Close Loop vs. Open Loop Motor Control: The Definitive Guide


Motor control is a crucial aspect of various industries, enabling precise control over the movement and operation of electric motors. Two primary methods used for motor control are open-loop and closed-loop control. In this guide, we will explore the differences between these control techniques, their advantages and disadvantages, applications, and factors to consider when choosing between them.

Open Loop Motor Control

High-speed operation
Lack of accuracy
Susceptible to external factors
Limited adaptability

What is Open Loop Control?

Open loop motor control is a method where the motor operates without any feedback to adjust its performance. The control system sends a command or setpoint to the motor, but there is no mechanism to monitor the actual output or make corrections based on feedback.

Open Loop Advantages

Open loop motor control offers several advantages, including:
  • Simplicity: Open loop systems are relatively simple to implement as they do not require feedback sensors or additional circuitry.
  • Cost-effective: Since open loop systems are less complex, they are often more cost-effective than closed loop systems.
  • High-speed operation: Open loop control can be ideal for applications where precise speed control is not critical, and high-speed operation is desired.

Open Loop Disadvantages

However, open loop motor control also has some drawbacks:
  • Lack of accuracy: Without feedback, open loop systems may not achieve the desired accuracy, especially in dynamic or unpredictable environments.
  • Susceptible to external factors: Open loop control is more vulnerable to disturbances and variations in load conditions, leading to potential performance issues.
  • Limited adaptability: Open loop systems cannot automatically adjust to changing conditions or compensate for wear and tear, requiring manual tuning.

Open Loop Examples

  • Industrial Conveyor Systems: Open loop motor control is commonly used in conveyor systems where precise positioning is not critical. For instance, in manufacturing plants, open loop control is employed to drive conveyor belts for transporting goods between production stages.
  • HVAC Systems: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems often utilize open loop motor control for fan operation. In such applications, the speed of the fans can be controlled without the need for feedback, allowing for efficient air circulation in buildings.
  • High-Speed Spindle Drives: Open loop control is widely used in high-speed spindle drives for machining operations. These drives rotate at extremely high speeds and require less emphasis on position accuracy, making open loop control a suitable choice.

Open Loop Trends

  • Advancements in Sensor Technology: Open loop motor control can benefit from advancements in sensor technology, such as improved accuracy and reliability of position sensors. This can enhance the performance of open loop systems by providing more precise feedback on motor position, allowing for better control and reduced errors.
  • Integration of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: Open loop motor control systems can leverage advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. By incorporating data-driven models and intelligent algorithms, open loop control can become more adaptive and self-learning, improving performance and accuracy.
  • Enhancements in Drive Electronics: Open loop motor control can benefit from advancements in drive electronics, such as high-performance motor drives and power electronics. These advancements enable better control of motor speed, torque, and efficiency, enhancing the overall performance of open loop systems.

Closed Loop Motor Control

Improved accuracy
Robustness against external factors
Automatic adaptability
Higher cost
Slight delay in response time

What is Close Loop Control?

Closed loop motor control, also known as feedback control, incorporates a feedback mechanism to continuously monitor and adjust the motor’s output. It uses sensors or encoders to measure the actual performance of the motor and compares it to the desired output. Based on this feedback, the motor controller adjusts the input signals to achieve the desired control.

Is also important to consider the existence of sensor-less algorithms that are able to act as a close loop environment without the presence of a hardware feedback mechanism as the encoder. In this article is possible to read more about this topic.

Closed Loop Advantages

Closed loop motor control offers several advantages over open loop control. It provides enhanced accuracy, precision, and the ability to adapt to varying conditions. It can compensate for disturbances and maintain stable performance even in dynamic environments.

Closed loop motor control offers several advantages, including:

  • Improved accuracy: Closed loop systems continuously monitor and adjust the motor’s performance, resulting in higher accuracy and precision.
  • Robustness: Closed loop control is more resilient to external factors, ensuring consistent performance in varying load conditions.
  • Adaptability: Closed loop systems can automatically compensate for changes in operating conditions, ensuring stable and reliable motor control.

Closed Loop Disadvantages

However, closed loop motor control also has some drawbacks:

    1. Complexity: Closed loop systems require additional components such as sensors, feedback circuits, and control algorithms, making them more complex to implement.
    2. Higher cost: Due to the additional components and complexity, closed loop systems are generally more expensive than open loop systems.
    3. Response time: Closed loop systems may have a slight delay in response due to the feedback loop, which can be a critical factor in time-sensitive applications.

Closed Loop Examples

      • Robotics and Automation: Closed loop motor control is extensively employed in robotic systems to achieve precise and accurate movements. Whether it’s an industrial robot arm or a collaborative robot (cobot), closed loop control enables precise control of motor positions for various tasks, such as assembly, pick-and-place, or welding.
      • CNC Machining: Closed loop motor control is vital in computer numerical control (CNC) machines for precise and high-quality machining operations. Closed loop control ensures accurate positioning and speed control of motors, resulting in precise cutting, milling, or engraving.
      • Electric Vehicles (EVs): Closed loop motor control is essential in electric vehicle propulsion systems. The control algorithms continuously monitor and adjust motor performance based on various parameters such as speed, torque, and battery condition, ensuring optimal efficiency and smooth acceleration.
      • Medical Equipment: Closed loop motor control finds applications in medical devices such as surgical robots, prosthetic limbs, or medical imaging systems. These applications require precise motor control for delicate procedures, accurate limb movement, or precise positioning of imaging equipment.

