What Does a Thermistor Do? Discover Its Crucial Role in Temperature Control

A thermistor is an electronic component that measures temperature by changes in resistance. It operates by detecting changes in temperature and altering its electrical resistance correspondingly.

When electronic devices get hot, their components are likely to fail, creating safety hazards or decreasing the device’s lifespan. The thermistor serves as a protective measure and has a wide range of applications, including temperature measurement in thermostats, car engine management, and medical devices.

It is a critical component of an electronic system that provides reliable and accurate temperature readings. The thermistor’s high sensitivity, small size, and low cost make it a preferred choice in temperature sensing applications. In this article, we will explore the function, working mechanism, types, and applications of thermistors in detail.

Introduction To Thermistors And Their Importance In Temperature Control

Thermistors have become a crucial component in maintaining temperature accuracy and stability across different fields of application. From medical equipment to aviation systems, thermistors play a vital role in managing temperature. But what exactly are thermistors, and how do they function?

In this section, we will explore the basics of thermistors and their significance in temperature control.

Definition Of A Thermistor

A thermistor is a type of resistor whose electrical resistance changes with temperature. As the temperature changes, the resistance of the thermistor changes proportionally. The word “thermistor” signifies “thermal resistor. ” Depending on the type of material used, there are two primary types of thermistors.

Types Of Thermistors

There are two primary types of thermistors: positive temperature coefficient (ptc) and negative temperature coefficient (ntc).

Ptc Thermistors

A ptc thermistor’s resistance increases as its temperature increases. When the temperature exceeds a specific point, the resistance of the ptc thermistor increases dramatically. This trait makes it ideal for overheat protection applications, such as in power supplies, motors, and heating elements.

Ntc Thermistors

An ntc thermistor’s resistance decreases as its temperature increases. Ntc thermistors are more common than ptc thermistors because their resistance decreases linearly with temperature. Ntc thermistors are used in temperature sensing, measurement and control, and temperature compensation applications, such as in refrigerators, air conditioners, and thermostats.

How A Thermistor Works To Control Temperature

A thermistor can be used in various ways to control temperature. Here are a few ways in which a thermistor can function:

  • As a temperature sensor: Thermistors can detect changes in temperature and send signals to electronic devices to regulate temperature.
  • As a thermostat: A thermistor’s resistance varies with temperature, allowing it to work as a simple thermostat. When connected to a control circuit and heat source, a ptc thermistor acts as a self-regulating thermostat.
  • As a heating or cooling element: Thermistors can act as heating or cooling elements depending on their temperature coefficient. They can maintain a constant temperature by controlling the current flowing through them.

Thermistors are critical components in temperature control and temperature sensing applications. Ntc and ptc thermistors are the two types of thermistors available for use. Understanding the basics of a thermistor’s functionality could help users choose the most suitable thermistor for their needs.

Thermistors As Temperature Sensors

Thermistors are electronic components that measure and monitor temperature changes. They are highly sensitive and respond quickly to changes in temperature, making them an ideal choice for temperature sensing applications. Today we’ll be looking at how thermistors work as temperature sensors, their advantages, and applications.

How Thermistors Work As Temperature Sensors

Thermistors are made from semiconductor materials that have a negative temperature coefficient (ntc). This means that as the temperature increases, the resistance of the thermistor decreases. When the temperature decreases, the resistance increases.

Here’s how thermistors work as temperature sensors:

  • A small current is passed through the thermistor, and its resistance is measured.
  • The resistance value is converted into a voltage reading that corresponds to the temperature being measured.
  • This voltage reading is sent to a microprocessor that interprets the temperature reading to control a system or display an accurate temperature reading.

Advantages Of Thermistors As Temperature Sensors

There are several advantages of using thermistors as temperature sensors:

  • Thermistors have a high level of sensitivity to temperature changes, making them ideal for highly accurate temperature measurement.
  • They respond quickly to temperature changes, allowing for real-time monitoring and control of systems.
  • Thermistors have a wide operating temperature range and can operate in extreme temperatures, making them ideal for use in a variety of applications.
  • They are compact and easy to install, making them a cost-effective option for temperature sensing.

