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What Is a DIP Socket?

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  • Written By: Paul Scott
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2014
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A DIP socket is an electronic accessory used to mount dual in-line package (DIP) components on printed circuit boards (PCBs). These sockets are either square or rectangular in shape and feature two rows of pins on the underside of the socket connected to corresponding push-in mountings on the upper side. The pins are placed through holes in the PCB and soldered onto the tracks etched into the board surface. The component is then pushed into the socket mounting points, securing a good electrical connection between it and the board circuit. The DIP socket is typically used to facilitate easy, non-destructive replacement of DIP components, and are available in single unit form or in strips, which can be cut to size as required.

Dual in-line package components are among the most common components on electronic circuit boards, and range from small four-pin square proms to large 40-pin multiprocessors. These components are not only represented by integrated circuits (ICs), but also include other types such as resistor packs and light emitting diode (LED) numerical displays. The term "dual in-line package" refers to these components' double row of equally spaced pins. Due to the generally compact sizes of electronic components, these pins are usually fairly close together, which presents problems when they fail and have to be de-soldered from the PCB for replacement. This is where the DIP socket comes into its own, offering an easy and non-aggressive replacement method for DIP components.

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The closely spaced pins on DIP packages are difficult to manually de-solder, requiring careful use of a solder sucker or solder wick. The concentration of heat into a small area can also cause individual tracks on the board to de-laminate and lift, requiring additional painstaking repairs. DIP sockets consist of a plastic block equipped with a set of pins on its underside, which connect to corresponding mini-sockets on its upper surface. They are soldered into place once and, thereafter, the actual component is simply pressed into the socket or carefully lifted out with no soldering being necessary. A DIP component may also be removed from a socket using a specially-designed tool known as an EPROM or IC extractor, which precludes possible component damage during removal.

The DIP socket is available in a large selection of component-specific sizes suitable for most DIP components. Long strips of DIP socket stock are also available, which may be cut to size depending on the specific application. These strips are also available in a range of widths and pin spacings to accommodate all component sizes.

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