Calibrating handheld testers

Sept. 1, 1996
Q: I am concerned about calibration of handheld unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) test sets used by contractors. EIA/TIA TSB-67 does not address this issue. In laboratory test sets, a current calibration certification sticker must be attached to make any test results valid. Unless there is confidence in the calibration of these test sets, you really don`t know whether the test data is valid. Is any work being done within the TIA committees or Bicsi [Tampa, FL] to add a calibration-certification requ

Q: I am concerned about calibration of handheld unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) test sets used by contractors. EIA/TIA TSB-67 does not address this issue. In laboratory test sets, a current calibration certification sticker must be attached to make any test results valid. Unless there is confidence in the calibration of these test sets, you really don`t know whether the test data is valid. Is any work being done within the TIA committees or Bicsi [Tampa, FL] to add a calibration-certification requirement for this instrument?

George Lickman

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Mobile, AL

A: The TIA TR41.8.1 working group plans to incorporate TSB-67 into the proposed TIA-568B standard. I will forward your concern, as a contribution, to the UTP Link Performance Field Testing Task Group at the September 1996 meeting.

The Bicsi Engineering and Methods Committee is responsible for maintaining the Bicsi Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual. I will also present your contribution to this committee at its September 1996 meeting.

Until we have something official about the frequency of field verification of UTP testers, it is the responsibility of the user to establish the verification schedule. For testers you own or lease for your own use, I would suggest verification once a week, at least, or after the instrument has been dropped. Daily verification is preferable. For testers used by your contractors, detail exactly what you expect in the bid specifications.

TSB-67, section 7.2 (consistency checks for field testers), mandates that the manufacturer "make available to the user a simple procedure for verifying, reporting and recording the consistency of the field tester." Notice the careful wording--"make available" rather than "provide".

The manufacturer is required to have a procedure, such as a test jig and instruction sheet, that would allow the user to verify that the tester is producing the same test results today as it did when first purchased. If your tester did not come with this procedure, contact your distributor for pricing, or make one: sort of a basic link in a box.

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