching the free end of the cable to the dead-end pole.
Despite the complexity of installing aerial cables, it is more cost-effective and economically feasible compared to underground cabling. This makes it a popular choice for people seeking an affordable and efficient cable installation solution.