Why do my lm317T and lm78XX regulators die so easily? Answered
While using my last 7808 voltage regulator as nothing more than a voltage reference for a breadboarded linear power supply design, I noticed that after a few small modifications, that the 7808 was no longer outputting 8V, and was instead floating 14.8V (kinda close to the +15V supply rail). At no point did the regulator overheat, and it was simply connected to the a 200K potentiometer to ground and a noninverting input of a LT1112.
In the past, I have killed at least 3 LM317T regulators in my velleman 3-in-1 lab thingy, (it is a relatively simple circuit and was the first board I have ever fully reverse engineered.) The heatsink never did get too hot, but I used to always connect heavy loads to it that caused the overload lamp to come on. That LED was basically in series with a large resistor to the input of the LM317 so when the LED has enough bias voltage, it comes on when around 1A is being pulled.
Anyways, I have killed countless other small 78xx regulators, one way or another, and even made some of them literally explode right away. (generally by getting the pinout wrong.) I blow up these regulators so commonly I even have video evidence lol! click to around 3:30 for the FAIL!
So is it just me and my luck, or are these regulators which supposedly have all sorts of thermal protection, current limiting, and short circuit protection just not as rugged as they seem they should be?