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Package Outlines - Transistor Outline (TO)

TO-3  package outline - RF Cafe

3-Pin Transistor Outline (TO-3) Package 

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8-Pin Transistor Outline (TO-8) Package 

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3-Pin Transistor Outline (TO-220) Package 

TO-226  package outline - RF Cafe

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Transistor Outline (TO) Package - RF CafeTransistor Outline (TO) Package

The term "TO" in transistor outline package (TO package) refers to a type of metal can package used for housing discrete electronic components, including transistors. The TO (Transistor Outline) series of metal can and encapsulated plastic packages has been around since the 1950s, when the first commercial transistors became available. Over time, plastic was substituted for some applications, and the applications expanded to include circuits like voltage regulators, photosensors. TO packages are known for their distinctive metal can shape, which provides thermal and mechanical benefits. Here are some key features and common variations of TO transistor outline packages:

  • Metal Can Shape: TO packages are typically cylindrical metal cans. They are often made of materials like aluminum or steel, which provide good thermal conductivity and protection for the enclosed semiconductor device.
  • Pin Configuration: TO packages have two or more pins that protrude from the bottom of the can. The number and arrangement of pins depend on the specific TO package variant.
  • Variants: There are several variants of TO packages, and the numbering scheme typically indicates the package's physical dimensions and pin configuration. Common TO package variants include TO-92, TO-220, TO-247, TO-3, and TO-18, among others. Each variant has its own size, pin arrangement, and power handling capabilities.
  • TO-92: A small, three-pin package commonly used for small-signal transistors. TO-220: Larger package suitable for medium-power transistors and voltage regulators.
  • TO-247: Larger and more robust package often used for high-power transistors and power semiconductors.
  • TO-3: A larger metal can package primarily used for high-power and high-voltage transistors.
  • TO-18: A smaller metal can package used for various discrete components, including transistors and photodiodes.
  • Heat Dissipation: TO packages are known for their good thermal properties. The metal can acts as a heat sink, helping to dissipate heat generated by the enclosed transistor. This makes them suitable for applications where heat management is crucial.
  • Mounting: TO packages are designed to be mounted directly onto a printed circuit board (PCB) or a heat sink using screws or clips. The metal body provides mechanical stability and can enhance thermal performance when mounted to a heat sink.
  • Sealing: TO packages are typically hermetically sealed, which means they are air-tight to protect the enclosed semiconductor component from moisture and environmental factors. This sealing enhances the long-term reliability of the component.
  • Applications: TO packages are commonly used for a wide range of discrete semiconductor devices, including bipolar junction transistors (BJTs), power transistors, voltage regulators, and other components requiring good thermal performance and mechanical durability.
  • Obsolete in Some Applications: While TO packages are still used in various applications, they have been partially replaced by surface-mount packages (SMT) in modern electronics, especially for smaller and more compact devices where space is a critical consideration.

TO-237  package outline - RF Cafe

3-Pin Transistor Outline (TO-237) Package 

TO-263  package outline - RF Cafe

3-Pin Transistor Outline (TO-263) Package 

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Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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