Using Tag-Connect

Before You Start

Before you use Tag-Connect you must:

  1. Decide which version of Tag-Connect is best for your application. Read Legs or No-Legs for information on the two versions and other related products.
  2. Put the Tag-Connect footprint on your PCB: You can download the appropriate decal from our Decal Libraries for Common Layout CAD Packages. If we don’t yet have a decal for your CAD package, PDFs of the footprint designs are also available. Read the ‘Design Considerations’ below for information which will help you position the Tag-Connect footprint on your PCB.

Design Considerations

Position of the Tag-Connect Footprint on the PCB

Take the following into consideration when planning the location of the Tag-Connect on your PCB

  • There are no restrictions on the location of the Tag-Connect footprint, provided you have sufficient area available. Tag-Connect may be positioned close to the CPU. Unlike a conventional modular jack connector, Tag-Connect does not have to be placed near the edge of the PCB.
  • Because the Tag-Connect occupies no volume on the board, it may be positioned on the underneath of the board to save even more space.

Warning – Pay Attention to the Solder ‘Paste-Mask’ Layer

CAE/CAD packages usually assume that pads with no through holes are for surface mounted components and solder paste is deposited on them by default!

Obviously this is inappropriate for Tag-Connect because Tag-Connect’s Pogo pins ‘mate’ with the PCB pads but are not soldered into position. Solder paste would therefore inhibit good electrical connection.

To resolve this, edit the pad-stack in your CAE/CAD software, show the paste-mask layer and set the pad size to zero for that layer.

Because prototype boards are often hand-soldered, there is a danger this problem does not become apparent before production runs commence.

Using the TC2030-MCP-NL (No Leg) version for Debugging

It may be desirable to use the TC2030-MCP-NL version of Tag-Connect for debugging because of its extremely small footprint. Maintaining a stable, secure connection for an extended period requires that you have a method of holding the Tag-Connect cable in position. The options are:

  • One option will be to use the TC2030-CLIP when it is released. See What’s New for details on new Tag-Connect products. The TC2030-CLIP grips the alignment pins from behind the board thus providing a connection durable enough for debugging and development.
  • For a robust, semi-permanent debugging connection, solder the alignment pins to pads on the PCB. Use of a flux designed for soldering to stainless steel will greatly help. For example, Superior No 71 Stainless Steel Solder Flux Paste from

Using Tag-Connect Cables

Inserting the TC2030-MCP

  1. Hold the connector by its flexible plastic lugs between your thumb and index finger
  2. Orient the connector so that the back two locating pins are aligned with the footprint and offer it into position ready to insert.
  3. Squeeze the two sides of the connector together between your thumb and index finger and gently insert into position. Do not use excessive force

Removing the TC2030-MCP

  1. Hold the side of the connector by its sides as close to the surface of the PCB as possible.
  2. Squeeze the sides of the connector together and withdraw it from the footprint.

Inserting the TC2030-MCP-NL

  1. Orient the connector so that the back two locating pins are aligned with the footprint and gently push it into position.
  2. Maintain gentle pressure against the spring-loaded connection pins to maintain good contact. See ‘Design Considerations’ above for methods of holding the TC2030-MCP-NL in position.

No more bulky and costly RJ12 connectors. No more ad-hoc creating of your own one-off cables. Just use Tag-Connect: a standard, off-the-shelf solution!