Are there any guidance on recommended package size and type for a surface mount linear regulator IC on my board that will be hand-soldered?

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.

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 or legs. These things tend to heat up like crazy. T hey 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.

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Oliver Smith

Oliver is an experienced electronics engineer skilled in PCB design, analog circuits, embedded systems, and prototyping. His deep knowledge spans schematic capture, firmware coding, simulation, layout, testing, and troubleshooting. Oliver excels at taking projects from concept to mass production using his electrical design talents and mechanical aptitude.
Picture of Oliver Smith

Oliver Smith

Oliver is an experienced electronics engineer skilled in PCB design, analog circuits, embedded systems, and prototyping. His deep knowledge spans schematic capture, firmware coding, simulation, layout, testing, and troubleshooting. Oliver excels at taking projects from concept to mass production using his electrical design talents and mechanical aptitude.

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