We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a PID Controller?

By Jessica Reed
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A proportional-integral-derivative controller, known as a PID controller for short, is a type of device often used in control systems. These systems control other devices or systems and the PID controller helps regulate important variables within the control system. It may affect only one device or many at the same time. Typically, is it used in the industrial and manufacturing fields.

To understand what the PID controller does and why it is such an advantage, an example from everyday life can be used. When a homeowner is cold, she sets the thermostat for the heating unit in her home to the desired temperature. The temperature the house is currently at is known as the process variable. A variable is simply a factor, like the temperature of the house, that can change over time.

The ideal temperature that the homeowner has set her thermostat to is known as the setpoint. The process variable and the setpoint can be the same at a given time. If the current temperature of the home is at the desired temperature, they would be the same. Unlike the setpoint, however, the process variable can change. This happens when the house gets too hot or too cold.

These two terms, the process variable and the setpoint, are the same terms used to express how a PID controller works. The controller is set to control a variable, whether it's temperature or a different aspect of the system it has control over. The controller tries to find the best solution for keeping this variable at the desired setpoint.

Differences occur between the PID controller and normal controllers in the way they work. The PID controller uses an advanced formula to try and prevent any errors from occurring. This ensures the devices or systems being controlled perform as flawlessly as possible.

This formula type is known as an algorithm. An algorithm directs actions based on what is happening. The algorithm would have specific directions on how to react to certain changes. It is similar to a magazine quiz that asks questions and then uses arrows to direct the reader to the next question based on her answer to the previous question. In this way, an algorithm is a series of different procedures that can be followed or altered based on what the device receiving the orders is doing.

Finally, the PID controller participates in a feedback loop. Information is sent out by the controller, received by the devices, and information from the devices is sent back to the controller. The controller then makes a decision on how to proceed based on the information it receives and sends it out, creating a continuous loop.

One main advantage stands out above the rest when using a PID controller. It can control various systems or devices with little human interaction. Not only does this allow the workers to concentrate on other tasks, but it also allows many processes to run at once. The drawback to this method comes from the fact that the controller must be tuned, meaning the instructions that tell it what to do must be tweaked, to keep it functioning properly. To do this, advanced knowledge for setting up this type of controller is required to avoid error.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.