This product surfaced at DD thanks to a recent discussion by dmtulsa.

110556-11Tag-Connect [link] eliminates the need for a programming header or other mating connectors on PCBs. This is achieved by using spring pins (rated for 100,000) operations to make secure connection to a small footprint pattern of pads and locating holes on your PCB.

The footprint takes up as little as 0.02 square inches, allowing the footprint to be placed right beside the MCU (if desired).

Tag-Connect cables provide a simple, reliable means of connecting Debuggers and Programmers or other test equipment to your PCB’s while lowering board costs and facilitating efficient production programming.

Tag-Connect Features

  • 110556-21Product images from MicrochipZERO Cost per Board!
  • Directly compatible with MPLAB REAL ICE, MPLAB ICD 3 and MPLAB ICD 2
  • No mating connector required on PCB!
  • Tiny footprint!
  • High Reliability Pogo Spring Pins for Secure Connection!
  • Rugged Design for Highly Repetitive Use!
  • Designed so it can only be inserted the correct way round!
  • Two versions both designed to cut your costs, save you time, and save space on your PCBs!


  • At the time of writing the Tag-Connect was US$29.95

Technical Info

Community Feedback

If you own one of these (or something similar) I'd like to hear any feedback you have about the device and/or the method used for ICSP + ICD.

What I'd really like to see is a device that is compatible (or easily modified) for PICKit programmers (cheaper would be good as well). In addition, an internal RS232-UART or USB-UART converter to allow a direct interface with bootloaders. Now we're talking.

Posted: 8 years 8 months ago by bitfogav #6251
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Heres another version of it..

Posted: 8 years 8 months ago by mcclmar #6552
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I picked a couple of these up at work. I started to implement the footprint but once I found out it needed non plated holes (custom spec'd boards, $$) and it wasn't the easiest to get traces between the holes/pins (TC2030-MCP-10 with the extra outer pins -- its almost too small!) -- it was more work than what it was worth.

6 pin icsp molex connectors are dirt cheap (10c in qty 1: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/131)- plus, if I was going into production I would have digikey or microchip pre-program my parts with a bootloader.
Posted: 8 years 8 months ago by Graham Mitchell #6559
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Cheers for the feedback - always good to hear from both sides of the fence
Posted: 8 years 7 months ago by tagman #6682
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Hi, I'm Neil from Tag-Connect, I happend to see this thread and hope you won't mind me correcting something written above...
Tag-Connect certainly doesn't need non-plated holes or custom spec boards, and routing really should be no problem at all. Our own demo board has plated holes even! (Glad to send you one if you send us an email). If you use a proto-board service that plates all holes, just make sure you set the holes as plated in your layout (so they come out the right size after plating).

By the way, we sell a retaining board that can hold the legless version in place for development work. Not as conveinient as the legged version, but works fine if board space is premium. We also have 10-pin cables and adaptors for many applications such as ARM, SWD, Xilinx FPGA's etc.

Hope that helps, do send us an email if we can be of any help.
Posted: 8 years 7 months ago by Graham Mitchell #6646
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Hi Neil,

I'm sure no-one minds an honest correction being made! Thanks for clearing it up.
Posted: 8 years 7 months ago by tagman #6647
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Thanks Graham...

Glad to have found this great website with some very useful stuff on it!
Posted: 8 years 7 months ago by richw42 #6766
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I have used two varieties of this device, and am pleased with the result. They seem to be very well made, and I'm hopeful that I'll get a lot of use from them before they need replacing.
I use the TC2030-MCP with a Microchip ICD3, and have programmed perhaps 15 Microchip parts this way, with no problems. My only comment is that at first it's a little tricky to get the connector installed. Once I got the hang of it, it just takes a second or two.
I have also used the TC2050-IDC. This is a 10-pin version. I have so far programmed one Xilinx FPGA once with it. The locating pins on this cable are just a little longer than the TC2030-MCP, which makes it easier to install.
Regarding the layout: I used 10-mil traces and a fine grid to sneak between the holes. The Eagle DRC complained, but I got rid of most of the complaints by reducing the parameter it was complaining about: distance from trace to hole. I used the Eagle library parts available from tag-connect.com, and the blank boards were built by pcbcart.com.

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