Closed Loop Trends

      • Sensor Technology Innovations: Closed loop motor control can benefit from advancements in sensor technology, including higher-resolution encoders, more accurate position sensors, and advanced feedback mechanisms. These advancements allow for finer control and higher precision in closed loop systems.
      • Adaptive and Predictive Control Algorithms: Future developments in closed loop motor control may involve more advanced adaptive and predictive control algorithms. These algorithms can analyze motor behavior, environmental conditions, and load variations in real-time, adjusting the control signals accordingly for optimized performance and energy efficiency.
      • Integration of IoT and Connectivity: Closed loop motor control systems can leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity technologies to enable remote monitoring, diagnostics, and control. This connectivity allows for real-time data analysis, predictive maintenance, and optimization of closed loop motor control systems.
      • Emerging Control Techniques: Closed loop motor control may witness the emergence of new control techniques, such as model-based control or advanced control strategies like fuzzy logic, neural networks, or model predictive control. These techniques can enhance closed loop control performance and adaptability to complex motor control scenarios.

Differences Between Open Loop and Closed Loop Motor Control

Feedback Mechanism
Response Time
Open Loop Motor Control
High-speed operations, budget-constrained projects
Closed Loop Motor Control
Precision-critical applications, dynamic environments

Feedback Mechanism

Open loop control operates without a feedback mechanism, while closed loop control incorporates sensors and feedback circuits to continuously monitor the motor’s performance. The presence of feedback allows closed loop control to adjust and optimize the motor’s operation in real-time. However, is possible to have Close Loop without Sensor having special Sensor less approaches and algorithms.

Accuracy and Precision

One of the key differences between open loop and closed loop motor control is the level of accuracy and precision they offer. Closed loop systems, with their feedback mechanism, can provide highly accurate control by continuously comparing the desired output with the actual performance. Open loop systems, on the other hand, rely solely on predefined instructions and may have limited accuracy.

Response Time

In terms of response time, open loop control generally exhibits faster response due to the absence of the feedback loop. However, closed loop control compensates for this by providing better accuracy and stability, making it suitable for applications where precise control is critical.

Response to Disturbances

Closed loop control systems excel in their ability to handle external disturbances. The feedback mechanism allows them to detect and adjust for variations in the motor’s output caused by external factors. Open loop control, being devoid of feedback, may struggle to compensate for disturbances, leading to reduced performance.

Dynamic Adjustments

In dynamic environments where the motor’s operating conditions change frequently, closed loop control systems shine. They can adapt and make real-time adjustments based on the feedback received from sensors. Open loop systems, with their predefined sequences, lack this adaptability.


Both open loop and closed loop control systems find their applications in various industries. Open loop control is suitable for scenarios where precision control is not critical, such as basic automation tasks. Closed loop control is preferred when accurate control, stability, and adaptability are crucial, such as in robotics and high-performance applications.


Open loop motor control systems are often more cost-effective due to their simplicity and fewer components. Closed loop systems, on the other hand, require additional sensors, feedback circuits, and control algorithms, making them more expensive to implement.

Choosing the Right Control System

When deciding between open-loop and closed-loop motor control, several factors should be taken into account:

Application Requirements

Consider the specific requirements of your application. If high accuracy and precision are crucial, or if the motor operates in dynamic or unpredictable environments, closed loop control may be the better choice. On the other hand, if simplicity and cost-effectiveness are more important, open loop control can be suitable for applications where exact precision is not critical.

System Complexity

Evaluate the complexity of the system and the level of control required. Closed loop control systems are inherently more complex due to the additional components and feedback loop. Open loop control, being simpler, may be preferred for applications with less demanding control requirements.

Cost Considerations

Budget constraints play a significant role in choosing between open loop and closed loop motor control. Open loop systems are generally more cost-effective, making them attractive for applications with limited budgets. However, it’s crucial to weigh the cost against the desired level of control and precision required for the application.


What is the difference between open loop and closed loop motor control?

Open loop motor control operates without feedback, while closed loop motor control incorporates a feedback mechanism to continuously monitor and adjust the motor’s performance.

What are the advantages of open loop motor control?

Open loop control is simple, cost-effective, and suitable for applications where precise control is not critical. It also allows for high-speed operation.

What are the disadvantages of open loop motor control?

Open loop control lacks accuracy, is more susceptible to external factors, and has limited adaptability and responsiveness.

What are the advantages of closed loop motor control?

Closed loop control offers improved accuracy, robustness against external factors, and automatic adaptability to changing conditions.

What are the disadvantages of closed loop motor control?

Closed loop control is more complex and expensive to implement compared to open loop control. It may also have a slightly slower response time due to the feedback loop.

Which applications benefit from open loop motor control?

Open loop control is suitable for applications where high precision is not critical, such as high-speed operations or budget-constrained projects.

Which applications benefit from closed loop motor control?

Closed loop control is ideal for applications that require high accuracy, stability, and adaptability, especially in dynamic or unpredictable environments.

What factors should be considered when choosing between open loop and closed loop motor control?

Factors to consider include application requirements, system complexity, and cost considerations. The desired level of control precision, budget, and environmental factors should also be taken into account.


In conclusion, open loop and closed loop motor control systems offer distinct advantages and serve different purposes. Open loop control is simple and cost-effective, while closed loop control provides enhanced accuracy and adaptability. Understanding the differences and selecting the appropriate control system is essential for achieving optimal motor performance in various applications. As SOLO Motor Controllers we are committed to give the best performance in any condition open loop and close loop environment however we suggest selecting close loop in any case is possible as the performance and safety given are superior then the open loop alternative.
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