DIY SOIC to DIP Chip Adaptors

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

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

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.

Step 3: Soldering

Take your header strips and break off a 4-pin segment, and solder in place.  If you're having a hard time keeping them in place while soldering, you can put them into a proto-board and then place the PCB over top, and solder them in place when held down.  Then, gently position the SMT chip with tweezers and solder it in place. 

The method I use for doing SMT chips is to place some solder on the pad for Pin 1, then hold the chips with tweezers in place and apply heat so Pin 1 sinks into the ball of solder on Pad 1, and holding the chip in place until it cools.  Now the chip is sturdy while the rest of the pins are being attached.

Step 4: Complete!

Now you've got a sturdy chip that can be inserted into a proto-board, perf-board or an existing chip socket without issue.

I hope you enjoyed this short little guide, and I hope it will help someone out.  Please leave any suggestions, questions or remarks in the comments section.

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    16 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    It just needs to be plugged across the valley that runs down the center or the breadboard.

    I too have enough dip chips saved up, I don't have to worry about the future unless something new comes out.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I've enough saved from the past that I do not worry about the future. Presently that leaves me in pretty good shape.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Direct link: from

    Works for me when I click it, not sure what could be causing your problem.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    5 replies

    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!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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..


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply