I was looking for SMD Schottky Diodes on Digikey, and they all come in weird packages like SOD-123. There were some that were 1206 or 0805, but they seem fairly rare. Why is this? The only difference is that diodes are polarized, but the diode packages are the same both ways except for the little mark on one end. It doesn't make any sense, and Kicad's module library, being woefully inadequate, doesn't seem to have the diode specific packages.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect that some of these differences are historical, and they comes from differences in manufacturing processes. Some dimensions were easier for screen printing, while others were easier for encapsulation in epoxy. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Mar 17 '14 at 2:42

Diodes in resistor/capacitor style packages are relatively rare and usually far more expensive, which means they are going to stay rare.

Probably mostly historic and partly economic and partly technical. You can buy LEDs in 0603 and 1206 packages, so there is not a serious technical issue, but you probably want a good leadframe in place to allow the heat to be removed through the leads.

You'll find the same thing with tantalum electrolytic capacitors- some of them are available in 1206, 0805 etc. but they are very expensive and have low availability compared to the usual packages.

The usual advice given here is to learn to make your own footprints, usually the canned footprints are not 100% coverage of what you need and also not exactly what you would like them to be (such as the thickness of silk screen lines and such like).

  • \$\begingroup\$ What are relatively rare? Did OP change the question to make your first line not make sense? \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Mar 17 '14 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hopefully clarified. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Mar 17 '14 at 5:06

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