Applications Of Thermistors As Temperature Sensors

Thermistors are commonly used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Home thermostats and hvac systems for temperature control and monitoring.
  • Medical equipment such as blood pressure monitors and patient temperature monitoring.
  • Automotive systems for engine temperature monitoring and control.
  • Food temperature monitoring during production and storage.
  • Heating and cooling systems in industrial processes.

Thermistors are an excellent choice for temperature sensing due to their high accuracy, sensitivity, and quick response time. They are widely used in various industries and offer an affordable and practical solution for temperature monitoring and control.

Understanding Temperature Control In Electronic Devices

Overview Of Temperature Control In Electronic Devices

Temperature control is pivotal in the smooth operation of electronic devices. Consistent temperature regulation of circuitry and other components guarantees that electronic gadgets perform at their best, while unstable temperature control disrupts their optimal functioning. Various devices ranging from microcontrollers, computers, and smartphones require efficient temperature control.

The computer industry employs techniques such as heatsinks, cooling fans, and thermistors to regulate temperatures.

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Need For Precise Temperature Control In Electronic Devices

Inaccurate temperature management results in device malfunctioning and performance decay. The ability to regulate temperatures precisely is particularly useful in environments where electronic devices are exposed to extreme temperatures. High temperatures will lead to the device’s overheating, leading to poor performance, and also damage the device’s internal components.

On the other hand, low temperatures can cause sluggish performance and the risk of device freezing.

Importance Of Thermistors In Temperature Control

The introduction of the thermistor, a small and cheap electronic component whose resistance changes with temperature, resulted in the improvement of temperature control. Thermistors are extensively used in conjunction with temperature sensors, which measure temperature and make adaptations to the surroundings.

Some of the ways that thermistors are essential in temperature control include:

  • Accurate measurement of temperature at a precise point
  • Facilitating efficient heat dissipation
  • Providing real-time feedback to temperature control systems
  • Increasing equipment lifespan

Thermistors have increasingly become a crucial component of modern electronic circuits. They have various applications, including medical devices, aerospace technology, and automotive engineering. They are especially useful in ensuring that the electronic devices we use daily operate seamlessly by guaranteeing that temperatures are regulated correctly.

Using Thermistors For Temperature Control

Thermistors are electronic components that are commonly used in electronic devices for temperature sensing and control. They are widely used in refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, and other household appliances that require temperature regulation. Thermistors are also used in scientific equipment and industrial processes where precise temperature control is required.

In this section, we will discuss the overview, functionality, and benefits of using thermistors for temperature control.

Overview Of Using Thermistors For Temperature Control

In simplest terms, thermistors are resistive devices that change their resistance value when subjected to temperature change. These devices sense changes in temperature and provide feedback to the temperature control system to adjust accordingly. The thermistor’s resistance can be monitored by the microcontroller, a component that measures and processes data, to accurately control the temperature of the system.

How Thermistors Regulate Temperature In Electronic Devices

Thermistors are used in electronic devices as part of a closed-loop temperature control system. The thermistor senses the temperature of the device and sends a signal in the form of resistance changes to the microcontroller. The microcontroller then processes this signal and sends it to the temperature regulator to adjust the temperature of the system.

This process continues until the desired temperature is achieved. Thermistors are highly sensitive to temperature changes and provide more accurate temperature measurements when compared to traditional temperature sensing devices.

Benefits Of Using Thermistors For Temperature Control

The following are the benefits of using thermistors for temperature control in electronic devices:

  • High sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Accurate and precise temperature control
  • Low-cost and easy to implement
  • Can operate in a wide range of temperatures
  • Stable and reliable performance
  • Require no calibration or maintenance

Thermistors are essential components in electronic devices for temperature sensing and control. They provide accurate and precise temperature measurements, leading to stable and reliable performance. Using thermistors helps to increase the efficiency of electronic devices, reduce costs, and improve overall performance.

