6 Steps to Install Motion Sensor

Ⅰ Introduction

A motion sensor is a kind of security system. And the linchpin of your security system is a motion sensor (or motion detector) as it detects when someone is in your home who should not be there. A motion sensor detects movement in an area with one or more technologies.

When a sensor detects motion, it sends a signal to the control panel of your security system, which is connected to your monitoring center. This notifies you and the monitoring center that there is a potential threat in your home.


Ⅰ Introduction

Ⅱ Motion Sensor Related Video:

Ⅲ What is a Motion Sensor?

Ⅳ Types of Motion Sensors

Ⅴ How do Active Ultrasonic Sensors and Passive Infrared (PIR) Work?

5.1 Active Ultrasonic Sensors

5.2 PIR Sensors

5.3 Example of PIR Sensors

Ⅵ How to Install a Motion Sensor?

Ⅶ Other Uses for Motion Sensors


Ⅱ Motion Sensor Related Video:

How PIR Sensor Works and How To Use It with Arduino

Motion Sensor Video Description:

In this Arduino Tutorial we will learn how a PIR Sensor works and how to use it with the Arduino Board for detecting motion.

Ⅲ What is a Motion Sensor?

A motion sensor (or motion detector) is a genre of electronic device that detects and calculates movement. We can often find motion sensors in the home and business security systems,  as well as in phones, paper towel dispensers, game consoles, and virtual reality systems. Unlike many other types of sensors, motion sensors can not be handled and isolated as they are in embedded systems comprised of three major components: a sensor unit, an embedded computer, and hardware (or the mechanical component). Because motion sensors can be customized to perform highly specific functions, these three parts vary in size and configuration. Motion sensors, for example, can be used to activate floodlights, sound audible alarms, activate switches, and even alert the police.

Figure1: Motion Sensor

Ⅳ Types of Motion Sensors

  • Active Ultrasonic Sensors

Active sensors have a transmitter as well as a receiver. This sensor detects motion by measuring changes in the amount of sound or radiation that is reflected back into the receiver.

  • Passive infrared (PIR)

A passive infrared sensor detects body heat (infrared energy) by monitoring temperature changes. This is the most common type of motion sensor found in home security systems.

Figure2:Passive infrared (PIR) 

  • Microwave (MW)

This type of sensor emits microwave pulses and detects reflections from moving objects. 1 They have a larger coverage area than infrared sensors, but they are more expensive and susceptible to electrical interference.


Figure3:Microwave (MW)


  • Dual technology motion sensors

This type of sensor emits microwave pulses and detects reflections from moving objects. 1 They have a larger coverage area than infrared sensors, but they are more expensive and susceptible to electrical interference.


Figure4: Dual technology motion sensors

Each sensor type operates in a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum (ranging from passive to active). Dual technology motion sensors are less likely to cause false alarms than other types because both sensors must trip to sound an alarm. This is not to say that they never cause false alarms.

Less common types of motion detectors

  • Tomographic motion sensors are composed of several nodes. The nodes connect to form a mesh network. When the link between two nodes is broken, these sensors detect the presence of a person or object.

  • Vibration motion sensors detect people and objects by detecting small vibrations caused by movements such as footsteps.

Ⅴ How do Active Ultrasonic Sensors and Passive Infrared (PIR) Work?

The two most common motion sensor technologies are active ultrasonic sensors and passive infrared sensors, both of which are well-known for their accuracy and dependability.

5.1 Active Ultrasonic Sensors

Active ultrasonic sensors produce ultrasonic sound waves that are higher in frequency than the human hearing range. These waves are bouncing off nearby objects and returning to the motion sensor. A transducer within the sensor serves as a signal waypoint, sending the pulse and receiving the echo. The sensor calculates the distance between itself and the target by measuring the time between signal transmission and reception. Most motion sensors allow you to adjust the sensitivity, which means it won't trigger if the distance between the sensor and the object is too great. If the received signal falls within the specified parameters, the motion sensor will activate, alerting you that someone or something is close to the sensor.

Motion sensors installed at entry points such as windows and doors can be programmed to sound a burglar alarm. Door and window sensors are specifically designed to detect an intruder, so you should not experience false alarms or excessive notifications.

Ultrasonic sensors are capable of detecting objects regardless of color, surface type, or material type (i.e., metallic vs. non-metallic). They can detect translucent objects as well, though this is typically reserved for industrial applications.

Figure5:Active ultrasonic sensors


5.2 PIR Sensors

PIR sensors are more complicated than active ultrasonic sensors, but the results are the same.

Walls, floors, stairwells, windows, cars, dogs, trees, people—you name it—emit heat. Temperature can be detected using infrared waves. Infrared motion sensors detect the presence of a person or object by measuring the temperature change in a specific area.

5.3 Example of PIR Sensors

To demonstrate how this works, we'll use a motion detection camera, though any PIR motion sensor will do.

A PIR camera contains two sensors. When no one is present, the PIR camera detects ambient IR emitted by background objects such as walls and doors. When a person (or animal, object, etc.) moves in front of the camera, the first sensor detects their heat signature, causing the camera to activate, triggering your alarm, and sending you an alert. If the object moves out of the camera's field of view, the second sensor will activate, noting the sudden drop in temperature.

These temperature changes are used by a PIR motion sensor to detect the presence of a person or object. PIR sensors, like active ultrasonic sensors, can be configured to ignore small changes in IR, allowing you to walk around your home or business without setting off alarms all day and night.

Ⅵ How to Install a Motion Sensor?

