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Definition of a TEC Controller: The term TEC controller is an abbreviation for a thermoelectric temperature controller. The function of a TEC controller is to provide precise, active temperature control of a thermoelectric module, also known as a Peltier module. They are essentially current sources that operate by utilizing an electronic feedback loop which is controlled by the feedback from a temperature sensor. A TEC controller typically has a bipolar current output which is sinking and sourcing current to the TEC / Peltier module. The actual temperature is measured by the temperature sensor. This temperature is then compared to a set-point temperature in the TEC controller to produce an error signal proportional to the difference. The error signal processor produces an output based on the error signal and the control method being used. This output then controls a bipolar output driver, which is connected to the thermoelectric module. The complexity of this type of control loop varies from the simple analog proportional controllers found in most detector cooler controllers to fully digital PID (proportional-integral-differential) controllers. To learn more about TEC controllers, Peltier coolers and temperature sensors and how they provide the three basic building blocks to control the temperature of a semiconductor laser, pleae visit TEC Controller Basics »