Open loop and Closed Loop Control

Open loop and Closed Loop Control

The major function of a loop control system is to detect the changes in input side and make the change in the output side accordingly. of any electronic system is to automatically regulate the output and keep it within the systems desired input value or “set point”. If the systems input changes for whatever reason, the output of the system must respond accordingly and change itself to reflect the new input value.

Likewise, if something happens to disturb the systems output without any change to the input value, the output must respond by returning back to its previous set value. In the past, electrical control systems were basically manual or what is called an Open-loop System with very few automatic control or feedback features built in to regulate the process variable so as to maintain the desired output level or value.

For example, an electric clothes dryer. Depending upon the amount of clothes or how wet they are, a user or operator would set a timer (controller) to say 30 minutes and at the end of the 30 minutes the drier will automatically stop and turn-off even if the clothes are still wet or damp.

In this case, the control action is the manual operator assessing the wetness of the clothes and setting the process (the drier) accordingly.

So in this example, the clothes dryer would be an open-loop system as it does not monitor or measure the condition of the output signal, which is the dryness of the clothes. Then the accuracy of the drying process, or success of drying the clothes will depend on the experience of the user (operator).

However, the user may adjust or fine tune the drying process of the system at any time by increasing or decreasing the timing controllers drying time, if they think that the original drying process will not be met. For example, increasing the timing controller to 40 minutes to extend the drying process. Consider the following open-loop block diagram.

Then an Open-loop system, also referred to as non-feedback system, is a type of continuous control system in which the output has no influence or effect on the control action of the input signal. In other words, in an open-loop control system the output is neither measured nor “fed back” for comparison with the input. Therefore, an open-loop system is expected to faithfully follow its input command or set point regardless of the final result.

Also, an open-loop system has no knowledge of the output condition so cannot self-correct any errors it could make when the preset value drifts, even if this results in large deviations from the preset value.

Another disadvantage of open-loop systems is that they are poorly equipped to handle disturbances or changes in the conditions which may reduce its ability to complete the desired task. For example, the dryer door opens and heat is lost. The timing controller continues regardless for the full 30 minutes but the clothes are not heated or dried at the end of the drying process. This is because there is no information fed back to maintain a constant temperature.


Effect of output

An open loop control system acts completely on the basis of input and the output has no effect on the control action.

A closed loop control system considers the current output and alters it to the desired condition. The control action in these systems is based on the output.

Reaction to Internal and External Disturbances

An open loop control system works on fixed operation conditions and there are no disturbances.

A closed loop control system doesn’t encounter and react on external disturbances or internal variations.


Open loop control systems are mostly stable.

In closed loop control systems stability is a major issue.

Effect on gain

There is no effect on gain.

There is no-linear change in system gain.


The structure of open loop control system is rather easy to construct. These systems can be easily implemented.

The working principle and structures of closed loop control systems are rather complex and they are often difficult to implement.


As an open loop control system is easy to implement, it needs lesser number of components to be constructed. Such systems need good calibration and lesser power rating. The overall cost of these systems is low.

As the principle is complex, a closed loop control system needs larger number of components than an open loop control systems. These systems comparatively need less calibration and higher power rating. The overall cost of these systems is higher.

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