i am very confused
except i see 20v (near enough)
i added the caps and still 20v in and 19ish out
could i have damaged them running without caps
I sometimes wires a 7805 on breadboard without caps and they works fine,
my point is that it should not damage the 7805 without the caps.
Rubbish. Unless by working fine you mean at just one current and you haven't bothered to check the waveform with a scope.
I have several simple setups where I only use a capacitor on the regulator output and they work ok (well, for 6+ years).
The last data sheet I read on the regulator chips only recommended the caps on the input side when the input was over a long wire.
As to stability, it is a relative term
as to the actual operating conditions and requirements.
i added the caps and still 20v in and 19ish outi have tried this on two brand new regsone is 5v the other is 15vcould i have damaged them running without caps ?