After a long hiatus, part of the week section is back. This week’s part is actually a bit more than just a part. It’s a whole concept called Tag Connect. When I first saw their ad, I smacked myself and said “why didn’t I think of that?!”. I am sure many others did the same, as it just takes all the things we’ve already been doing and makes them even better.
The basic idea is very simple- instead of carrying the cost and size of programming/debug headers on each board, you put on a tiny standard footprint for essentially zero cost and use a nifty overmolded cable with pogo pins to get to your signals. Where these guys went further is to add a few guide holes in asymmetric arrangement so it can only go in one way and then make two versions. One is for quick “hold to program in production” case and one with a few plastic ears that latch onto the board and stays there for longer tasks, such as debugging/development.
Now that Microchip, Digikey and Mouser carry these things (at around US $35), I predict we’ll be seeing these footprints everywhere!