Antique Equipment - Any antique wisdom?

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Having got about nowhere with begging for donations, I took a couple of
flyers on cheeep stuff from the 'bay. New folks or those with short
memories, I run a small high school network on a tiny, miserly budget.
None of it's here yet, but I'll cast a net for information, if there's
any to be had...

I've got a pair of Orionics fusion splicers, circa 1984 & late '85 -
FW303 & FW304A


A Laser Precision TD-9950 OTDR with a 955 (1300/1520 SM) module that the
self test reports, passed, as a 953 (1300 SM) Either is fine, I run a
1300 SM network, but it's a bit odd that the module (clearly marked 955
in the picture) reports itself differently. Unlike some I didn't bid on,
it passes the self-test, anyway.

The good, albeit expensive if needed, news is that Aurora Electronics
(who makes the FW312 and some non-Oronics splicers) claims to support
the older Orionics equipment, and even say they have recently rebuilt an
FW304A. New electrodes would be available from them, but I'd love to
know if they interchange with any more common splicer.

Laser Precision seems to be good and dead with no successors, but
several places will "calibrate" them if needed.

Any further information beyond what little there is at (watch the wrap): .


Would be wonderful. I'm hoping the splicers actually have the manuals,
since those are $50 each from Aurora. I have no idea how the 304A is
"improved" (I assume, as it's newer) over the 303 - both look pretty
much manual operation, and the 304A is nowhere on the web except for a
patent mention of the brochure. Anyone got a brochure? Or a long memory?
Anybody used one or the other or both?

I'm also wondering if the Laser Precision modules, which look like they
would have room for it, put a launch fiber coiled up in the module, or
if I'll need to make a launch fiber to get any use from that. I can see
I'm either going to have to pay too much for a biconic connector
(guessing from photos and datasheet) or open the module and replace the
connector with something a bit less legacy, for starters.

While $30,000 would be nice to get the nice toys (or even $7,000 to get
the bottom-of the barrel new ones) I'm hoping to get to
functional-if-clunky-and-limited with, thus far, under $250 invested in
the splicer/OTDR parts of the puzzle. We'll see how that pans out when
stuff gets here. It's somewhat more optimistic than my default
assumptions, but would be nice if it sort of pans out. I assume the
splicer internal batteries are dead, but if they work from external
power that's fine.

Fortunately I can put up with splice loss considerably above what the
current crop of fancy automagic splicers manage, as my links are pretty

Advance thanks for any helpful antique pearls of wisdom (or whiz-dumb as
the case may be.)

Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.

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