Every month, semiconductor manufacturers across the globe retire old devices. A product that has been superseded, isn’t selling well, or maybe whose application has declined, is removed from the catalogue and ceases to be manufactured. Usually these moments pass unnoticed, just one old device among many. Who is going to remark upon the demise of a chip for a VGA card for example, or a long-ago-left-behind Flash memory chip?

One has come to our attention that is pretty unremarkable, but that could concern some of our readers. NXP have stopped manufacturing the LPC810M021FN8. What on earth is an LPC810M021FN8, you ask, the answer being that it appears to have been the last microcontroller with an ARM core available in a DIP package. Even that in itself is hardly earth-shattering, for if you really must use an ARM core rather than any of the myriad 8, 16, or 32 bit microcontrollers still available you can always get a DIP breakout board for a small surface mount chip.

This turn of events comes as a reminder that, while breadboard-friendly and popular among a section of our community, DIP packages are now particularly old-school. Other once-popular devices such as the LPC1114 have also long-since ceased to be available in this format, and we have to wonder how long we will be able to take advantage of DIP packages for some of the other microcontroller families.

A few years ago this news might have come as something of a disaster, but it now has more of a sense of the passing of a bygone era. It’s normal to use microcontroller dev boards in a larger DIP format for prototyping, so maybe getting used to a bit of surface-mount soldering on a break-out board will be only for the truly hard-core when the last DIP package has been retired. Other than that of course, the 555 is still available in a DIP8, and you can make anything with one of them!

If you didn’t have a chance to take the 810 for a test drive, the usual suppliers still list it in stock, Adafruit have a starter pack for it, and it will no doubt be possible to find it in small quantities for years to come.

[Thanks Tod E. Kurt for the tip]

36 thoughts on “RIP DIP ARM

  1. “if you really must use an ARM core rather than any of the myriad 8, 16, or….”

    I absolutely “must” (or prefer at any rate to) use an ARM core — but I don’t have any crying need for a DIP package.
    And I feel quite good about all this quite honestly.

    And yes indeed, long live the 555 – DIP package and all. If they stop offering that in a DIP package, we want to hear about it.

  2. im not entirely surprised, i have used an LPC800 in probably only a handful of projects, and the LPC1114 i use a DIP dev board with integrated programmer for dev than a QFP for small runs
    with the cheapness of one off solder stencils and custom PCBs nowadays and hot air stations soldering a QFP or QFN is not a very difficult task
    the other day i even soldered a 3x3mm QFN without a stencil
    still, proper epoxy DIP will always hold a special place in my heart

  3. DIP is not dead Jenny. Launched on , and been selling on Tindie for 2 years. OSHChip provides Cortex-M0, 256 KB Flash memory and 32 KB SRAM , Bluetooth Low Energy radio, a bunch of standard peripheral functions, and all in a 16 pin DIP package. Unlike other ARM CPU breakout boards, OSHChip is only 0.3″ wide, just as a 16 pin DIP should be. It also features ANSI standard ground on pin 8, and VCC on pin 16 :-)

    Thanks for the opportunity to plug my project and product.

    1. Absolutely not dead. But it’s increasingly boards like the OSHChip that provide it for our community rather than IC manufacturers. I did mention dev boards in a DIP format. :)

    1. Granted I don’t use ARM… but at a glance there appear to be several low pincount options of the Cortex M0+ variety: Microchip (formerly Atmel) SAM D parts include SOIC-14 and 20 pin variants. There’s also TSSOP option too: STMicro (for example) have TSSOP-14 and 20 pin variants of their 32-bit ARM devices in their STM32L0 and STM32F0 lineups respectively. TSSOP’s 0.65mm pin pitch is hand (drag) solderable, just takes a bit of practice IMHO :-)

    2. Agreed, it’s something of a rarity to handle one hereabouts these days. But there are a sizeable number of home constructors/hobbysits for whom SMD work is a step too far. Even if they could do it if they gave it a go, for some it’s a mental block.

