I would like to have a SMT USB C connector with many pins attached to a PCB I am about to design. Since they are quite tricky to solder I was thinking to buy one with a small PCB already attached, something like this:


However, then I need to connect the small PCB to the bigger one. My questions are:

  • Is there an easy way to do it?
  • In general, how does one normally use these connectors which are already soldered to a small pcb?


  • \$\begingroup\$ Never use a board like this that you cannot securely mount. Find one that you can. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2016 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the connector you are using actually USB-C or is it something else? Be specific. \$\endgroup\$
    – uint128_t
    Jun 11, 2016 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @uint128_t Yes, in fact I am looking to mount a USB-C. Just edited the post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Al Learner
    Jun 11, 2016 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams what do you mean by that? Are there other small boards that are easier to mount? \$\endgroup\$
    – Al Learner
    Jun 11, 2016 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are some "mixed" type connectors, one half SMD, one half THT that can be soldered by hand, e.g. this one: 898-43-024-90-310000 \$\endgroup\$
    – asdfex
    Jun 11, 2016 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


Answering specifically regarding USB-C connectors (not breakout boards in general):

USB-C is an extremely high-performance connector, able to transfer up to 100W of power and data at 5 Gbit/s (USB 3.0) or 10 Gbit/s (USB 3.1). As such, signal and power integrity of of utmost performance if you want the full capabilities of USB-C. A breakout board such as the one you linked appears to have neither: proper layout would involve impedance controlled stackup, well-routed diff pairs, and large power traces.

If you are only using the USB 2.0 capabilities of USB-C, requirements are much less stringent, but as Ignacio has stated, the linked board is inappropriate because it has no way to be mechanically linked to another board (i.e. do not rely on soldered connections for mechanical strength). Find a breakout board with screw holes, mount it to your other board (or nearby in the chassis), and solder wires between the boards.

Again, if you're developing a device that uses the full capabilities of USB-C, the fact that you're asking about how to use breakout boards demonstrates that you have a huge amount of things to learn. 10 Gbit/s is no joke.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot for the answer, so I do not need USB-C capabilities, I just want 15 pins. So if the breakout board has screw holes then it would be another story, I see... \$\endgroup\$
    – Al Learner
    Jun 11, 2016 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, if all you need is 15 pins, I'm little puzzled why you've decided to go with USB-C connectors. DE-15 connectors (typ. VGA) are cheap, easy to solder, etc. Even HDMI might be friendlier than USB-C. \$\endgroup\$
    – uint128_t
    Jun 11, 2016 at 18:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ USB-C has a smaller footprint, but yes, I might finally opt for a VGA \$\endgroup\$
    – Al Learner
    Jun 11, 2016 at 19:04

Soldering SMT connectors is easy, provided you have a solder mask on your PCB.

Hand soldering:

  1. Get a ball of solder on your iron
  2. Run it across the pads once to get a small bit of solder on each pad
  3. Wipe off the remaining solder from the iron
  4. Place connector on board
  5. Heat up the pins from above

This Video shows it for a QFN component -- for a simple component like a connector you should not even need flux.

Alternatively, you can solder it in an oven along with any other SMT components. If you go SMT for everything, that may be quicker than hand-soldering thru-hole components -- I've switched over completely and never regretted it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ ... doesn't apply for this connector: USB-C 3.1 has 24 pins, half of the pins not accessible from outside. No hand-soldering possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – asdfex
    Jun 11, 2016 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can solder these with a hot air gun. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2016 at 19:04

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