I am designing a board that needs a couple linear regulators (5.5v to 3v and 3v to 1.6v) but I am having difficulty selecting a suitable surface mount package type and size that will allow me to hand solder the IC to the PCB without too much difficulty.

I know there is not one correct answer to this but there are so many difference IC package types I don't even know where to start. From doing some searches on digikey it seems that 6mm by 6mm is about the largest you can get for the regulators I am looking at: Linear Regulators

I'm not too experienced in soldering but I do have other people who have more practice that would be able to help. Is 6mm by 6mm large enough for someone with moderate experience and moderate equipment to solder?

  • \$\begingroup\$ To do the hyperlink properly use [Text to display](http://my.url.com). Use <enter> x 2 for paragraph breaks. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Nov 21 '17 at 19:15

My preference for higher power is a DPAK. Second to that is a SOT-223. These both have tabs that will transfer a lot of heat. Unless it is 50mA or less, don't bother with packages that only attach to the board with pins / legs. These things tend to heat up like crazy; they don't dissipate much power at all.

Also, don't forget to give a good copper area on top. Additionally, you can do a pad on the bottom and attach with several vias, but the one on the component side will be most important.

For hand soldering packages like this with significant thermal mass, nothing beats a hot-air gun. A metcal with a big spade tip is also great, but the hot air gun will save your bacon many times over. They can be had on ebay for $300 or so.


In general, when hand soldering, avoid any package with a "N" in the package name, since that usually implies the package is leadless (eg. WSON, DFN). They can be done, but are annoying. Any "SOT," "TO," or "SOIC" is a piece of cake.


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