        1. Depends on what package you choose. SOIC is only half the pitch of DIP, and is extremely easy to solder by hand. It is big enough to easily do it a pin at a time, so you don’t even need other techniques.

      1. Working with DIL packages is simply an order of magnitude more robust than those 0.5 mm spaced SMD packages. That’s why one sees breakout boards everywhere, but DIY made SMD boards only occasionally since DIL packages were declared as “old”.

      2. Umm no. I’ve soldered SMD components in the past. I will do so again in the future. That doesn’t mean I want to switch to a development process where I have to order a new set of PC boards, wait for them to arrive from the other side of the planet, solder all the components all over again (probably new components) all for every minor little iteration of my design process!

        I’ll save the PCB for the final design phase and only for things I want to produce in quantity, or care about miniaturization.

        Long live the solderless breadboard and the leaded components that can be fit in it!

        Yah, there’s breakout boards but that’s just an added cost, added work soldering your SMD parts to it and just end up being external masses dangling from your breadboard constantly threatening to pull off or to short it’s pins against something.

      3. There’s a price block, too.

        I recently found a keyboard encoder chip, in a 25-pin BGA with 0.4mm spacing. The tolerances required for a compatible PCB push the price up significantly. I’d have to make a second small board, as an adapter, which seems a bit silly to me.

  4. There are still plenty of fast 32-but MCUs in DIP – PIC32MX up to (from memory) 80MHz is available in DIP,SOIC,SSOP and QFN.
    The CPU core just doesn’t matter – it’s all about the peripherals.

  5. The annoying thing about ARM chip packages isn’t just that they’re surface mount, it’s that they’re generally pretty fine pitch too. I’d love to toss STM32F103’s around like candy but 0.5mm pin pitch is a pain to hand solder with a standard iron.

    1. Depends on what do you consider standard? Soldered plenty of qfp100 by hand, often de-soldering them prior to that (rotated part on p&p, old times, don’t ask), and while de-soldering them was “tricky” (not to damage neither board nor mcu) but soldering them even without an expensive iron (basic 60W with temperature control and not crappy tip) is maybe not easy but perfectly doable. Unless, you want to do it on your own pcb, can’t imagine that without soldermask.

      1. Oh, it’s definitely possible – I’ve done it myself with the TQFP48 version – but copious amounts of flux and swearing were involved. Not something I’d recommend to beginners unless I wanted to put them off electronics for life.

  6. The other day there was an article “mourning” the passing of discrete diy electronics.

    Now you see one reason why, DIP was much more approachable than the can’t-see-ums surface mount technology.

  7. DIP is needed, because SMT mounted on a DIP PCB is a much higher barrier-to-entry and Lowe barrier to entry technology is what’s needed for the next generation of engineers. Basically, SMT should subsidise a proportion of DIP manufacturing for that purpose and consider it an investment.

    1. How flipping hard is it to solder an SOIC-20 chip onto an adapter board? (Also.. who the flip would actually be using an EIGHT pin ARM chip? Seems kind of an exercise in not-enough IO pins…

      1. As I recall from a teardown video they use tiny 8 pin MCU for electric toothbrushes. And I think they actually use an ARM core in your oral-b ones.
        So there’s your answer, that kind of device.

  8. HDMI monitor or TV – only found new, $200 minimum for a really shitty one
    VGA monitor – $5 to $10 at the local thrift shop or free from somebody’s closet
    Composite – You’ve got to be kidding me. Why?!? With resolution that low I have a bag of old LEDs you can solder into a matrix!

    Ok, I don’t really want to connect a VGA monitor to a new gaming PC but for little low-end maker projects I can’t even imagine why I would consider anything but VGA. And yet all anyone wants to support is HDMI and occasionally composite. Why?!?!

    1. Many monitors still have DVI connectors, and those come in two types, the all digital (DVI-D) or the ones with the additional 4 pins for analog RGB on one end (DVI-I) and that is basically VGA. So you can get ‘VGA’ monitors for around a hundred new. all you need is a cable with DVI connector on one end and VGA on the other.

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