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All About Dual Inline Packages (DIP) for Electronics

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Dual inline packages (DIPs) have been a staple of electronics and circuit board design for decades. This versatile, easy-to-use component package offers numerous benefits for various applications. We’ll explore what exactly DIP technology is, how it works, the many advantages it provides, and why it’s still commonly used today despite the rise of more modern alternatives.

What Is a Dual Inline Package?

A dual inline package, or DIP, is a type of electronic component housing that contains an integrated circuit (IC) or other device. It features a rectangular plastic or ceramic body with two parallel rows of connecting pins or leads protruding from the long sides.
The “dual inline” name comes from the two parallel rows of pins, which are designed to plug into holes on a printed circuit board (PCB) or into a socket. The pins provide both mechanical support and electrical connections for the enclosed component.
Dual In Line DIP Package
DIPs can contain all kinds of ICs and other parts, including microprocessors, memory chips, logic devices, operational amplifiers, and more. The number of pins can range from as few as 3 or 4 up to several dozen, although 14- and 16-pin packages are most common. Key Properties of DIP Components are as follows:
  • Dual parallel rows of connecting pins
  • Rectangular plastic or ceramic housing
  • Pins spaced at 0.1 intervals
  • Common pin counts from 8 to 64
  • Through-hole mounting to PCB

A Brief History of the DIP

The origins of the dual inline package can be traced back to 1964 when engineers at Fairchild Semiconductor developed the first rectangular IC packing with dual rows of pins. This overcame the limitations of earlier transistor-style packages and allowed more leads to be included, facilitating increasingly complex circuitry according to Rent’s rule.
DIPs became widely adopted as the standard IC packaging from the 1970s through the 1990s. They were well-suited for automation in electronics manufacturing, with their uniform shape and pin arrangement. However, surface mount technologies eventually displaced DIPs as chips continued to shrink in size.
Even so, DIP components never fully disappeared and are still produced today, used extensively for prototyping, hobby electronics, and legacy components. The venerable DIP format retains many advantages that keep it relevant decades after its inception.

Key Benefits of Using DIP Packages

Dual inline packaging offers a roster of beneficial properties that have solidified its place in electronics:
  • Cost-effective – Inexpensive to manufacture and purchase compared to more advanced packages.
  • Compact size – DIPs maximize PCB space usage with their dense, rectangular shape.
  • Easy assembly – Straightforward to manually insert and solder onto PCBs.
  • Good ruggedness – Durable plastic or ceramic housing protects the internal components from damage.
  • Widely standardized – Established standard pin spacing and dimensions for compatibility.
  • Universal socket mounting – Sockets allow interchangeability and no soldering.
  • High-volume production – DIPs are ideal for automated PCB assembly and wave soldering.
  • Flexibility – Available with pin counts from under 10 up to 64 to suit many chips.
  • Thermal performance – Molded plastic or ceramic body transfers heat adequately.
  • Visible orientation – The notch shows proper DIP alignment at a glance.
For small-scale electronics projects by students, hobbyists, and tinkerers, DIPs offer an accessible and versatile packaging option. They’re also still manufactured for many common legacy ICs and other simple components.

What’s Inside a DIP?

The internal construction of a dual inline package includes the lead frame, chip die, electrical connections, and protective housing:
  • Lead frame – The metal frame that forms the conductive pins and provides mechanical support. Often copper or a copper alloy.
  • Die – The actual silicon integrated circuit chip that performs the component’s function. Attached to the center of the lead frame.
  • Wire bonds – Tiny gold or aluminum wires that connect bonding pads on the IC die to the leads of the lead frame.
  • Housing – The molded plastic or ceramic enclosure that protects the internal elements and exposes the pins.
  • Pins – The leads of the lead frame extend through both sides of the housing to form parallel rows of connecting pins.
This robust package design securely encapsulates the delicate chip die and wire bonds while enabling electrical connections through the sturdy metal pins.
Ceramic DIP package sideview

Standard DIP Housings and Materials

Most dual inline packages use economical molded plastic housings, but more costly ceramic housings provide enhanced performance:
  • Plastic DIP (PDIP) – The most common and affordable option.
  • Ceramic DIP (CDIP) – Offers better electrical properties and can have a windowed lid. More expensive but highly durable.
  • Shrink plastic DIP (SPDIP) – A denser version with pins spaced closer together.
DIP packages

DIP Dimensions, Pin Spacing, and Numbering

Although DIP packages come in a range of shapes and sizes, most adhere to standard dimensions and specifications established by the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC):
  • Pin spacing: 0.1 inches (2.54mm)
  • Row spacing: 0.3 inches (7.62mm) or 0.6 inches (15.24mm)
  • Pin counts: Typically between 8 and 64; 14- and 16-pin is most common
  • Body width: Usually 300 mil (0.3) or 600 mil (0.6)
DIPs have an even number of pins, with each side row getting half of the total. Packages are labeled DIP xx, with xx representing the pin count – for example, DIP14 or DIP40.

