Testing Insertion Loss and Return Loss of a Simplex Cable in OPL-MAX

Share This...

In this video we will go through the process of testing insertion loss and return loss of a simplex cable in OPL-Max. This standard setup allows us to explore the features and functions of OPL-Max that operators are likely to encounter day to day.

Before we begin, take note of the materials needed for this test including mating adapters and
cleaning tools.

To begin, connect your reference cable to the source port of your insertion loss and return loss meter leaving the other end open to air or dust capped. Inspect and clean the connector as needed.

You’ll notice that a SAVer cable is also being used in this setup. While not necessary, a SAVer cable is a great tool for protecting the quality of the front panel connection, particularly in environments where reference cables are disconnected often or where multiple connector types are being tested.

The unit can be powered on before or after connecting your reference cable. But it’s important to allow the unit to complete its startup sequence before opening the software.

Now it’s time to open OPL-MAX and select your test configuration. There are a number of configurations, like the one we’re using here that comes standard with OPL-Max. These configurations can be used as is or modified as needed.

Once a configuration is selected we’re presented with the sequence tab of OPL-Max. Each row contains details of the channel, source and power meter being used, wavelengths being tested, and type of tests being performed.

The measure section contains fields for operator, part number and work order among others. This information is changed here and appears in the test report.

The data file tab is where the operator creates the file that the test results are saved to this is done through either a fixed data file or a file structure that utilizes some of the information from the measure section.


As the name suggests, the test report setup tab is where the test report template is selected and modified. The user is able to add, remove and reposition information that goes in the test report in this section.

The measurement setup tab is where the user goes to set many important options for the test process, including whether or not return loss will be referenced first and setting appropriate length and range for the device under test. The dwell times and real time measurement windows are also set here.

Finally, the instruments tab is the place to go to ensure that all units connected to the computer are identified properly. The names given to the units in the ID column should correspond with the way they’re identified in the sequence tab.

Once everything is set as needed, we proceed with testing. Clicking ref on the bottom bar will begin the reference step with the return loss reference.

Before we continue to the insertion loss reference, we return to our cable setup. At this time, connect the other end of the reference cable to the detector; returning to OPL-Max we now continue with the insertion loss reference.

Once the insertion loss reference is done, it’s time to connect our device under test. The device under test is connected to the reference cable on one end and the detector on the other. Inspecting and cleaning should be done before every connection to minimize dirt and damage.

Once the cable setup is ready, begin the test by clicking test on the lower bar.  A real-time measurement window appears as it was set to do so in the measurement setup tab.

In this window we see the data update in real time. Clicking ok, captures the data.

Moving to the measure section we see the results in green indicating that they are passing values. Failure is indicated by red values.

Now we’ll return to the measurement setup tab to disable the real-time measurement window.


By clicking next on the bottom bar, the serial number increments and the software prepares to measure a new device under test.

Clicking preview brings up the test report as it currently stands, showing the results of all our tests up to this point.

Finally, once a setup is modified to the users liking all settings can be stored for future use. This is done by either overwriting the current configuration or creating a new one. In this case, we are
saving this setup to a new file.

From here on out, loading this configuration at startup will boot OPL-Max in this exact state with dwell times, test report template, data file structure and all other options we just reviewed




If you have any questions or comments, we want to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to contact the OptoTest team!

OptoTest engineers and manufactures highly reliable fiber optic test equipment, including custom systems. We are a worldwide leader producing the fastest and most accurate Return Loss and Insertion Loss equipment for cable assembly production, R&D, Mil/Aero and Harsh Environments testing.
US Flag 
We proudly manufacture our equipment in our US-based ISO-9001:2015 facility in California.

Be the first to see the latest blog posts, application notes, videos, white papers and more!