Integrated Circuits (ICs)

Integrated circuits are what you might think of when you hear the word computer chip. These small black rectangles can perform a variety of tasks depending on their construction. We won’t cover how they work exactly, but there’s a few key things to keep in mind. First, orientation is important. One end of the IC will have a dot, or a small half circle cut out of the plastic material. This indicates the top of the chip, and where you should start numbering your pins. Most ICs come in what’s called a Dual Inline Package, or DIP. The idea is that there’s two rows of pins on either side of the IC. To number the pins, start with the IC oriented with the dot or circle at the top, and start at the top left pin. This is Pin 1, then go down the left side, and then up the right. This can help you identify which pins go where since in a circuit diagram, they may not always be represented the same. Take the below image for example:

741 OpAmp

The circuit diagram symbol looks nothing like the IC, but the pins are numbered so you can follow where they are wired!