Anyone have any luck with USB connector PTH tabs in PCBA (pick and place)?

I’m creating a breakout board with a USB Micro-B receptacle, which are known to mechanically fail if using just the SMT version. I’m using the following part from DigiKey:

Right now, you can see that the Front Paste (bright green) on my layout has paste on the pins only and not the tabs.

Has anyone had any luck with a PCBA house or pick and place machine putting down these types of USB connectors? The tabs look like they would be tricky for such a machine, but I’ve seen several production boards use them (e.g. Nucleo-32 boards).

If they do work on a pick and place, should I increase the top pads and add paste mask to them (so they receive solder paste)?

There will be no problems with pick & place such a component. This is regular work for a PCBA house. There is no need to add paste to through hole pads. The PCBA house will do the necessary soldering anyway.

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General advice: If in doubt ask your manufacturer.


I have no experience with that connector, but I HAVE used several parts (connectors, switches, pots, transformers, etc) with solder tabs for mechanical mounting. In a production environment they always became a secondary operation. Either the tabs were hand-soldered after the initial reflow soldering, or else the entire part was installed and soldered after the rest of the assembly was reflow soldered. (Parts using solder tabs for mechanical mounting are often larger than other components on the board, leading to problems with a reflow process because of their thermal mass, or the “shadowing” effect of a large component preventing nearby components from being properly heated.)

But looking at your photo . . . that connector appears small enough that maybe it could be entirely soldered with reflow. Put a generous allowance of solder paste around the tab holes (You may want to enlarge the pad dimensions), and ask the production engineer to give it a try.


This is all good advice, thank you! I’ve enlarged the pads (by adding an SMT pad to top copper only), based on what I saw on the Nucleo-32 dev boards:

I created paste openings for the square pads around the tabs (worst case, I feel that I can probably tape off the stencil holes if this doesn’t work). I’ll try to reflow things myself and see how it works, based on the USB connector’s profile. I’m also eyeing Elecrow as a possible PCBA, so I’ll reach out to them and see if they can handle tabs like this.

Also find out what their opinion on specifically how to handle a mixed technology package such as this. My instinct is solder paste combined with THT holes isn’t a mix that ends well, but their experience would trump my intuition.

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