Component Packages Totally Explained


Personally, I’ve found all the little acronyms when looking for components to be a little confusing and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that’s been through that.  Whats a TSSOP? Whats the difference between SIP and DIP? It can get very frustrating, so this will explain everything for you!

Well there are many different components out there and with that, there have to be different packages to fit different needs such as space availability, prototyping, and different  circuit board layouts.  The entire list of the more well-known packages, others may be lurking in R&D that we don’t know about, goes something like this : CDIP , PDIP , SPDIP,  SIP, SDIP, SOIC, TSOP, SSOP, TSSOP, PLCC, QSOP, VSOP, LQFP, PQFP, CQFP, TQFP,  CGBA, and QFN.  Its mostly all about space on the board, which kind of package utilizes the precious space on the circuit board the best.  So lets start with the descriptions!

Dual In-Line Packages:

CDIP: This is the Ceramic Dual-In Line Package, which is sometimes abbreviated to CERDIP.  This package is fairly old and will not be found too often.  This package features a normal Dual In-Line lead spacing and on the top it usually has some sort of clear quarts on the top so that it may be erased by UV Radiation.  Since digital has become so prominent, there is no need for such erasing methods which is why this package is pretty rare.

PDIP: The Plastic Dual In-Line Package.  This package is among the favorites for hobbyists.  It’s a simple package with leads in a .1″ spacing so that it can be easily placed onto breadboards and also DIP sockets.  They also cost much less to make, about 6.3 cents compared to 82 cents for a ceramic package, therefore much cheaper to buy.  Although they are great, they usually are not the package of choice for manufacturers on account of their requirement for each lead to come out as a pin.  The PDIP maximum I/O count is usually 64.  These packages typically will house the more common and simple sorts of IC’s although if you want to get into more intense things,  you’ll have to start to learn how to mount SMD chips.

SPDIP: This is the Shrink Plastic Dual In-Line Package.  It’s essentially just a smaller PDIP.  The pins have a nice .07″ pitch and have the same pros and cons as the PDIP.

SIP: Say hello to the Single In-Line Package!  This package is just like the PDIP, although it only has one row of leads.  All the electronics are on top of the leads instead of adjacent.  The leads are still generally .1″ apart though.  These are very limited in what they can have in terms of capabilities, although that doesn’t make them not useful.  You can buy compass components in these packages as they serve great for provide an axis of direction.  They also serve as a grouping package for common resistors.  It is also the package of choice when creating RAM.  It can have a maximum of 24  leads.

Surface Mount Technology Packages:

SDIP: The Skinny Dual In-Line Package.  This is an even smaller version of the PDIP.  This has .038″ pins and they are spaced about .2″ apart.  Although this is like the PDIP, the pins actually don’t stick out like the PDIP does.  The leads come out of the package and then they are bent flat so they are to be surface mounted.

SOIC: This is the Small Outline Integrated Circuit. It is about as big as the PDIP and has a very similar pin configuration to the SDIP package.  It is also much thinner than the DIP options.  Conveniently, the SOIC will generally be offered for the components that also come in DIP packages which offered the flexibility of prototyping on a breadboard or a protoboard.  This package is also a great choice for making a finished product with.

TSOP: This package is the Thin Small Outline Package.  It is exactly what its name says,  indeed it is thin and small; The thickness is usually around 1 mm.  There are actually two types of the TSOP Package: TSOP I and TSOP II.  The difference between the two is where the leads are.  On TSOP I, the leads come out of the shorter sides of the package, where as the TSOP II has them coming out of the long sides.  They are still quite like the other surface-mount packages already mentioned.

SSOP: Shrink Small Outline Package.  This package is like the TSOP although a little thicker, about 1.5 – 1.7 mm. This is essentially just a shrunk SOIC package.  The leads are brought in closer and the body has been shrunk as well.

TSSOP: This is the Thin Shrink Small Outline Package.  Now you might be thinking wait, isn’t this just the TSOP and the SSOP combined?  Yes, that is exactly what it is! Its is very similar to the TSOP and has a similar lead pitch to the SSOP.  Why would you want this?  Well its all about space on a circuit board, so this is necessary sometimes.

PLCC: Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier.  This package is a Quad In-Line Package, which means it has leads on all four sides of the chip.  The chip leads are rounded up to form a “J” with the bottom of the chip.  The ceramic version is called the JLCC.  These chips are pretty small, although they are generally never alone in the whole “package”.  When using this package, you will usually also need to get a socket for the chip.  The sockets are specially made for PLCC chips just like DIP sockets are for the DIP packages.

QSOP: The Quarter Size Outline Package.  There are generally two widths for this package, one wide and one narrow.  This package has pins on bothe sides, alot like the TSOP.   The leads are gull-wing, much like the SDIP.

VSOP: Very Small Outline Package.  Yes, that really is its name.  It has tighter and closer leads than the SOIC and has gull-wing leads as well.  The lead pitch on these go from about .50 mm to .65 m and are very similar.

LQFP: Low-Profile Quad-Line Flat Pack.  This package isn’t like anything we’ve discussed so far.  The lead pitches on these are generally about .5 mm.  The pin count on these go from 48 to 216.  This is the sort of package I was talking about in the PDIP description.  These packages are really good and containing more advanced processors and such.  The package has gull-wing leads as well as a thermal pad on the bottom in the middle that would be soldered to the circuit board as well.

PQFP: Plastic Quad Flat Pack.  This package is very similar to the LQFP package although it is almost always a square package.  There are rectangular ones although they are usually square. The PQFP has a few leads less than a LQFP, ranging from 32 to 208 leads.  This packages leads come in many different pitches and lengths as well.

CQFP: The Ceramic Quad Flat Pack.  This package is essentially just the PQFP in a ceramic package.

TQFP: Thin Quad Flat Pack.  This package has gull-wing leads and a thermal pad and greatly resembles the LQFP. It is actually much thinner, but it can only have 32 – 128 leads.  Much less than the LQFP.

CBGA: This package is called the Ceramic Ball Grid Array.  This package has the leads on the underside of the chip.  The leads are in the form a little balls and they can be put on using a reflow oven.  The contacts on the circuit board should have solder placed on them before the chip is placed and then the whole thing will be placed in the reflow oven so the solder can melt and the lead balls will come into contact with the connections on the board.  This is the most desireable package in the industry as of now as it is extremely compact!

QFN: This is called the Quad Flat No Leads package.  This package looks like all it has is just a few pieces of exposed metal on the bottom.  Well that pretty much what it really is.  The leads are to be surface mounted on just like the CBGA .   It is generally made out of plastic or what is called air-cavity.  The plastic is a common package and is easier to make, although the air-cavity allows the QFN to run at much higher frequencies.

There are many more packages!  These listed are just the most common kind.  If you want to continue researching, go to

Here are a few guides on how to solder some of the packages and lead types:

QFP and gull-wing:

CBGA and other Ball Grid Arrays :


Any other SMD:

Through-Hole, DIP, and SIP:

There you go! That is my whole guide on packages and what they are and how to solder them! Have fun!

-The Funkiester

By Shannon Strutz

It's over on the About me page

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