A Beginners Guide To Motion Sensor

The heart of any effective home security system is a motion sensor (also known as a motion detector) that can identify the presence of an unauthorized intruder. A motion sensor may leverage a single or combination of technologies to monitor a given space for the presence of human activity.

Your security system’s control panel is connected to a monitoring center and receives alerts from the sensors when they detect motion. This will notify you and the central monitoring station of any suspicious activity in your house.

How Motion Detectors Help With Home Safety?

Motion detectors are installed to detect an intruder and send an alert to your control panel, which then notifies your monitoring center.

When you’re not at home, or when you notify the system you’re not at home, the sensors continue to function. Some security systems even include the option to record whatever happens via a security camera if there is any motion.

The motion detectors are on guard, waiting to respond to any number of events, such as the presence of people in the living room, the opening or closing of a window, or even the breaking of a window.

Typical Applications Of Motion Sensors

  • It lets you know if your teen is out past their bedtime
  • Ring the bell if someone is at the front door.
  • Notify you if your children access potentially hazardous parts of the house, such as the basement, gym, or medicine cabinet.
  • Use motion-activated lights in empty rooms to save money on your electric bill.
  • Pets who wander into restricted areas should trigger an alert.

Different Motion Sensors

Passive infrared (PIR)

By monitoring temperature fluctuations, passive infrared sensors may detect the presence of human body heat (infrared energy). The motion detectors are ready to alert any suspicious activity one you activate them

When the PIR sensor heats up, it can create a protective “grid” by picking up on heat and motion in the region. An infrared alarm is triggered whenever a moving object blocks too many grid zones, causing a rapid shift in infrared energy levels.


This sensor type broadcasts microwave pulses and tracks their reflections to detect moving objects. Compared to infrared sensors, they can monitor a wider region, but at the cost of increased expense and susceptibility to electrical interference.

Dual-Tech Motion Sensors

Some motion sensors use a combination of detection techniques to lower the number of false motion sensor alarms. For example, passive infrared (PIR) and microwave sensors work together in one typical dual-technology sensor type.

Types Of Motion Detectors That Are Less Prevalent

  • When a person or item travels inside the range of an area reflective sensor, the sensor detects them by measuring the distance between itself and the subject using the reflected infrared light.
  • Ultrasonic motion sensors use pulses of ultrasonic waves to detect and analyze echoes of moving objects.
  • Vibration motion sensors can pick up on the slight vibrations generated as people walk through a space. They can be bought from any security store, but making your own is simple as well. To create a handmade vibration sensor, a little mass is mounted on a lever that, when shaken, triggers an alarm. Though sometimes effective, homemade motion sensors have their flaws.

Suggestions For Positioning Of Motion Sensor

While reading the manual thoroughly is the best way to ensure that your motion sensors work correctly and minimize false alarms, you can also take advantage of their strengths by placing them in the following locations:

Remove PIR detectors from proximity to radiators, vents, and windows that get direct sunlight.

As many as three of your motion detectors may go off if they detect even a slight shift in temperature (such as a cloud passing rapidly in front of the sun as it shines through your living room window).

Optimal Locations For Motion Detectors

Install motion detectors in high-traffic locations like the stairs and main hallway. In this approach, the motion sensor will be triggered by an intruder no matter where they go.

Be Sure To Have This Checklist

  • There will be no side trips
  • Sensors should be placed near high-value rooms like the main bedroom or the study to deter would-be intruders.

Third, consider the most likely entry points and routes burglars might follow. For example, sensors should be installed near doors, windows, and garages because that’s how intruders will most likely access your home.

Locate walls that an intruder would be forced to go down, such as a corridor or a small passageway that leads to a room. It will be less effective if a potential intruder walks in a direction other than straight at the sensor.

 Ideal Locations For Motion Detectors

You don’t usually walk perpendicular to the walls of a corridor, but rather, you walk parallel to them.

Additional Applications For Motion Sensors

Motion sensors are helpful for more than merely ensuring the safety of your house. For example, on assembly lines in many manufacturing facilities, they count the number of products produced and disable potentially hazardous machinery if a person approaches too closely.

Here are some further applications for motion sensors:

  • To operate automated door openers and closers.
  • To manually activate and deactivate automated water faucets and toilets
  • When a person enters a room, the lights automatically switch on.
  • To manage ATM displays
  • At the self-service ticketing kiosks
  • For some parking meters

Final Word

Motion sensors are not an optional add-on to a security system; they are an integral component of any full-proof system. Without sensors, there is no way to determine if an unauthorized entry exists. We hope that by reading this guide, you now have a better understanding of the role that motion sensors play in the overall security of your home, as well as the various technologies that are used in motion detection, and how to correctly install your sensors so that they can perform their functions. Check out with Optex Pinnacle if you need assistance exploring the various possibilities for protecting your home or commercial property.

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