I'm using an LM7805 in voltage regulator mode.

  • Vin is 15V
  • Vout is 5V (regulated)
  • The attached load draws 200mA


How to calculate how much power the LM7805 would dissipate in this setup (and whether or not I need a heat sink)? Couldn't understand it from looking at the datasheet.

P.S. I'm asking because it gets quite hot, which I didn't expect. Checked the attached load, it is around 0.2A, so well within the limit of 1.5A.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ For a linear regulator, Iout is roughly equal to Iin. All voltage dropped across the pass device is dissipated as heat. \$\endgroup\$
    – M D
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 10:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Wait, this has been asked multiple times, see here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Unknown123
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 12:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also there is more detailed datasheet here \$\endgroup\$
    – Unknown123
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


Take a look at package thermal data section in your datasheet page two.

Depending on the package of the regulator you are using, lets say the thermal junction-ambient coefficient \$\theta_{JA}\$ is roughly \$20°C/W\$.

You've got \$ P = V \cdot I = (15\ \text{V} - 5\ \text{V}) \cdot 0.2\ \text{A} = 2\ \text{W} \$ dissipated as heat.

If your ambient temperature is \$25°C\$, then the regulator would heat up more or less into \$65°C\$.

It is quite hot for sure.

  • \$\begingroup\$ 2W is about the limit for use without a heatsink. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 11:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I'm very linearizing here for simplification. The ambient will also heat up which eventually also increase the regulator temperature. Also, in the NOTE 1 below the package thermal table in the datasheet OP linked there are maximum power dissipation formula and careful warning statement which would be useful for OP while learning this topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Unknown123
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 11:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Different manufacturers have very different thermal resistances. For TI it's 19 °C/W (--> 63 °C) for STM 50 °C/W (--> 125 °C), for Fairchild even 65 °C/W (--> 155 °C). The latter two will probably die without a heat-sink (see absolute maximum ratings). \$\endgroup\$
    – Suuuehgi
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ As far I remember, I assumed 20 as a best case for quite hot. +1 for clarifying. \$\endgroup\$
    – Unknown123
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 12:40

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