Temperature Control Panels: A Guide to Control Options

It’s important to choose the right industrial heater for your application. But it’s just as important to pick the best temperature control panel for your heater. Temperature control panels are the brain of your heating system. They regulate the temperature and operation, managing safety, efficiency, and automation.

Temperature controllers come with a wide variety of options, controls and accessories. Fortunately, choosing the right digital control panel doesn’t mean paying for every add-on available – it’s about getting the ones you need.

Understanding what controls your heating system requires helps to ensure:

  • Operational efficiency
  • Safe operation and maintenance
  • Saves you money on equipment

This article takes a look at control options for temperature control panels and what they’re used for.


Basic Controls for Digital Controllers

First, we take a look at the basic controls. Just about every control panel uses these to perform their operation. These controls are the bare bones of what you need for most industrial heaters. They include:

  • On/Off Switch
  • Terminal Blocks
  • Transformer
  • Fused Magnetic Contactor
  • Fused Control Circuit


On/Off Switch

The on/off switch allows for turning the system on and off manually. It’s the most basic control, but absolutely essential. In addition to the obvious need to be able to turn the temperature control panel off an on, the manual off switch is an important safety feature.

Terminal Blocks

Terminal blocks secure wires to the controller. They connect electric outlets and switches to the mains. They are a necessity for external control devices, as they allow the digital controller to connect to the heater and power source.



A transformer is among the basic controls of WATTCO control panels. Our , transformers include 120V secondary control voltage. Transformers use electromagnetic induction to transfer electrical energy between two or more circuits. They are relied on for the distribution, transmission, and use of alternating current electrical energy.

Fused Magnetic Contactor

Temperature control panels use a fused magnetic contactor for each circuit. They are electrical relays between power sources and electrical motors to balance changes in electric frequency. They aid in operation and safety.

Fused Control Circuit

The digital control panel’s fused control circuit controls a relay that energizes and de-energizes the heating system power circuits. This prevents electrical arcs between contacts.  An arc would be dangerous or could cause damage to the panel.



Advanced Controls for Digital Control Panels

Depending on the specific needs of your electric heaters you may need to add on advanced controls for your temperature control panel. These can provide safety benefits or improve energy efficiency. Some advanced controls include:

  • Disconnect Switch
  • Electronic High Limit
  • Digital Indicating Configurable Processor


DisconnectorDisconnect Switch

A disconnect switch is used for safe maintenance and servicing of electric heaters. They completely de-energize the electrical circuit making it safe to remove or repair equipment. Disconnect switches can be manually or automatically operated.


High Limit ControllerElectronic High Limit

Electronic high limit controllers digitally read the temperature. It shuts off operation of limit is exceeded. They are used for industrial heaters with potential safety or damage risks due to:

  • Control malfunction
  • Loss of airflow
  • Loss of liquid level.

They are used with control thermostats.




Digital Indicating Configurable ProcessorDigital Indicating Configurable Processor Based Temperature Control

Digital indicating configurable processors improve the energy efficiency of temperature control panels. They reduce operating power of processors by dropping the operating frequency and removing unneeded features. They also use logic optimization to reduce power expenditure and improve energy dissipation.


Purchasing a Temperature Control Panel

To choose the right temperature control panel you need to consider the controls you need. As well as your budget, compatibility, and operating conditions. Contact a WATTCO representative to request a quote or more information for your industrial heating application.