Typical motion sensors have a range of up to 80 feet, which means that a single sensor will most likely not cover a long hallway or an open workspace. You can have your security system installed by a security company such as Bay Alarm. Our installers will examine the layout of your space to determine the best location for motion sensors. Our goal, as with security cameras, fire alarms, and burglar alarm installations, is to make your home or business as secure as possible, with devices and components strategically placed.

After the sensors have been installed, a security agent will integrate them with your burglar alarm system. Using one of two apps: SureHome by Bay Alarm or Bay Alarm Access, you'll have quick access to your entire security system from your phone.

If you decide to do your own security, make sure to follow the instructions that come with the sensor. Here are some pointers for installing motion detectors in your home or business:

Step1:Take your motion detector out of the box.

Your motion sensor kit should include instructions as well as mounting hardware. If your device has separate batteries, insert them into your motion sensor now.

Step2:TDecide on a location

Corners are ideal because they allow you to position infrared sensors to cover the most ground. Most motion sensor designs have angled edges with screw holes to fit neatly into a room's corner.

Mount your motion detector high on the wall to get the best coverage—but avoid putting it over a large piece of furniture, like a bookshelf or entertainment center, because it will limit the passive infrared energy range.

Mount your motion sensor opposite the main entrance—this applies in every room or hallway where you place these sensors so they can detect intruders right away.

Step3:Mount the sensor

Because passive infrared sensors are lightweight, you won't need drywall anchors or studs. A standard screwdriver will suffice, but an electric screwdriver or drill will expedite the process.

Most motion detectors include a mounting bracket that detaches from the main body of the device, allowing you to screw it into the wall first, then clip the motion sensor back in. This also makes removing the motion detector from the wall during maintenance easier. Other infrared sensors may necessitate a complete disassembly before mounting.

Step3: Connect your sensor to your system

Connect your motion sensor to your system according to the manufacturer's instructions. Most DIY systems will walk you through this process, frequently using the main keypad or a mobile app to configure and adjust your motion detectors.

TIPSZ-Wave-enabled smart motion sensors connect to your phone for easy access and notifications. Whether you're just getting started with your smart home build or you already have dozens of connected devices, Z-Wave-enabled motion sensors are a worthwhile addition.

Step4: Adjust your motion detection settings

When you arm your system, most motion detectors have three main settings:

In instant mode, any movement sets off an alarm.

In entry delay mode, the sensor operates on a delay; even if it detects motion, you have approximately 30–60 seconds to disarm the system before an alarm is triggered.

Interior follow-up mode operates on an entry delay, but only when the door contact triggers first—it sounds an instant alarm if it detects motion in the home without the door contact triggering.

Step6: Maintain your motion detector

Dust and debris can accumulate on the screen of your motion sensor over time, interfering with the infrared energy and making it less effective at motion detection. Use a dry or slightly damp microfiber cloth to clean it at least once every couple of months.

If you decide to paint a wall near your motion sensor, make sure to first remove the device. If paint gets on a passive infrared motion sensor, it must be replaced.

Additional tips for installing motion sensors

  • Take into account the size of your pets.

  • Overhangs reduce range.

  • Do not obstruct the infrared.

  • Not all motion sensing light switches are created equal.

Ⅶ Other Uses for Motion Sensors

Motion sensors are useful for more than just home security. Many industrial fields use them on assembly lines to count the number of products and to shut down dangerous equipment if someone gets too close.

Here are a few other uses for motion sensors

  • To automate the opening and closing of doors

  • To activate and deactivate automatic water faucets and toilets

  • When a person enters a room, lights are turned on.

  • ATM display control

  • At ticket vending machines

  • For certain parking meter


1. Which motion sensor is best?

Best Motion Sensors

Philips. Hue Smart Motion Sensor. A solid choice if you are looking for a motion sensor for indoor use that's also intuitive. ...

First Alert. Motion Sensing Light Socket. ...

SadoTech. Wireless PIR. ...

Chamberlain. Wireless Motion Sensor. ...

1byone. Safety Driveway Patrol.

2. Are motion sensors effective?

Motion sensors are proven to be effective at leading to apprehensions. ... Motion sensors can be more cost-effective for rooms with many windows that would require several sensors to protect. A motion detector can alert you immediately if there is movement is detected.

3. What can set off a motion detector?

What can set off a motion detector? Moveable objects such as balloons, curtains, decorations, and pets can set off motion detectors. How to prevent this: Consider positioning motion sensors above waist level so pets can move around freely, and away from curtains and other items that may move or drift.

4. Do motion detectors work in the dark?

The short answer is yes. Motion sensors do work in complete darkness, as none of the motion sensors mentioned above are reliant on using images to detect motion. Instead of images, PIR motion sensors detect changes in the level of received infrared. Likewise, ultrasonic motion sensors also do not require images.

5. How long do motion sensors last?

On average, a motion detector light will stay on for up to 20 minutes. That amount of time is extended each time a sensor detects fresh movement, so it is possible for a motion detector light to stay on for much longer than 20 minutes at a time.

6. Does motion sensor have camera?

Most smart security cameras are motion sensor cameras. This means that they have a smart sensor built-in – and that's the key to your smart camera always being ready to record when something happens.

7. What is the difference between PIR and motion sensor?

As the name implies, motion sensors detect moving objects outside or even inside your home. They are often tied to lights, alarms, security cameras, and most recently, smart doorbells. ... PIR or Passive Infrared motion sensors are designed to reliably detect people, large pets & other large warm moving objects.

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