Outdoor Motion Sensors

How outdoor motion sensors work:

  • There are two main types, these being active and passive
  • Active sensors send out signals and the signal is broken, whether it be an ultrasonic wave, a beam of light, or a radar signal.
  • Passive detectors detect infrared energy radiated by a human body
  • If the passive detector is set incorrectly, it will detect animals

Issues to be aware of with regards to extreme cold and heat:

  • The outdoor motion detector should not be placed close to an air-conditioning vent or a heat vent, as these may cause false alarms
  • Some units are not designed for the extreme heat and cold
  • If you live in an extremely cold area, a wireless option may not be the way to go.  It may be cheaper to install, but it will not be as effective
  • A hardwired unit is better for a colder area

What sensor features should I seek?

  • Choose one that has a built-in speaker that foils a burglary attempt before it starts
  • Choose a unit that has an adjustable detection area so that you can customize your home security system.  It is better to set it to a small area, so as to reduce false alarms
  • Your outdoor motion sensor should have two detection zones, one lower one for pets and one higher one for humans

Outdoor motion detectors range in price between about $76.00 and $685.00, depending on dual technology and range.  Honeywell Ademco, Optex, Rokonet and G.E. make popular products for security systems, although it might be mentioned that there are hundreds of other Chinese companies that make comparable products.  A sample list would include Anvox, Aurum, Lelux, Sicily, Ningbo PoSa, Roger, Shenzhen, Everspring… The list seems endless, but the technology used to produce them seems to be the same as domestic parts.

Motion Detector Buyer beware

As with glassbreak detectors, many security companies do not like to install these at all, due to the false alarms involved.  If you do purchase one, make sure it has an adjustable beam.