How to Set the Sensitivity Level on a Motion Sensor

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Motion sensors provide your home with a better sense of security and safety–as they turn your outside lights on if you or someone else is walking within a few feet of them. While they are great for lighting the driveway or walkway when you return home from a late-night grocery store trip–you do not want the lights on whenever a moth flutters by.

  1. Motion sensors usually come with a ball and joint type of shaft that allows you to easily maneuver the sensor to face a certain direction. Your first step will be to figure out what area you want your motion sensor to cover. The motion sensor’s signal is “fanned out” from the sensor, meaning the coverage gets wider the farther away you get from the sensor.

  2. If you have the motion sensor attached to the front of your garage and you want it to come on when you drive up the driveway, but not activate every time a car passes on the street below, then try tilting the sensor down just a little bit. The sensor’s signal may be reaching out into the street and thus turning the lights on every time a car or pedestrian passes by.

  3. If you look on the base of the motion sensor, you will typically see a switch and a rotary dial. The switch determines how long you want the light to stay illuminated, while the dial determines the sensitivity of the sensor. Some motion sensors will also feature a second switch that allows you to test the sensor.

  4. The time-length switch allows you to set your lights to remain on for a given number of minutes. You can also choose to turn the motion sensor off if you wish. The time lengths range from one minute up to 10 minutes in most cases.

  5. The sensitivity dial is usually clearly marked and all you need to do is turn the dial in the proper direction to increase or decrease the motion sensor’s sensitivity. These dials are rather small, so having a multipurpose tool or a pair of pliers can be helpful for someone with joint problems.

  6. It may take a few attempts to achieve the perfect combination of motion sensor sensitivity and area coverage, but overall, it is an easy process. You can leave the time-length switch set for one minute so you do not have long to wait between tests, and then increase it once you find your desired configuration

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