IC Package Converters and Adapters Information

IC package converters and adapters are electronic interconnect devices that are used to interface different types of integrated circuit (IC) sockets.


Categories include package adapters, package converters, probing adapters, analysis adapters, and prototyping adapters.

  • IC package adapters and converters provide an electrical and mechanical conversion from one type of IC package to another.
  • IC probing adapters and IC analysis adaptersare used to measure and test production-quality printed circuit boards (PCBs).
  • By contrast, IC prototyping adaptersare used with prototype PCBs.

Standards and certifications are important for providing assurances of quality, reliability, and safety. Many countries have expectations for electrical terminators to comply with certain requirements and directives. For example, adapters that are sold in Europe comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Products that meet U.S. federal standards comply with specifications such as MIL-STD-105, MIL-STD-109, etc.


Top (input) and bottom (output) package types are the most important specifications to consider when selecting IC package converters and adapters. Choices include:

  • Ball-grid array (BGA), land-grid array (LGA), pin grid array (PGA), and interstitial package grid array (IPGA)
  • Single in-line package (SIP), dual in-line package (DIP), quad flat package (QFP) and quad flat non-leaded package (QFN, QFNL)
  • Small outline integrated circuit (SOIC) or small outline package (SOP).
  • Thin shrink small outline L-leaded package (TSSOP), very think shrink small outline package (VSSOP), and shrink zigzag in-line package (SZIP).


IC package converters and adapters differ in terms of features.

  • Solderless sockets can be mounted by compression.
  • Zero insertion force (ZIF) sockets are used to plug in chips such as the central processing unit (CPU). Unlike chips sockets that must be forced into place, ZIF-locking sockets permit manual installation via a cinching lever.
  • Some IC package converters and adapters are locked with a knob or screw. Others use a clamshell or flip-top socket.
  • End-stackable products allow sockets to be mounted end-to-end while maintaining proper grid-spacing.
  • Sometimes, the pins of the package are machined for better contact. Machining is a manufacturing process in which a rapidly-turning solid metal rod is cut to precise tolerances.


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