Are there voltage regulators that don't generate so much heat?

I've been using the 78XX series in the TO-220 package, and boy do those suckers put out some heat. I am using a 4S LiPo battery (14.8v) and I have three regulators: 5v, 9v, and 12v. I have them on a nice big aluminum heat sink, but even the heat sink gets up to 110 degrees. It seems to me that the battery will last longer if it isn't expending so much energy heating up a heat sink, right?

So, are there better options?

Yes, a DC to DC converter (SMPS) would fit the bill.
see eBay:
http://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR5.TRC2.A0.H0.Xdc+to+dc+step+down.TRS0&_nkw=dc+to+dc+step+down&_sacat=0

How much current are you pulling?
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I've never heard of those DC to DC converters. As for the amperage (I guess that would have been a good thing to include in the OP), I just measured it and it is 1.5 amps when it is displaying all 8's (it's my scoreboard project that you've been helping me with). Most scores it hovers around 1A +/- 0.2A

Linear regulators draw the same current as the load is using. Watts=volts*amps since the output voltage is lower and the current is the same, first law dictates that the regulator must get hot, else energy is vanishing

That's why you need a dc-dc switching converter - those waste very little power through the magic of inductors and modern semiconductor technology. Hence, they use less power, and don't get hot. And they can go up or down, or both, depending on the topology. You can get cheapo ones on ebay, and smaller, nicer ones from higher end suppliers.

Btw -"smps" normally refers to the ones that take AC in, not dc-dc.

I use and I am very happy with this offering for several 3 amp projects:
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/DC-DC-Step-Down-Power-Module-4V-38V-to-1-25V-36V-5A-LED-Voltmeter-Adjustable-/400623124216?hash=item5d46ffbef8:g:6d4AAOSwpdpVcZfo


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Since these are adjustable, do not connect it to the final circuit until you preset the output to 5 volts into a dummy load.

Another source:

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Very interesting. Since I need three different voltages, I assume I would need three different converters? I currently have
5v for the TPICs
9v for the Arduino
12v for the LED strips

Arduino can run on 5V also, connect it to the 5V power header, or to the USB connector.

As Bob mentioned, you can just use 5 volts for TPICs and the Arduino.
I don't remember your cct. but maybe power LEDs from the 14.8 V battery directly.
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MrGibbage:
I've been using the 78XX series in the TO-220 package, and boy do those suckers put out some heat. I am using a 4S LiPo battery (14.8v) and I have three regulators: 5v, 9v, and 12v. I have them on a nice big aluminum heat sink, but even the heat sink gets up to 110 degrees. It seems to me that the battery will last longer if it isn't expending so much energy heating up a heat sink, right?

So, are there better options?

After LarryD started talking about these buck converters, I started looking to see what was newfangled. I thought this was interesting, a 78XX TO220 pin-compatible one, just plug it in, the listing claims:

I think some of the wording is pretty funny in that listing.

Here is another option (I have not used them yet) :

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/124-10255?scode=GS401&utm_medium=cse&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=google&catargetid=530004080000291407&cadevice=c&gclid=Cj0KEQiApruyBRCFqoDu1pbk9rkBEiQAF8EFdXnRh9O4NqgGdPPWiQFZZ1V_dGfqL4cdO-pQ8L6js2oaAm2C8P8HAQ

@LarryD, remember I was having problems with the random segments lighting up on my scoreboard, and we tried fixing it with the bypass caps, but that didn't work. You suggested running higher gauge wires for power and that solved the problem. I was wondering if these converters would run a higher risk of introducing more interference into the circuit since they are using inductors at a pretty high frequency to do their magic. I just don't want to deal with the random segments since it is working correctly now.

Thoughts?

I have had no problems with my Aurduino projects using the regulator I linked in post number 5.

Also, make sure power supply lines go directly to the load.
This is referred to as running power in a star configuration.
Example: if you have 10 satellite PCBs spread around, you would run 10 power wires from the powersupply to power the boards.

example:

Never run power wires from one PCB to the next to the next etc.
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You know, that is pretty much exactly what I did with my scoreboard (wired one pcb to the next). I wonder if that would have fixed it (switching to star config)....

You suggested earlier that I might power the scoreboard LEDs with the battery directly (14.7v). The LEDs are only rated for 12v. Will they normally accept 14.7v without any adverse effects?

No, 12V LED strip is for regulated 12V, not automotive 12V.

For the lack of a good example, if you had a neopixel strip which was rated for 5.5 v max then you could not run it at 6 v.
On the other hand, if you made your own led strips made of Reseistors and LEDs only (designed to run at 5v) you could use 6 v etc, this is because 1 volt more on a led/resistor circuit will simply be a bit brighter.
Note, if this is a commercial strip with a maximum safe voltage rating, there are voltage sensitive components that will be damaged by over voltage.

How are your led strips made up?