Picture of DIY SOIC to DIP Chip Adaptors
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The world of electronics is moving further and further away from Through-Hole components and towards SMT (Surface Mount Technology) every day.  Sometimes this doesn't always go well for the enthusiasts building at home, so we have to adapt. 


SOIC to DIP adaptors are useful for many things:
  • For prototyping a circuit on a through-hole proto-board and later converting to SMT
  • For saving money with cheaper SMT chips
  • Some chips might only be available in SOIC packages
  • Programming SOIC microcontrollers without expensive ZIF sockets
These kinds of boards are available at websites for $1 to $3, but if you are trying to cut costs by using SMT components in the first place, you may want to make your own.  If you have circuit board etching supplies handy, you can make these adaptors for 25 cents apiece.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
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Heres what you will need to build these:

  • Copper clad board
  • Breakaway male strip headers (like these)
  • Ferric Chloride etchant (or equivalent)
  • Additional supplies for your etching method of choice
  • Solder
  • Drill
  • 1mm drill bit (3/64" is what I use and it works well enough)
  • Tin snips or other PCB cutting tool

Step 2: Etch the Boards

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Now, I'm not going to go into detail about etching because it has been done to death here and all over the internet.  I use the el-cheapo Magazine paper transfer method. It works great for me and is probably the cheapest possible at-home small production solution.

I have supplied a .docx file with the correctly scaled layout inside, which can be printed on whatever medium you are going to use.  The file is available below.

If you're doing the magazine paper method, after printing, ironing, dissolving, and etching, drill the holes for the header pins and cut the boards apart with the tin snips.  Trim them as necessary to make them smaller.

russ_hensel17 days ago

Just a note to let you know I have added this ( a year ago ) to the instructable:

Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Breadboards: A Meta Instructable


Take a look at a bunch of project involving breadboards.

pfred23 years ago
Your adapter seems to cover all the holes in the breadboard it is plugged into. I think you need to go vertical or something so you can access some of the connection holes. SMT is a pain so I don't bother with it personally. Although if I did and wanted to use an SMT on a breadboard I'd probably just solder wire to the pads and put legs on the IC like it is supposed to have. I've soldered broken legs back to ICs before so it can't be any harder than doing that.

But like I said being a hobbyist I just say no to SMT.
mattthegamer463 (author)  pfred23 years ago
Its not plugged in right, you'll notice the pins are shorted together.

Unfortunately the world is going SMT with or without us, breakout boards just let us keep living the breadboard dream.
I've enough saved from the past that I do not worry about the future. Presently that leaves me in pretty good shape.
Thank you very much for this excellent Instructable! I've added it to my favorites, but I have one small gripe: I cannot open .docx files properly (Linux). I downloaded your JPG version of the layout, though, and after some experimentation got it printed correctly from GIMP. For anyone else struggling, I've attached a screenshot of my printing settings and the result (with a 555 IC as the star of the show).

1. Open image in GIMP (it can be found above)
2. Go to Image Settings and change Width to 2.60 inches. Height should auto-scale.
3. Print and fit! Cheers!
mattthegamer463 (author)  hardwarehank4 years ago
Thanks for that info, that should work with any image printing software for anyone having trouble.
Also, if you want cleaner cuts, a box knife and a ruler/triangle as a guide work beautifully. I've used that for mine. Pic attached. This doesn't have any effect on the functionality of the product, just aesthetics.

I also attached the 555 to one of my completed boards. There's a pic for that too. I'm waiting on my header strips from China/ebay now...

Thanks again!
so you are practicing *dirty* soldering?? use smaller bit, and thinner solder. and preheat pads and pins, a little, so that solder joins them properly..
Thanks for the instructable, but DOCX? I also use Linux also... but my XP system at work can't read it either. DOCX moves the goalpost and not much else can read it.

Can you upload this as DOC? I know OpenOffice can make PDFs for free, and it has great DOC support, so I could make a PDF from that.

mattthegamer463 (author)  scottinnh3 years ago
Sorry, I put the DOC file on the intro page.
mowdish4 years ago
Thanks. That's going in my favorites. I'm trying to limit myself to parts I scrounge up in broken electronics and it's hard to find anything but SMT these days.
mattthegamer463 (author)  mowdish4 years ago
Glad you'll find it useful :)