Overall, thermistors are great tools for maintaining optimum temperature in a wide range of applications.

Ntc Thermistors

What Does A Thermistor Do – Ntc Thermistors

Thermistors are devices used in electronics to measure temperature. One particular type of thermistor is the ntc thermistor. Ntc stands for negative temperature coefficient, indicating that their resistance decreases as the temperature increases. Ntc thermistors are commonly used in a wide range of applications such as temperature sensing, compensation, and control in electronic circuits.

What Are Ntc Thermistors?

Ntc thermistors are devices whose resistance decreases as temperature increases. In contrast, the resistance of positive temperature coefficient (ptc) thermistors increases as the temperature increases. Ntc thermistors are constructed from ceramic or polymer materials that have semiconductor properties. They are compact, highly sensitive, and provide highly accurate temperature measurement.

Ntc thermistors are commonly used in temperature sensing, compensation, and control in electronic circuits.

Common Applications Of Ntc Thermistors

Ntc thermistors can be used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Temperature measurement and control: Ntc thermistors can be used to measure temperatures in a range from -50°c to over 1000°c. They can also be used in thermostats and temperature controllers.
  • Automobiles: Ntc thermistors are used in automobiles to monitor and regulate engine and cabin temperatures.
  • Medical equipment: Ntc thermistors can be used in medical equipment that requires accurate temperature measurement, such as incubators and refrigerators.
  • Hvac systems: Ntc thermistors can be used to monitor, regulate, and control temperatures in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Ntc Thermistors

Ntc thermistors offer several advantages, such as:

  • High sensitivity and accuracy: Ntc thermistors offer highly accurate temperature measurement due to their high sensitivity to temperature changes.
  • Compact size: Ntc thermistors are available in small compact sizes that are ideal for temperature sensing in small areas.
  • Cost-effective: Ntc thermistors are relatively inexpensive and readily available.

However, they also have some disadvantages, such as:

  • Limited temperature range: Ntc thermistors are only suitable for measuring temperatures in a limited range of -50°c to 1000°c.
  • Non-linear response: The resistance-temperature relationship of ntc thermistors is not linear, making calibration essential for accurate temperature measurement.
  • Self-heating: Ntc thermistors generate heat when current passes through them, which can lead to inaccuracies in temperature measurement.
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Ptc Thermistors

What Does A Thermistor Do? Ptc Thermistors

Thermistors are electronic components that have a resistance that varies according to their temperature. One type of thermistor is the positive temperature coefficient (ptc) thermistor, which is commonly used in various electronic devices due to its unique properties. In this section, we will discuss what ptc thermistors are, their common applications, and their advantages and disadvantages.

What Are Ptc Thermistors?

Ptc thermistors are temperature-sensitive resistors made from ceramic materials, such as barium titanate and lead zirconate titanate. They have a positive temperature coefficient, which means that their resistance increases as temperature rises. As a result, ptc thermistors are used as self-resetting fuses, overtemperature detectors, and current limiters.

Common Applications Of Ptc Thermistors

Ptc thermistors are used in various electronic devices due to their unique properties, including:

  • Temperature sensing and control: Ptc thermistors can accurately measure temperature changes and adjust circuits to maintain a constant temperature. This feature is particularly useful in applications such as temperature-controlled heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems.
  • Overcurrent protection: Ptc thermistors can limit current flow in an electrical circuit, protecting sensitive components from damage caused by overcurrents.
  • Motor starting: Ptc thermistors can be used to provide a soft start for motors, reducing the inrush current and extending the life of the motor.
  • Battery charging: Ptc thermistors can be used in battery charging circuits to limit the charging current and prevent overcharging.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Ptc Thermistors

Ptc thermistors offer several advantages over other temperature sensing devices, including:

  • Accurate and repeatable temperature measurement
  • Self-resetting feature, which allows for automatic recovery after a fault condition
  • High reliability and long lifespan
  • Low cost

However, ptc thermistors also have some limitations:

  • Limited temperature range: Ptc thermistors can only operate within a specific temperature range, beyond which their resistance changes unpredictably.
  • Non-linear response: Ptc thermistors have a non-linear resistance-temperature curve, which can make accurate temperature measurements difficult.
  • Sensitivity to thermal shock: Rapid changes in temperature can cause ptc thermistors to fail.

