Unlike on/off controls, which only respond when a set limit is reached, proportional controls are designed to respond to temperature change before it slips out of the desired range. Essentially, proportional controls increase or decrease the power supply as the temperature reaches its upper or lower limit, or setpoint, which slows or speeds the heater and helps stabilize the temperature.
The temperature range in which proportional controls either lessen or increase the power supply to slow or speed heating is known as the “proportional band.” If a temperature reaches the lower or upper setpoints, the control then functions as a full on/off control—the temperature is either turned fully on to increase the temperature, or fully off to drop the temperature. When the temperature is within the proportional band, and the power supply is decreased or increased, the heat is raised or lowered in relation to how far the temperature is from the setpoint.
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