The linear regulator is the basic building block of nearly every power supply used in electronics. The IC linear regulator is so easy to use that it is virtually foolproof, and so inexpensive that it is usually one of the cheapest components in an electronic assembly.
The thermal shutdown circuitry in an IC prevents the junction temperature from rising high enough to damage the part (see Figure 7). This is accomplished by monitoring the die temperature and reducing internal power dissipation to hold the temperature at the limiting value (usually about 160°C).
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