Ptc thermistors are temperature-sensitive resistors used in various electronic devices. They offer unique properties that make them ideal for particular applications but also have limitations that need to be considered. Despite their limitations, ptc thermistors remain an essential component in many electronic devices.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Thermistor

Thermistors are electronic devices that are used to measure temperature variations in different applications. They are made up of ceramic or polymeric materials that are sensitive to changes in temperature, and their electrical resistance varies accordingly. When looking for a thermistor for your application, you need to consider several factors to ensure you get the right one.

In this section, we will discuss the three main factors to consider when choosing a thermistor.

Temperature Range

The temperature range is an essential factor to consider when selecting a thermistor. It’s crucial to ensure that the thermistor you choose can withstand temperatures within the range of your application to avoid damage. Consider the following factors:

  • The minimum and maximum temperature range in which the thermistor will operate.
  • Operating temperature conditions such as steady-state temperature and temperature cycling.
  • The accuracy required for your application, as different thermistor types have varying degrees of accuracy.
  • The environmental conditions such as humidity, pressure, and chemical exposure.

Resistance Vs. Temperature Curve

The resistance vs. Temperature curve is another critical factor to consider when selecting a thermistor. It determines the sensitivity of the thermistor and its accuracy in measuring temperature variations. The resistance vs. Temperature curve relates to the resistance of thermistors at different temperatures.

Consider the following factors:

  • The type of thermistor, as different thermistors have different resistance vs. Temperature curves.
  • The application’s temperature range since some thermistors have a limited temperature range at which they can measure accurately.
  • The accuracy required for your application, as different thermistor types have varying degrees of accuracy.

Application-Specific Requirements

Every application has specific requirements, and these should be considered when selecting a thermistor. For instance, a thermistor used in the medical field may have different requirements than one used to measure the temperature of industrial equipment. Consider the following factors:

  • The time response requirement for your application, as different thermistor types have different response times.
  • The size and shape of the thermistor, as it should fit into your application without causing interference.
  • The power requirement for your application, as different thermistor types have different power requirements.

When selecting a thermistor, you should consider the temperature range, resistance vs. Temperature curve, and your application-specific requirements. Make sure to choose a thermistor that meets your application needs to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Selecting The Best Type Of Thermistor

Thermistors are electronic devices that measure temperature changes. They are versatile and used in many applications, from refrigerators to operating rooms. However, understanding the differences between negative temperature coefficient (ntc) and positive temperature coefficient (ptc) thermistors can be challenging. In this section, we will discuss how to choose the best type of thermistor by evaluating other factors and determining the right resistance value.

How To Choose Between Ntc And Ptc Thermistors

When choosing between ntc and ptc thermistors, it’s important to consider how they respond to temperature changes.

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**ntc thermistors**

  • Resistance decreases as temperature increases.
  • Commonly used in appliances and to measure body temperature.
  • More accurate in a narrower range of temperatures.

**ptc thermistors**

  • Resistance increases as temperature increases.
  • Useful in preventing overheating and overcurrent situations.
  • Found in circuits for heating elements and inrush current limiters.

Determining The Right Resistance Value

Thermistors have different resistance values, which determine the temperature range for which they are most suitable. Choosing the right resistance value is essential to guarantee the correct reading.

**factors to consider:**

  • Temperature range needed.
  • Required accuracy.
  • Linear or nonlinear temperature characteristics.

Evaluating Other Factors

Apart from considering the type and resistance value of thermistors, other factors affect their performance and suitability for particular applications.