An Example of DIP Dimensions in mm
Pin numbering starts at 1 in the upper left corner when holding the DIP with the notch/indent facing up. Pins are then numbered counterclockwise around the package. Missing pins are still included in the sequence.

Working With DIP Components

Using DIP components involves considerations like insertion and removal techniques, soldering, and utilizing sockets:
  • PCB Assembly – DIPs can be directly soldered into plated through-holes on a PCB or inserted into compatible sockets. Soldering should use proper techniques and temperatures to avoid damaging the package.
  • Sockets – Sockets allow DIP components to be easily swapped without soldering. Zero insertion force (ZIF) sockets provide the most convenience and least wear on pins.
  • Insertion and Removal – Use care when inserting DIPs into sockets or PCBs to avoid bending pins. Use extraction tools to safely remove without damage.
  • ESD Protection – Always ground yourself when handling DIP components to avoid electrostatic discharge damage. Use ESD-safe packaging for storage and transport.

Careful Handling for Optimal Reliability

With care taken during assembly and handling, DIP packages can provide extremely reliable functionality over decades of service. But bent pins or ESD events can quickly put them out of commission.

Specialized DIP Package Variants

While standard dual inline packages meet most needs, some specialized variants offer advantages for certain situations:
  • Single In-Line Package (SIP) – Contains just a single row of pins. Allows higher density and lower cost.
  • Quad In-Line Package (QIP) – Provides four rows of pins for greater connectivity. Helpful on single-sided PCBs.
  • Shrink or Skinny DIP – A narrower body size reduces the footprint of crowded PCBs.
  • Low-profile DIP – Lowers the DIP height for tight vertical spaces. Requires a socket.
  • Windowed DIP – A transparent lid allows UV erasing of EPROMs or viewing LEDs.
  • Heat sink DIP – Replace the missing pin row with a heat sink tab to aid cooling.

The Evolution from DIPs to SMT Packages

Although once universal, dual inline packages have been largely superseded by smaller surface-mount alternatives as technology has progressed:
  • Surface-Mount TransitionSMT packages like SOIC and QFP offered reduced size and weight compared to DIPs. They became widely adopted in the 1990s as electronics continued to miniaturize.
  • Prototyping Role – DIPs remain popular for prototyping, hobbyists, and educational projects, where through-hole mounting and lower cost matter more than size. Adapters allow SMT ICs to be used like DIPs.
  • Legacy Support – Many classic components and ICs are still produced in DIP form factors for replacement purposes and legacy system support.
  • Influence on SMT – Modern surface-mount packages evolved from the DIP’s pin grid array concept and retained the same 0.1 pitch for continuity.
So while no longer ubiquitous, the venerable DIP package remains relevant for its enduring advantages.

Ongoing Niche Applications for DIPs

Dual inline packages are still utilized today in many niches despite surface-mount devices dominating modern manufacturing:
  • Education and training – Soldering DIPs help teach PCB assembly and circuit fundamentals.
  • Rapid prototyping – DIPs allow through-hole soldering of test circuits faster than SMT.
  • Legacy support – Replacement DIPs maintain old equipment and classic computer systems.
  • Simple electronics – Many basic ICs come in DIP format, like 555 timers and 7400-series logic chips.
  • DIY and hobbyists – Hobby electronics enthusiasts often work with DIP components and through-hole PCBs.
Low-volume production – Some specialty products use DIPs when small size isn’t critical. While their heyday has passed, DIP packages still deliver utility and convenience that ensures their place in electronics for years to come. They remain an accessible, versatile component packing, amenable to all kinds of devices.
Nedap ESD1 printer controller DIP switch 91833


Dual inline packages offer a proven, reliable, and cost-effective option for electronic devices and circuits. Their simple through-hole mounting, compact size and abundant availability for legacy components ensure DIPs remain popular for prototyping, hobby electronics, and niche products.
Engineers and designers working on creating or repairing electronic systems should be familiar with the pinouts, dimensions, materials, and properties of DIP components. An understanding of their internal construction, specialized variants, handling considerations, and historical context provides insight into selecting and working with these classic chip packages.


Some of the most common chips and components found in DIP packages include various logic ICs like 7400 series, op amps like LM358, microcontrollers like 8051 and PIC, memories like static RAM and EPROM, analog-to-digital converters, voltage regulators, timers like 555, and displays like seven segment and dot matrixes.
Yes, it is possible to use a DIP with some pins left unconnected. For example, a 20-pin chip may only require 18 pins, so 2 pins could be left unpopulated on the PCB. The key is to ensure that any essential power, ground, or signal pins are properly soldered while any unused pins are safely isolated.
Pin 1 on a DIP package can be identified in several ways. Most commonly, there is a notch or chamfer on one end of the rectangular package body. This denotes pin 1. Additionally, pin 1 may have a square pad on the PCB, while a dot or beveled edge on the actual pin plastic can also indicate pin 1. Referencing the datasheet provides confirmation.

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Irene Shi
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