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Topic: How do voltage regulators fail? (Read 7254 times) previous topic - next topic


Most voltage regulators ICs have built-in thermal protection. This means that if you don't have a big enough heatsink on them, they reduce the output voltage (and hence current draw) until the power dissipation is low enough to keep them within temperature limits. They recover if you turn the power off and let them cool down.

I had this happen to me when I was using a 7912 regulator bolted to a large piece of aluminium sheet as a heatsink. After a while, the output voltage would drop slightly and ripple started appearing on the output.Although the heatsink was quite large, the aluminium was too thin to carry the heat away fro the IC. Using a thicker gauge of aluminium cured the problem.
Formal verification of safety-critical software, software development, and electronic design and prototyping. See http://www.eschertech.com. Please do not ask for unpaid help via PM, use the forum.

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