**factors to consider:**

  • Stability of resistance over time and temperature ranges.
  • Thermal time constant, or the time it takes for the thermistor to adjust to temperature changes.
  • Dissipation constant or power rating, or the ability to dissipate heat generated.

Selecting the right type of thermistor involves evaluating different factors, including temperature range, accuracy, and linearity. It’s also important to consider other factors such as stability, thermal time constant, and power rating. By doing so, you can ensure the ideal performance of your thermistor-based system.

Debunking Common Thermistor Myths

Thermistors are essential components that are used to measure temperature. As sensitive devices, they play a unique role in a broad range of applications, including automotive, medical, food, and industrial sectors. Despite their widespread use, there exist several misconceptions regarding thermistors.

In this section, we will be debunking some of these myths with scientific explanations.

Thermistors Always Fail At High Temperatures

One of the most notable myths that exist about thermistors is that they will always fail when exposed to high temperatures. The truth, however, is that while high temperatures can affect the accuracy and lifespan of thermistors, it does not necessarily mean that they will always fail outright.

  • The range of temperature at which a thermistor operates efficiently depends on various factors, including the materials used, the composition of the thermistor, and its application.
  • Some thermistors are made of special materials that have excellent heat resistance, enabling them to function normally at high temperatures.
  • High-temperature thermistors have a high resistance value, which prevents them from melting or registering inaccurate readings.
  • Manufacturers perform strict testing on thermistors to ensure that they are operational at the temperature level specified.

All Thermistors Are Created Equal

Another myth that exists is that all thermistors are created equal, which is not true. Various types of thermistors are available that possess different specifications, performance levels, and applications.

  • The most common types of thermistors are ntc and ptc, with each having distinct characteristics and applications.
  • Ntc thermistors exhibit a decrease in resistance as temperature increases, while ptc thermistors have a positive temperature coefficient.
  • Some thermistors have a higher accuracy level and a small resistance change for minor temperature variation, while others have a larger response variation.
  • Thermistors also come in different sizes and shapes, and each type has unique electrical and physical characteristics.

Thermistors Are Only Useful As Temperature Sensors

Another common misconception that exists is that thermistors are only useful as temperature sensors. Thermistors, however, can be used as versatile electronic components in various applications.

  • Some applications of thermistors include surge protection, inrush current limiting, and precision timing.
  • Thermistors can be utilized in digital thermometers, hvac systems, and refrigeration devices to control heating and cooling operations.
  • Thermistors can provide robust protection of electronic devices from excessive voltage and currents by quickly identifying changes in temperature and switching off the power.

Thermistors are sensitive devices that play an integral role in temperature control and measurement. It is essential to dispel the myths that exist about thermistors to improve a better understanding of these components. Thermistors are reliable and efficient devices that offer versatile electronic applications.

Frequently Asked Questions For What Does A Thermistor Do

What Is A Thermistor?

A thermistor is a type of resistor that changes its resistance according to the temperature.

What Are The Types Of Thermistors?

There are two major types of thermistors: negative temperature coefficient (ntc) and positive temperature coefficient (ptc).

What Is The Application Of A Thermistor?

Thermistors are used in a wide range of applications, including temperature sensing, temperature compensation, and current limiting.

How Accurate Are Thermistors?

Thermistors can have high accuracy, with some capable of accuracies up to +/- 0. 05°c when calibrated properly.


To sum up, a thermistor is a crucial component in creating a secure and efficient electrical circuit. The different types of thermistors-ptc and ntc– provide varying levels of resistance when it’s exposed to temperature fluctuations. As we’ve seen, the resistance characteristic of a thermistor is exploited in a wide range of applications, including temperature measurement and control, over current protection, and as a voltage divider.

Depending on its specifications and function, a thermistor can also be used in areas such as medicine, automotive, and industrial sectors. The increased demand for thermistors has led to the manufacturing of innovative technologies that incorporate fault and temperature monitoring.

As technology advances and we keep learning on the capabilities of thermistors, we can expect to see more advanced and efficient applications that will shape the future.

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