How to Connect a Temperature Controller
Whether it is controlling the temperature of optics, lasers or biological samples, a temperature controller helps keep an object at a steady temperature. It is also used for maintaining a constant temperature within a closed system, such as a laboratory incubator.
The temperature control process involves a combination of sensor, control electronics and current source. The control electronics take input from a temperature sensor and then converts that to an output signal, typically a voltage or resistance. The current source sends power to a temperature actuator such as a thermoelectric or resistive heater.
Temperature Sensor Inputs: A temperature controller can accept several types of sensors as inputs to measure the actual temperature and compare it with a desired setpoint (or control) temperature. Typical sensors are thermocouples and RTDs, but other linear inputs can be used as well.
PID Parameters: A temperature controller can have a variety of parameters that allow the user to customize the device. These parameters can be set by the operator or by the software that is included on the control unit. Some models are even designed to automatically adjust to the changes in the environment or other variables in a controlled system.
Two-Pid Control: A temperature controller can be programmed to have two PIDs that operate simultaneously. This type of control is very useful when it is necessary to have an accurate response both to the change in the setpoint and to an external disturbance, such as a fan speed change or other change in the load.
The second PID can be tuned to increase or decrease its gain depending on the changes in the environment. This allows a larger number of changes in the load to be made without slowing the overall response of the controller.
Delay Mode: Some temperature controllers have a delay function that will allow the user to delay the heating until the setpoint is reached. The delay time can be set in the display using a slider or by pushing the E4 button on the controller.
Bluetooth Connectivity: A temperature controller can be linked with an app on a mobile phone or other mobile device, such as a tablet. This allows the user to easily check or adjust the temperature on the go.
RAPT Pill Integration: A temperature controller can be connected to a RAPT Pill via the Bluetooth feature, which is a remote control that allows users to adjust their temperatures from anywhere in the world. This feature is useful for controlling the heater from a distance and can be accessed with any smartphone or tablet that has an iOS or Android operating system.
Safety Standards: The temperature controller can be UL or cUL registered to ensure that it meets a minimum set of safety standards for its use. The specific standards depend on the country in which it is being used.
Standard DIN Sizes: Almost all temperature controllers are manufactured in standard sizes to allow them to be interchanged with other similar devices. These are often referred to as “DIN sizes” and include 1/4 DIN, 1/8 DIN and 1/16 DIN.